10 Expert Products & Tips

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If you’re here, you’ve probably already spent an hour panic-Googling how to make your hair grow faster, while pouring over medical sites that offer zero comfort. Maybe you’re currently convinced your hair is looking thinner after anxiously examining your hairline in the mirror (been there), or maybe you just gave yourself a regrettable at-home haircut and are now looking for ways to make your hair grow faster within a week.

Whatever the reason, our team of eight experts—two dermatologists, two trichologists (hair scientists), and four hairstylists—is here to help with the correct facts on how to grow your hair, along with all the debunked myths and the best hair-growth products and tips that really work. Let’s get started.

How fast does hair grow?

According to research, hair naturally grows at a rate of 0.35 millimeters per day, which equals roughly ½-inch per month for a total of 6 inches per year. Note: The shorter your hair (whether you’re working with a bob, lob, bangs, or a buzzcut), the faster your hair will appear to grow—even though the rate hasn’t changed. Similarly, already-long hair may appear to be at a standstill, when it’s actually steadily growing (barring, of course, medical complications; more on that below).

It’s also important to know that you were born with all of the hair follicles you’ll ever have—between 80,000 to 120,000—meaning you can’t create more hair follicles (or more hair strands) than what you were born with, even if a product claims to give you fuller, thicker hair. That being said, in certain cases, you can potentially stimulate your hair follicles to help with re-growth, which is where the following 10 expert tips and products come in. But first:

How do you make your hair grow faster?

Your hair growth is determined by your hormones, health, genetics, and age. So despite what advertisements and product labels may tell you, there’s no topical product that can truly grow your hair faster and longer (unless, of course, your body has a health condition or vitamin deficiency that, when resolved, can result in hair growth).

That being said, hair growth requires a healthy scalp, a healthy body, and healthy hair habits to work most effectively. So to find out exactly how to create the most optimal hair-growth conditions, along with the products that really do help to make your hair grow, keep reading.


How to make your hair grow faster

1. Try topical hair-growth products

If you’re concerned your hair isn’t growing fast enough—and/or you’re experiencing hair loss and thinning—book an appointment with a dermatologist asap who will help you identify the cause and help you formulate a treatment plan, which might include a topical solution like minoxidil, i.e., the active ingredient found in topical products like Rogaine and Hers.

“We don’t know the exact mechanism for how it works, but we think a lot of it has to do with increasing blood flow to the scalp,” dermatologist Dhaval Bhanusali, MD, has previously told Cosmo. “It’s like giving more water to the plant to help it grow.” If you do decide to try minoxidil-based products, you need to be consistent and commit to using it daily.

And if you’re dealing with irritation or you’re not seeing results after three to six months, head to your dermatologist for more prescription options, such as:

  • spironolactone, a blood pressure medication commonly used off-label in women to treat breakouts and potentially help increase hair growth over time, Dr. Bhanusali has said.
  • compounded topicals, like HairStim, that are custom-cocktailed by your dermatologist to include anything from higher-dose minoxidil to finasteride to topical spironolactone and more.
  • PRP therapy, aka platelet-rich plasma therapy, a treatment where a doctor draws your blood, separates the plasma from it, then re-injects it into your scalp to stimulate follicle activity. “Studies show that 20 percent of people get a significant improvement [in hair growth], 20 percent get slim-to-no results, and, anecdotally, the other 40 percent get a 10 to 15 percent improvement,” Dr. Bhanusali has said.

    2. Consider hair-growth vitamins

    First, it’s important to note here that hair-growth supplements are not a miracle cure for growing hair faster (and usually won’t even work unless you’re actually deficient in vitamins). They also shouldn’t be taken without talking to your doctor first. Why? Because even though these gummies and vitamins seem innocent, they aren’t regulated by the FDA, meaning they can contain any ingredient they want and claim whatever fact they want.

    Not only that, but if you eat at least somewhat balanced foods (more on that below), your body will already be filled with the only hair-strengthening ingredients it needs, like biotin, folic acid, vitamins D, A, C, and E. So doubling up your dose by popping hair supplements won’t make a difference. “Your body only keeps what it needs and then it gets rid of the rest,” says Burg.

    That said, if you think you might be vitamin deficient, you could be a solid candidate for hair-growth supplements, ask your doctor. You’ll want to make sure you’re choosing the right amount (and type) of vitamins to help hair grow faster and longer, and that they won’t interact with any medications you’re currently taking. Once you get the green light, check out a few of the internet’s favorites:


    3. Massage your scalp with hair-healthy oils

    No, there isn’t some magical oil that will grow your hair faster in one week, but massaging your scalp will help increase blood circulation to your hair follicles that can create a healthy foundation for hair growth—especially when paired with the right oils. Dermatologist Hope Mitchell, MD, recommends pairing a scalp massage with hair oils such as:

    • coconut oil (which acts as an antimicrobial and antifungal and also helps prevent free radicals from damaging hair)
    • jojoba oil (which has antifungal properties and is rich in vitamin E and strengthening omega 6 and 9 fatty acids)
    • castor oil (which has moisturizing ricinoleic acid and omega 6 fatty acids)
    • rosemary oil (which has been shown in studies to be as effective as to 2.5 percent minoxidil for hair growth) for the most benefit.

      4. Try caffeine hair treatments

      According to Dr. Bhanusali, topical caffeine not only helps stimulate blood flow to your scalp (which is essential for healthy hair growth), but it also helps counteracts DHT, the hormone responsible for hair loss. Though it’s not guaranteed to grow your hair faster, it’s one of those at-home ingredients that can’t hurt to try.

      Still, you’ll need to be patient: If caffeine does help reduce some of your hair loss—or have a positive effect on your hair density and health—it will stake take two or three months to see results. So start using one of these shampoos, scalp serums, or leave-ins asap if you’re after longer, thicker hair:


      5. Eat nutrient-rich foods

      All doctors agree: Health hair growth stars with proper nutrition. “There are a lot of people who are vitamin deficient and don’t realize it, because of either dieting, poor nutrition, or intense stress,” Burg has previously told Cosmo. And when you’re not eating enough or you’re undergoing intense periods of stress, “your body will shut down your hair growth first and redirect nutrients and energy to the organs that need it most,” he says, which leaves your hair growth at a standstill.

      For the best foods to help your hair grow faster, Dr. Mitchell says to look for foods rich in protein, iron, vitamin B12, omega 3 fatty acids, and vitamin E to help promote new hair growth. What does that look like? The basics:

      • fruits (strawberries, avocados, blueberries, oranges, grapefruit)
      • vegetables (spinach, bell peppers, beans, broccoli)
      • fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines)
      • nuts and seeds (almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds)
      • eggs
      • red meat and chicken

        6. Trim your hair

        No matter how well you treat your body, your hair will never look longer if you’re not taking proper care of it, which starts with getting regular haircuts and trims. Despite what misleading hair products will tell you, split ends will never get better on their own; they need to be cut off, or they’ll keep splitting higher and higher until the strand of hair breaks off.

        So even though it sounds counterintuitive to cut your hair to make it grow “faster” and look longer, it’s a non-negotiable requirement. “Your hair will actually be shorter un-cut than it would be if you were to get consistent trims,” says hairstylist Mark Townsend. He suggests asking your stylist to take just an eighth of an inch off your hair every 10 to 12 weeks to prevent split ends before they even start.


        7. Wear protective hairstyles

        Whether you’re trying to grow out your 4c hair or your 2a waves, you’re going to have the most success at growing your hair “faster” if you stick to protective style. The general ~equation~ for hair growth is time (see: patience) + hydration (like hair masks and deep conditioners) + low manipulation (which means cutting out the chemical treatments, coloring, and tight styles).

        Hair that’s left down is prone to tangling up and drying out (especially at the ends), which is where protective styling is key. Opt for loose twists, rolls, and French braids that you can DIY at home regardless of your hair type, or ask your braider for jumbo box braids or faux twists for a longer-lasting protective style, if you’re working with type-4 hair.

        And if you are working with type-4 hair, listen up: “Don’t just braid your dry hair and call it good,” says Jasmine “Jazzee” Green, hairstylist and natural hair expert. “To prep, saturate your wet hair with a ton of leave-in conditioner, then blow-dry with a comb attachment until it’s 100 percent dry, stretching each section with your fingers as you work.”

        Yup, blow-drying natural hair. With heat. Sounds potentially scary if you’re dealing with breakage, but “heat helps the leave-in penetrate your hair cuticle and stretch it, so it won’t shrink up and dry out as quickly in your protective style,” says Green.


        8. Focus on scalp care for hair growth

        If you’re trying to grow your hair faster and longer, you need to pay attention to your scalp. “The two most important layers of the skin in relation to the scalp are the dermis and the epidermis,” says trichologist Bridgette Hill. “The dermis contains our hair follicles, glands, nerves, blood vessels, collagen, elastin fibers, and fat cells, so a proper scalp routine will impact the rate of hair growth and the health of your hair fiber.”

        When you take care of your scalp, you’re ensuring that fresh blood and nutrients can easily flow to the hair follicle, says Hill. So, what does proper scalp care look like? A mix of scalp oils, serums, and hair masks with scalp-stimulating ingredients like peppermint or tea tree oils that help increase circulation to the scalp, she says.

        Hill also suggests incorporating a proper scalp shampoo once a week, i.e., where you apply shampoo directly to your scalp and let it sit for five minutes before rinsing and conditioning. Pro tip: A hair-color applicator bottle can help easily distribute the shampoo through your scalp. “Also, remember that consistency is key,” says hairstylist Adam Federico. “Work yourself into a scalp-care routine and stick with it. Remember that when it comes to hair health, you’re playing the long game.”


        9. Keep hair conditioned

        Consider conditioner and deep conditioner your hair-growth BFF. “It’s shocking to me how many people skip conditioner when showering,” says Townsend, “which is the worst thing you can do for your hair—especially when you’re trying to grow it long.” Why? Because coloring and heat-styling will eventually cause hair strands to get thinner at the bottom, leading to more breakage and shorter lengths.

        Conditioner, however, helps replace the fat and protein inside your hair shaft while also sealing in moisture. Basically, it’s your first defense against the damage that threatens your long-hair goals, because it’s actively working to protect and hydrate your hair.


        10. Avoid bleach, chemicals, and damaging treatments

        Sorry, but avoiding all hair dyes, bleach, and chemical treatments is necessary when growing out your hair, says Dr. Mitchell.When you bleach your hair, it opens up the cuticle of your hair strands, causing significant damage—especially for those with darker hair—every single time. Plus, hair that’s been color- or chemically treated is more likely to break, which will require more trims and less length for you.

        When it comes to styling in general, “less is more” should be your motto when trying to make your hair grow faster. Dr. Mitchell recommends limiting the use of hair clips, extensions, and tight braided hairstyles that can cause tension. Even wearing your hair in the same hairstyle every day, like a ponytail or bun, can cause your hair to break over time too, so make sure to regularly switch up your style to help prevent damage.


        The final word on how to make hair grow faster

        Although you sadly can’t make your hair grow faster overnight or even within a week, you can change up your routine and food habits to make sure your hair can grow as easily and healthily as possible. And just remember: Your doctor should always be your first stop when trying to make your hair grow, because only they will be able to tell you what’s really going on inside your body or within your scalp.


        Meet the experts:

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