Figuring out how to grow hair faster can be difficult. Some of the methods out there are just complete bogus or can have harmful side effects. Here are 50 simple, effective, and NATURAL methods that can actually help.
Disclaimer: These methods may or may not work for everybody. However, there have been positive results associated with all methods (links provided). I've kept the methods to those that have been scientifically proven and/or endorsed by haircare professionals. Hopefully you can incorporate at least a couple of these tricks and see some results. Please consult with your doctor and/or haircare professional before trying any of the following methods.
1) Drink More Water
Water is crucial for survival and keeps hair hydrated and healthy. Dry hair can break more easily. Instead of reaching for your favorite soft drink when thirsty, opt for a glass of water or two instead.
2) Get More Protein
Protein is important because a strand of hair is composed mostly of protein. Getting more protein can easily be fixed through the diet. Sources of protein include all kinds of meat, poultry, seafood, beans, lentils, eggs, soy, nuts, and seeds.
3) Use Essential Oils
Essential oils have been used for centuries in medicine and cosmetics. The beauty industry has now caught on to the benefits of these various oils and you can find them for cheap both online and at your local health food store like Whole Foods. You only need to put a few drops of essential oil into a shampoo, conditioner, or “carrier” oil, such as olive or jojoba oil. Recommended combinations of essential oil include cedarwood, clary sage, and lavender as well as jojoba, clary sage, and cedarwood. Apply the oil mixture to your hair, cover with a shower cap or damp towel, and then wash out the treatment with shampoo after 30 minutes.
4) Use Olive Oil
An ingredient that can be found in most kitchen cabinets, olive oil is beneficial in many ways. For instance, olive oil can prevent and even cure hair loss by hindering the production of the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which can shrink the follicle shaft. It also helps fight head lice and dandruff, two other factors that you want to limit. To apply olive oil for hair growth, apply a small amount of extra virgin olive oil (the least processed and purest form) to your hair, keep your it wrapped with a damp towel or shower cap, then wash out with shampoo after 30 minutes.
5) Use Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is another great multi-use oil that has benefits not only on overall health but on your hair as well. Coconut oil has various antioxidant, antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral, and antimicrobial factors that keep hair healthy. Moreover, coconut oil has very high amounts of medium chain tryglycerides (MCTs), which are primary components in promoting healthy hair growth. To get the benefits of MCTs, one can ingest coconut oil as part of their diet. Otherwise, one can apply coconut oil to their head for healthy hair growth and development. After applying, simply wash out with shampoo after 30 minutes.
6) Scalp Massages
Something that can be done for free, massaging your scalp is not only relaxing but can have great effects on growing out your hair. By massaging your scalp slowly and firmly (don’t give yourself a headache!), you can increase blood flow to the follicles, resulting in increased nutrient intake and enhanced growth. Not only that but massaging your head can also help you relax and reduce stress, a chief suspect in hindering the growth of those beautiful tresses.
7) Inversion Method
A method that has been gaining much popularity, the inversion method, too, is free and easy to implement. The inversion method consists of simply inverting yourself, or, if that’s too extreme, just your head. Just lie on your back so that your head hangs over the side of your bed or sit in a chair and bend over so your hair is hanging downwards. Do this for four minutes everyday for a week, once a month. The inversion method increases blood flow to the scalp and stimulates the follicles, which, according to experts, may or may not result in quicker growth. The method can be combined with essential, olive, or coconut oil treatment as well as scalp massages for potentially greater results.
8) Deep Conditioning Treatment
Deep conditioner treatments can help keep your hair and scalp healthy and moist. If you experience a lot of breakage and splitting along the hair shaft, a deep conditioning treatment may be in order. One can get such a treatment at a salon or do it at home with either a homemade mixture or a premade, natural deep conditioning product. To make a simple, effective conditioner at home, mix some coconut milk with a bit of honey and apply for about 30 minutes before washing.
9) Trim Hair - but Not Too Often
While this may sound counterintuitive, trimming your hair from time to time will help with growth. Trim your hair by a quarter inch every 6 to 8 weeks to prevent split ends that cause breakage and slow the growing process.
10) Don't Brush Your Hair Too Much
Only brush your hair to detangle or style it. Brushing generates friction, which means breakage and cuticle damage, neither of which help with growth. Moreover, brushing your hair when it’s wet can lead to even further breakage. If you really need to brush, use a wide-toothed comb or paddle brush with ball-tipped, plastic bristles. Natural brushes like boar-bristle brushes aren’t uniform and are harsher on your hair and scalp.
11) Onion Juice?
This may put people off and if it does, feel free to try one of the other 49 methods listed, but in a study to treat alopecia areata, a hair loss condition, a group was given raw onion juice to apply to their heads and saw hair growth in 87% of patients after six weeks. To try this method, boil a few onions in water and apply the onion water to your hair. Don’t worry, the smell won't linger, especially after you rinse it out.
12) Limit Blow Drying
While blow drying can be convenient, excessive blow drying can damage hair as the high heat will leave it brittle and prone to breakage. Instead, try and allow your hair to air dry. Similar treatments that can have similar, adverse effects include flat irons and curling irons. If you really need to use hot tools, apply a hair protectant first. A good one is HSI Professional's Argan Oil Leave-in Conditioner. It is rated 4.6 out of 5 on Amazon and is the #1 Best Seller in Hair Styling Serums there.
13) Don't Wash Your Hair Every Day
Our “need” to wash our hair every day stems more from our hygiene culture of smelling good more than it does maintaining healthy hair. Over-washing will strip hair of essential oils and cause it to break off over time.
14) Be Wary of Hot Showers
While hot showers can feel nice and relaxing, hot water dehydrates both the skin and hair, stripping both of natural, beneficial oils. The heat from hot showers can also damage hair roots and lead to shedding. As an alternative, try taking cold showers or at least turning down the temperature a little bit.
15) Avoid Crash Diets
Starving yourself will force your body to only focus on the bare necessities, such as brain and heart function, rather than the production of luscious locks. One of the top symptoms in anorexics is hair loss and one must eat a healthy, well-balanced diet to promote overall health and hair growth.
16) Pat Dry Your Hair
While pat drying may not be as quick or effective as aggressively drying your hair with a towel, hair is sensitive when wet and susceptible to all kinds of damage. When aggressively rubbing with a towel, one can snap hair right off or at the very least cause damage to the cuticle and produce split ends (which gives the appearance of shorter hair).
17) Avoid "All-Day Hold" Hair Styling Products
Styling products, such as “all-day mega hold” gels, are often high in alcohol, which can make hair very dry and brittle. Once you apply such products and attempt to comb or brush your hair, the residue from the products can cause hair to break and fall out. Instead of purchasing products that make hair stiff or sticky, look for softer-hold solutions that keep it moist and keep friction to a minimum when brushing or combing.
18) Don't Wear Tight Hairstyles
While some people may prefer tight ponytails or braids, these styles put lots of tension on the follicles and damage them, sometimes permanently. In the most extreme cases, this damage can lead to traction alopecia, which weakens the follicle to the point that it becomes impossible for hair to even grow!
19) Don't Scratch Your Head
Scratching your head due to causes like seborrheic dermatitis can result in hair loss since scratching can damage cuticles and make hair susceptible to breaking. Solutions to an itchy scalp include shampoos, such as Head and Shoulders, with selenium, zinc pyrithione, or tea tree oil. You can also ask your doctor for prescription antifungal shampoo or cortisone foam.
20) Use Silk Pillowcases
Sleeping on silk will leave hair soft, moisturized, and free of tangles. For those that toss and turn in their sleep, this is especially relevant because silk pillow covers can prevent breakage whereas cotton pillowcases will cause hair to bunch, knot, and get staticky as they cling to the hair of restless sleepers. If you don’t have a silk pillowcase, wrapping a silk scarf around your head should do the trick as well.
21) Limit or Protect Against Sun Exposure
While a decent amount of sun can make your hair look brighter and more vibrant, too many UV rays can result in weak or broken cuticles, which lead to brittle hair and ultimately hair loss. Easy ways to protect yourself include wearing a scarf or a hat. You can also opt for leave-in conditioners with built-in sunscreen from popular brands like Kerastase.
22) Reduce Stress
Although it’s hard to avoid stress in today’s busy society, stress is inextricably tied to hair loss. Stress can cause telogen effluvium, which puts follicles into a resting phase that allows hairs to fall out suddenly when just combing or washing hair. It can also cause trichotillomania, or hair pulling. It has also been associated with alopecia areata, which is when the body’s immune system attacks the follicles, leading to hair loss. We can deal with high levels of stress through stress-reducing activities like meditation, breathing exercises, reading a book, and going for a walk.
23) Get More Biotin
Vitamin B7, otherwise known as biotin, is lauded by some as a sort of miracle pill for hair growth. While not the holy grail, it is believed by some dermatologists that biotin might help the keratin infrastructure. Keratin is a basic protein that constitutes hair, skin, and nails. Moreover, biotin deficiency, while rare, is a real problem that can result in brittle nails and hair loss. If you’re concerned about your biotin levels, consult with your doctor and consider eating more biotin-rich foods, such as eggs, legumes, liver, and whole grains, or taking a biotin supplement.
24) Get Your Omega-3s
Omega-3 fatty acids are important for a variety of functions in the body, one of which is growing hair. Your body can’t make omega-3s on its own, yet about 3% of the hair shaft is made of up omega-3 fatty acids! These acids are also found in cell membranes in your scalp’s skin as well as in the natural oils that keep your hair and scalp hydrated. The best source of omega-3 fatty acids is fatty fish, such as salmon, sardines, and mackerel. If you don’t eat fish, consider foods like walnuts. However, it’s good to note that there are different types of omega-3 acids. In plant sources like walnuts, omega-3 alpha-linolenic acids (ALA) have to be converted into DHA and EPA, and the conversion rate is quite poor. So if you're not a vegetarian or vegan, it is probably in your best interest to eat fatty fish in order to get sufficient omega 3s. Most people do not get the recommended 1-2 servings of fatty fish a week and if you can’t get enough fatty fish or plant-based sources of omega-3 in your diet, I highly recommend taking an omega-3 supplement. Along with hair growth, omega-3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation, fatigue, poor memory, dry skin, heart problems, mood swings or depression, and poor circulation.
25) Get More Zinc
Zinc deficiency can lead to hair loss (even in the eyelashes!) along with a dry scalp. To get more zinc in your diet, consider eating more oysters - a 3 ounce serving has an insane 493% of your daily recommended zinc value! Other sources of zinc include beef, nuts, and eggs.
26) Get More Iron
Iron deficiency is another culprit in hair loss. Good sources of iron include red meat, beans, lentils, tofu, and spinach.
27) Drink Green Tea
In a study involving rats, green tea was given to rats experiencing hair loss while plain water was given to a control group. The rats that received the polyphenol extract from green tea in their water experienced significant hair regrowth. While this study involved rats and not humans, it might not hurt to throw in a cup or two of green tea a day considering all the other benefits, such as lowering cholesterol, increasing metabolism, and reducing cancer risk.
28) Avoid Overexposure to Salt Water
Though salt water is great for detoxing the skin, reducing swelling, and treating wounds, too much of it can be very bad for the hair. Similar to the skin, hair can become dehydrated and dry if too much moisture is lost. The high salt content of salt water takes the water out of your hair, making it dry, brittle, and prone to breakage. If you’re going to be in the sea for extended periods of time, consider applying a waterproof leave-in conditioner, such as Kerastase's Soleil Aqua-Seal recommended by swimmers, to keep your hair moist and protected.
29) Get More Vitamin A (but Not Too Much)
Vitamin A helps stimulate the follicles and promote growth. However, too much Vitamin A will actually cause hair loss so be careful before you eat every carrot in the house. Good sources of Vitamin A include sweet potato, liver, spinach, carrots, and kimchi.
30) Get Your B Vitamins
B complex vitamins are essential for healthy skin and hair. B vitamins can be found in poultry, eggs, liver, nuts, avocados, legumes, dark-leafy greens, and whole grains. Vitamin B-12 is found mostly in animal-based foods, such as meat and dairy. Vegetarians and vegans should consider a B-12 supplement.
31) Get Your Vitamin C
Vitamin C can improve hair growth, fight dandruff, and prevent hair loss. Vitamin C also helps with iron absorption, which is important because as mentioned, sufficient iron is another key component in keeping your hair healthy and growing. Good sources of Vitamin C include fruits and vegetables like oranges, kiwi, watermelon, broccoli, spinach, kale, and potatoes. Supplementation is also another option.
32) Get Vitamin D!
Vitamin D, along with keeping bones and skin healthy, has also been linked to hair growth in recent years. It can help create new follicles or pores where new growth can occur. Many people are vitamin D deficient, and it is difficult to get sufficient amounts of vitamin D through food, such as fish, grains, and milk, alone. Going outside and getting sun exposure helps the body produce vitamin D. Vitamin D supplements are another option for people who don’t get outside enough.
33) Get Vitamin E
In a 2010 study, men that took Vitamin E supplements grew more hair than those given a placebo pill. Supplementation, however, is not necessary as Vitamin E can also be obtained from foods like avocado, olive oil, and wheat germ.
34) Acquire Magnesium
Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the human body and required for more than 300 biochemical reactions, including hair growth. Unfortunately, 68% of U.S. adults are magnesium deficient, which can result in suboptimal growth. To get more magnesium, eat foods, such as almonds, spinach, cashews, lentils, and brown rice. Since it is difficult to obtain magnesium in today’s modern diet, magnesium supplementation is another viable option.
Sleep deprivation can cause all kinds of problems, among which include lowered protein synthesis and depressed growth hormone levels, both of which affect hair growth negatively. They don’t call it beauty sleep for nothing!
36) Get More Selenium
Selenium, among other functions, stimulates follicles to encourage new growth. If selenium is lacking in the body, follicle abnormalities, diminished growth, and hair loss can result. To counter these potential problems, acquire selenium from foods like Brazil nuts, tuna, beef, and grains.
37) Get More Folate (Vitamin B9)
Folate, or Vitamin B9, is found in foods like fruits, leafy green vegetables, and liver. Folate deficiency can lead to hair loss. Folate also comes in the man-made form of folic acid, which you may see in your local pharmacy or health food store.
This one is only relevant if you have a thyroid problem, but eating or supplementing kelp can help stimulate the thyroid gland and result in hair growth.
39) Evening Primrose Oil
Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) is an omega-6 fatty acid found in plant oils, such as evening primrose oil. Omega-6 fatty acids are essential fatty acids in that they are necessary for human health but can’t be made in the body. Thus, one must obtain omega-6 fatty acids like GLA through food or evening primrose oil supplements. GLA, along with functions like maintaining bone health and regulating metabolism, also helps stimulate skin and hair growth.
40) Korean Red Ginseng
Ginseng, known for its use as herbal medicine in many Asian cultures for thousands of years, can help with hair growth. Ginseng can be made into a tea or taken as a supplement.
41) Ginkgo Biloba
Ginkgo biloba is another ancient Asian herb that is used in a variety of herbal medicines and supplements. Ginkgo biloba helps fight against hair loss and stimulates growth by increasing antioxidant support and blood flow. Like ginseng, Ginkgo biloba can be made into a tea or taken as a supplement.
42) Check Your Medicine Cabinet
Many commonly prescribed prescription drugs have been linked to hair loss:
- Acne treatments (e.g. Accutane)
- Anticoagulants or blood thinners
- Cholesterol reducers
- Gout medication
- Heart or high blood pressure medications
- Hormonal drugs like birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy, steroids
- Anti-inflammatory drugs
- Arthritis drugs
- Chemotherapy drugs
- Parkinson’s Disease drugs
- Thyroid disorder drugs
- Ulcer drugs
If you’ve recently started taking any of the above medications and have experienced hair loss, consult with your doctor to see if there’s anything you can do or if the hair loss stops once you are able to come off the medication.
While there are no peer-reviewed studies tied to this one, cinnamon has been touted by both dermatologists and their patients as a hair growth stimulant. Experts believe cinnamon helps stimulate blood circulation to follicles which would be beneficial since proper circulation is necessary for proper growth. Before you apply a whole bunch of cinnamon oil to your head, test it on a small area of your skin to make sure you don’t have an allergic reaction to it.
44) Take a Multivitamin
You’ve probably noticed that maintaining your overall health and getting your vitamins is key to promoting proper hair growth. If you find it difficult to get one or more key vitamins through eating the right foods, consider taking a multivitamin. Instead of taking a generic multivitamin from your local pharmacy, consider taking a gender-specific multivitamin more tailored to your needs.
45) Don't Be Scared of Fat
We’ve been trained by the powers that be to think that fat is bad and that we have to purchase low-fat or fat-free everything. We’ve also made the shift from using butter and lard in cooking to using vegetable oils like Crisco. Interestingly enough, the American Heart Association was founded by Procter & Gamble, the makers of Crisco. Avoiding fat, however, is a terrible idea as fat is needed for many functions in our bodies, the one we’re interested in being the assimilation of fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K into our bodies. If you recall, these vitamins are all tied to healthy hair. So before you grab the skim milk, opt for the whole or 2% fat milk instead.
46) Easy with The Hair Treatments and Styling
Like using too much heat, treating your hair with chemicals through coloring, bleaching, straightening, and perming can damage it and cause it to break or fall out. Don't overdo things!
47) Don't Use Rubber Bands to Hold Your Hair in Place
Things like hairpins, clips, and rubber bands can hold hair too tightly and cause it to break. Be sure to use hairpins with a smooth, ball-tipped surface, clips with spongy rubber padding, and loose-fitting, fabric scrunchies instead of rubber bands.
48) Be Careful with Hair Extensions
If you’re not careful with hair extensions, they can lead to permanent hair damage and loss. Be sure to return to your stylist regularly to replace extensions and take a break from them if you experience any hair-related pain or damage.
49) Avoid Heavy Drinking
Regular consumption of alcohol will dehydrate you and your hair, which can contribute to breakage. Moreover, too much drinking will deplete your body of iron, the deficiency of which is tied to hair loss.
50) Stop Smoking
Like drinking, smoking is tied to hair loss. If the myriad reasons to quite smoking aren't enough, this one might do the trick.
There are 50 natural ways to boost hair growth in this article. If you find that nothing is working, it might be time to accept the state of your hair as hair growth is mostly influenced by genetic factors and there are only so many things you can do to maximize it. Also, don’t expect overnight results as hair does not grow overnight and it might take weeks or even months to see significant results. Good luck!
Note: This article is not designed to and does not provide medical advice, professional diagnosis, opinion, treatment or services to you or to any other individual. Through this article and linkages to other sites, the author provides general information for educational purposes only. The information provided in this article, or through linkages to other sites, is not a substitute for medical or professional care, and you should not use the information in place of a visit, call consultation or the advice of your physician or other healthcare provider. The author is not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any other information, services or product you obtain through this article.