It’s been said that hair growth is hereditary. That no matter what you do, the length your hair will grow is ultimately predetermined by genetics. Whether (or not) this is true, one thing is for sure: Growth is only one component of hair length. No matter how long your hair grows, if you treat it like crap and zap it of all its moisture, it’ll fray like the hem on a pair of blue jean cut-offs.
And your objective of achieving length will go up in smoke.
Unless you follow a few key steps. Easy steps.
I’ve been fortunate that my hair has always grown fast and can accumulate length with relative ease. But I also maintain that the following steps have conspired to make my hair the healthiest—and longest—it has ever been…1. Less is more
I know that styling aides—sprays, gels, pomades, etc.—can be a godsend when it comes to taming your tresses. But sometimes these products are not all that they’re cracked up to be. Read the labels. Virtually anything with alcohol as the primary ingredient should be used sparingly, if at all (never, in my case). Why? Alcohol is the anti-Christ. It will dry your hair out like the dickens, and dry hair equals brittle hair. And brittle hair breaks.2. Sleep with satin
About a month ago or so, I preached the merits of sleeping on a satin pillowcase (which you can find here). I have been sleeping on one—every single night—for nearly 10 years. The reason is that cotton, much like alcohol, dries the hair out—not to mention the damage that comes as a result of your strands rubbing against cotton as you toss and turn all night. No, thank you.3. Just a little off the bottom
Of all the tips on this list, I wholeheartedly admit to half-stepping on this one. I mean, I do trim my hair, although not at all as often as I should. (I do it myself with a pair of relatively inexpensive shears I bought from Sally’s Beauty Supply.) I shudder when I hear people say that regular trims help your hair to grow. That’s poppycock. Hair growth stems from the scalp—not the ends. However, trimming your hair can help you accumulate length because removing the dead and splitting ends prevents breakage, thereby paving the way for longer hair. You don’t have to take off a lot. Just take off something periodically. (I’m overdue for a trim myself right now…)4. You can’t take the heat
Virtually nothing can damage your hair faster than styling appliances, particularly curling irons and flat irons. I’m not saying give them up completely. (I know I couldn’t). I’m just not an advocate of using them often or using them on dry hair. Confession: When I conduct my salon-grade blowouts that I speak so highly of on this blog, I use a tourmaline flat iron on its absolute highest setting. That sucker could melt flesh in a nanosecond. But I only use my flat iron for the blowout, which lasts several days. I never use my flat iron in between washes, and I would not—I repeat: I. Would. Not.—use any appliance every day. Unless, of course, you want to burn your hair to a crisp.5. Easy does it
I remember reading—somewhere—about a woman who brushed her hair using upwards of 50 strokes every day. All I can say is that I hope her brush had soft boar bristles. Otherwise, I’m betting dollars to donuts that she had so many strands of hair at her feet after this brushing episode that she probably thought she was standing on a shag rug. I own a brush. One. And I go months without using it. I use my fingers and wide-tooth pick to detangle and style my hair. Less manipulation equals less pulling … which equals less breakage.
Courtney Conover is a mom of two and wife of an ex-NFL player. She has more Legos, hair products, and NFL memorabilia than she knows what to do with. She blogs at The Brown Girl with Long Hair