Friday, June 27, 2014

5 Easy Tips for Longer Hair

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 nano-second. 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.


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34 comments:

  1. I don't think hair growth is hereditary, even though I had heard that before. My parents hair grows super fast, mine doesn't. I will say though since I stopped using styling aids (cue, frizzy crazy hair) my hair is way healthier. I rarely use a blow-dryer or flat-iron anymore either. I've just let the craziness roam-free. Also, i started taking pre-natals again to make my hair stronger and grow faster, just for that reason!!

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    1. Hi, Ida! I bow to you for the simple -- or not so simple -- fact that you have chosen to eschew styling aids. I've banished those that contain alcohol, but still have some in my arsenal that I cannot part with. And I KNOW that trend will continue when I make the (ambivalent?) switch over to curly this weekend: Wish me luck!

      Thank you for stopping by and commenting. You do know that you are one of my hair idols, right?

      xo

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  2. I second everything you have said, my hair goddess and I will add that I take a hair supplement everyday now for the past 6 or 7 months and will rarely lose a hair now . I have also noticed hardly any breakage on this heavily highlighted do!

    xxo

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    1. Hi, Susie!! Ahhh, to highlight...

      That is the one frontier I have yet to conquer, although I am DYING to! But seeing as though I'm taking the plunge this weekend with regards to going curly, I need to focus on one thing at a time...

      That's right! I neglected to mention supplements, but, then again, supplements help with growth -- not necessarily length retention. I'm just focusing on length retention...

      Thank you, my resident Goddess, for your comment!

      xo

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  3. I hardly ever use heat. I hardly ever brush my hair. I use my fingers a lot as a comb. I'm pretty simple when it comes to my hair but I will say I'm scissor happy, I never liked having long hair due to the maintenance of it. And like you said, I don't use products that contains alcohol in it.

    I'm currently taking hair vitamin pills for a review and you'll hear what I think of them soon.

    Have a great weekend Courtney!

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    1. Hi, Louida! Scissor happy! lol I've heard that term, but I am the complete opposite. I have never had short hair...

      I am eager to find out how those pills work out for you, although my current vitamin regimen is pretty much staying put: I'm still on pre-natals because I'm nursing K, and I still take my shatavari -- that is a must!

      That said, supplements primarily deal with hair growth -- not necessarily retention or length. Someone's hair can have the ability to grow fast -- and long -- but if the hair itself is not taken care of and breaks, well, then, that's all she wrote for accumulating length. :-(

      Have a great weekend as well, my friend!

      xo

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  4. I commented on Blunt Moms and tweeted...loved it! BTW....WTF happened to my hair? I had much thicker hair...then had kids...and poof it fell out leaving me with straw like thin hair that I can't wear long. I grow it...but it's too thin and droopy. Why don't you send me some miracle Michigan Courtney formula?

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    1. Question: Did your hair regain its thickness after your postpartum shedding period? That period began for me when I was 3 months postpartum and lasted for about 4 weeks with both pregnancies and then my thickness came back to normal. I've heard that hormones are often the culprit when it comes to a change in hair thickness after age 30, and I've read that that points to heredity, so who knows...

      Oh, I wish I had something I could bottle, Kristen. If I did, I'd be that much closer to living in a hut in Bora Bora...

      Gotta run. Nap time is up. (Per the sounds that are filtering from both intercoms...)

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    2. And THANK YOU for the BLUNTmoms love!!!

      xo

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  5. Great tips! I've always loved long hair and generally have it, but since I dye it, it's not in the condition I'd like.

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    1. Hi, Lexa! Ahhh, the art of hair coloring. I have SO wanted to partake in this recent ombre trend of lightening my hair from the bottom. But I just can't pull the trigger! I so want light golden brown highlights. But, Lexa, the upkeep I'll have to do always gives me pause...

      On the bright side, at least a lot of conditioners exist now that cater to color-treated hair...

      Thank you for commenting! What's the weather like on your end, by the way?

      xo

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  6. Great tips! I really need to invest in a satin pillow case, because I always forget to put on a bonnet. Your hair is so pretty, I can't wait to see it curly.

    Sonya
    Saving Everyday With Sonya K

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    1. Hey, Sonya! Did you see my last e-mail? With the link-up question? I'm SO green!! lol

      Yes, the satin pillowcase is the way to go, and if you don't want to order the Smooth as Satin one I reviewed (that is a REALLY good one, though!), your local beauty supply should sell satin pillowcases...

      Ah, the pressure of going curly!! Stay tuned. I'm doing it tomorrow...ahhhh!!!! NERVOUS!

      Have a great weekend.

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  7. Your hair looks great! I have naturally curl hair and it's a pain in my rear! Everyone loves it, but me if course. It's so much to maintain. When I do take the 2 hours of my life to straighten it I wear it for at least 7 days. A little dry shampoo is my friend. I hope your having a great Saturday!

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    1. Thanks, Leslie! I can already relate to where you're coming from. For me, it's like pick your poison: Either I endure the 3-hour blow-outs to straighten it, but I know that wearing my hair in its natural state will also come with a boat-load of work too -- albeit in a different capacity (i.e. gels, having to "scrunch" it, etc.)

      Cutting my hair isn't an option, so I'll just sit here and continue to bitch and moan about how much work it is either way. lol Sigh.

      Thank you for commenting today.

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  8. I totally agree with all of your points. I know since i've been wearing my hair natural with no heat, mine has grown 4 inches and the texture has gotten much thicker. I used to complain about my thick tresses and now I thank God for them. My hair is so healthy now and trimming the ends just helps it look healthier and bounce more. I still love, love, love your hair though.

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    1. Thank you for your compliments, Angela.

      I'm glad you're seeing the health return to your hair! It'sit something? Almost the minute we start doing less -- which, of course, includes using less heat -- our hair starts to experience a rebirth of sorts. Sure, the hair is "dead" the moment it sprouts from our scalp, but it's amazing how fast we see results when it comes to doing right by it...

      Have a great weekend.

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    2. p.s. stay tuned for my big reveal on Monday. (hee, hee.)

      Delete
  9. I recently stopped brushing my hair (about 3 months) and have noticed a SIGNIFICANT difference. All those little fly aways are growing out. I do use it occasionally if it knots up real bad, but that's a great tip that people don't think of. Most of the time I just let it air dry and then run my fingers through it.
    Does big reveal mean curly hair?!

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    1. Yup. Monday. I'm nervous as hell. You'd think I'm jumping off a cliff or something. (Which is something I may consider after I get out of the shower and look in the mirror...)

      Wow, I'm glad you can co-sign to the benefits of non-brushing! I tell people all the time that it doesn't take long for our hair to obey once we begin to show it a little love. :-)

      Thank you for stopping by again and commenting! Enjoy your weekend.

      xo

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  10. I quit washing my hair so much immediately after going through labor with my second... the first few days of non-hairwashing were always the worst, but Elf ended up going to the NICU and we stayed there for three nights (I did a birth center birth, instead of a hospital, which accounts for not being in the maternity wing). The mirror in the NICU bathroom (yes, singular) was really bad and I just kept looking at my hair and thinking that it still looked okay!

    Since then, the frequency has just decreased... used to be about twice a week, now it's once every 5 or 6 days or it gets too oily around my face, but it is easier to maintain and it is much, much thicker. I do still have to brush though, otherwise I loose hair all day long from the end of my ponytail and it drives me batty!

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    1. LOVE your hair birthing story, Dakota! Thank you for sharing! Yours is but another in a long line of personal experiences where a particular circumstance has led to (an unexpected but welcomed) change in our beauty routine.

      And I hear you about stretching between washes. If I washed my hair everyday -- or even close to that -- I may as well set up a cot under the bathroom vanity because that's where I'd be all the time, while neglecting everything else in my life...

      Thank you, again, for your comment.

      xo

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  11. Love the idea of a satin pillowcase. I try to only wash my hair every three days, and I don't use a hairdryer or curling iron every other time. It's made a huge difference in the health of my hair. Now if I could just quit coloring it :)

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    1. Hi, Lana! I think you are the third or fourth to comment about hair coloring. (Is The Universe trying to tell me something????)

      While I have eschewed chemical relaxers or straighteners, I am more than mildly curious about coloring my hair. I'd fancy golden low/highlights.

      Now, if only I could summon the courage...(Suggestions, please.)

      Thank you for commenting!

      xo

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  12. Really great tips. I've been natural for two years now. And I do not use heat at all. Every once in a while I might blow dry on low setting for extra length for certain styles. I try to use the most natural and organic products as I can.

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    1. Hi, Tameka! Welcome...and thank you for commenting! I am with you All. The. Way. about using more natural products. I'm about to try Shea Moisture's line in, quite literally, a few minutes from now when I attempt to wear my hair naturally curly...

      Stay-tuned for my reveal tomorrow -- for better or for worse. lol

      Thanks so much!

      xo

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  13. Great things to think about, Courtney! Wow, I never thought about the satin cases, I always worry about them being super hot. I have long hair, too, and unfortunately I do use a flat iron on occasions and even a dryer once in a while. I definitely need a serious trim, too, it gets so hot in the summer time and a generally keep it in a braid or ponytail just to keep it out of the way! Stopping by from Creative Style Blog hop!

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    1. A ponytail in the summertime?

      Stacey, you are most certainly my people. This is me. All. Year. Round.

      Try out the satin pillowcase -- I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. I don't find mine hot at all. Rather, an entire set of satin sheets are VERY hot. Just the pillowcase, though, is totally doable...

      Thank you so very much for stopping by! (And helping out with my Ask Away Friday faux pas. :-/

      xo

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  14. I love your tips Courtney! I've got to get on that whole satin pillowcase thing... and stop using my straightening iron so much.

    Thanks for sharing. Wishing you a lovely week. I can't believe it's almost July!
    xoxo

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    1. Hi, Jennifer! I can pontificate on the merits of a satin pillowcase until the cows come home...

      But give up my straightening iron? NEVER. lol Although as I type this, my hair is...naturally curly!!!! (Post to come tomorrow...)

      I, too, can't believe July is -- literally -- around the corner. Cue the back-to-school commercials next month. Sigh.

      xo

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  15. Hi Courtney,

    I found your blog from the Saturday Sharefest. Thanks for shaing your hair tips. I'm off to by myself a satin pillow case!!!

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    1. Hi, Michelle! And welcome! Get one. Now!

      And report back with your verdict-- I think you are about to discover your next beauty-must-have. I'm excited for you. (That's just how much I love hair. lol)

      Have a wonderful day, and thank you for commenting!

      xo

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  16. This post is perfect timing for me as I just got a long over due trim and I'm feeling sad I lost that inch or so. I am pretty much guilty of NOT doing any of your tips but, thankfully, my hair is doing pretty well. Unfortunately, if I didn't use heat on my hair nearly every day, I would probably get mistaken for a mentally ill woman because my hair would look so crazy! :) At least all my products are naturally derived and I'll try to cut back on the brushing!

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    1. Oh, Julie, I can totally relate. If I went out with my hair unkempt -- curly or straight -- I'd have people actually begging to take me to the nearest stylist. Stat.

      Hooray for your recent trim! I know how it is to mourn the loss of those few inches, but, tell me this: Doesn't your hair just hang, move, and "fall" better right after a good, decent trim? I know mine does. (I think I'm going to make an appointment for a real trim next week -- not the botch job I "try" to give myself. lol

      Oh, and you will see an immediate difference if you minimize the brushing. I promise!

      Thank you for commenting!

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