You might be surprised to learn that your hair doesn’t actually stop growing at a certain length, it stops growing at the end of your hair growth cycle. Your hair’s growth phase is determined by your genetics and can last anywhere between two and six years. So once the hair reaches the end of its growth cycle, it stops growing and will either break off or shed. Genetics can also play a role in determining the concentration of your thyroid hormone, which can also affect your hair’s ability to grow.
Your age also affects your hair growth because your cycle becomes shorter the older you get. Your beginning six-year cycle slowly reduces to a two-year cycle, making your hair thinner and less likely to grow. In addition, as you age your scalp produces less oil leading to dryer hair that’s more prone to split ends and breakage.
Just like it affects your physical health, your diet also affects the health of your hair. For healthy hair, you need a diet rich in iron, vitamin D, zinc, B-complex, and collagen. Iron is found naturally in things like eggs and chicken, while mushrooms and yogurt are natural sources of Vitamin D. Zinc can be found in red meat, beans, and nuts and collagen is found in dark leafy greens like spinach and kale. Supplement with a B-complex vitamin which includes biotin to increase the rate of hair follicle growth.
Shedding is a natural part of the hair growth process and it happens to everyone. But if your hair falls out faster than it can regrow, then shedding can be the reason you can’t get your strands past a certain point.
Stress is another reason your hair might not be growing. Both emotional and physical stress is linked to hair loss because it restricts the growth cycle. Finding ways to de-stress improves your mental health, as well as the health of your hair. Things like meditation and exercise are good ways to relax and eliminate stress.
If your hair is breaking off just as fast as it grows, then it’s impossible to gain length. Lots of common habits can be contributing to your hair breakage.
Causes of breakage 👇
Over-processing. Exposing your hair to chemicals strips it of its natural oils and roughs up the outer cuticle. This causes damage to your strands and leads to hair breakage. A healthy hair cuticle lays flat, fortifying your hair, making it smooth and shiny. A lifted, damaged cuticle makes hair weak, brittle, and susceptible to breakage. Over-processing your hair leads to split ends and breakage, meaning your hair just can’t get past a certain point.
Excessive heat styling is a common culprit behind split ends and breakage. Every time you hear the sizzle of a hot tool when it touches your hair you’re negatively affecting your hair growth. Hot tools accelerate damage by burning and damaging the structure of your hair. Parched, brittle strands can only take so much heat styling before split ends form and breakage starts.
Aggressive styling. Being too aggressive with your hair when you style it can also be causing your strands to break off. Brushing or combing too forcefully, wearing tight hairstyles, or using uncovered elastics all cause breakage to your hair.
Split ends are almost as bad as breakage. Once a hair splits, it’s impossible to repair it. And once a strand is split, it will continue to split up higher and higher, until it breaks off. So although your hair is growing from the hair follicle at the root, it’s simultaneously breaking off from the bottom, keeping you stuck at a certain length with no hair growth.
Brushing your strands while they’re wet and at their most vulnerable will result in breakage and split ends. Use a wide-tooth comb (ghd detangling comb is amazing) to detangle your hair completely before showering. Start at your ends while gently and slowly working your way up.
Hot water dehydrates your hair causing brittle, broken strands. Keep the heat to lukewarm and wash gently with a sulphate-free shampoo like davines momo shampoo to stimulate hair growth. Follow up with momo conditioner and finish with a blast of cold water to seal your hair cuticles, and make your hair shiny and smooth.
Every time you shampoo your hair, you must condition it. Wella repair conditioner deeply moisturises damaged strands and reinforces the structure of your hair. Focus on the mid-shaft and ends of your hair and let the conditioner sit for a few minutes.
Products, sweat, and oil build up on your scalp and hair follicles over time.( Nioxin is amazing for helping give you a healthy clean scalp). This impedes your hair’s growth and your chances of gaining length. Destress and stimulate your hair follicles for new hair growth at the same time by using an exfoliating wet brush to gently massage your scalp while your conditioner works.
Towel drying your hair roughs up the cuticle and leads to frizzy hair. It can also result in hair breakage due to the weight of the towel. Instead, wring excess water out of your hair with a microfibre hair towel or even an old cotton t shirt. Then pat your hair dry and let it air dry, if you can. But we realise this isn't always the case, and sometimes you need to use heat, in which case…
Think of using heat protectant before using hot tools, the same way you would use sunscreen before going in the sun. A heat protecting hair product coats the strands, (try ghd bodyguard) forming a barrier between your hair and the stress of the heat. just be sure to use the right temperature when heat styling your hair. Finer or thinning hair is more susceptible to damage, so try to use a lower temperature when using heat.
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