8 Hair Tips for Retaining Hair Length and Promoting Natural Hair Growth
Healthy, strong, and shiny hair is often the goal. But achieving this is can be tricky for many women. Many are faced with breakage, split ends, or the oh-so-common “my hair just never grows”! How many hairstylists have heard that one (while staring at some gnarly root regrowth)?
Your hair is growing, but perhaps not at the speed you’d like. Or perhaps you have achieved the desired length and really want to retain your hair length. Let’s first get really clear on the difference between hair retention and hair growth.
What Does Hair Length Retention Mean?
There are three stages of hair growth: anagen, catagen, and telogen. These stages occur simultaneously though on different strands of hair.
On average, hair grows about .5 inches per month, or 6 inches per year. Obviously it varies for each individual, and for a variety of reasons including diet, medication, overall health and wellness, genetics, and more. Let’s dive into what is happening on your head...
Hair Growth During the Anagen Phase: this is the active growth phase for hair follicles during which the root of the hair is dividing rapidly in the scalp and adding to the hair shaft (hello, length!). During this phase, hair grows about 1 cm every 28 days and stays in this phase for about 2-7 years. The length of time is determined primarily by your genetics but can be boosted with supplements for healthy hair growth.
Hair Growth During the Catagen Phase: after the anagen phase, for a short time, usually about 2-3 week, your hair will transition from the active growth phase where the hair converts to a club hair whereby the hair follicle is cut off from blood supply and the cells that are responsible for producing new hair.
Hair Growth During the Telogen Phase: this is the resting phase for the hair follicle. At any given time, about 10-15% of your hair follicles are in this phase where hair fall out occurs, and about 50-100% of the club hair from the previous phase may shed during this time. Environmental factors like stress, lack of sleep, and health can cause as much as 70% of hair to prematurely enter the telogen phase and result in noticeable hair loss.
Hair growth is mostly based on your genetics. Hair retention however is the idea that you can affect your hair’s length and health by avoiding damage, split ends, and excessive breakage.
Beauty Tips for Hair Length Retention
Frequent trimming to keep your split ends at bay will help prevent further damage from traveling up the hair shaft creating possible breakage that can affect your hair length retention. Though experts vary, most seem to agree that a trim every four to six weeks is a good benchmark to start with for healthy hair.
Keeping the ends of your hair moisturized can help prevent split ends in the first place. Remember, the ends of your hair are the oldest parts of your hair follicles and therefore likely require some extra TLC.
Depending on your hair type, mostly on how naturally dry it is, protein treatments can be a helpful way to maintain moisture in your hair, especially during the dry months of winter.
Product can build up on your scalp which prevents healthy hair growth by clogging pores and interfering with the active hair growth phase we described above. To address this issue, you might consider a scalp treatment or a scalp serum for thinning hair which can help to exfoliate dead scalp skin cells, creating a healthy scalp. Some have also prescribed to the powers of apple cider vinegar as an easy home remedy for hair product build up.
A simple finger-tip massage to the head can also help promote a healthy environment on your scalp for hair regrowth as the stimulation helps with blood circulation and in turn sends more nutrients to the hair roots. For added benefits, you might consider adding an essential oil in your favorite scent like lavender or eucalyptus, or try a scalp serum with sulfate free and gluten free hair product ingredients like Natural Caffeine Extracts. If you want to try something other than finger tips, look for hair scrub brushes that provides similar benefits - not to mention, can feel amazing!
Be careful to consider how your hairstyles might affect your hair length retention as well. You might not be surprised to learn that less stress to your hair during hairstyling is better for your hair health. Protective hairstyles that might last a few days can help to minimize the stress your hair and scalp take on a regular basis. Also, try to avoid hairstyles that pull on the strands of hair as much as possible.
A helpful hair tip is to try tying your hair up at night; this helps to lock in moisture and can help eliminate friction during the night. Particularly if you are an active sleeper, you might try using a silk or satin pillowcase or scarf during the night to protect your hair during the night.
Lastly, think about what you wear. Garments like wool coats can pull on your hair unintentionally and might even lead to split ends; when possible consider adding a silk scarf to your ensemble to help protect your hair, or wear your hair up if your outfit might be problematic for your hair.
Essentially, keeping your hair strong and healthy is the best thing you can do to help retain your hair length. If you have any other tips that have worked with you, please do share!