I attended Salon International in London this weekend, and a predominant question I received from women was “why won’t my hair grow?” This wasn’t entirely surprising as long locks are highly coveted, but the lack of knowledge regarding what might be causing lackluster lock growth was quite eye opening! If you are one of the many women who have this question, it’s important to realise that your hair is, in fact, growing, even if it seems to be staying the same length. What is also happening is that it’s either falling out or breaking before it reaches the point you want it to.
Firstly, how long your hair is able to grow is largely down to the genetic card you were dealt. On average, hair can sustain growth for 4 years, although in some it can be as much as 7. As hair grows on average half an inch a month, this means that most people’s hair growth cycle allows for hair to reach around 24 inches in length, which is actually pretty long! While there’s nothing you can do to change your pre-determined growth cycle, there are definitely things that can disrupt it – and therefore various methods of optimising the potential of your tresses.
Hair is non-essential tissue so it’s given last dibs on the nutrients you intake. Cut out any food group and your follicles basically throw in the towel on supporting growth. Diets lacking iron, protein, Vitamin B12 and complex carbohydrates are most commonly to blame, so check that you are in-taking enough of these. Also, make sure that if there is a big gap between meals to snack on a healthy carbohydrate, such as fresh fruit. Energy levels to your follicles drop 4 hours after eating, so they often need a boost!
Hair that is overly processed and lacks moisture will break – and breakage equals loss of length. Depending on the level of damage, this breakage could occur anywhere from a few inches from your scalp to just past your shoulders. In this instance, you need to restore elasticity to your locks to help it reach the desired length. Use a pre-shampoo conditioner, such as Philip Kingsley Elasticizer twice weekly, and a protective conditioning spray, such as Daily Damage Defence, every day. Also, try to keep the use of straighteners to a minimum and ask your colourist to be especially careful not to overlap previous applications.
Conditions such as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome can shorten the duration of your hair growth cycle, as well as increased hair loss, and hair not seeming to grow. Other symptoms can include acne, oily skin, increased facial hair, weight gain and tiredness. Get a yearly medical to check your hormone levels – there are very effective prescription medications to manage imbalances. Similarly, some birth control pills can have this effect if your follicles are sensitive to certain hormones. If you notice your hair is falling out or thinning at the ends 6-12 weeks after starting the pill, talk to your doctor. As a general rule, Yasmin and Dianette are the most ‘hair friendly’ out of all the pills – and are sometimes even used to treat hair thinning.
A healthy scalp optimises healthy hair growth! If you notice your scalp is itchy or flaky, use products that will promptly nip it in the bud and revitalise your scalp environment. I suggest our Take Comfort Jet Set, which contains a soothing scalp toner, a highly effective shampoo and a moisture balancing conditioner.