Last Updated on April 16, 2022 by Olivia Herlihy RN
Do you want to know how to grow long and thick hair? Sometimes even if you have a good diet and take care of your hair, it can be difficult to get the results you want.
Most people give up before they’ve even gotten started because growing long, thick hair seems so daunting, especially if your hair has become thin and damaged.
I’m here to help you master everything there is about growing longer, thicker hair!
How to Grow Long and Thick Hair
What are the Stages of Hair Growth?
There are three stages of hair growth:
- Anagen Phase: This is when your hair is actively growing. 90-95% of your hair is in this stage.
- Catagen Phase: During this stage, your hair stops actively growing. The length of this phase is usually 2-3 weeks.
- Telogen Phase: During this phase, your hair follicle shrinks and becomes tightly packed. This is when the hair falls out. About 5-10% of your hair is in this stage.
Factors that Can Affect Hair Growth
1. Illnesses Such as Stress
One of the most common reasons for hair growth to slow, or for hair to fall out altogether, is stress or other illnesses. Even if you have a great diet and hair care routine, stress or illness can still show in the health of your hair.
Stress can cause your hair to prematurely enter the Catagen phase of the hair cycle, which makes it fall out easier when you are brushing or washing your hair.
Related: How to Regain Hair Loss from Stress
A study from the International Journal of Dermatology that was published in 2005 found that ethnicity was a factor in determining a person’s rate of hair growth. The study found that people from Asian ethnicity had the fastest growing hair, whereas people from African ethnicity had the slowest growing hair.
The average rate of hair growth in Asian hair was found to be almost 6 inches per year whereas for African hair it was 4 inches per year. The Caucasian participants in the study grew just over 5 inches of hair in a year.
3. Over Styling
Over styling or using excess heat on the hair can cause it to become thin and fragile over time. When too much heat is applied to the hair, it weakens the hair shaft and causes it to become more porous and fragile.
Regularly using hair straighteners, curling wands, or dryers on a high heat can end up causing hair to fall out prematurely, or become thin and brittle.
4. Poor Diet
A good diet is extremely important for growing long and thick hair. If you have a poor diet and don’t get enough nutrients, you could end up with hair loss or slow growth.
Certain vitamins and minerals are vital for healthy hair growth including, Vitamin A, Iron, Protein and Zinc. When you’re lacking in any of these nutrients it can show in your hair.
5. Using the Wrong Products
If you’re using a shampoo or conditioner that is too harsh on your hair, it can cause damage and make your hair brittle.
Harsh shampoos strip away all the natural oils in your hair leaving it dry and damaged. Products such as these are really bad for keeping your scalp healthy and helping hair grow.
Related: Is Your Shampoo Causing Hair Loss?
6. Tight Hairstyles
Another reason for breakage and thinning hair is wearing tight hairstyles too often. Tight styles can cause stress on the roots of the hair which in turn causes damage to the follicles, and hair loss.
Hairstyles such as buns or tight ponytails can cause hair to enter the telogen phase of the hair cycle too early, causing the hair to fall out prematurely.
7. Hormonal Imbalance
Hormonal imbalances caused by pregnancy or menopause can cause hair loss. This is because the balance between female estrogen and testosterone plays a significant role in hair growth.
An under active thyroid can also cause hair loss since it causes a drop in estrogen levels.
When your hormones are in balance, your hair will grow at a healthy rate and be less likely to fall out or become dry.
Hair can get gradually thinner as you get older. This is because as you age, the hair follicles can shrink, causing the hair to fall out permanently.
This is more pronounced in women who have experienced menopause, but it can happen to anyone as they get older.
Your family history and genetics can play a factor in how fast your hair grows, and whether or not you are more likely to suffer from hair loss. These genes can be passed down from either side of the family.
Despite these factors that can slow hair growth or cause hair to fall out, there are lifestyle changes we can make to reverse hair loss and promote new growth!
Lifestyle Changes to Grow Long and Thick Hair
1. Eat Foods Rich in Protein, Iron and Biotin to Grow Long and Thick Hair
Protein is important for hair growth since the hair follicles are made mostly from protein. If there’s a lack of protein in your diet this could result in hair loss. Protein can be found in meat, fish, egg and beans.
Biotin is also essential for hair growth since it is required for the production of keratin. Keratin is the building block of the hair strands which is why it’s often found as an ingredient in hair supplements. Biotin can be found in meat, egg, fish and nuts.
Iron is another important component for healthy hair growth. Our body needs iron to produce the haemoglobin in the blood. Haemoglobin carries oxygen to the cells in your body, including the hair follicles. A lack of iron can lead to dry and damaged hair, or even hair loss. Iron can be found in red meat, pumpkin seeds, kidney beans and spinach.
2. Add Gelatin to Your Diet to Grow Long and Thick Hair
Research has shown that taking gelatin supplements causes the hair to become thicker and grow faster. In a study on hair growth a group of people with alopecia were given either a gelatin supplement, or a placebo for 50 weeks. The people who took the gelatin saw a 29% increase in hair numbers compared to just 10% in the placebo group.
Gelatin is an amino acid derived from collagen. It can help to promote cell growth within your hair follicles. If you add gelatin to your diet (at least 2-3 times per week) you should see a difference in how quickly your hair grows and how thick it gets. Gelatin is found in numerous different foods including bone broth and jelly.
3. Drink Plenty of Water to Grow Long and Thick Hair
It’s important to drink a lot of water for your hair health and growth. Drinking more water can help the blood circulate through your body better resulting in more nutrients getting to your hair follicles. If you’re hydrated, your body will be able to produce a higher rate of healthy hair growth. This is because the water will also help to flush out all the toxins and chemicals which have accumulated in your system over time.
4. Try the Inversion Method to Grow Long and Thick Hair
The inversion method is a popular way to promote hair growth which involves hanging upside down for around 5-10 minutes every day. By putting your head below your heart you will be able to encourage arteries to open up and carry more blood to the scalp, which will promote healthier hair growth.
To do the inversion method hang your head upside down by sitting on a chair and letting your head hang between your knees. Try the Inversion method for at least 5 minutes each day to help improve hair growth!
5. Avoid Shampooing Your Hair Too Frequently
Shampooing your hair every day will do a lot of damage to your follicles, especially if you are using harsh shampoos. Shampoo can strip your scalp of the natural oils that keep it healthy and cause inflammation. It can also leave residue on your hair strands which will make them look dull, prevent cell growth, and increase breakage.
6. Rinse your hair with cold water to Grow Long and Thick Hair
Rinsing your hair with cold water improves blood circulation in the scalp which allows your hair roots to receive the nutrients they need for growth. It also helps to boost shine, lock in moisture and prevent hair loss.
7. Use a Heat Protector When Styling Your Hair
Try to avoid heat altogether but if you have to use heated styling tools, always apply a heat protectant first. Blow dryers, straighteners or curling irons can be very damaging to your hair, and make it brittle or fall out.
8. Take Hair Growth Vitamin Supplements to Grow Long and Thick Hair
Vitamins that include Biotin, Inositol, and MSM are excellent for promoting long and thick hair growth.
9. Sleep on a Silk Pillow Case to Grow Long and Thick Hair
Using a silk pillowcase is an excellent way to take care of the health of your hair follicles. Sleeping on a harsh pillowcase can damage your hair as it rubs against the fabric. It can also absorb the hair’s natural oils. Silk or satin create less friction on the hair and help it to maintain moisture. In the long run this will help to promote stronger and thicker hair.
10. Regularly Trim Split Ends to Grow Long and Thick Hair
If you want to grow long, thick hair it’s important to regularly trim any split ends. Split ends will only damage your hair, cause more to break off and make your hair look thinner. You should trim the split ends when they are about a quarter of an inch long to prevent any future damage.
Many hair products exist on the market that are specifically formulated to promote the growth of long and thick hair.
Hair Products to Grow Long and Thick Hair
1. Minoxidil Topical Solution to Grow Long and Thick Hair
Minoxidil is a powerful hair loss remedy that works to prevent and reverse hereditary hair loss. It is the only topical hair loss treatment that has been clinically proven to work! It can take over two months before you start seeing results and up to six months to see a significant difference, so it’s worth persevering!
If you have thin hair which has become more sparse as you’ve aged, Minoxidil can help you to grow noticeably thicker and fuller hair. It works by strengthening, revitalising and enlarging the hair follicle to encourage hair that has fallen out to regrow.
2. Growth Stimulating Hair Shampoos to Grow Long and Thick Hair
The ingredients found within these hair growth shampoos will help the hair follicles and roots to grow stronger, longer and healthier hair. They usually contain keratin, amino acids and biotin.
I recommend shampoos that contain ingredients like caffeine, biotin, Argan Oil, allantoin, or rosemary as these help to stimulate slow growing hair.
Products with DHT blockers will also help to prevent the hair follicles shrinking and the hair strands falling out.
Shampoos that claim to increase hair density, improve scalp circulation, strengthen the follicles and promote growth, usually take time to work. I would suggest using any product for at least three months before looking for results.
3. Hair Growth Serums to Grow Long and Thick Hair
There are many hair serums available on the market today which will help promote hair growth. The one I tried out was the Grow Gorgeous Hair Growth serum. I documented my results on my YouTube channel, but you can also find my full review of this product at the link below.
4. Himani Navratna
Himani Navtratna is an Ayurvedic hair oil that stimulates hair growth and moisturises the scalp. It can be used as a hair mask to reduce hair damage and smooth the hair cuticle, or for scalp care. It contains nine Ayurvedic herbs which help to grow long and thick hair as well as add moisture and shine to dry hair.
Related: The Benefits of Himani Navratna
If you prefer to make your own hair care products, there are a number of natural remedies which are known to promote hair growth.
Natural Remedies to Grow Long and Thick Hair
1. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is great for hair growth because it helps to nourish the hair follicles. In order for healthy hair to grow, the follicles must be kept healthy and strong. Coconut oil is also a popular product for hair treatments because it helps to repair damaged follicles by locking in moisture and nutrients.
2. Castor Oil
Castor oil has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for promoting healthy hair growth!
It is packed with fatty acids and vitamin E which help to strengthen the root of the hair, reducing the chance of breakage or brittleness. Castor oil can also be used on its own as a great all natural remedy for growing thicker and healthier hair.
Related: 6 Uses of Castor Oil on Your Hair
It may seem strange to put yogurt on your hair, but there are actually plenty of benefits to doing so!
Greek yoghurt contains vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) which helps with blood flow to your scalp and helps to promote hair growth. Vitamin B5 is often used in hair treatments to help against hair thinning and loss.
4. Rosemary Essential Oil
Rosemary contains natural antioxidants that protect your hair follicles and prevent damage. It also has anti fungal properties which help to stop dandruff and other scalp related problems.
It is an excellent essential oil to add to homemade hair treatments to stimulate growth as it stimulates the hair root to grow thicker, stronger hair.
As well as being a good dandruff treatment it also helps to condition the hair and prevent a dry scalp or split ends.
An alkalized blue green algae called Spirulina is a natural remedy for hair loss, and can also promote hair growth in those who want more length. Spirulina is rich in protein and also contains a number of vitamins such as A, B1, B2, B6 and C that all help to promote hair growth.
6. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has a number of benefits for hair care, including strengthening the hair root and preventing dandruff and other scalp related problems. It’s rich in vitamins and minerals which are required for healthy hair such as Vitamin C. It also contains alpha-hydroxy acid which helps to exfoliate the scalp and unblock clogged hair follicles so hair can grow.
Apple cider hair rinses have been used as a natural treatment for promoting healthy hair growth for centuries. You can spray the liquid directly onto the scalp for a deep cleanse and to stimulate the roots.
OGX have an amazing Apple Cider Vinger range which includes a shampoo and conditioner, as well as an apple cider vinegar rinse. Check out my review here.
7. Green Tea
Green tea contains polyphenols which helps to stimulate cell growth within the hair follicles. It also helps to prevent damage and breakage, and it works to hydrate your hair for healthy looking locks.
One major benefit of using green tea on your hair is the fact that it has natural antibacterial properties which will help to fight off scalp related problems, including dandruff.
You can use green tea in place of water when you wash your hair, and then rinse it out afterwards with cool water.
8. Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera is a fantastic natural remedy for hair growth because it’s cheap, and easy to use in a number of different ways.
You can use aloe vera gel directly on the scalp to help with hair growth. It’s also great for moisturizing your hair which means that it will help avoid split ends and keep your hair looking healthy.
An additional benefit is the fact that aloe vera contains plenty of vitamins and minerals to nourish the hair root and make the hair stronger and thicker.
9. Olive Oil
Olive oil contains antioxidants and proteins that help to strengthen the hair follicles and increase the life span of each strand. It is a great natural remedy in hair care since it contains vitamin E which helps to hydrate the hair and improve overall hair health.
Eggs are a fantastic natural remedy for hair care because they contain plenty of proteins which help to strengthen your hair, and the Vitamin D in eggs will also help to keep your scalp healthy.
You can use egg yolk as a pre-wash treatment, but some people use it as an all over conditioner instead. This is great because it will help to soften your hair, and it contains plenty of protein which helps to give your hair added strength.
Another benefit of egg yolk is the fact that it will also help to reduce any damage caused by heat styling tools like flat irons or curling irons. Using eggs for your hair is an incredibly simple process, you just mix the yolk with some water, and apply it to your hair from root to tip. Do this for about 15 minutes before rinsing off with warm water.
11. Rice Water
This is another great natural remedy that you can use to make your hair grow longer and thicker. Rice water is the cloudy water that’s left after rice is cooked or left to soak. As well as helping promote hair growth is also makes the hair smooth and shiny.
12. Peppermint Oil
Peppermint is a known remedy to prevent hair loss and promote growth. This may be because the menthol it contains is a vasodilator which could increase blood flow to the hair root. Peppermint is also soothing and cooling on an irritated and itchy scalp. Some people with more sensitive skin may prefer to use spearmint oil which is more gentle on the scalp.
13. Bamboo Tea
One of the best home remedies to improve hair thickness and promote a healthy scalp is silica. Bamboo tea has a high silica content which not only improves the health and thickness of the hair, but also promotes collagen production which makes the skin more elastic.
14. Lavender Essential Oil
Drops of lavender essential oil can be added to your hair products to help promote longer, thicker hair. Studies have shown the lavender can promote hair growth by increasing circulation in the scalp and nourishing the hair follicles. It is also one of the best natural ways to help hair thinning or alopecia.
Ginger stimulates the hair follicles and improves circulation in the scalp, which results in increased hair growth. Since ginger is packed with fatty acids, vitamins and minerals, it also nourishes the strands and restores any moisture loss.
Related: 15 Ginger Shampoos for Hair Growth
This post was all about how to Grow Long and Thick Hair
Thank you for reading my post about how to grow long and thick hair. If you have any further tips on how to grow out your hair then please leave me a comment below!