How To Promote Hair Growth

For many, nurturing healthy, beautiful, strong hair is right at the top of the list of our wellness goals. Who doesn’t want to look like they just walked out of a shampoo commercial? But your hair can’t transform overnight; you have to be patient and put in the work to reap the rewards. 

Looking to promote hair growth? We’re sharing some of our favorite tips and tricks for getting the hair you’ve always wanted – with only a few small tweaks to your day-to-day routine.

What Makes Hair Grow?

Our hair is made from a type of protein called keratin, the same substance that makes up our nails and much of our skin. That keratin is created at the base of the hair follicle in an area known as the papilla, which also contains capillaries to provide a constant source of blood flow and nutrients and help it grow. 

As new hair cells are produced, they are also compacted together until they form three distinct layers — the medulla (inner layer), cortex (middle layer) and cuticle (outer layer). Each of these layers has important responsibilities; for example, the medulla and cortex contain the pigmenting cells that determine your hair color. 

Under regular conditions, healthy hair growth occurs at a rate of just under half a millimeter a day. While that doesn’t sound like much, it can add up to about half an inch a month, and six inches a year! 

But what is it that makes it grow, exactly?

Like everything in the body, hair growth is determined by a mix of genetics ,health and wellness. Your hair needs nutrients to grow strong and healthy, so providing it with what it needs is crucial if you want to learn how to promote hair growth.

A Quick Overview of the Growth Cycle

Our hair is constantly going through the growth cycle, which consists of four distinct phases. 

  • Anagen (the growth phase): The anagen phase is easily the longest phase of the hair growth cycle, normally lasting between three and five years. During the anagen phase, the hair follicles are working hard to stitch together new hair and push that new hair shaft up and out of the body, where they will remain until they either fall out or are cut. 
  • Catagen (the transition phase): The catagen phase is much shorter, only lasting for about 10 days. While the hair is still growing, the follicle around it starts to shrink, and growth begins to slow down. At the end of the catagen phase, the hair fully detaches from the bottom of the follicle.
  • Telogen (the resting phase): Once the hair has separated from the follicle, it enters into the telogen phase. Although the hair is still in the follicle, it is no longer growing. However, during the telogen phase, new hair cells are being created that will eventually form into new hair and push the old one completely out of the follicle.
  • Exogen (the shedding phase): Although there is some argument about whether the exogen phase is part of the telogen phase or its own separate phase, the final phase of the hair growth cycle is when the hair falls out of the follicle. 

How To Promote Hair Growth

Now, on to what you really want to know — how you can promote faster, healthier hair growth. 

1. Say No to Extreme Diets

It's heartening to see the world gradually stepping away from the diet culture that encourages weight loss at the cost of balanced overall health and wellbeing. Extreme diets, like juice fasts or those that exclude significant food groups, may offer temporary weight loss but can pave the way for long-term issues.

When you opt for an ‘extreme’ diet, your body not only gets fewer calories than it needs to function optimally, but it also misses out on crucial nutrients. When we talk about hair growth, restrictive diets often fall short of key elements like iron, magnesium, iodine, and vitamins B, C, and D. Such deficiencies can slow down hair growth and even lead to excessive shedding.

Let's embrace a more balanced, nourishing approach to eating – one that fuels our bodies and supports the growth of healthy, strong hair. 

2. Embrace Caffeine-Infused Products

Did you know that caffeine is your secret weapon in boosting your hair growth? While drinking caffeine has both its ups and downs in terms of supporting our overall health, when applied topically caffeine has the power to penetrate your skin barrier, promoting healthier and faster-growing hair.

Keep an eye out for hair products, such as shampoos and scalp scrubs, enriched with caffeine. Your hair might just love this energizing boost as much as you love your morning cappuccino. Remember, it's all about finding what nourishes and works best for you!

3. Try a Scalp Massage

If you’re the type of person who loves getting their hair cut because of the complementary scalp massage when your hair is shampooed, we have great news for you. Getting a quick scalp massage (of just around four minutes) may also contribute to keeping your hair looking its best. 

Although the results won’t happen overnight, daily scalp massages can help promote increased blood circulation to the scalp, leading to stronger, healthier, less breakage-prone hair. 

Scalp massage can also help if you struggle with issues such as dandruff. A healthy scalp can help your hair grow faster as well. When you remove any of the factors obstructing hair from being able to grow properly, it can grow stronger and healthier.

4. Use Hair-Specific Supplements

Your body needs specific nutrients to stay strong and healthy, and your hair is no different. Investing in a high-quality supplement to support hair growth and maintain hair thickness can help you target your hair’s unique needs. 

Supplements for hair growth should include the same nutrients that you should focus on getting in your diet — Vitamin E, Iodine and Zinc. This extra boost of vitamins and minerals can be transformative for your hair. 

5. Be Mindful of Your Hair Rituals

If you want to learn how to promote hair growth, you must also consider how you currently treat your locks. For example, let’s focus on heat styling tools. As wonderful as your hair may look after curling or straightening it, constant exposure to high heat changes the shape of your hair’s keratin strands, leading to weaker hair that has lost its elasticity.

Frequent use of straighteners or curling irons can lead to dry hair that is more prone to breakage and split ends. If you do choose to use these tools, remember to use a heat-protectant hair product beforehand. 

6. Get Regular Haircuts

It might sound like a paradox — getting a haircut while aiming to grow your hair longer. But trust us, this little detour can actually help you reach your destination! Now, while regular trims won't speed up your hair growth physically, they will help to manage any split ends you may have.

Why is this important? Damaged hair doesn't grow the way it should — and even if it does, the breakage can lead to a frizzy, brittle appearance. Think of those occasional snips off the bottom inch of your hair as your ticket to maintaining your healthiest hair ever. 

What Should You Do If You’re Losing More Hair Than You Should Be?

There is a difference between hair loss and hair shedding. Most of us can expect to naturally lose between 50 and 100 strands of hair a day. Because we have so many hair strands on our heads, losing a few of them doesn’t add up to anything noticeable. 

However, if you start losing more than that, you may start to see a difference in how thick and healthy your hair looks. One of the primary causes of excessive hair shedding (known as telogen effluvium) is stress, along with weight loss or childbirth. In most cases, shedding is temporary and will go back to normal once the source of stress or life change has been addressed. 

Hair loss is a slightly different issue. Instead of having new hair continue to grow and replace the hair you’re shedding, hair loss also means that something is stopping the production of new hair cells. Hair loss can be caused by genetics (especially male pattern baldness), certain medications, or even harsh hair care products or tight hairstyles (like braids or ponytails) — especially if you have longer hair.

If you suspect either of these to be an issue, a board-certified dermatologist can help point you in the right direction. 

The Bottom Line

If you’re wondering how to promote hair growth in order to help your hair reach its healthiest, strongest, most beautiful state yet, it’s about more than just finding a single ‘magic’ pill. 

To support your hair health, you need to combine multiple tactics to give your hair what it needs to be its best — the right combination of nutrients, being conscious of your hair care product use and paying attention to how you treat your entire body are all crucial. 


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Anatomy, Hair - StatPearls - NCBI Bookshelf | PubMed

Caffeine and Its Pharmacological Benefits in the Management of Androgenetic Alopecia: A Review | PubMed

Do you have hair loss or hair shedding? | AAD