The Secrets to Growing Thicker, Longer Hair

·6 min read
The Secrets to Growing Thicker, Longer Hair


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Everyone wants healthier, thicker, and stronger hair. How to grow hair is arguably the question most beauty experts are tired of hearing—because there is no one right answer. From slapping on every mask known to Sephora to popping supplements, most of us are willing to do (or buy!) anything that will help us achieve lush hair. But don't waste your time on pills or products that won't work for you. Here, we speak with celebrity hairstylists and a trichologist to break down everything you need to know about growing thicker and longer hair—the right way.

Eat Smarter

We have great hair news for avocado fanatics. According to Michelle Blaisure, product and technical specialist and certified trichologist for Bosley Professional Strength, a diet full of healthy fats is essential for thick and healthy hair. “While genetics determines hair texture and curl, our diet plays a role in how genes can get expressed,” Blaisure says. “Be sure to get plenty of good-quality protein and good fats like olive oil and omega-3s.” She recommends salmon, avocados, nuts, vegetables, and fruits to get all the key nutrients needed for growing stronger hair.

Use the Right Shampoo & Conditioner

It's obvious but bears repeating: Different hair types require specific products that cater to their exact needs. Cutler salon senior stylist Jenny Balding says those with fine hair should look for volume-building shampoo and conditioners, such as the Redken High Rise Volume, to boost the appearance of thickness and add shine. For those with coarse hair, Balding suggests products that tame frizz and moisturize, like Living Proof’s Perfect Hair Day Conditioner.

Don’t Over-Wash

Too much of a good thing can harm your hair. According to Lucy Flora, stylist at Frédéric Fekkai in New York City's SoHo, the number one mistake she sees clients make is over-washing. “There is nothing better for shine than the hair’s natural oils,” Flora says. You can help distribute the natural oils by gently brushing your hair regularly (more on that below). Just don’t go more than a few days before a shampoo; you still need to rinse away product buildup to maintain a healthy scalp. Speaking of your scalp …

Start with Your Scalp

When it comes to hair growth, don’t sleep on your scalp. (Well, you know what we mean.) The scalp has a rich microbiome of bacteria and fungus necessary to keep the skin—and hair it grows—healthy, explains Blaisure. When we don’t shampoo enough or use harsh cleanser, it leads to skin problems that negatively affect hair growth. “The skin has immunity functions and is our first line of defense against toxins and environment aggressors. When the scalp is compromised, the scalp cannot defend itself,” she says. “Keeping a healthy balance of moisture and natural oils is important on the scalp just as it is on your face.”

She blames overuse of hair stylers and harsh cleaning agents, like baking soda, for stripping the hair and disrupting the scalp’s pH balance. She recommends limiting thickening products that leave behind a heavy residue and make hair look dull, as well as anything with a high pH level.

Linda de Zeeuw, master stylist at Rob Peetoom in Brooklyn, suggests massaging your scalp to activate blood flow and to avoid washing your hair more than three times a week. De Zeeuw also warns against overusing dry shampoo—heartbreaking, we know—as it can build a dust layer on your scalp and clog hair follicles, preventing new, healthy hair from growing.

Choose Smart Supplements

Taking a multivitamin along with a hair supplement can make a big difference, according to Balding. Blaisure agrees, adding that certain vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids are necessary for healthy hair follicle function and growth. “These need to be added for many people along with a healthy diet,” she says.

Choose something like the Bosley Professional Strength Healthy Hair Vitality Supplements, which are high in anti-inflammatory omega-3 and horsetail and pumpkin seed extract, or Viviscal, which contains a proprietary collagen complex to support healthy hair growth. We also love Nutrafol, which won a BAZAAR Anti-Aging Award in 2019 and a BAZAAR Hair Award in 2021. Nearly every dermatologist we interviewed agrees: In a sea of powders, gummies, pills, and shots promising thicker and fuller hair, Nutrafol is the one that delivers expert results. Be patient: Results from pills can take three to six months—and you’ll need to keep popping them to maintain your new hair growth.

Ditch Hot Tools

We know it can be hard to break up with your hair dryer or flat iron. But if you truly want healthier hair, start writing that breakup text. “Keeping hot tool use at a minimum will lessen hair damage,” Balding says. “It will make a huge difference.” She stresses that if you cannot stay away from your favorite hot tools (guilty), it’s crucial to use a heat-protectant spray, like the Cutler Protectant Treatment Spray, and a hot tool brand that regulates heat and temperature evenly, like the T3 SinglePass Flat Iron. We also love the Dyson Airwrap, a styling tool-and-dryer hybrid that uses air and minimal heat to dry and curl hair.

Brush, Brush, Brush

When’s the last time you actually gave thought to brushing your hair? Regular and deliberate brushing can affect your hair’s thickness, Blaisure says, because it helps distribute the natural oils that will help protect it from damage and add shine. Brushing every day, regardless of your hair texture, will also help exfoliate the scalp and remove dead hair.

But it’s only helpful if you’re using the right brush. Flora likes using a round ceramic brush like the Ibiza Hair Cork Series to help create shine while doing a blowout. Zeeuw suggests using a boar-bristle brush, like the cult-favorite Mason Pearson. “It polishes the hair and adds a natural glow, because you are dispersing the natural oils from the scalp into the hair,” she says. As for the biggest brushing faux pas? “Don’t use a plastic brush,” she says. “That will damage your hair and make it staticky.”

Fake It

When in doubt, you can always fake it until you make it. When creating the illusion of thicker hair, Flora says to use something lightweight that will plump the hair at the root without weighing hair down (we like Redken Guts 10 Volumizing Spray Mousse). To finish off a look, she likes to use a thickening texture spray, like Fekkai Full Blown Volume Dry Texturizing Spray, for even more added volume.

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