Style & Beauty

Avoid These Common Mistakes When Growing Out Your Hair

Frequent brushing, blow drying and other habits that are ruining your perfect hair dreams.

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Remember when all the hottest female celebrities were getting pixies a few years ago? Emma Watson. Michelle Williams. Carey Mulligan. Kaley Cuoco. Rihanna. Miley. They all got in on the action.

And they all looked amazing. But when I did it?

Okay, so maybe it wasn’t that bad. My stylist is really talented, and the haircut itself was flawless. But I felt like I was in a Halloween costume I couldn’t get out of. I didn’t know how to style my short hair, and I missed being able to toss my hair dramatically.

So, trust me when I say that I have devoted hours of research and product-testing to find ways to grow my hair back. It’s been a long process, and there were dark times (I once looked into buying a wig off Amazon), but I am here today to tell you… growth is possible, and I can help you get there.

Here’s what you need to know:

1. Stop Brushing Your Hair So Much

Growing up, I was told to brush my hair 100 times a day before bed. This was common beauty advice, and it was alleged to make it shiny and strong. No. No. No. First of all, if you really want to grow your hair, I think you should ditch your brush altogether, unless your hair is seriously tangled. Instead, get a detangler comb or a Tangle-Teezer. (These are excellent for kids, too).

The more you style your hair and go crazy with the brushing, the more hair you are losing. Comb or Tangle-Teeze it once a day to get the knots out. Then, leave it alone.


2. Stop Washing Your Hair

Everyone from Kim Kardashian to Connie Britton to Gwyneth Paltrow has admitted to avoiding frequent hair-washing. When you wash your hair, the chemicals in your shampoo strip your hair of its natural oils. It makes it look squeaky-clean, but it can be both damaging and unnecessary. Give yourself a day or two between washes (or more if your hair looks clean and is still manageable). Use dry shampoo to cover greasy roots, or cornstarch for an all-natural quick fix. I also recommend using a very gentle, hydrating shampoo such as Ouidad Ultra-Nourishing Cleansing Oil. Remember, since you will be using less product by washing less frequently, it’s smart to invest in a high-quality product rather than a drugstore deal.


3. Collect Your Rubber Bands…

..and burn them. OK, not literally. But rubber bands are incredibly hard on strands and they break hairs faster than Bieber breaks hearts.

But here’s the good news: Scrunchies are back in style. Celebs like Selena Gomez, Brooke Shields and Kate Beckinsale have been seen rocking them. Also, these little babies are a godsend: invisibobbles from Sephora. After getting addicted to them, I found them cheaper on Amazon and I can’t tell a difference between these and the originals. They make for less hair breakage, they are easier to use and they don’t give your head that aching feeling that too-tight bands can cause.

her doo


4. Don’t Be Afraid To Splurge On A Salon-Quality Heat-Protectant

Yes, buying from a salon or Sephora is more expensive than a drugstore, but like with Daisy Sour Cream, just a dollop will do ya. I have been using my small container of Drybar Hot Toddy Heat & UV Protectant for over a year. Over at Total Beauty, beauty reviewers rated Joico K-Pak Protective Hairspray as their number-one heat protectant pick. It costs $15.71 on Amazon, and it works for all hair types.


5. Your Hair Hates You When You Eat Fast Food

OK, maybe hate is a strong word. But I once heard someone say that your hair quality today is based on the food you ate six months ago. Hmm. Can’t say if that’s true or not, but it is decidedly true that your hair won’t look its best if you aren’t getting good nutrition.

I really struggle to eat healthy on a consistent basis, as I have the palate of a 3-year-old, but I try to make up for it by always taking vitamins. Consider a multi-vitamin, biotin (or vitamin H), B Vitamins, Vitamin E, and iron, just to name a few.

Alternately, you could just… eat healthy. Foods like spinach, broccoli, eggs, avocado, salmon, almonds and cauliflower have all been said to help with hair growth. Hey, it can’t hurt.

6. Stop Wearing Your Hair Down Every Day

Most women who are into growing their hair usually opt for what is known as “protective hairstyles.” A protective hairstyle keeps the ends of your hair safe from the elements, be it the weather, or the zipper on your dress, or your toddler’s grabby fingers. For some women, a protective hairstyle can stay in place for weeks. But what it means for me is this: I try to put my hair up in a simple, cute style in the a.m. and then leave it alone the rest of the day. No brushing or combing or messing about with it. Let your wig rest. That’s my motto.

7. Coconut Oil Has No Chill

Coconut oil is rumored to do amazing things for your hair (among other things), but I caution you that coconut oil can have an ugly side. If it takes you 3-4 washes to get the coconut oil out of your hair, you have to ask yourself if it’s really worth the possible benefits. As I mentioned above, vigorous hair washing and brushing is not good for the follicles. So, tread lightly. If it makes your hair more manageable and glossy, go for it. But if it leaves you with limp, greasy locks, skip it and simply use a high-quality conditioner instead. Davines makes my hair softer than any coconut oil treatment ever has.

Davines, Amazon

8. Work With Your Natural Texture

In the ’90s, I used to get up every day, shower, wash my hair, blow dry it and flat-iron it. It took about an hour, especially as my hair is naturally wavy. But I didn’t want wavy hair! I wanted to look like Liv Tyler in “Armageddon,” not Bridget Sharkey, the wavy-haired dork. Now, of course, I realize that was ridiculous, and instead of fighting Mother Nature, I try to work with her. I hardly ever blow dry my hair and, if I do, I opt for the lowest heat setting possible and only aim for the roots. (Because if you want volume, you should dry your roots first.) Once my roots are dry, I spritz a beach-texturing spray in my hair and just let it assume its natural waviness.

9. But Don’t Be Afraid To Make Bold Changes

I haven’t seen my natural hair color since I was about 17 years old, and now it’s too late to look back. I’ve had black hair, red hair, platinum hair, purple hair, green hair and even pastel-pink hair (so pretty, so impossible to maintain). I still love to color my hair, but I try to do so wisely. My stylist has recommended Olaplex to me, and it is seriously a god-send. She uses it almost every time she colors my hair, and I also have a bottle I use at home. Olaplex promises to link broken bonds in the hair before, during and after chemical services. You can buy it on Amazon, or ask your stylist about it. Simply apply it to your wet hair. Wait about ten minutes. Then rinse, shampoo and condition as usual. Use weekly or bi-weekly, especially right after salon services.


Remember, the key is to be gentle with your hair. I don’t even towel-dry anymore! I use a super-soft T-shirt and gently massage it. (I use T-shirts that I am now too… full-figured for, but you can also buy a fiber-soft head wrap for this purpose.) And beauty experts advise you to use a satin pillowcase (keeps hair from getting tangled, and—bonus—is purported to help with wrinkles).


Whew. There you have it. What do you think? Do you have any secret hair-growing tips? Have you ever made an impulsive decision at the hair salon that backfired?

[h/t: Tip Hero]