Full disclaimer, ladies: there is nothing you can do that will make your hair magically grow a foot overnight. Hair only grows about 6 inches a year, according to Live Science. This varies depending on a lot of different factors including, fascinatingly, your race. (Asian hair grows the fastest!)
But there are several ways you could be damaging your hair without even knowing it. Here are nine simple ways to help your hair grow into the luscious mermaid hair you want.
1. Say no to cotton pillowcases
How much time do you spend lying on your pillow? Chances are your hair has more contact with your pillowcase than it does with anything else.
The rough texture of cotton (what most pillowcases are made out of) creates friction, which then creates breakage. Cotton also saps moisture out of your hair as well, making it become drier, according to Hair Care Manual. The key to long hair is keeping your hair-ends healthy. If they're breaking off, you're making negative progress with growing your hair out.
Try using a satin pillowcase instead. You can find them as cheap as $10.00 on Amazon.
2. Stop shampooing it
Shampoo strips your hair of natural oils. Obviously, this is why you're using it in the first place: to make your hair less oily. But it's uncommon to have extremely oily hair all the way to the hair-ends. Try skipping a shampooing once a week, or shampoo only the scalp. Don't ever skip conditioning it.
3. Consider biotin
Taking biotin has become a popular practice for women trying to grow out their hair. It's a supplement that provides the vitamins your body needs to have healthy hair and nails. However, taking biotin may or may not do your hair much good. According to WebMD, most people get enough biotin naturally through the foods they eat. It's rare to be deficient in biotin.
4. Wet your hair before you swim
Your hair can absorb 30% of it's own weight in water, according to Hair Science. This means you want to control the quality of water it is absorbing. Get your hair wet with tap water before jumping into chlorinated water. If it's already saturated with fresh water, it won't absorb as much chlorine.
5. Overnight conditioner
You don't have to spend a lot of money on fancy conditioners to give your hair a deep moisturizer. Get your hair damp, spread coconut oil through it (focusing especially on the ends) and leave the oil in while you sleep. This gives your hair plenty of time to soak up those delicious nutrients and will leave your ends healthier.
6. Wash with cold water
While warm water opens your hair follicles up to be shampooed and conditioned. It also makes it easier for your hair to break off. Rinsing it with cold water at the end of the shower will give you glossier, less-frizzy hair because this closes off the follicles, allowing your hair to hold moisture, according to Hair Care Manual.
7. Brush it like Rapunzel
Hair strands can contain 14 different elements, and one of them is a trace of gold, so imagine your hair is made of gold when you brush it. Start brushing from the ends to get out the tangles before moving to the roots. This is gentler and will prevent breaking.
8. Ditch the towel turban
Your hair is most fragile when it's wet. Wrapping it in a heavy towel pulls it and causes breakage. Dry it by gently squeezing it with a towel and letting it air-dry after.
9. Choose your damage
Speaking of air-drying, be cautious about the amount of heat you are putting on your hair. This is probably a no-brainer, but it's hard to follow. It's not completely bad to use heat on your hair, but limit what you do. Don't blow dry it and use a straightener. If you don't have time to let your hair air-dry, use the cold air setting on your blow dryer. Showering at night is a great way to give your hair the time it needs to dry naturally.
10. Eat right
Researches believe your hair grows faster in the summer, according to Live Science. Why? On average you eat more fruits and vegetables in the summer, which provides the nutrients your body needs to make crazy pretty hair. Eating healthy year round will give you those benefits always.
11. Cheating tip: Look at hair extensions
If you are looking to have instantly longer locks, there are a lot of options for easy hair extensions that don't involve having them sewn in. Clip-in hair extensions do require you to wash them, but they are an easy, realistic way to have beautiful, thick, long hair in no time at all.