If you’re wondering how to grow your hair faster, you’re not alone. But that doesn’t make it any less of a to-do. “The day you decide to grow out your hair, you have to really start taking care of it,” says hairstylist Mark Townsend, insisting, “to get the length, there are sacrifices.” This is what Townsend told longtime client Ashley Olsen when she set her sights on a chest-grazing mane inspired by supermodel Kristen McMenamy’s silvery Rapunzel cascade.
Whether a celebrity or mere mortal, the reality is there’s no shortcut to an endless, luxurious mane—it’s a months-long, methodical process. One that can feel especially tedious if you’re contending with stress-induced hair shedding. From the right conditioning treatments to a healthy diet, here, Townsend and other sought-after pros weigh in on how to grow your hair faster and maximize your length.
Commit to Regular Micro-Trims
When you go for a “dusting”—taking off just an eighth of an inch—versus a standard trim, you barely see hair on the floor, says Townsend. A carefully calibrated shearing preserves length while getting rid of split ends caused by environmental damage, such as physical stress or hot tools. “If left to their own devices, those split ends can work their way higher up the hair’s shaft,” explains hairstylist Vernon François. “If you wait too long in between trims, you’ll end up having to take off more length in the end.” In order to keep hair healthy, most pros recommend at least three dustings a year and embracing split-end treatments, such as Briogeo’s Don’t Despair, Repair! Strengthening Treatment oil and Amika’s The Closer Instant Split-End Hair Repair Cream.
Nourish Your Scalp
As the scalp ages, it becomes more fragile and dry says Debra Lin, Ph.D., a hair science expert and chief scientific officer for hair care brand Better Not Younger. “It’s important to care for the scalp to help optimize the environment to support healthy hair growth,” explains Lin.
“Keep the scalp clean with a scalp cleanser for more oily scalps and use a scalp and hair serum to nourish and condition the scalp,” she instructs, highlighting the Dawn Activated Charcoal Scalp Cleanser, which has a built-in massaging applicator and removes buildup and excess oil, while supporting hair growth with antimicrobial activated charcoal, exfoliating lactic acid, and soothing menthyl lactate.
Another beneficial elixir to have on hand is a lightweight, supercharged leave-on scalp serum, like the Superpower Hair and Scalp Fortifying Serum or Dr. Barbara Sturm’s Scalp serum, which will hydrate and enhance overall scalp health.
Do a Weekly Conditioning Treatment
In navigating how to grow out your hair, stylists unanimously agree that a weekly deep-conditioning treatment, such as the Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Hair Mask or Townsend’s go-to Iles Formula Haute Performance Conditioner, is nonnegotiable for all hair types, but especially if hair is fine, curly, or color-treated.
“As hair grows longer in length, the tips will go through more environmental stressors and deplete the natural oils that keep hair shiny and smooth,” explains It’s helpful to keep hair soft and conditioned at the tips to support the ends as hair grows longer.
As far as application goes, François advises his A-list clientele, including Solange, Kerry Washington, and Tracee Ellis Ross, to pay special attention to the tips. “They’re the oldest and driest part of your strands,” he explains. “They’re thinner and brittle, so giving them extra TLC will minimize breakage.” Incorporating treatments into your day-to-day styling routine is another stealth way to work magic.
During fashion month, hairstylist Rodney Cutler has models hydrate their hair between shows by slicking it back with a cocktail of Redken’s Velvet Gelatine 07 and the company’s All Soft Argan-6 Multi-Care Oil to create a fresh, slightly wet texture that isn’t greasy.
Cleansing is the foundation of any hair-care regimen—and it should start before you even set foot in the shower, by soaking strands for 10 minutes with a protective pre-washing tonic, like Prose’s pre-shampoo mask.
“It’s going to leave a little bit of film so the shampoo won’t strip the moisture,” explains Townsend. When it comes to choosing a shampoo and conditioner, or a co-washing treatment like Hairstory New Wash Original or Oyin Handmade Ginger Mint Co-Wash, look to sulfate-free formulas that aren’t as drying to preserve moisture. François advises massaging the scalp while lathering to increase blood flow and stimulate the hair follicles, which promotes growth.
Recalibrate Your Diet
“The healthiest diet for your hair is the healthiest diet in general—one that is based on real, whole foods and is mostly plant-based,” explains Manhattan-based nutritionist Maria Marlowe, adding that foods rich in iron, zinc, vitamin C, B vitamins, and omega-3 are most commonly linked to stronger and longer hair. Marlowe’s short list of recommended foods includes oysters, clams, beans, and eggs for protein (the “building block” of hair); bell peppers, and dark, leafy greens for vitamin C; and hemp seeds and wild salmon for omega-3 fats.
Try a Supplement
“Biotin is the go-to when thinking about hair supplements, but most people already get enough biotin in their diet,” says Marlowe. Instead, she recommends BioSil, which contains ch-OSA, a trademarked combination of essential nutrients and minerals that’s clinically shown to increase hair thickness, making it more resilient and shiny. And more than a few beauty insiders swear by Grown Alchemist’s Hair Complex, an organic hair-growth supplement that also contains follicle-feeding silica, along with repairing riboflavin and vitamin B2.
Sleep on a Silk Pillowcase
“Cotton is going to suck all the moisture out of the hair overnight,” says Townsend. Instead, sleep on a silk pillowcase, which retains moisture and reduces friction, thus reducing damage. Slip’s model is made from a high grade, gentle mulberry silk, comes in a slew of lovely pastels, and has hairstylist (and Kardashian family go-to) Jen Atkin’s stamp of approval as their brand ambassador.