9 Science-Backed Tips to Help Boost Hair Growth

With a staggering number of people experiencing hair loss since the COVID-19 pandemic, hair growth has garnered great attention. Approximately 25% of people suffer from acute hair loss (telogen effluvium) in the initial months after contracting COVID-19.

Key takeaways:
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    When it comes to hair growth, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. You may have to try various methods to see what works best for you.
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    A healthy scalp is as important as a good scalp massage to speed hair growth.
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    When selecting hair care products, look for ones packed with nutrients proven to make your hair stronger and grow faster.
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    Some well-researched nutrients for hair growth are biotin, iron, zinc, vitamin D, protein, and omega-3.
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    When telogen effluvium is the cause behind your hair loss, try to integrate stress-mitigating strategies.

Even if you’ve never developed COVID-19, you may still experience hair shedding. In this article, we’ll cover specific evidence-backed tips to help stimulate hair growth.

Tips for better hair growth:

If hair loss runs in your family (called hereditary hair loss), the odds of growing your hair are slim. Genes play a significant role in determining how quickly your hair well as its length, thickness, color, depth, and overall form. That said, according to Harvard Medical School experts, even hereditary-pattern baldness can improve with appropriate treatment. There's no magical remedy to produce instant hair growth. However, you can take several steps to help encourage hair growth and prevent breakage.

1. Keep your scalp clean without overwashing

A healthy, balanced scalp is vital for strong, long hair, as is supported by scientific research. Your scalp condition is likely to affect your hair growth. A buildup of debris and other products on your scalp can cause itching and shrink the hair follicles, eventually thinning out your tresses. The medical term for this process is miniaturization.

One way to keep your scalp health on track and boost hair growth is to keep it clean. How often you need to wash your hair depends on its type. If you have dry hair, be mindful of overwashing, as it can worsen hair fallout. If your hair is prone to oiliness, consider washing it two to three times weekly.

2. Use the right hair care products

If you're already keeping your scalp clean but still aren't seeing noticeable results, check out the ingredients of your hair products. Make sure they are not packed with harsh chemicals, like parabens and sulfates. These chemicals can damage your tresses and increase the risk of breakage. Instead, choose products free of harmful chemicals, especially those with ingredients known to encourage hair growth.

Ingredients that boost blood supply to your scalp:

  • Niacin (vitamin B3).
  • Vitamin B complex.
  • Ascorbic acid (vitamin C).
  • Tocopherol (vitamin E).
  • Grape seed.
  • Rosemary oil.
  • Sage.

Certain ingredients are highly beneficial for specific purposes. For example, biotin (vitamin B7) helps produce keratin — a protein known to strengthen your locks. Polyphenols, that are found in caffeine and green tea, block excess androgen (male hormones that cause female pattern hair loss).

Other examples include zinc and grape seeds that fight oxidative stress a process that causes undue production of free radicals. Fatty acids, like primrose and salmon oil, and amino acids also improve hair texture and prevent dry, brittle hair.

3. Give your scalp a good massage daily

Not only is a clean scalp is crucial for hair growth, but massaging your scalp daily is also proven to promote hair growth.

We know that stress is a major trigger for hair loss. But do you know why getting a good scalp massage at a salon feels so relaxing? It’s because of the decrease in stress hormones like cortisol. And less stress means more hair growth!

Moreover, research shows that massaging your scalp daily for a few minutes tends to speed up blood flow to your scalp. It also stimulates specialized cells just beneath your hair follicles. The result? Thicker, fuller strands.

Another 2019 scientific survey revealed how a twice-daily, twenty-minute scalp massage boosted hair growth. In this study, about 70% of people reported improved hair growth or reduced loss after a daily 20-minute scalp massage.

4. Use proper hair-brushing techniques

Show your hair some TLC by brushing it regularly but gently to prevent tangles and breakage. Daily brushing helps distribute your scalp’s natural oils and stimulate blood flow. It’s just like a mini massage, which eventually promotes hair growth.

Be sure to use a wide-toothed comb or brush with soft boar bristles. It's also best to start at the ends and work your way up toward the roots to prevent unnecessary tugging that can hinder hair growth.

After cleansing, avoid brushing your hair until it's half dry. Instead, wring the excess water with a towel before you brush.

Another tip is to brush your hair with your head upside down to direct the blood flow to your scalp. This trick may further help stimulate blood flow to your hair follicles, thereby encouraging hair growth.

5. Choose the right hairstyles

Wearing the wrong hairstyle, such as a high, tight ponytail, can sabotage your hair health. So be sure to choose the right styles for your hair. Some of the hair-growth-friendly hairstyles include:

  • Loose braid.
  • Low, messy bun.
  • Tying your hair down in a low, loose ponytail with silk scrunchies.
  • Wrapping your hair around your headband to protect your mane.

6. Limit the use of heat-styling tools

It’s imperative to pause the use of heat-styling tools while you’re on your journey to boosting hair growth. Staying away from heat styling altogether may only sometimes be possible. If you have to use a hot hair tool, it's always best to lower its temperature and use a heat protectant spray to prevent damaging your hair further.

7. Use stress-alleviating strategies

There’s a well-known correlation between stress and hair loss. Long-term stress negatively impacts hair growth. When you’re chronically stressed, your body releases stress hormones, particularly cortisol. These hormones will cause your hair to stay in the telogen (resting) phase, causing extensive hair fall. Thus, adapting tactics to manage or reduce stress can vastly benefit your hair. Try to incorporate the following stress busters in your routine:

  • Meditate. Sitting down and breathing for five to ten minutes a day relaxes your mind and helps you cope with stress, thus smoothing out your hair growth journey.
  • Get enough sleep. Strive to get a consistent seven to nine hours of shut-eye every night while practicing healthy bedtime rituals.
  • Exercise. Daily exercise is undoubtedly one of the most effective stress relievers and hair growth promoters. Most exercise physiologists recommend the inversion method to promote hair growth. No studies support the benefit of this technique for hair growth. That said, the inversion method involves scalp massage, which accelerates hair growth, as proven by scientists. While performing this exercise, you need to massage your scalp first and then hang upside down to direct all the blood flow towards your head. This exercise isn’t for everyone, so be sure to check with your doctor before trying it out.

8. Amp up your nutrient intake

The best way to up your nutrient intake is to eat the “rainbow,” meaning a variety of different colored fruits and vegetables every day. Specific vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids are vital in providing your hair with the nutrients needed for its growth.

Most essential nutrients for hair growth include:

  • Protein;
  • Iron;
  • Biotin.
  • Zinc;
  • Vitamin C, D, and E;
  • Omega-3 and omega-6.

9. Try alternative supplements for hair growth

If you’ve been experiencing extensive hair fall, there’s a chance that your body isn't getting enough nutrients from your diet. In such cases, you may also ask your dermatologist about taking a hair growth-promoting supplement. Research shows taking the following nutrients in the form of a supplement can help you give those luscious, healthier locks:

  • Ashwagandha. A 2012 clinical trial showed that high doses of ashwagandha effectively alleviated stress and anxiety without any serious side effects. Ashwagandha is an adaptogen and helps strengthen your ability to cope with stress — a major trigger for hair fall.
  • Horsetail. Experts attribute horsetail's benefits to its silicon content. Research shows drastic benefits in overall hair volume, thickness, and scalp coverage following nine months of silicon supplementation.
  • Omega-3 and omega-6 supplements. A 2015 study revealed that taking omega-3 and omega-6 supplements for six months led to improved hair growth in women with female pattern baldness.
  • Nutrafol. One such supplement that has been gaining popularity in the derma world is Nutrafol. This supplement is a cocktail of botanicals and antioxidants, like ashwagandha and horsetail, that alleviate stress, boost your immunity, and maintain your system’s overall stability.

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Anjali Anjali
prefix 7 days ago
Thank you for your valuable information
Dintmom Dintmom
prefix 7 days ago
As a hairdresser, I agree with this. I would like to add, avoid using hair styling products. They gum up the scalp, and make rushing/combing difficult.
Also, be careful of herbs like ashwagandha and horsetail; they can cause allergic reactions and can interact negatively with medications. Another good hair growth supplement is MSM, found in joint support (usually glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM) supplements, as well as on its own. By taking it in joint support, you are helping your hair and your joints.
Avoid using rubber bands and ponytail holders; use soft scrunchies instead. Also, keep conditioner OFF your scalp. It belongs on the lower half of your hair ONLY. It can block follicles and makes your scalp dirty faster.
prefix 8 days ago
Thanks for all the information.
Linda Cantu Linda Cantu
prefix 10 days ago
Liked your article
Rillah Rinnah Rillah Rinnah
prefix 10 days ago
How can I make my hair grow fast in 2 weeks ?