I have been fascinated by our ability to grow long hair and have often wondered why some women can grow long hair quite quickly, and others seem to struggle to do so.
Personally, my hair has grown in length in the last 10 years from being quite a short, cropped style to now being hip length (long enough to get caught in the car door). I have used hair colour for many years but ceased this naughty (and expensive) practice and am now 'au naturel '. I also can't remember the last time I used a hairdryer on my hair - won't be doing this anymore either.
Wait, there's more.... I used to trim it regularly across the bottom, but this is only really to give it a straight edge and doesn't really add any health to your hair or make it grow faster (old wives' tale - they have sooooo much to answer for). Just think about it - if you keep trimming the ends of your hair, you are cutting off valuable length.
I also usually let my hair go for around 2 or more weeks before it needs washing - sometimes up to a month...whaaaaat???
While I do have long hair, I tend to wear it in either a braid or bunched up at the back of my head, and usually only have it 'out' on special occasions or when I go out. Keeping it up or braided also protects the ends from damage (no need to keep trimming those ends ladies).
A Historical Look at Long Hair
A Woman's Hair is Her Crowning Glory
Long hair has been generally attributed to femininity, and it is often revered by both men and women as an attractive attribute. Biblically speaking, "a woman's hair is her crown and glory" 1 Corinthians 11:15.
Historically, women have demonstrated that it is indeed possible to grow an incredible crown of beauty, sometimes reaching down to the floor. How do they do it?
Generally speaking, a Victorian woman didn't tend to cut her hair and it was usually only seen out and in all its glory by her family, or husband (if married), unless of course the woman was one of the well-known Sutherland sisters (who with their father promoted their hair length for extreme profit and luxurious lifestyle).
While a young girl usually wore her hair in braids until the age of around 16yrs, women tended to only have their hair out for brushing in the evening before retiring to bed, otherwise it was usually styled in an 'up-do'. This actually protected it from the elements or anything that could cause hair breakage.
Interestingly, hair care was not usually reliant upon the use of water as many did not necessarily have opportunity to bathe daily or wash their hair regularly. The regular routine for hair care was focused more around brushing their hair (with a boar brush) to remove any debris, also to enable the oils from the scalp to be distributed down through the hair. This gentle treatment of their hair allowed the 'older' hair to survive splitting or breakage which allows hair length to grow without great hindrance (again - no need to keep trimming those ends girls).
To Poo or NOT to Poo
Contrary to popular opinion and promotion, commercial shampoo and other hair products do not promote healthy hair. What do I mean by that?
Many hair products are detergents loaded with silicones, harsh sulfates and chemicals that are beauty industry driven preparations created for removal of dirt and oils to make your hair 'appear' shiny and new. Unfortunately, they only tend to coat the hair and do not venture down into the hair shaft to change the dynamic of the hair to good health.
Shampoos also tend to remove the sebum that protects the scalp from dryness, the sun, allergens etc. which can irritate the scalp and can promote dandruff.
Because shampoo strips the scalp from its protective sebum layer, our body works overtime to replenish it, causing an over production of sebum, which usually results in an 'oily' feel, causing you to want to wash your hair again to get that squeaky clean feel (not good for hair health). This never ending 'cleaning' routine ultimately wrecks your hair and results in the beauty industry's ongoing wealth.
How to Grow Your Hair
Growing healthy long hair requires gentle care. Some of the steps below have helped me to achieve a longer, healthier hair.
Washing Your Hair - As mentioned above, I can hold out for around 2 weeks to a month before I need to wash my hair. Anyhow, when it's time for a wash I will braid my hair prior to washing it. This keeps it together and helps prevent tangles or breakage. I then usually let it dry in the braid (or just let it dry if it is loose) prior to detangling or brushing it.
Washing with Clay - What?
My recent research into healthy hair washing regimes advocates that Moroccan Rhassoul Clay has been used by many women over a very long period of time with excellent moisturizing and hair beauty benefits (yes, I use it).
It not only cleans excess dirt and oils from your hair, but it also strengthens the hair shaft, which helps to prevent your hair from breaking. Rhassoul clay is magnesium rich and also contains silica which can work as an exfoliant for skin, and also gives hair a glossy sheen (no conditioner needed). Other clays are also beneficial and are a perfect match when mixed together now and then - these include Bentonite or Kaolin Clay (see my post on clays)
How do you use it? You need to do this in the shower as it can get a little messy.
Mix 1/3 cup of clay powder with 2 cups of water, add a few drops of essential oils (if desired) and mix thoroughly.
Place the mix into a squeeze bottle and while in the shower, apply it onto wet hair - firstly to the roots of your hair and then to the length of your hair.
Massage the clay mix into your scalp with the tips of your fingers or with the help of a scalp massage brush, leave it on for around 10 minutes, then rinse.
While I am not getting any 'kick-back' for this cool brush, I'm placing a link for you as they are Aussie and have a lifetime guarantee. They are available online with Amazon for $10.95 (free postage).
Pour around 1 cup of apple cider vinegar into a squirt bottle (1/2 water and 1/2 apple cider vinegar) and rinse your hair again
Apply a final rinse of water and you're done!
Gently 'dab' the moisture out of your hair with a towel, apply a little Jojoba Oil, and let your hair dry.
Shampoo Bars - These are generally deemed to be a healthy alternative as they are usually crafted by soap makers using natural or organic ingredients such as: skin loving butters, hair loving oils, and are minus the parabens, sulfates, phthalates, silicones or other harsh chemicals that are found in commercial shampoos.
I would recommend a follow up rinse with the apple cider vinegar rinse described above.
Hair Treatments - Giving yourself a luxury hair oil treatment prior to washing is a great way to promote hair growth and strength. There are many beautiful oils that will benefit the health of your hair when massaged into the scalp and applied by gently rubbing through your hair. You can 'grease up' your hair, work it into a braid and wrap it up over night for a deep treatment. See Oils and their benefits below.
**A recipe is available for a hair treatment oil in the file share for all Subscribers
Jojoba Oil Treatment - Jojoba Oil is a fantastic oil to use in your hair as it closely resembles the sebum produced by the scalp. It will not make your hair feel greasy and is also a beautiful option to gently rub through your hair daily to reduce tangles and strengthen your hair against breakage.
Dry Detangling - When I wash my hair, I usually wait for it to dry prior to detangling or combing it. The reason for this is that the hair shaft is more fragile when it is wet and more likely to break. The molecular structure of our hair changes when wet, and if you are combing or brushing it while wet, you are more likely to stretch your hair to breaking point. Basically, you are working against the normal structure of your hair and risking damage.
Finger Detangling - is also a useful method that lets you actually negotiate each little tangle as you can feel it. Using your fingers enables you to free it more easily than pulling it out with a comb or brush - this takes patience.
Indulgent Hair Beauty Oil
More recently, I have been using my glorious Bulgarian Rose Hair Beauty Oil to allay dry ends, and it has proved to be a wonderful addition to my hair care (and skin care). This luxury oil (now also available in Night Violet scent) is made from a number of excellent oils that are well known for their skin (yes, I use it on my face twice daily) and hair benefits - these are listed below.
Oils and Their Benefits
Argan Oil is rich in vitamin E, essential fatty acids, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that moisturize, soften, and protect your skin. Argan Oil strengthens weak and damaged hair while vitamin E delivers a powerful hit of hydration
Jojoba Oil is rich in nutrients and mimics the consistency of our own sebum, which makes it an excellent acne treatment and can help balance excess oil production
Apricot Kernel Oil is rich in essential fatty acids and also contains high levels of vitamins A and E. Its anti-inflammatory properties are very effective in helping to soothe inflamed, irritated, chapped and dry skin, and acts as an excellent skin moisturizer.
Sweet Almond Oil soothes dry and irritated skin. It is also great for regenerating damaged skin cells by penetrating into your skin with its emollient properties. Perfect for dry, acne-prone skin as well as sensitive skin.
Castor Oil is an emollient that can be used to soothe, protect and deliver intense moisturization to the skin. It is also beneficial for acne prone skin due to its antimicrobial properties that help fight bacteria and reduce inflammation (which is said to play a huge part in the development and severity of acne). When used as a hair conditioner, the oil lubricates each strand providing flexibility that is needed to reduce and prevent breakage. It also promotes a healthy shine to lackluster hair. Fabulously rich in fatty acids, castor oil creates a barrier to lock moisture in.
Avocado Oil is especially high in oleic acid (Omega-9), linoleic acid (Omega-6), dermal palmitoleic acid, potassium, and vitamins A, B1, D & E. It is a very rich and nourishing oil with an excellent hydrating effect, making it particularly suitable for treating rough, flaky and dry skin. When used in hair care Avocado Virgin Oil can help to tame frizz, control "fly-aways", and when gently massaged into the scalp, stimulates blood flow which promotes hair growth and a naturally healthy shine. Also said to assist in the treatment and control of dandruff as well as strengthen the roots to prevent breakage, making this a powerhouse oil that you really need to meet.
I would value your comments or questions. Let me know what you think - how do you grow your beautiful hair?