How to Regrow Damaged Hair - Treating Those Dead Ends.

So in the first part of this 2 part series on promoting hair growth, we talked about how the things we put INTO our bodies can have a drastic affect on the growth of our hair Outside our bodies! (If you missed it check out How To Regrow Damaged Hair - The Inside Scoop)

So for this segment we are going to share and discuss (add your ideas in the comments!) things we can do to the hair already on our heads to keep it in optimum condition - and maybe, just maybe, convince our hair to grow a little faster in the process.

(This picture is from a few months ago. If she wasn't sleeping right now I'd go measure again!)

Try These Tips for Faster Hair Growth:

 1. Strengthen Yourself. Non-nutricious food can weaken the body and cause it to focus it's healing/growing efforts other places than your hair. So avoid caffeine, soda, smoking, etc. and DO eat foods containing protein as well as lots of veggies and fruits.  (See The Inside Scoop for more info on which vitamins and minerals are most beneficial for hair growth.) oh, and get enough sleep.

2. Be Gentle! Your hair is precious, take care of it. Avoid unnecessary manipulations, combing, or even playing with it between your fingers. Treat it like the delicate thing it is!

3. Avoid Extremes. Hot water, hot blow dryers and curling irons, etc. Avoid anything that might cause stress to the hair. (Especially things that require heat.)

4. Massage the scalp! I have started doing this to Q lately (it makes her giggle like crazy!) - I had heard a statistic that implied that your hair grows faster after having been to a salon - and then it was pointed out that salons often massage your scalp while they wash - so it's logical that there is more growth! Massaging stimulates blood circulation to the hair follicles, which promotes hair growth.

Some people suggest weekly massages, some suggest 10-15 minutes a day.  I suggest whatever works into your schedule best!

5. Do An Oil Treatment Before Washing. Doing a pre-poo treatment can really help moisturize and strengthen the hair shaft, providing a longer "life" for it to grow! Use coconut, olive or *avacado oil because they are high in saturated fat and have small enough molecules to penetrate the hair shaft. Using mineral oil or baby oil is NOT advised. Once you've picked an oil, apply it to your hair and scalp - massage it in! Then wash your hair with baking soda (if you no 'poo) or another good quality shampoo. I also like Original Sprout's Natural Shampoo for these treatments. Some of my regular favorites don't quite get the pre-poo oil out all the way.
6. Protective Hairstyles. These are styles in which you generally braid or bun all the hair together (in a variety of ways) to protect the ends and moisturize your hair. Some examples of these styles are cornrows, box braids, twists, etc. 

In the case of 3 year old self-inflicted haircut, for instance, you might want to tuck the shorter hair back into a braid to keep it from frizzing and/or getting caught on things, getting her eyes, etc. If it is supported by other hair in a nice gentle braid (not too tight!!) those longer, stronger hairs will provide support to the shorter ones, giving them the chance to grow - rather than just defend themselves! Protective styles are probably worth a whole post in and of themselves, but let me also just point out that often these styles work with very small sections of hair so that you aren't trying to pull short delicate hairline hairs into a tight ponytail far back on the head. That can cause a lot of stress on the hairline.

Variety in styling is also helpful. Have you ever noticed the "halo" people who wear a lot of ponytails get? Those "baby hairs" that just never quite want to reach that far back? Well, occasionally they are truly baby hairs, but more often they are broken strands of hair! So by varying your ponytails and parts and styles, you will deal less stress to just one area of the head and scalp.

ONE more note about styling: sometimes less is more. A lot of manipulation can actually be harmful to some hair types, so take it easy, especially if you're in a "regrowing" phase.  Maybe find a protective style that will last a few days or a week - or more. Or do very simple "bangs out of eyes styles", that don't require a lot of undue handling.

7. Ingredients. If you've read any of Curly Hairdo Ideas's product reviews, you'll know that I go into a lot of depth researching what each ingredient is and how it affects our hair. Part of the reason for that is overall wellness -what goes onto our skin goes into our body. But the other, perhaps more obvious, reason is that those ingredients affect our HAIR!  Ingredients like ammonium laurel sulfate and silicone are very drying to hair, causing weakened strands that are prone to breakage! So don't forget to read your labels!

8. Less Shampooing. Shampoo is often very drying to hair, so the less you can use, the better. It's not necessary to use as much as our society uses anyway. Plus it's cheaper! (and even for kids who play in dirt and get food all over themselves - it's all usually water-soluble stuff they get into. ... You'll be surprised what a good job plain ole water can do to clean your kiddo! When you do use shampoo, consider a pre-poo treatment first, or a nice leave in conditioner afterwards.

9. Ice Queen. There is a technique that says when you're done showering to turn the water as cold as you can stand it, then rinse your hair in it! That cold water closes up the hair shafts making them less prone to damage. That said, I'm sure it's a good idea, but I can hardly make myself do it, let alone try it on my daughter! I think that will have to be something she experiements with on her own when she's old enough to be doing her own hair.

and, lastly, point #10..... Some Say Trim Your Ends to get rid of split ends that might continue to travel up the hair shaft and cause continual damage. HOWEVER, there are many different views on this. For example, if you take good care of your hair, and have minimal split ends - there is no need for these "every 4 - 6 week" trims. The trims, after all, are to remove split ends! Another thing to consider is how far up the splits go. If you have a .5 cm split and your hairdresser cuts off and inch or two, that's not helping you retain length! (Statistically speaking, hair grows about a half an inch a month) So while this advice is well founded, you must also be very aware of your own hair and trust in the person cutting your hair.  If you have no split ends - there is no need for this trim. If you do have split ends, the only necessary hair to trim is what is affected by the split hair shaft. 
... and that's all I've got! I hope you enjoyed these two Hair Growth posts and maybe even learned something that can be of use to you! Please add your own nuggets of wisdom in the comments below!

Disclaimer:  I found a lot of information on helping get hair to grow when I was researching for these two posts! So this is by no means a definitive answer, nor is it a scientific answer to the question of how to regrow damaged hair or to promote faster hair growth! It is merely information that I have gathered and that sounds plausible to ME! If anyone tries any of the ideas mentioned here, I'd love to hear how they worked for you!

Resources and sites for futher reading:
* Essortment - Natural Ways to Promote Hair Growth
* Hair Liberty - Pre-Wash Oil Treatments
* College Curlies - #1 Rule for Longer, Healthier Hair
* Yahoo Answers - Are there natural ways to encourage fast and speedy hair growth?


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