With a little patience and dedication to a regimen, your hair can be long and silky without the expense and side-effects of chemically based hair products. While there's no way to predict how long your hair can grow, if it's stuck in neutral you can definitely get it growing again and get it soft and healthy at the same time.
Diet and Lifestyle
Your hair is made of protein, so consume more meat, dairy, whey, fish, eggs, nuts and beans to increase growth. Obtain vitamin A from eggs, carrots, squash and kale to amplify shine. Eat foods high in iron and vitamin E to heighten scalp circulation, and eat wild yams to boost estrogen. Be sure to use a swim cap when swimming to prevent chlorine damage. Avoid things that can retard growth, such as bodybuilding steroids, cigarettes, excessive caffeine, sugar, alcohol and junk food. You may also want to consult your doctor to check if any of your medications inhibit growth.
To grow long and soft hair, you must start with healthy hair, so cut off damaged portions, and get your hair trimmed at least a half inch every month thereafter. You may be able to prolong trims by twisting your hair in small segments and snipping off any split ends that appear in the interim. Be gentle with your hair when it is wet by squeezing the water out with a towel and combing conditioner through it in the shower. It's best not to wash your hair every day, but if you must, only use conditioner every few days.
Keep the use of heated styling tools to a minimum; ceramic tools are always a better choice. Use a natural bristle brush or wide-tooth comb, starting their use at the ends to detangle your hair. Don't wear hairstyles that are too tight or use accessories that cause breakage. Avoid perms and chemical straighteners altogether. Utilize non-peroxide dyes or henna to color your hair, and maintain the color with shampoo and conditioner designed specifically for color-treated hair. Use organic hair products rather than those full of harsh chemicals.
Massage your scalp with your fingertips daily to stimulate blood flow. Apply natural oils, such as olive, coconut, lavender, castor and jojoba oil, to your hair and scalp overnight to soften and boost growth with vitamins. Use a mask recipe to repair hair damaged from styling products and tools by infusing nutrients into the hair. Effective homemade masks use anything from egg whites, honey, mayonnaise, brandy, vodka and onion to garlic. They're typically left on for 15 to 30 minutes and then washed out.
Oral vitamins and minerals, such as A, B3, B12, C, E, biotin, iron and zinc, can improve hair growth by stimulating cell production, blood circulation and hydration; a multi-vitamin containing these nutrients will also do the trick. Use saw palmetto extract, commonly an active ingredient in hair growth products, to prevent hair loss and stimulate growth.