Patience is most definitely a virtue when you're waiting for your hair to grow out, but there are ways to help the process along.

By Jennifer Aldrich
Updated July 10, 2020
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Growing out your hair isn't just letting your mane run wild for months on end—you need to continue to take care of your tresses, even while you're trying to get super long strands. To ensure healthy hair during the entire growing process, there are several simple steps to implement into your hair care plan. But don't worry, this isn't a routine that takes up a ton of your time or costs you a small fortune. With these easy tips and tricks, which might even be a part of your current hair regimen, just about anyone can achieve—and maintain—long hair. We asked stylists how to effectively grow out your hair to get the lengthy look you desire.

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1. Schedule Regular Trims

When long hair is your ultimate goal, any kind of cut can seem counterintuitive. However, regular trims are essential, says John Mouzakis, stylist at Mixed Co. Salon in Chicago. "While this won't speed up hair growth, it will keep split ends at bay and prevent them from moving up the strand and causing breakage, which can make it look and feel like your hair isn't growing at all," he explains. Plan on going in for a trim every three months or so, and ask for a dusting (the tiniest of trims that only cleans up the ends). There's another benefit to regular trims, too: "Your stylist can also help re-shape your style so that it looks good even during the growing out phase," says Nick Pena, owner and lead stylist at SalonCapri in Boston.

2. Shield Strands from Heat

Daily heat styling takes a major toll on your hair, resulting in split ends and breakage that will seriously stunt hair growth, Mouzakis says. The best bet is to avoid hot tools altogether, but if that's just not realistic, be sure to use a thermal protectant, such as Mouzakis' favorite, Kérastase Resistance Ciment Thermique hair milk, $37, Sephora, each and every time you blow-dry, curl, or flat iron. To use, apply on wet hair, then comb through to distribute evenly prior to styling.

3. Beware of the Hair Habits That Cause Breakage

Some of the most basic habits can lead to accidental breakage, or even rip your hair out at the root, says Pena. First, rethink how you brush. "Brushing downward, starting at the scalp, turns little tangles into one large knot," says Mouzakis. "Instead, start at the ends, and work your way up." Ponytails can also be an issue. "Pulling your hair back too tightly can cause breakage around your front hairline, creating short hairs that are also especially hard to style as you're growing out your hair," he says. Keep ponies loose, and use soft snag-free elastics. We like Scünci No-Damage Elastics, $2.99, Ulta because they work well and they're affordable.

4. Consider a Supplement

There's no shortage of supplements that promise luscious locks. Many, such as Viviscal Extra Strength Hair Nutrient Tablets, $39.99, Ulta, and Nutrafol Hair Loss Thinning Supplement, $88, Amazon, contain biotin, which helps metabolize amino acids and increase the production of keratin (the protein that makes up hair). It's not a bad idea to consider taking one, says Mouzakis, though he notes that a healthy diet and regular multivitamin work well, too. (As with any supplement, be sure to consult your doctor first.)

5. Fake Length with Extensions

Just can't wait for long locks? Consider extensions, which are great for adding fullness and length, says Pena. Try an at-home, clip-in version, such as Hairdo Invisible Extension, $43.47, if you want less of a commitment, or see a stylist to have them professionally sewn in. Keep in mind that the latter will require some upkeep because they will start to grow out as your hair does, Pena says.

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