I had a client come to me with her hair breaking off, it was overly dry and looked like straw. There was no shine, and she complained that her hair was not growing. So of course, I introduced her to my six commandments of hair. We started with her hair at about 7" long (after all the damage was removed) and now 1 yr later her hair is past her shoulders.
Here is the list of what I call the six commandments to healthy hair:
1. Chemicals: overly processed hair lacks luster and tends to be dry and brittle. If you're dying your hair with a box you bought at a drug store, stop. There is a reason that cosmetologists have over a year of training/schooling and take state tests; even then some people don't know what they are doing. So don't put stuff on your own hair (dye/color, perms, Straighteners, etc). Also, be realistic with your color if you are trying to "repair" your hair. Meaning if you're naturally dark brown that's where you need to be, not blonde. The less you process unhappy hair the better it will get.
2. Heat: plainly, it ruins the hair. That goes for all heat. No hot water on it. Period. Always rinse in cold. Really limit flat ironing and curling. Opt for air drying, and if you are going to use heat use a thermal protectant such as "Its a 10" leave-in conditioner.
3. Haircuts: get trims ON TIME (every 6-8 weeks) this catches split ends before they become a problem. The way that split ends work is: they travel up the hair shaft and causes the hair to break off at the ends. The longer they go untreated the more breakage you have. You've witnessed this when you see people with long hair and gross stringy ends. Can you say HAIRCUT! It's also important to go to a professional, because their shears are very very sharp. Dull scissors or cheap scissors rip the hair and cause more split ends.
4. Shampoo and Conditioner & Other hair care products: I know it seems weird that these things matter, but they do. Your hair is comprised of an intricate system of layers of proteins and a light lipid layer which helps retain needed moisture. Never use stuff you can buy at walgreens/walmart/CVS/etc. If it's going in your hair, it better be a professional product that your hairdresser (a licensed cosmetologist) approved. Cheap products typically contain harsh ingredients that destroy the cuticle (your hair's protective layer) such as sulfates, alcohols, and propylene glycol. Other products like Pantene coat the hair with wax which is also non conducive to healthy hair.
5. Food and Water: eat things that fortify your hair, and restore the moisture. Protein and leafy greens. Drink water. Seriously, drink water. 10-12 8oz cups daily. If you do things that dehydrate you (such as drinking coffee and exercise) make sure you replenish the lost water by drinking more.
6. Care for your hair: You have to take care of your hair if you want it to be healthy. This means: never twist or wring water out of your hair. Don't brush your hair when it's wet. Don't let your ends whip around in the wind (motorcycles, topless cars, etc.). Wash your hair every other day or every 3 days. Always get your hair wet before you go into the pool/ocean and rinse immediately after. Use quality hair masks to fortify and restore moisture. Be gentle with your hair; care for your hair.
These are my top pick miracle products:
1. PureoIogy Moisturizer shampoo/conditioner
2. It's a 10 leave-in conditioner (use before heat and whenever hair is damp)
3. It's a 10 moisture mask (leave in at home for 45 mins, with disposable shower cap, 2x/week)
4. Redken extreme protein hair mask (1x/week)
5. Redken Argan 6
6. Chemistry system (ask a salon professional for the service)
Lastly, biotin pills help hair growth but I will caution you that they do make some people break out.
Remember normal hair growth is 1/2" per month, so it will take time for the hair to grow.
If you follow the tips above you will notice a big difference in the health of your hair.
I am a professional makeup artist and licensed cosmetologist. I absolutely enjoy sharing hair and makeup tips to help others enhance their natural beauty. (Trust me, you're gorgeous.)