Hair is important to us. Whether you may realise it or not, many of us are lost without it; it can be a comfort blanket, a small way in which we express our identity. Therefore, hair loss can be far more than a physical experience. With the baldness comes a plethora of feelings- emotional complexities such as shame, guilt, and distress. While many of you may know that I speak a lot about trichotillomania, it is important to note that it isn't, of course, the only form of hair loss. Hair loss can be experienced by anyone for a number of different reasons. But did you know you can take steps to actively reduce this loss or make hair grow back faster? Whether you are suffering from baldness (head, eyelashes and eyebrows, to name a few places), or simply want to boost the growth of your barnet, here are some easy steps you can take to achieve that without having to turn to cosmetic treatments.
1. Look At Your Diet
This is such a simple step to incorporate into your day to day life, but one which is often overlooked in the quest for hair growth. Eating more fruit and vegetables, whilst actively making sure you are consuming less less fatty foods will help you on your way. Proteins found in eggs and nuts also help to strengthen your hair from within, whilst opting for fish rather than red meats will also help; these all contain higher levels of Biotin (which we will come onto later). These dietary changes will give your hair the right nutrients so that it grows out of every follicle and prevents breaking by strengthening your hair. Hair is mainly composed of protein so it needs foods to supplement its growth.
2. Try Supplements
One of the most popular hair growth supplements on the market is Biotin, a B Vitamin which is known for speeding up the hair-growing process. Biotin deficiencies are often linked with hair loss, so if you are experiencing hair loss for no apparent reason, consult with your doctor (obviously) and check if you have a deficiency. It could be a very simple solution to an important problem. After consumption, the biotin reacts with cell enzymes to produce amino acids (the thing which forms proteins, you may have heard of these from 'hair strengthening' shampoo adverts). As we've already seen, these proteins are vital for hair strengthening and regrowth, so Biotin supplements could be a good option if you're experiencing weak, brittle hair. Usually available in the form of daily supplements, these will just help to speed up and reinforce the natural hair-growing cycle.
3. Castor Oil
This is often heralded as the natural holy grail of hair growth. Because of its incredibly thick consistency, castor oil is usually mixed with other oils (like olive oil) to help make it a bit more applicable. It's an old-age secret for many conditions, being praised for easing rashes and acne, as well as speeding up hair growth- I love a good multi-functional product! There is a scientific reason that generations have been plonking castor oil all over the place; it's high in Vitamin E, protein and minerals, so is known as a good nourishing booster. Only a tiny amount is needed once or twice a week and is best used like a treatment; rub into your problem area, leave overnight, and then cleanse off in the morning.
4. Vitamin E Lotion
As found in castor oil, vitamin E is a great supplement for repairing hair. It's essentially an antioxidant which will help repair damage to the follicles (particularly useful for trichotillomania sufferers who have damage cause by pulling hair out) and encourage hair growth. This formula is probably best used on lashes and eyebrows as, like most oily formulas, needs to get to the root of the hair; this can be tricky and time-consuming when used on your scalp (although not impossible, especially if you have any bald patches). You can mix the contents of vitamin E supplements with other oils, or use the oil alone, before massaging onto your lash line or eyebrows and leaving overnight once a week for an intensive, more effective treatment. This can also come in pill supplement form, although oils are a much safer, 'tried and tested' option.
5. Eyelash/Eyebrow Serums
The option I always go for when looking to boost the growth of my lashes and brows are serums. A number of brands now sell them, although I must admit I have only tried RapidLash and Arbonne (you can read my verdict of RapidLash, along with the science behind these serums, here). They are essentially packed full of all these vitamins and minerals mentioned in the options above and plonked into one tube, ready for use. Probably the most faff-free of all of these, I would definitely recommend picking one up to try out if you don't have time to massage oil onto your face every evening. Serums usually come with a handy wand-type applicator which you just swipe over your lashline or eyebrows up to twice a day. These do need regular use (I use mine every evening) in order to see a difference, which can be difficult at first to incorporate into your day, but they are 100% worth it and will slot into your beauty routine with ease. It isn't the cheapest option here, but definitely the one I rely on and would recommend first.
6. Go Make-Up Free
Make-up has a tendency to hinder eyelash or eyebrow growth. Making sure you develop a good skin-cleansing routine is essential in helping to strengthen and grow hair; without clean skin, any serums or oils you use on top will not be able to work to the best of their ability. Sometimes, you need to start with the basics in order to look after your hair. Going make-up free, or at least taking it off in the evenings when you know you won't be needing to wear it, will prevent the slap from clogging up follicles, thus preventing new lashes or eyebrow hairs growing through. It slows down the whole process, and can irritate your skin and lashes more than necessary. Mascara is a good one to avoid where possible; if it tends to clump, picking at the clumps (or even just removing the eye make-up) could pull out eyelashes with it. Why run that risk if the whole point is to grow them?!
I hope this post will help you on your hair-growing way! Have you got any hair-growth secrets that you use (whether you have hair-loss of not)? I'd be interested to hear them!