Ever since our evolutionary process made it possible, humans have wished for various body parts to be longer, bigger or more beautiful. Though you’re wonderful just the way you are, it’s human to want to change your appearance and, equally human, to change it back as quickly as possible. If that thing you want to change is your hair, then you’ve definitely wondered how to make your hair grow faster.
But changing any part of your body rapidly, including hair, is easier said than done. Is it even possible to make your hair grow faster? If so, what can we do? SPY reached out to Dr. Angela Phipps, a doctor of osteopathic medicine, member of the American Board of Hair Restoration Surgery and HairClub medical advisor, to offer advice on how to best maintain healthy hair.
We also wanted a straightforward answer to a simple question, “Do any of the products that claim to make my hair grow faster actually work?”
Can You Make Hair Grow Faster?
Unfortunately, no. As Phipps says, “As a medical and surgical hair restoration physician, I commonly get asked if there is anything that one can do to make their hair grow faster. The short and simple answer is no, not really.”
Hair follicles operate on genetically programmed growth cycles, and there’s nothing we can do to accelerate those processes. If you can’t make those cycles faster, you can’t make hair grow more quickly, no matter what product makers may claim.
Do Products That Claim to Improve Hair Growth Help At All?
Any product claiming to promote hair growth isn’t actually affecting the hair growth cycle. Instead, it’s attempting to improve the health of the hair. Healthy hair grows more stably and consistently by surviving more damage or breakage, lending the appearance of “faster” hair growth.
When investigating the claims of beard growth supplements and similar products, the experts we spoke to agreed that these types of products are largely bogus. And according to Dr. Phipps, the best way to encourage hair growth is to focus on overall hair and scalp health.
“Hair shaft breakage and damage will result in not being able to achieve length as fast as healthy hair shafts, and there are many ways to help improve the health of our hair shafts,” Phipps says.
How Can I Improve Hair Health?
Thankfully, though you can’t change the growth cycle of hair, there are tips to help ensure your hair maintains healthy shafts so it can continue to grow.
Skip the heating and styling tools. Hair dryers and straighteners can damage hair over time, especially if used daily. Phipps suggests minimizing their usage as much as possible or relying on cool settings when you have to use them: “Work quickly when drying or styling your hair, so the heat is touching your hair as little as possible, and try not to apply heat/styling tools to the hair every day. Use the coolest setting possible, and first apply a heat protectant product.”
Only wash your hair as needed. Washing more often than you need can be bad scalp treatment and strip your scalp and hair of oils key to maintaining the hair shafts. “If you have an oily scalp, you may need to wash daily, but if not, only wash when you need to remove oil and product build-up from the hair shafts and scalp,” Phipps says. For this reason, she recommends using a conditioner every time you wash your hair. “It can help to add moisture to the hair shafts and provide UV protection from the sun.”
Get regular trims. Phipps says a cut every three months can help manage split ends, which can travel up the shaft and make hair seem shorter.
Avoid unnecessary supplements. Supplements like biotin can help — but only if you’re actively deficient in that nutrient. If you think that may be the case, you’re better off seeking a consultation with a medical professional than buying an over-the-counter, unregulated pill. “Don’t take supplements you don’t need,” Phipps advises. “There is no magic pill out there that will help your hair grow faster.”
Cut down on stress when possible. “Stress doesn’t cause permanent hair loss or thinning, but it can trigger the hairs to skip the growth phase and go into the resting phase prematurely, which will increase the time it will take for hair to lengthen,” Phipps explains.
Use good stuff on your head. Though most hair products today skip ingredients known to be harmful, Phipps says you’ll want to avoid any products with sulfates, parabens, benzene, triclosan, polyethylene glycols and formaldehyde, all of which can harm your hair and scalp.
Speak with a doctor. Though nothing can make your hair grow faster, many conditions cause hair loss, including alopecia (pattern baldness) and skin infections caused by fungus and psoriasis. Having a dry, dirty scalp could also affect your hair growth, but a doctor can help give you a more definitive answer that, when addressed and treated, could result in more typical or relatively “faster” hair growth.
Phipps added that medications meant to treat hair loss or thinning hair, such as minoxidil or finasteride, won’t help make hair grow faster.
Keeping all that in mind, here are a few products that may help you improve your hair health and hopefully promote relatively “faster” hair growth. Many of them have helped us keep our own hair healthy, and that’s the best anyone looking for faster hair growth can do.
1. OGX Nourishing + Coconut Milk Conditioner
The OGX Nourishing + Coconut Milk Conditioner delivers all the moisture, strength and conditioning your hair needs to keep growing. Plus, it’ll leave your hair feeling soft and with a slight hint of coconut.
Read More: The Best Leave-In Conditioners for Men
2. Moroccanoil Treatment Hair Oil
The argan oil and linseed extract in the Moroccanoil Treatment Hair Oil will hydrate, nourish and improve your hair’s general health and strength. It’ll also add shine and make hair easier to untangle.
3. Wild Growth Hair Oil and Moisture Set
BEST HAIR TREATMENT
A hair growth serum like this Wild Growth Hair Oil and Moisture Set can protect your hair from dryness and friction damage. Furthermore, the oil-based products contain a unique formula that provides an ideal environment for maximum growth. That being said, be skeptical of any claims that you can achieve faster hair growth.
4. Dovahlia Boar Bristle Hair Brush Set
BEST HAIR BRUSH
Keeping your hair healthy and preventing any unwanted breakage is an important step in maximizing your hair’s growth rate. Choosing the right hair brush to manage your hair is essential to avoid this type of damage. The Dovahlia Boar Bristle Hair Brush Set is ideal for thin or regular hair types and helps to distribute scalp oils throughout your hair strands. This helps your strands to remain strong and prevents weak and easily broken hair. In addition to the brush, this set also includes a wide-toothed comb to detangle your locks safely when your hair is damp.
5. HSI PROFESSIONAL Argan Oil Heat Protector
BEST HEAT PROTECTOR
If you are serious about allowing your hair to grow as fast as possible, it may be time to take a break from high-heat treatments. Devices like hair dryers, curling tongs and straighteners increase the chances of hair breakage while damaging its overall condition. If you are set on using high-heat devices, the best thing you can do is turn the heat level down and/or use an accompanying hair protectant, like this HSI PROFESSIONAL Argan Oil Heat Protector. Apply the product to your hair before using your high-heat devices for a protective barrier against up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
6. Viviscal Man Hair Growth Supplements
Viviscal is a best-selling brand users claim actually works. It’s an extra-strength supplement designed to help your hair grow from within. If you’re not suffering from hair loss, it’s unclear whether the Viviscal supplements can help. But dermatologists have told us that some of their patients dealing with hair loss raved about Viviscal. If it worked to help people seeking treatment for hair loss, it could help you at least promote healthier hair, if not speed up your growth.
7. Equinox Professional Razor Edge Series Scissors
BEST TRIMMING SCISSORS
One of the best ways to feel like your hair is growing faster is by getting regular “micro-trims.” This quick and easy process removes unsightly split ends, which increase the amount of breakage and flyaways you experience daily. This intervention, while not actually increasing the speed at which your hair grows, does make it feel that way because you’ll enjoy a thicker, fuller, healthier-looking head of hair post-trim. The Equinox Professional Razor Edge Series Scissors will be more than sufficient hair-cutting scissors for quick touch-ups between appointments.
8. Rogaine and Finasteride
BEST HAIR LOSS TREATMENT
If you’re dealing with notable hair thinning or pattern baldness, you could be a good candidate for finasteride and minoxidil. Minoxidil is a vasodilator that allows more blood and oxygen to reach hair follicles when applied topically. That helps them grow stronger. Minoxidil can also shorten your hair’s time in the resting phase of its growth cycle. Rogaine is the best-known option, and it’s highly effective when used twice daily for more than six months.
Finasteride is a pill that effectively inhibits the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone, one of the leading causes of hair loss in men. It’s easy to get a prescription for it from a medical professional through Hims if you’re seeing noticeable hair thinning.
9. ZIMASILK Mulberry Silk Pillowcase
BEST SILK PILLOWCASE
If you’re willing to try everything, your choice of pillow can impact your hair. The eight hours you spend asleep on your hair every night can be an uncomfortable experience for your strands. The wrong pillow type can result in hair getting stuck, pulled, knotted and matted. A simple fix for this is to switch to a silk pillowcase. Additionally, this exchange won’t just benefit your hair, as silk is excellent for your skin, too.