Locations:
Search IconSearch

How To Make Your Hair Grow Faster

8 tips for healthy locks

Woman washing her hair biiotin benefits hair loss

That pixie cut seemed like a good idea at the time. But now you’re staring in the mirror, and the reflection looking back is more, “Eek!” than chic.

Advertisement

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

Is there anything (anything?!) you can do to speed up the growing-out process? Dermatologist Wilma Bergfeld, MD, gives us the long and short of it.

How fast does hair grow?

The hair on your head grows in cycles. At any time, about 80% of your hair is actively growing. The remaining strands are in either a resting state or preparing to die and fall out.

If your hair is shedding like crazy, see your doctor to rule out any illnesses or nutrient deficiencies that might be responsible. But if scissors — not shedding — are at the root of your problem, you’ll have to summon some patience: Hair grows a measly 4 to 6 inches per year.

Tips to make your hair grow faster

The internet “experts” may be in love with that inversion method (where you hang your head upside down for a few minutes to, theoretically, promote blood flow to your scalp and grow your mane), but scientists haven’t tested it out yet.

When you want your hair to hurry up and grow already, Dr. Bergfeld recommends these proven methods:

1. Get checked by a doctor for deficiencies 

“Take care of your health issues,” she says. Hormonal abnormalities, anemia and other nutrient deficiencies can short-circuit the growth pattern. Dr. Bergfeld recommends having your doctor do some tests to identify any possible deficiencies.

2. Eat a balanced diet

A well-rounded, nutritious diet is important for head-to-toe health, including the hairs on your head. Avoid diets that cut out entire food groups, Dr. Bergfeld cautions. And if you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, make sure you’re getting all the protein types and nutrients your body needs. Your doctor or dietitian can help you create a well-balanced eating plan.

3. Try out some vitamins and supplements

Give your locks a boost with the nutrients that matter most for hair growth. A well-balanced diet can include these vitamins (and more). You can also consider oral supplements to ensure you’re getting the full menu of hair-growing nutrients.

Some of the biggies include:

In addition to these long-studied vitamins, there are some new supplements that Dr. Bergfeld says have shown good results in clinical studies.

What about biotin or collagen?

Both biotin (aka vitamin B7) and collagen are frequently touted as go-tos for strengthening your hair (nails and skin, too). Dr. Bergfeld says both may be useful when you’re looking to grow your locks.

Advertisement

Biotin improves hair growth and helps with inflammation,” Dr. Bergfeld notes. “The hair follicle, the skin and the nails all benefit.”

Get your fill of B7 from foods like eggs, fish, meat, seeds, nuts, sweet potatoes, broccoli and cauliflower, or try out a mega-B vitamin.

Likewise, Dr. Bergfeld says collagen supplements have recently shown strong results in initial clinical studies, but more research is needed. Collagen is a protein that supports healthy skin, cartilage, bones and connective tissue.

4. Use color and chemical treatments with caution

Hair that’s weak and damaged will break long before it reaches great lengths (or even medium lengths). Avoid bleach and chemical treatments that can damage hair.

5. Keep it cool

Like chemicals, heat styling can damage your hair. Try to avoid frequent blowouts and step away from the curling iron. If you can’t resist, use a heat protectant before you style.

6. Know your hair type

Fine, coarse, curly, colored — different hair types have different needs. If your hair is dry, for instance, wash it less frequently and use a heavier conditioner. If your hair is fine or very curly, it can be easily damaged. Avoid brushing while it’s wet and use products designed for your hair type.

7. Get trims

Scheduling a haircut can feel counterproductive when you want your hair to get longer. But regular trims keep hair from breaking and getting even shorter, Dr. Bergfeld notes.

“Split ends run up the hair fiber like a rip in your stockings. You need to clip those off,” she adds.

8. Pamper your scalp

Look to the root of the problem, Dr. Bergfeld suggests. “If your scalp is itchy or flaky, that translates to inflammation, which turns off hair growth.” To keep your scalp happy, try anti-dandruff shampoos or avoid heavily fragranced shampoos and conditioners, which can irritate sensitive skin. “If your scalp is healthy, your hair will be the best it can be,” she says.

What about rice water for hair growth?

The science isn’t proven, but ancient Japanese legends claim that rinsing your mane with rice water is key to flowing tresses. At least anecdotally, there seems to be some benefit to this generations-old pro-tip. Why could it work? Rice includes the antioxidant inositol, which is known as a hair rejuvenator.

Hair products to avoid

Dr. Bergfeld adds that it’s best to skip shampoos and serums that claim to contain hair-growing vitamins. “Those don’t penetrate the skin or hair well,” she explains.

Sadly, there’s no magic formula to transform you into Rapunzel — at least not yet. “Major cosmetic houses have some of the best chemical scientists in the world,” she says. “Lots of researchers are working on this.”

Advertisement

Learn more about our editorial process.

Related Articles

jar of rice water and brush, with rice scattered around table
June 4, 2024/Skin Care & Beauty
Could Rice Water Be the Secret To Healthier Hair?

While there’s little risk in trying this hair care treatment, there isn’t much science to back up the claims

Closeup of a head with scalp psoriasis
April 16, 2024/Skin Care & Beauty
Experiencing Scalp Psoriasis? Learn How To Treat and Reduce Hair Loss

Calm an itchy scalp by using medicated shampoo, avoiding blow-drying and resisting the urge to scratch

Person with alopecia areata
March 22, 2024/Skin Care & Beauty
Self-Care Tips To Manage Alopecia Areata

A gentle hair care routine, stress reduction and sun protection can help reduce flares and maintain your locks

bottles and jars of natural lotions and essential oils
March 8, 2024/Skin Care & Beauty
Natural Treatments for Alopecia Areata

Home remedies may help your hair, but don’t expect them to cure the autoimmune disease

Smiling person holding small container of moisturizer close to face, with product applied to face
February 1, 2024/Skin Care & Beauty
What Does Vitamin B5 Do for Your Hair and Skin?

Pantothenol is a powerful moisturizer and can help repair damaged skin and hair

close up of female pulling hairs from a brush
January 10, 2024/Diabetes & Endocrinology
Is My Thyroid to Blame for My Hair Loss?

The endocrine gland in charge of hormone production may be causing your hair to shed or stop growing

Back of person's head with long hair with hands scratching their scalp
December 10, 2023/Skin Care & Beauty
Itchy Scalp? 8 Common Causes and How To Find Relief

Options range from allergic reactions and head lice to chronic conditions and fungal infections

woman dyeing her hair
October 24, 2023/Cancer Care & Prevention
Can Hair Dye Increase Cancer Risk?

Research shows some associations and concerns, but no definitive connections

Trending Topics

Female and friend jogging outside
How To Increase Your Metabolism for Weight Loss

Focus on your body’s metabolic set point by eating healthy foods, making exercise a part of your routine and reducing stress

stovetop with stainless steel cookware and glassware
5 Ways Forever Chemicals (PFAS) May Affect Your Health

PFAS chemicals may make life easier — but they aren’t always so easy on the human body

jar of rice water and brush, with rice scattered around table
Could Rice Water Be the Secret To Healthier Hair?

While there’s little risk in trying this hair care treatment, there isn’t much science to back up the claims

Ad