Sometimes you just want Crystal Gayle hair, dammit—and your patience is wearing thin. Well, there's a well-known solution for all your overnight hair-growth needs and it's called "extensions." So if you're wanting to live out the ultimate Rapunzel fantasy right now, they're your best bet. (Or you could just carefully toss your keys down, buzz the dude up, or tell your roommate that the Seamless guy is downstairs and promise to share...) But not everyone has the time/money/desire to glue extra hair to their heads, so for you all there is this article, ripe with things that will help your real, very own DNA-loaded hair grow and look longer with a little more dedication than you're feeling right now toward your new Debbie Harry bangs.
On the Inside
Are you living off of Ruffles and Vitamin E-enriched lip gloss? First of all, stop doing that. And secondly, if you know your diet isn't great or probably lacking key nutrients, supplements might be useful. In order for your hair to grow well—and for you to live—you need a whole bunch of different things: iron, zinc, vitamin D, and the entire vitamin B complex, just to name a few. So a high-quality multivitamin could theoretically speed up your hair growth. A lot of vitamins, however, are of little to no health value, so finding one with ingredients that haven't degraded and are actually digestible is key. Aloha and New Chapter Organics are both ITG staff favorites for bioavailability and freshness, but you should always do your own research, especially if you have food allergies or sensitivities.
If you're getting all your dietary prerequisites but feel as though you could still use a boost in the hair nutriceuticals department, Viviscal is legendary in the modeling world (Caroline Trentini, Karlie Kloss, Jessica Stam...). It's kind of like the La Mer of hair-growth treatments, in that celebrities swear by it and it's made of a mysterious blend of marine proteins and enzymes. The formula may be hush-hush, but it's definitely not vegetarian, so if shellfish aren't part of your diet, look elsewhere. Otherwise, you should start to see results in two to four months.
If you're ready to get experimental, you could also try munching on Tapatío-doused edamame, because thanks to *science* we now know the capsaicin in spicy food and the isoflavones in soy can contribute to more rapid keratin—i.e., hair—production. A study published in the Journal of Growth Hormone & IGF Research "strongly suggested that combined administration of capsaicin and isoflavone might increase IGF-I production in hair follicles in the skin, thereby promoting hair growth." Now you know.
On the Outside
The quickest way to make your hair look longer is to keep it from breaking in the first place—so laying off heat styling and using a good hydrating, strengthening hair mask is never a bad move. Getting your hair trimmed won't make it grow faster (that's an old wives' tale), but the lack of split ends does make it look healthier, which is valuable in its own way. Healthier, heavier hair looks more full in general, so don't just think length when you're considering growth. In fact, Designer Vika Gazinskaya's secret to great hair isn't about lengthening at all—it's about thickening. "I use Nioxin Noticeably Thinning Shampoo and Leave-In Conditioner," she says. "Their products make my hair look noticeably more... voluminous, and they take care of my scalp at the same time."
Which brings us to another key component in hair growth—your scalp. It's where your follicles are, so if it's not healthy, hydrated, and well-kept, you're out of luck. Scalp massages are the traditional remedy to increasing circulation and moisturizing the delicate skin on your head, but there are also scalp treatments specifically designed to keep it in good shape. The bare minimum in scalp stimulation is that tingly mint shampoo, which activates nerve endings and has the added benefit of feeling really good.
Photos by Mathea Millman.