Hair loss is a serious issue affecting men and women everywhere. If it seems like more people these days are thinning on top, you’re right. It can be a crushing blow to your confidence and self-esteem, and it can be frustrating not being in control of how you look.

But all is not lost, there are many changes you can make to your lifestyle and products that you can apply to both prevent hair loss and encourage hair growth. Here are 10 of the best techniques, habits, supplements and hair growth serums to make your hair grow.

1. Hair Growth Vitamins

Your body needs vitamins to perform its functions properly, and growing hair is no different. If your scalp and follicles aren’t getting what they need to do their jobs, hair growth will suffer. Fortunately, the vitamin industry is booming, and there are plenty of hair vitamin supplements that you can get over the counter.

Zinc, iron and vitamin D are all essential vitamins for stopping hair loss and promoting hair growth. They cultivate not only your follicles but your scalp skin as well. With stronger and healthier follicles, your hair will be stronger and thicker. For general skin and hair health, you should increase the number of antioxidants in your system; an all-around health benefit. You can do this with vitamin C.

Besides multivitamins and specific vitamin supplements, you can also change your diet to help your hair. Leafy greens like spinach are a great source of iron, fish and mushrooms provide vitamin D (as well as 10-15 minutes daily sunbathing), and citrus fruits can boost your vitamin C.

2. Stop Shampooing Every Day

This may seem unpleasant to germaphobes and clean freaks, but you should not wash your hair every day or even every other day. You shouldn’t even shower or bathe every day. The reasons for both are the same: You are removing your natural oils and defenses every time you shower.

Whenever you shower and especially apply shampoo, you clean out dirt and grime, but you also strip away your natural oils that your body creates to protect your hair and scalp. These oils strengthen your hair and trap moisture as well as form a barrier to foreign substances. Constant shampooing leaves your hair week.

This is not to say don’t shampoo. Just scale it back to twice a week at most. Cleaning out gunk and grime is still important, just don’t overdo it.

3. Apply a Weekly Oil Treatment

Your body’s natural oils can strengthen your hair, but you don’t have to stop there. By applying oils of your own, you can add extra layers of protection or restore oils that have been lost. Many hair salons nowadays offer oil treatments to keep hair strong and shiny, but if you are budget conscious or just don’t have the time to go every week, you can do it yourself at home.

Rosemary oil extract has been demonstrated in studies to slow hair loss in men and women. Alternatively, to merely strengthen your hair, you can warm up a bit of olive, coconut, or argon oil and apply it to your scalp and hair. Let it sit for 15 minutes, then rinse it out with warm water.

4. Don’t use Harmful Treatments or Heat

This should go without saying, but the demands of modern style require it to be repeated. Harmful chemicals and treatments severely weaken your hair, cause it to fall out and inhibit growth. Dyes, chemical straighteners, bleaches and chemical relaxers all make your hair thin, frizzy and weak.

Also, excessive heat can also make your hair brittle and fall out before it has a chance to thrive. Hot iron curlers, straighteners and even blow dryers can have devastating effects on your hair’s health if used excessively. Limit their use or consider using heat protection products.

5. Hair Growth Serums

Recent advancements in science have led to the creation of so-called “hair growth serums” that promote hair growth just by coming in contact with the scalp (not to be confused with simply “hair serum” which is a beauty treatment). This isn’t our grandpa’s hair tonic; this stuff is heavily researched by the billion-dollar hair loss prevention industry.

Take, for example, the Grow Gorgeous Hair Growth Serum. This hair growth serums use Acetyl Tetrapeptide-3, a chemical that stimulates collagen growth thereby preventing hair loss and encouraging longer growths. Natural additives from plants such as Chinese skullcap, soy sprout and wheat sprout feed your follicles and thicken hair to strengthen it and make your head of hair appear fuller. Hair growth serums are available in drugstores and online without a prescription as they are not harmful to you.

6. Change Brushing Methods

It may be hard to believe, but simply changing the way you brush your hair will help your hair grow thicker and longer. Incorrect brushing technique leads to tangles and snags which in turn lead to traction alopecia, which is hair loss from pulling out follicles forcibly.

Brush your hair starting at the ends of your hair and work your way to the scalp. Starting at the scalp when brushing can turn little tangles into big knots by the time you get to the end. Also, consider using a boar bristle brush on your hair. It keeps your hair even and spreads your natural hair oils from your scalp to the entire hair.

7. Rinse Hair in Cold Water

Another simple trick you can add to your hair care arsenal. When you are done shampooing and conditioning, rinse your hair with cold water. Hot water opens your pores and follicles up and lets the hair fall out. Use cold water instead to lock your hair in and seal away protective products like conditioner.

8. Egg White and Aloe Mask

Moisture is vital for both skin and hair health, and the plant most associated with moisture is aloe. Get the benefits of aloe onto your scalp with an egg white and aloe mask scalp treatment. It will lock moisture into your hair and make it stronger and healthier looking.

Add one egg white to fresh aloe vera or bottled aloe if that’s all you have access to. Completely cover your hair and scalp. Let the mask set in for 20 minutes, then rinse it out with cold water. And remember, no hair electric hair dryers!

9. Hair Growth Supplements

Along with an improved diet and vitamin intake, there are several hair growth supplements on the market that you can take as well. These supplements contain chemical compounds and extracts that can do wonders for your hair growth and hair retention with daily use.

Biotin and B-complex vitamin are compounds that repair damaged hair. Taken orally, they undo the harm caused but years of shampooing, chemical treatment, sun exposure and environmental pollutants. Biotin rebuilds your hair to keep it in the follicle and growing thicker and longer.

For added antioxidant support, consider taking a fish oil supplement. The benefits of omega-3 fatty acids have been well documented, and fish oil is one of the best and easiest sources. Fish oil increases not only hair growth speed but also hair diameter, making for a fuller and healthier appearance.

10. Homemade Hair Growth Serum

If you find that hair growth serums are out of your price range or you just don’t have access to them, it is possible for you to create a DIY hair growth serum. There is no one recipe that will work for everyone, which is great news because it means you can add any oils that you already prefer or know work for you. Here is a sample DIY hair growth serum with some essential ingredients.

First, start with a base of coconut oil; fractionated coconut oil is quite popular these days. A good 80 percent of your serum should be the coconut oil. Then add several drops of lavender oil, rosemary oil, safflower oil and castor oil. You’ll want them in equal amounts, but the total amount will vary depending on the spray bottle you store your serum in. Glass and stainless steel spray bottles are preferable. Shake well before use and spray lightly onto your scalp. Work it in with your fingertips, and that’s it! No rinsing.

Play around with the recipe and find your best hair growth serum. Everyone’s scalp is different so it may take some experimenting to find the best oils for your serum. If you aren’t sure, check the ingredients of your favorite hair care products or ask a stylish which oils are best for your hair type.

A Concerted Effort

No single one of these methods is the magic bullet to kick starting your hair growth. You can’t just plop one product on your head and call it a day. If you are serious about longer, thicker, healthier looking hair, then you will need to employ many of these different products and techniques to get the look you want. It may seem like a momentous task, but with determination and persistence you can change your routines and make healthier hair the norm.

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