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How to Grow Long Hair: Steps 11 - 20

11. Comb your hair to ensure all knots have been removed before shampooing. After the knots have been removed, use a boar bristle brush to remove loose hairs, which will also cut down on knotting during shampooing (not to mention keeping your shower drain clean and your plumber at bay). Try to teach your husband to do the same. Good luck with that.

12. Let your hair get dirty once in awhile. That's right... permission to be lazy! Don't shampoo, spend the entire weekend in bed drinking Moet Brut, eating chocolate bonbons (chocolate contains sulphur which helps build strong hair!) and watching Out of Africa for the umpteenth time (my absolute favorite flick). Rewind a few times and live vicariously through Meryl Streep as Robert Redford shampoos her tresses while reciting poetry, while those natural conditioning oils work their magic in your hair.
Don't forget the boar bristle brush before shampooing to distribute those oils and for heaven's sake don't answer the door for any reason before shampooing! Well, unless of course you are expecting Bob to drop by with a bottle of Pantene.

13. Don't pile your hair on your head when you wash it, that's just asking for knots. Apply shampoo only to the roots and wash your scalp, then work the shampoo to the ends. You may find adding a bit of water to your shampoo or very quickly ducking under the shower spray after initially applying it will increase lathering significantly, making it easier to work the soap to the ends of your tresses. When you apply conditioner, work it through to the ends, smoothing and detangling gently with your fingers as you go. Continue smoothing your hair as you rinse. This will make combing your wet hair much easier and less likely to tear.

14. If you shampoo often or have very dry hair, you may want to consider using only conditioner to wash it on occasion. If your hair isn't very dirty the conditioner will easily rinse away surface contaminants while allowing you to avoid daily use of the harsher solvents found in shampoo. If your hair is dry but you prefer to wash it less often, you might want to try using a Cleansing conditioner in place of shampoo(the most popular one by far is Wen). There are lots of people who swear by this method, especially the curly-haired crowd!

15. Rinse in as cold water as you can stand. Not only will this make the hair cuticle lay flat and less likely to snag and break, but by the same token you'll get the added benefit of very shiny hair that's easier to comb wet. Yes, you will get used to doing this, even in the shower, and it is wonderfully invigorating for your whole bod, not just your hair. I know, I know... I couldn't convince Hubby either, but it's true, I swear! Trust me.

16. If your hair is very coarse and/or curly, or you didn't heed my stern advice and it's still damaged (don't make me come over there) or if it's prone to damage easily, you may want to use a leave-in conditioner in addition to a rinse-out conditioner (I highly recommend Infusium 23 Leave-In Treatment, but there are a few good ones).

17. Avoid chlorine and saltwater (the chlorine in a pool is not much different than the caustic chlorine bleach you use in your laundry). If you go swimming in either, shampoo your hair as soon as possible after exposure. If you expose your hair to chlorine often, you may want to consider using a shampoo specially formulated to remove the green tinge that can occur (UltraSwim is a tried and true brand), because you know... ick.

If you swim very often, invest in a Speedo long hair swim cap (and to be really kind to your hair, apply deep conditioner and take advantage of the body heat that will be generated while you're wearing it). If you spend a lot of time in the sun, summer or winter, use a product that provides UV protection against the sun's rays, or cover your hair with a tightly-woven hat or silk scarf, (which you can then use to tie your beautiful, healthy hair up in a ponytail or wrap around your shoulders when the sun goes down... multi-tasking with elegance, love that!) Just as it's very damaging to skin, it's important to remember that the sun is very damaging to your hair as well.

18. Avoid extreme diets. If your body isn't getting enough nutrition, neither is your hair. Even if you try to avoid fat, it's essential that you don't completely eliminate all fat from your diet. Your hair (and body) will surely suffer for it. If you tend to restrict calories then be sure to take a multivitamin. Any comprehensive one will do, but do look for a multivitamin that contains biotin (the Daily Journey brand is extremely popular), or if you prefer a higher dose you can just take biotin supplements, which are very affordable. Either will ensure your hair gets the most important nutrients it needs.
Mariana Admires Her Very Long Hair in This Painting by John William Waterhouse 19. Deep condition at least monthly, even if your tresses are in good shape this will help keep them that way (for deep conditioning you really can't do any better than Moroccan Oil Intense Hydrating Mask). If your hair is dry or damaged, deep condition weekly. Hot oil treatments using pure jojoba oil are a good alternative for very dry hair or for extra conditioning (but be forewarned, to some extent hot oil treatments will lift or fade hair dye). You might want to try washing and applying conditioner at night, wearing a shower cap to bed, and rinsing in the morning for a really intense conditioning treatment as well. A word to the wise... conditioning nights have been conclusively proven to be detrimental to romantic evenings with the significant other. Use this information to your own best advantage based on the current status of your relationship.

20. Lessen the friction on your hair whenever possible. Don't sleep with it loose or if you must, use a satin pillow case. If your hair is very long and prone to getting caught in car windows, seat belts, doors, or even under your butt when you sit down, it's important to remember that all these things can cause damage to your precious locks. Wear your hair braided or in an updo hairstyle (did I already mention LongLocks HairSticks?) whenever possible to avoid daily wear and tear. And we all know, no matter what promises product manufacturers claim, the ONLY way to fix badly damaged hair is to CUT IT OFF... perish the thought!

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