Many women dream of having thick, luscious hair; however, many assume it’s simply not in the cards mother nature dealt them. While genetics certainly play a role in hair thickness, a large percentage of those who complain about having thin, limp, lifeless hair can actually attribute this characteristic to their hair care practices.
“If you have thinning hair, there are a few things that you can do at home to keep the hair that you have healthy, and also help promote new hair growth,” Dr. Joshua Zeichner, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City, told Southern Living.
And he’s right. As a person who swore up and down that I had been passed the thin hair gene from my dad’s side of the family, I, as well as many of the people around me, was extremely surprised when I switched up my hair care routine a few years back and witnessed a dramatic change in the thickness and texture of my hair. Here’s a little bit of what I’ve learned during my journey.
Cut out direct heat
First things first, direct heat should be removed from your hair care routine as much as humanly possible. Direct heat generally comes from hot styling tools that make direct contact with the hair — such as curling irons, hot combs, curling wands, and hot rollers. Regular use of heat often leads to heat damage, breakage, and limp hair.
The benefits of cutting or trimming your hair regularly, meaning at least twice per year, are two-fold. For one, blunt cut ends will generally make the hair appear both thicker and fuller. Additionally, regular trims help to maintain hair health by getting rid of split ends, which will ultimately lead to breakage and thinner-looking hair.
Deep condition with heat
Deep conditioning should be a regular part of any hair regimen because it helps to restore moisture. However, regularly deep conditioning — meaning once a week or at the very least, every two weeks — with heat is a complete game-changer as the heat lifts the hair cuticle, ultimately helping the conditioner penetrate strands more deeply. Of course, deep conditioning with heat requires discipline because no one wants to sit under a dryer, but neat little tools, such as the Hot Head heated conditioning cap, can help with that.
Something else that is often underestimated is the power of biotin supplements. As explained by Healthline, biotin is a B complex vitamin that helps “the body convert food into energy.” Biotin helps to “keep your skin, hair, eyes, liver, and nervous system healthy.” Regular consumption of biotin supplements is a helpful way of improving the hair’s health and thickness from the inside out.
Moisturize and seal
A simple practice, but one that often gets neglected, is the two or three-step approach to moisturizing hair between washes. There are a few ways that this can be done, but two of the most effective methods are the LOC or LCO methods. The LOC method is comprised of a liquid — which can be water or a water-based leave-in conditioner, followed by an oil, and a liquid moisturizer. The LCO method is nearly identical to the LOC method except that steps two and three are swapped. Both approaches are highly effective at keeping the hair hydrated throughout the week.
Wear low-manipulation styles
When longer, thicker, and healthier hair is the goal, protective styles are a great option because they reduce the number of times that you need to handle, style, detangle, or comb your hair, which means fewer opportunities for damage and breakage. However, for those who prefer to wear their hair straight, one could also argue that doobie wraps can qualify as low-manipulation because all you are doing each day is gently unwrapping your hair in the morning and re-wrapping it at bedtime.
There’s a myth that is promoted by some hair circles that infrequent washing improves hair health because dirt promotes growth. In actuality, a clean and healthy scalp is the foundation for better hair growth. Further, the ultimate moisturizer for any hair type is water. Cutting down washes in an attempt to promote hair health or thickness is actually counterproductive, especially since oily hair tends to be weighed down and thinner looking.
Use high-quality shampoos and conditioners
Not all shampoos and conditioners are created equally. This is not to say that you have to go out and spend a small fortune on hair care products, but you should begin reading labels and pay closer attention to the ingredients being used. Products with high-quality, natural ingredients tend to work much better than those made with harsh chemicals.
Add castor oil to your regimen
Pure Jamaican Black Castor Oil is a must-have if you dream of growing longer, thicker hair. It has been proven to increase blood flow and stimulate hair growth when applied to the scalp. You can add this vitamin E and fatty acid-rich oil to your hair care regimen by using it to oil your scalp or mixing it with your favorite deep conditioner.
Be selective about your styling tools
Rattail combs are great for clean parts and salon-quality flat ironing, but when it comes to regular maintenance, you’ll want to opt for wide-tooth combs and Denman brushes. Small-tooth combs and more likely to snag and tug at the hair, adding to split ends and breakage.