There are a million ideas out there on how to keep your locks fully “locked-in” and lush.
Hair growth averages about ½ inch per month, so if you don’t think you are hitting that mark or you just want to max out your hair growth potential, keep on reading.
Hair loss prevention ideas range from cracking an egg on your head to filtering and injecting some of your own blood (Yeah).
In this article, we have rounded up a lot of the hair growth buzz online and tried to dissect the pros and cons of each.
These tips are best for those who have general hair loss/thinning, or just want super lush locks. If your hair loss is due to an underlying medical condition, we advise that you talk to your doctor for options.
When you are super stressed, this can cause your hair follicles to enter a state called Telogen Effluvium.
With Telogen Effluvium, a much larger percentage of your hair follicles change into the “resting” telogen phase instead of the “growing” anagen phase.
Hair follicles that are in this resting telogen phase don’t grow as usual and will eventually shed.
Luckily Telogen Effluvium is normally fully reversible once the stressor is gone.
Pros: Healthier hair and healthier life.
Cons: There aren’t really any cons to reducing stress in your life - this tip is for everyone!
The following vitamins and supplements have been shown to help support normal healthy hair growth:
Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Iron, Zinc, l-Lysine.
And let’s not forget Biotin, which has a decent amount of support for its hair and nail growth benefits if you are deficient:
Aim for supplementing with 2-5mg (2000-5000mcg) Biotin, or eating 30mcg of Biotin in foods each day.
Supplements are great for hair, but with one caveat:
If you are already getting your 100% requirements of these, your body will get rid of the excess and you likely will not notice any hair changes.
Pros: Works pretty well for hair growth if you were low in any of these. (And honestly, who has a 100% balanced diet every day?)
Biotin alone works pretty well, and it is hard to take too much of it since it is water-soluble.
Cons: If you are doing great with your nutrient game, you likely won't notice additional benefits.
You can overdo supplements - while most of these are water-soluble and will clear out of your system pretty quickly if not needed, fat-soluble vitamins like D, A, K, and E stick around and may build up, causing over-supplementation problems...including potential hair loss for Vitamin A.
The idea behind hair growth shampoos and conditioners is to bring blood flow, or hair stimulating and nourishing nutrients to the area. But, with the amount of time this is on your scalp, the effects are limited.
With hair loss shampoos and conditioners, you may have some luck if your hair woes are due to a less than ideal scalp.
If you have a scalp condition like dandruff or psoriasis, you may be losing hair due to the scalp condition and a shampoo that addresses that issue may help with hair growth.
Or, if your current shower regimen has a lot of irritating chemicals, is drying out your hair, or leaving a buildup on your scalp, it may be time to switch to something more scalp friendly. You want your scalp clean, but moisturized, for healthy hair growth.
However, some shampoo chemicals like Panthenol may help increase moisture in the scalp and hair shaft, making strand appear fuller.
Pros: Many hair loss shampoos use less irritating ingredients that support a healthy scalp, and may reduce scalp conditions that may be limiting your hair growth.
Cons: If you already have a perfectly healthy scalp, the effect of these shampoos and conditioners may not be fantastic.
It has been found that coconut oil does a pretty good job of penetrating deep into the hair shaft.
And one study that tested coconut oil on both damaged and non-damaged hair and found that in both cases, the coconut oil helped reduce protein loss from hairs.
So, coconut oil may actually increase the overall health of hair, helping prevent hair loss from damage.
Pros: Inexpensive, safe to use, doesn’t clog pores, looks like it could help with the health of hair and scalp which may lead to increased hair retention. Couldn’t hurt to try it!
Cons: No extensive studies showing boosted hair growth, most of the info is from a personal use report.
All of the best foods for hair growth are ones that contain decent amounts of the vitamins and nutrients that we listed in the supplement section:
Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Iron, Zinc, and Proteins.
And, if you can, it is best to get these from food instead of through a handful of supplements. Although a mixture of the two can be good as well.
Some of the best foods for hair growth are:
Eggs, Berries, Spinach, Fish, Sweet Potatoes, Avocados, Nuts, Seeds, Bell Peppers, Beans, Lean Proteins.
Pros: The foods that are good for your hair are good for the rest of your body as well. It is very difficult to “overdose” on nutrients when getting them in food form vs when taking isolated supplements.
Pretty good evidence linking a healthy nutrient-dense diet to a healthy head of hair.
Cons: If you already have a balanced and nutrient-rich diet, you probably will not notice any changes in your hair from eating even more of these healthy foods.
Some people swear by the application of essential oils diluted in a carrier oil to the scalp to encourage hair growth, moisture, shine, and increased blood flow.
Some of the essential oils for hair mentioned include:
Almond, Cedarwood, Chamomile, Clary sage, Geranium, Jojoba, Lavender, Rosemary, and Sandalwood.
Pros: Smell nice. Good safety profile when used diluted.
Cons: Not a lot of evidence-based studies to back up these effects. If used undiluted or too strong, some may have irritation or an allergic reaction at the application site.
In one study, 9 men had their scalp massaged for 4 minutes every day for 24 weeks (Sign me up!).
The results found the scalp massage upregulated hair growth genes and increased hair shaft thickness.
Researchers attributed these effects to the stretching forces on the scalp epidermal cells - so the massage can probably be done by a manual massage, or from a massaging tool.
Pros: You get a scalp massage! No adverse effects. Inexpensive or free. Evidence points to this potentially helping with hair growth and thickness.
Cons: We don’t really see a downside to this one.
One study, which combined Minoxidil application with once-weekly microneedling vs Minoxidil alone, found that after 12 weeks the microneedling group self-reported a 50% improvement 77.5% more than the non-microneedling group.
Microneedling is thought to help by stimulating stem cells and increasing growth factors by making tiny punctures in the scalp.
Pros: Microneedling seems like a promising addition to a hair growth routine, especially if applying topical hair growth medications after the treatment. Inexpensive to purchase. It can be done at home. It can be done as little as once a week.
Cons: Microneedling can be moderately painful. Red marks may linger for a few days. Have to be careful to not push too hard with the roller.
A sci-fi newcomer in the hair loss treatment world is low-level laser therapy (LLLT).
One study found that men who used an LLLT cap every other day for 16 weeks had a 35% hair growth increase compared to the placebo group.
This study also reported no pain or side effects from the treatment.
Pros: You will look so futuristic. The few studies that we have regarding LLLT look promising. No pain reported.
Cons: Long-term safety has not been established. Expensive and time-consuming. May not work for everyone.
The PRP procedure works by drawing the patient's own blood, spinning the blood until the platelet-rich plasma layer is separated, and then injecting the platelet solution into the scalp.
PRP stands for Platelet Rich Plasma, and one study in 11 patients reported a hair count increase after the 4th PRP session.
Pros: Studies look promising for moderately increased hair growth. No drugs required.
Cons: Injections are supposed to occur every 4-6 weeks. Moderately expensive. Pain at the injection site.
If your hair loss is occurring from excess levels of an androgen called DHT (which a lot of hair loss is), your best bet is an anti-androgen prescription such as Finasteride or Spironolactone.
The two FDA-approved treatments for male pattern hair loss include prescription Finasteride (Propecia) tablets and Minoxidil (Rogaine) topical for men.
The hair growth options for women from the pharmacy include Minoxidil (Rogaine) topical and Spironolactone (Aldactone).
Prescription Minoxidil, and Spironolactone topical gel for women can be found through our Online Consultation to see if this medication is right for you.
Pros: There is good evidence showing that Minoxidil works well for hair growth for both male and female patients. Finasteride tablets are considered first-line for Male Pattern Hair Loss and may reduce hair-ravaging DHT levels by up to 60%. Spironolactone helps reduce androgens in the scalp. It can be easily combined with most other hair growth ideas on this list.
Cons: As with most medications, there are moderate side effects that may occur with Finasteride, Spironolactone, and Minoxidil. Finasteride can only be used in males. Spironolactone is generally reserved for women. These need to be used long-term.
Ultimately, it is helpful to identify what is causing your hair to not be living up to its full potential.
Stress reduction and a balanced diet full of hair-boosting nutrients is always a good idea.
Supplements may be beneficial for hair growth in case of a deficiency, just make sure not to go overboard.
Coconut oil may be promising for hair and scalp health.
Hair loss shampoos and conditioners may help boost scalp health, but if your scalp is healthy already they probably won’t enhance growth.
Essential oils may be worth a try, but may cause irritation if not properly diluted.
Scalp massage has pretty good evidence for boosting scalp blood flow, growth factors, and hair thickness.
Microneedling is a little painful, but may benefit hair growth, especially if combined with minoxidil-based treatments.
Laser treatments have moderate evidence in successful hair growth, but they are limited by the hassle and expense.
PRP injections may be moderately successful, but are expensive and patients must return for injections every 4-6 weeks.
Hair growth medications have been around for a while and are a mainstay for those who really mean business.