It’s a bride’s worst nightmare: A week after you’ve worked up the courage to get that trendy LOB you’ve been wanting, your boyfriend (now fiancé) proposes. And while you may love your short cut, you’ve always envisioned long, beautiful waves on your wedding day. If extensions aren’t in the budget and time isn’t on your side, here are 10 tips that will help your hair grow back (fast) for your wedding.
1. Don’t trim your hair every month
Contrary to what you’ve always heard, constant trimming isn’t great for your hair, but neither is ignoring it completely. Your hair grows a half an inch every month and you don’t want to be cutting off all that progress. At the same time, a split end can travel up the hair shaft causing your hair to break off, which isn’t good either. The solution: Give your hair a slight trim every three months to cut away dead ends without stunting growth.
2. Be gentle
Be kind to your hair! Avoid harsh chemicals (if you can) and limit the number of times you shampoo to two or three times a week. Cleansing your hair too often can strip your strands of natural oils, making hair more prone to breakage (read: hair breaks before it can grow). You can avoid oily roots by brushing your hair a few times a day with a natural bristle brush—it distributes oils down the hair shaft and helps you fight the temptation to wash.
3. Avoid the elements
Summer can wreak havoc on your poor locks. Exposure to UV rays from the sun can strip hair down and cause damage over time, while salt water and chlorine can dry hair out, making it brittle. Always wear a hat outside and rinse your hair with fresh water immediately after a quick dip in the ocean or pool.
4. Go heat-free
You may think that blow dryers, curling irons and flat irons keep frizz away, but in reality they are frying your strands and causing more frizz. Let your hair air dry whenever possible for healthier locks, but don’t brush or sleep with wet hair: Damp strands are more susceptible to damage. Instead, detangle damp hair with a wide-tooth comb and gently squeeze excess water out with an old T-shirt for a less-rough approach.
5. Drink lots of water and eat right
The best way to keep your hair moisturized and healthy is to stay hydrated. Drinking lots of water helps push toxins out of your body and promotes hair growth. Eating more fruits and veggies will also strengthen your hair strands from the inside-out.
6. Leave it down
Rubber bands, clips and pins may seem like a simple solution to a bad hair day, but pulling your hair back into a ponytail can actually cause more damage to your hair in the long run. Leave your hair loose and avoid pulling it back—especially when it’s wet—and you’ll notice a difference over time.
7. Avoid silicone shampoos
Silicone coats your hair, which effectively blocks out nutrients and prevents hair from getting the proper nourishment to grow long. It might be more expensive, but buy shampoos and conditioners without silicone in the ingredient list. You’ll be washing your hair less, so it will all even out in the end.
8. Give yourself a hot oil treatment
It might sound counterintuitive to put oil on an oily scalp, but a hot oil massage can breakdown scalp buildup and stimulate hair growth from the roots. A quick way to do this at home is to apply either coconut oil or jojoba oil to your scalp before you get into the shower. Let the oil sit for 15 minutes in the steam from your running shower—rubbing it into your scalp—and then wash it out with shampoo.
9. Try some DIY rinses
You would be surprised how many items in your kitchen are good for your hair. Rinsing your hair weekly with either an apple cider vinegar, onion water, palm oil or grape seed oil will help promote hair growth and keep your strands silky and healthy.
10. Use silk pillow covers
It sounds like an unnecessary luxury, but sleeping on a silk pillowcase can actually help your hair grow long. Cotton or linen fabrics can pull or tug at hair, causing it to break while you’re tossing and turning at night. Silk won’t cause any unwanted friction, so your hair remains smooth and knot-free in the morning.