Rewind 4 years before I went to hair school and learned how to take care of my hair... I had not a CLUE what I was doing. I used Garnier Fructis shampoo and conditioner, dyed my hair brown, then bleached the daylights out of it back blonde, then brown, then blonde- you get it.
I literally had FRIED hair that was well above my boobs. Now it is a few inches passed my boobs (I don't know another scale to use other than boobs), it is still thin (but unfortunately only extensions can fix that), but it is longer and MUCH healthier! You can ask my friends from high school, my hair has changed entirely. It probably grew about 6 inches which is good for absolutely trashed hair, and I give it all to these secrets I am about to tell you.
1.) BRUSH YOUR HAIR/SCALP: STIMULATES YOUR CELLS AND PROMOTES HAIR GROWTH. We all remember Marcia Brady (above) and her saying "100 brushes a day" right? Well, 100 is maybe too much and you don't necessarily want to focus on brushing your hair shaft but more-so your SCALP! In hair school they would tell us this helps to stimulate the cells on your scalp which helps promote hair growth. Whether this is a 'myth' or not, I did it and STILL do it and it seriously helps, a lot. I take a WIRE BRISTLE BRUSH and brush my scalp in U shaped motions. A wire bristle brush at Sally's: here is $1.99 so I would go pick one of these up and do this each night with that exact brush. (It will also help if you have dandruff, it gets all the dead skin off your scalp and helps keep your scalp healthy and clean!)
I also love the Wet Brush :)
2.) VITAMIN E OR BIOTIN: I have tried both and I actually like Vitamin E a lot better just because it helps with keeping my hair AND skin healthy and it also helps with your immune system, so its more bang for your buck in my opinion. BUT Biotin works just as well at growing your hair. Depending on which brand you get, the dosage you take will be different.. The kind I use can be found: here and I take it each morning!
3.) NO HEAT: I know this one is so hard, but this one helps the most. It is too hard for me to do no heat during the winter, I prefer doing it in the summer because I am swimming or at the ocean and air dried hair just seems to go with summer and not so much winter. A couple summer's ago I did absolutely no heat the ENTIRE summer. No blow drying, no straightening, curling, anything. And in those 3 months I saw my hair change ten fold. Everyone asked me what was different about my hair and it was honestly just longer and a million times healthier! I would either braid my hair at night so in the morning it was wavy or put it in two ballerina buns (princess leia style) and sleep with it like that which also made it wavy by morning.
4.) DEEP CONDITION: I deep condition my hair once or twice a week. You CAN over condition your hair and put too much protein into it which will then damage your hair so you don't want to over do it, but once or twice a week will be okay! I use Moroccan Oil Deep Conditioner: here, and Biolage Strengthening Masque: here. I put it on and if I am in the shower I leave it on for 10 minutes or so while I shave or sometimes I wash my hair with shampoo in the sink, then towel dry it and put the hair mask on and leave it on for about 20 minutes then rinse with warm/cold water. **it is better to rinse with warm/cold water because it helps close your hair cuticles locking in the conditioner. The cuticle opens with hot water so rinsing with hot water will wash some of the nutrients out as well.
5.) HEAT PROTECTANT WHEN CURLING: If it is too hard to do no heat at all, make sure when you do use heat to use a heat protectant. You will spray it over all your hair before curling!
good ones I recommend are: here and here. Heat protectants are also good because they give your hair some shine also!
6.) DON'T TRIM SO OFTEN!!!: I am probably thee only hair dresser that doesn't believe in hair trims. Or at least FREQUENT hair trims. I used to trim it an inch, and then it would grow and inch, and then voila it was time for 'another trim' and my hair would stay at that same length. For me, I would rather have length than mega healthy blunt ends that always leaves my hair at relatively the same length. So I rarely trim mine. Every month I will go through and trim ONLY my breakage but not my length. If you don't know what that means, I have a tutorial here of how I do that, anyone can it to themselves or tell your hairdresser to do it. And in my experience, few trims have given my hair a chance to grow. (obviously there are exceptions, if your hair is getting TOO wispy then trim it. Or if it is super fried, give it a SMALL trim, you'll have to be the judge of that)
So maybe you will jump on the boycott trims bandwagon with me... or maybe a hair dresser is reading this and cringing because they are religious trimmers.. whatever works for you! No trimming works for me :)
7.) USE GOOD PRODUCT: I use Biolage Shampoo (here) and Moroccan Oil Shampoo (here).. I have to switch off because my hair gets used to products really easily. For my conditioner I also use Biolage and Moroccan Oil. I use It's a 10 Leave-in Conditioner (here) and Moroccan Oil Treatment (here). I have tried a ton of products, but these are the ones I notice the most differences with and work best with my hair. Not everyone's hair works with every product.. for instance, Pureology Hydrate shampoo and conditioner is really good for blondes, but I bought it and it dries my hair out like crazy!! But for some it helps and they absolutely swear by it! You have to find what works best for you! Ask your hair dresser for recommendations, they will know your hair type and your problem areas and can help recommend something better than I can not having seen your hair! But those above are the ones that I find work best for me!! :)
Happy hair growing!