Growing Long Hair: Diet, Exercise and Vitamins

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I have been asked about the whether diet, exercise, and/or vitamins help hair grow a few times and have seen it posted in some form or the other a lot lately. So, I figured I’d share my thoughts on the subject. I’m not saying I’m an expert, but these are my observations based on the things I’ve learned about hair through reading lots of hair blogs, watching lots of videos, and/or observing through my own experiences.

A good diet, adequate nutrients, hydration, and exercise are foundations for healthy hair and growth. But, many mistake lack of length retention for lack of growth. Unless there is some underlying condition, hair is always growing. If hair is growing elsewhere on your body, it’s growing. And it’s pretty easy to know your growth rate if you relaxed/relax or color/colored your hair. However much new growth you had 4-8 weeks post relaxer/color will tell you your growth rate. The problem often is that the growth is lost to breakage (i.e. the hair is not retaining length).

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So, the assumption is that the hair isn’t growing when, in fact, it is. So, the focus needs to change from growth to retention. All that being said, hair is dead once the strand “erupts” from the scalp. So retention is about preserving dead cells. Eating a healthy, well-rounded diet and exercising helps build stronger hair IN the scalp. Stronger and healthier live cells inside mean stronger and healthier dead cells outside. And the latter will be better able to retain length with the right protective/retention practices for you.

And those are my thoughts in a nutshell!! Yes, a good diet, exercise, and adequate nutrients play a part in growing healthy hair, but if that hair isn’t retained, you won’t see longer tresses. So, you have to make certain to take care of both ends, literally ;), to see results if long hair is your goal. To learn more about what I do to “grow” my hair long, check out my post, How I Retain Length.

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What have you found helps you grow healthy, strong hair that retains length?

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7 responses »

  1. Lately i have been seeing tv ads with Keshia Knight Pulliam saying to use hairfinity pills.
    even before that i read online to take prenatal vitams and use the horse product mane n tail.

    What do you think about these things ?

    Like

    • Hi Lilk. Again, I think that good nutrition/adequate nutrients support healthy hair growth, but the retention of dead hair has to go hand in hand with that to see longer lengths. There are several hair vitamins on the market and I can’t speak to whether or not they work to increase growth as I’ve never tried them. But, I would suspect most of them have biotin and MSM, as well as a few other nutrients that are purported to support/stimulate healthy growth. As to prenatals, there is a common myth that they help hair grow and thicken. But when you are pregnant, the hair stops going through the shedding cycle due to hormones, not due to prenatals. Therefore, hair that would normally shed does not, thereby thickening and lengthening hair. A few months after delivery, the normal shed cycle returns and hair that should have shed b/c it was at the end of its cycle starts to fall. This often results in significant thinning post-deliverly and prenatal vitamins cannot stop that.

      Like

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