Getting Rapunzel-like strands is no easy feat—ask any girl who’s gobbled down countless biotin pills and vitamin E supplements only to be greeted with the same lackluster strands. There are a lot of factors that contribute to hair growth (or lack thereof), but one of the most overlooked is physical stimulation—as in, massaging the heck out of your scalp. Turns out giving yourself a scalp massage using some key natural ingredients can help your hair grow faster and in turn, make your strands look more Blake Lively–esque. Or there’s the whole egg-yolk-mask thing. Or why not try a hot castor oil treatment? There are plenty of natural treatments that will give you the hair of your dreams. All you have to do is look to your kitchen for the necessary supplies.
Curious? Keep scrolling for our five favorite all-natural remedies to answer that perpetual question: How can I make my hair grow faster?
Stimulate Hair Growth With a Scalp Massage
We spend so much time and money piling on the products that it’s easy to forget where hair growth starts: namely, your scalp. A simple way to stimulate hair growth at home is to give yourself a scalp massage. This will increase blood flow to your scalp, enhance the strength of your roots, and help nutrients get to your follicle faster. You can give yourself a scalp massage with dry hair, but adding a nutrient-rich oil to the mix will only double the benefits. (Just keep it to once a week if you have oily roots.) Rosemary oil, in particular, has been used for centuries to stimulate hair growth. It dilates blood vessels and in turn stimulates your follicle to produce new growth.
Simply add a couple of drops of Rosemary Oil to your shampoo—or, dilute it with another oil, like olive or coconut, and apply it directly to your scalp and massage it in.
Prevent Hair Breakage With an Egg Yolk Mask
On average, hair grows a half an inch per month, but it's how you treat your hair that determines how much you'll retain. If your hair breaks before it gets past your shoulders, an egg mask will be your savior. Eggs contain lecithin and protein, which strengthen, nourish, and heal your strands. Plus, their high sulfur content might even help your pesky dandruff problem.
To make the mask, mix two eggs with two tablespoons of olive oil. If the stickiness bothers you, you can add half a cup of water to dilute the mixture. Apply the mask directly to dry, brushed hair, and leave it on for up to 30 minutes. Then, shampoo and condition as usual for stronger strands.
Promote Hair Growth With a Hot Castor Oil Treatment
Castor oil is the unsung hero of the hair world—you might even be tempted to ditch your coconut oil for it after reading this. First of all, castor oil has antifungal and antibacterial properties to help combat scalp infections that prevent your hair from growing. Second, it’s filled with omega-6 fatty acids, vitamin E, proteins, and other nutrients that can penetrate your parched strands and seal your hair shaft to retain moisture. Thirdly, it makes an amazing hot oil treatment—massaging the oil into your roots will help your scalp drink up all of the nutrients and help promote hair growth.
To give yourself a hot oil treatment, massage the oil into your scalp and then apply it all the way to the ends of your strands. Pile your hair on top of your head, cover it with a shower cap, and blast your strands with a blow-dryer for 15 minutes. Feel free to jump in the shower and shampoo and condition as usual. You’ll notice softer strands instantly.
Trade Hair Growth Supplements for Healthy Fats
Sure, you can easily pop a hair growth supplement, but honestly, the word's still out on whether or not they're an effective way to help your hair grow faster. Plus, they can contain unnecessary large amounts of minerals and vitamins (ahem, biotin) which can actually wreak havoc in other ways (ahem, breakouts). Thus, eating your way to longer hair is actually a smarter, nutritionist-approved way to make your hair grow faster. Vitamins and minerals occurring naturally in foods are easier for your body to utilize, and they'll naturally deliver a healthier ratio of nutrients—just the way Mother Nature intended.
According to holistic nutritionist and founder of Kore Kitchen Meryl Pritchard, getting plenty of healthy fats like omega-3s can jump-start hair growth. "Healthy fats are essential to hair health since our bodies can't produce omega-3 fatty acids on their own. Therefore, it's important to get these fats through our diet," she says. "They nourish hair follicles to give strands that strong, shiny, lustrous glow like in the Pantene Pro-V commercials." Tempting, right?
Limit Heat Styling to Keep Your Hair Healthy
You probably know this already, but any hairstylist will tell you the most obvious way to help your hair grow faster is to ditch your routine of hot tools. (Sad, we know.) Too much heat will result in dry, brittle hair that easily breaks, resulting in little to no length gains, so try to let your strands dry au naturel after showering or pulling yourself out of the water. We're partial to this brilliant new spray from IGK which, true to its name, speeds up air-dry time, nixes the need for a hair dryer, and imparts lustrous hydration to boot.
If you currently relax your hair and see a lot of breakage and damage, consider stopping chemical processes altogether. Many people have rediscovered their natural texture after years of straightening. Wearing natural hair in protective styles more often than not will also help you retain your precious length. Choose hairstyles that don't rely on so much heat, as well as gentle styling methods like wraps, wet sets, and twists. Protective styling also applies to nighttime care.
A silk or satin hair cover or pillowcase is better for the health of your hair vs. cotton, which will absorb all the moisture out of your strands and lead to tangles and breakage.
Trim Your Split Ends
It might sound counterproductive if you want your hair to grow longer, but regular trims get rid of dry, damaged split ends and are necessary for natural, healthy growth. If left untreated, split ends can work their way up the shaft of your hair strand and cause even more breakage, which means the only thing growing will be your frustration. If your stylist takes off too much length every time you go in for a visit, your hair won't get longer, so be clear about your hair goals when communicating with them. Depending on the condition of your hair, your hairstyle, and your daily routine, you could need a trim anywhere from every six weeks to six months. The better you care for your hair on a day-to-day basis, the less often you'll need trims, and the longer your hair can grow naturally.
Brush Gently When Detangling
Nothing will test your patience like properly detangling the knots in your hair, but it's an important step in growing your strands faster and one that definitely shouldn't be rushed. If you have a tendency to quickly and haphazardly rip a brush through your hair and call it good, you might want to reconsider. Not taking proper care when brushing can cause your strands to break off and split—pretty much the opposite of hair growth. When it comes to brushing your hair, think: slow and gentle.
Choosing the right brush for everyday use is crucial. While a brush with metal bristles has its purpose, a wide-tooth comb, a detangling brush, or a paddle brush with rounded bristles are all better options for gently combing through knots and causing minimal breakage. Almost as important as what you use to brush your hair is when you choose to do so. Instead of detangling after the shower (when the hair is most vulnerable and fragile), comb through your knots before you wash your hair. And lastly, when going after the knots in your hair, work your way from the ends up rather than from the roots down to prevent the tangles from getting even worse.
This story was originally published September 9, 2014, and has since been updated.