14 Expert-Approved Tips for Stimulating Hair Growth

Step aside, Rapunzel.

laura harrier

@lauraharrier / Design by Michela Buttignol

Getting Rapunzel-like strands is no easy feat—ask anyone 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 retain length and, in turn, make your strands look more Blake Lively–esque. There’s also the whole egg-yolk-mask thing, and let’s not forget the sworn-by hot castor oil treatment.

With plenty of natural treatment options, achieving the hair of your dreams doesn’t have to feel so far-fetched. Just remember, there isn’t an ingredient or method that can actually make your hair grow faster from the root. Instead, you’ll want to follow the tips below to grow healthier, stronger hair that will reduce breakage at the ends and, in turn, promote length.

To help us figure out how to make hair grow faster, we hit up the pros. Keep scrolling for some simple and natural ways to achieve healthy, longer hair.

Meet the Expert

Natural Ways to Make Hair Grow Faster
Michela Buttignol / Byrdie
01 of 14

Do a Scalp Massage

a woman massaging her head

 Stocksy / Simon

We spend so much time and money piling on hair products that it’s easy to forget where hair growth starts: namely, your scalp. "Just like good-quality soil is essential to grow healthy plants and flowers, a healthy scalp is the foundation for healthy hair growth," says Bauman. "Research supports the idea that a scalp massage has beneficial effects on stress hormones, blood pressure, and heart rate." 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 has been used for centuries to stimulate hair growth. It dilates blood vessels and, in turn, stimulates your follicle to produce new growth.

Allpa Botanicals Rosemary Hair Oil
Allpa Botanicals Rosemary Hair Oil $27

Our scalp massage usually includes Allpa Botanicals Rosemary Hair Oil. Not only does it smell great, but it also calms an itchy scalp, which may be a contributing factor to hair loss.

02 of 14

Try an Egg Yolk Mask

egg mask

Bauman notes that, on average, hair grows approximately a quarter to a half an inch per month, and while we can’t speed up this process, we can affect the quality of the hair shafts each follicle can produce (think: thicker, stronger, shinier locks). There are things we can do to "stimulate a higher percentage of hair follicles in the scalp, which will keep more hair in the growing phase and make your head of hair thicker, healthier and fuller," he says. Unsurprisingly, this makes how you treat your hair crucial to natural hair growth. If your hair breaks before it gets past your shoulders, an egg yolk 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 with dandruff.

To make the mask, mix 2 eggs with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add 1/2 a cup of water to dilute the mixture (and make it less sticky). Apply the mask directly to dry, brushed hair, and leave it on for up to 30 minutes. Then, shampoo and condition as usual.

03 of 14

Check Your Medications

According to Bauman, there are many prescription medications that are known to be associated with hair loss. "Some of the commonly prescribed categories of drugs that can exacerbate hair loss include antihypertensives (blood pressure); cholesterol or statins; hormone replacements like thyroid, birth control, testosterone; and certain antidepressants," he says. As a word of caution, you should always discuss these side effects with your doctor before stopping any medications.

04 of 14

Do 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 anti-fungal 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. Third, it makes for 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.

castor oil
Home Health Original Castor Oil $15

Skip any unnecessary ingredients and focus on getting soft and silky hair by using Home Health’s original castor oil.

05 of 14

Avoid Smoking

Smoking is a personal choice, and we’re not here to judge, but we’d be lying if we said the act doesn’t affect your hair in some way. "Smoking restricts blood flow to the scalp and follicles, which, in turn, restricts the vital oxygen and nutrients that your hair and scalp need to be healthy," notes Bauman. Also, the toxins from smoking can seep into the hair follicles and cause disruption.

06 of 14

Trade Hair Growth Supplements for Healthy Fats

Shio Koji Salmon

The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

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 unnecessarily large amounts of minerals and vitamins (ahem, biotin), which can actually wreak havoc in other ways (ahem, breakouts). For this reason, 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 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."

Great food sources of omega-3s include salmon, tuna, flaxseed, walnuts, and plant oils such as soybean and canola oil.

07 of 14

Limit Heat Styling

A blonde woman uses a blow dryer to dry her hair in the summer.

Elva Etienne / Getty Images

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.) "Blow-dryers and styling irons can certainly damage your hair by making it dry and brittle, which can lead to breakage and shorter hair length," advises Bauman. "If you’re trying to grow your hair, I recommend air-drying your hair and avoiding any heat tools. If you do use a heat tool, I suggest using a heat-protectant spray."

IGK No More Blow High Speed Air Dry Spray
IGK No More Blow High Speed Air Dry Spray $29

We’re partial to this brilliant 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.

08 of 14

Avoid Over-Shampooing

Rumor has it that over-shampooing can lead to broken, dry, and brittle locks, due to the cleanser stripping the hair of its natural oils. Depending on your hair type, the number of times you should shampoo your hair per week varies. Thicker, coarser hair types can get away without washing their hair for a few days, while thinner hair types may find their hair feels greasy even after one day. In such cases, a dry shampoo can work wonders in soaking up excess grease as you await longer strands.

Amika Perk Up Talc-Free Dry Shampoo
Amika Perk Up Talc-Free Dry Shampoo $25

Spritz your hair with this dry shampoo to banish grease without leaving residue or weighing your hair down.

09 of 14

DIY a Cinnamon-Based Mask

Turns out cinnamon isn’t only good for sprinkling over your morning oatmeal. Thanks to its antimicrobial properties, it poses hair benefits, too, in the form of stimulating blood circulation and nourishing strands. Mix equal parts cinnamon and coconut oil and apply to your hair, focusing on the roots. Let it do its thing for 45 minutes before rinsing.

10 of 14

Trim Your Split Ends Regularly

Trim split ends

It might sound counterproductive when 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 shafts of your hair strands and cause even more breakage, which means the only thing growing will be your frustration. But if your stylist takes off too much length every time you go in for a visit, your hair won’t get longer, so make sure you clearly communicate your hair goals. 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. That said, 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.

11 of 14

Brush Gently When Detangling

brushing hair

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 quits, 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.

And it turns out the brush you choose makes a difference. While a brush with metal bristles has its purpose, a wide-toothed 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 your hair is at its most vulnerable and fragile), comb through your knots before you wash your hair.

Tangle Teezer
Tangle Teezer Thick & Curly Detangling Hair Brush $12

This brush is our go-to for detangling, thanks to its strong but flexible teeth and easy-to-hold shape.

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 worsening.

12 of 14

Eliminate Stress

Person meditating outside with legs crossed and palms up

 FG Trade, Getty Images

It’s true that stress affects the body in more ways than one, and it can even be the cause of hair loss for some. "Usually, it takes severe, traumatic stress or chronic stress over time to cause hair loss," says Bauman. "Some autoimmune diseases of the hair and scalp that cause patchy hair loss, like alopecia areata, can be precipitated or aggravated by bouts of stress." Keep your stress levels to a minimum (easier said than done, we know) by doing an age-old Eastern medicine hand trick or setting aside a few minutes a day to meditate.

13 of 14

Sleep on a Silk Pillowcase

Woman sleeping on blue and white striped bedding.


A silk or satin hair cover or pillowcase is better for the health of your hair than cotton, which will absorb all the moisture from your strands and lead to tangles and breakage. While this won’t necessarily speed up the hair growth process, sleeping on a silk pillowcase generates less friction and gives hair a softer surface to rest on.

14 of 14

Use Keratin-Based Products to Fill in Breakage

It’s true that keratin-based products can combat dryness and make hair appear shinier, but they can also strengthen the hair and prevent future breakage. The protein, which is protective in nature, douses hair in essential oils and nutrients it needs to thrive, making an ideal environment for healthy strands to grow.

It's A 10 Miracle Leave-In Plus Keratin
It’s a 10 Miracle Leave-In Plus Keratin $21

We recommend this leave-in keratin spray to replace lost protein and create stronger, healthier hair.

  • Does washing your hair every day affect the growth rate?

    Washing your hair daily won’t affect the growth rate, but it may strip your hair of its natural oils, leading to dehydration and damage.

  • Does hair growth slow when your hair gets longer?

    Your hair may not stop growing at a certain length, but it could stop once a certain amount of time passes (aka the hair growth cycle). At that point, once it’s reached the end of the cycle, it may either break off or shed.

  • Does hair grow more in one season than another?

    Although some believe your locks grow faster in the summer months, there’s limited research that backs up those claims. In fact, the sun’s UV rays can potentially damage hair.

Article Sources
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
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  2. Sunwoo HH, Gujral N. Chemical Composition of Eggs and Egg Products. In: Cheung PCK, Mehta BM, eds. Handbook of Food Chemistry. Springer Berlin Heidelberg; 2015:331-363. doi:10.1007/978-3-642-36605-5_28

  3. Patel M, Harrison S, Sinclair R. Drugs and Hair LossDermatologic Clinics. 2013;31(1):67-73. doi:10.1016/j.det.2012.08.002

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  5. National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Biotin Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. Updated June 3, 2020.

  6. Kang J-I, Yoon H-S, Kim SM, et al. Mackerel-Derived Fermented Fish Oil Promotes Hair Growth by Anagen-Stimulating PathwaysInt J Mol Sci. 2018;19(9). doi:10.3390/ijms19092770

  7. Gavazzoni Dias MFR. Hair Cosmetics: An OverviewInt J Trichology. 2015;7(1):2-15. doi:10.4103/0974-7753.153450

  8. Kawatra P, Rajagopalan R. Cinnamon: Mystic powers of a minute ingredientPharmacognosy Res. 2015;7(Suppl 1):S1-6. doi:10.4103/0974-8490.157990

  9. Peters EMJ, Müller Y, Snaga W, et al. Hair and stress: A pilot study of hair and cytokine balance alteration in healthy young women under major exam stressPLoS One. 2017;12(4):e0175904. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0175904

  10. Basit A, Asghar F, Sadaf S, Akhtar MW. Health improvement of human hair and their reshaping using recombinant keratin K31Biotechnol Rep (Amst). 2018;20:e00288. doi:10.1016/j.btre.2018.e00288

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