Growing My Hair Out After Years Of Bleach

There's so much writing online about how to grow long hair. Some of us can get almost fanatical about it, obsessed with achieving "Disney princess lengths". This is not that kind of post. I'm not interested in growing my hair as long as it can possibly go, no matter what; I started growing it because I wanted to be free of the discolouration years of bleaching and colouring had caused, leaving me with frazzled, khaki ends. It took a little time, but all of that is now gone, and I have my own natural colour and texture reaching my bra-straps. I last bleached my roots in March 2017, which means I've developed around 14 inches of fresh growth in 16 months. 

I haven't been taking any hair vitamins or wacky Instagram supplements. I eat a vegan diet and tend to mix up my wild medicine; I often take iron, kelp, Forage Goddess Drops, and soya protein powder. Getting enough protein in your diet helps all your hair grow, including your lashes and eyebrows, so I make sure I pack it in there.

In the shower, while I'm waiting for my conditioner to do it's work, I give myself a little scalp massage using this brush by Tropic. Massaging your scalp while you're washing your hair is beneficial for a few reasons; it helps stimulate blood flow and lymph, which is vital for hair growth. It also helps to work in all your product so that you get that thorough, a-proper-hairdresser-did-this kind of rinse. I've been using their Hair Feast and a couple of pumps of Hair Smooth Radiance Oil afterwards.

I let my hair air dry as often as possible, and use as few tools as you can. I only curl my hair with an iron once a week maximum, if I'm going out somewhere special. Use heat protection when you do use any heat, even a hairdryer. I also like my hair to sit in it's natural oils a bit - I don't wash it every day. It goes quite dry and frizzy if I do. As I have a fringe, I tend to pin some hair out of my face once my hair needs washing, so that I don't spread grease to my face. Using a deep conditioner once a week really helps keep it soft and manageable, no matter how long it's getting. If you can do an overnight mask, even better. I really loved the 7th Heaven Papaya Deep Conditioner that I used recently (vegan, cruelty-free, and only 79p) but try out different ones and see what your favourites are.

Getting regular trims is one of the most important steps to growing out your hair. You don't want split ends working their way up your length and causing slow progress. Getting just a little bit off every six to eight weeks will make your hair feel so much bouncier and looked-after. No point having length if it's damaged, unhealthy length.

The last thing I try to keep in mind is to just not worry too much about it all. It's only hair. For me the goal is to feel good naturally, all the time, no matter whether I'm naked or dressed, wearing makeup or not. I don't like to rely on anything for my self-confidence, and I don't want to get preoccupied with any particular facet of my appearance - which can happen to people when they're intentionally trying to grow their hair. Much like skincare routines or healthy eating plans, it can become an unhealthy obsession with perfecting an inherently transient and imperfect thing. Take all these tips with a pinch of salt and do what makes you feel good.

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