I’m pretty sure that I’ve written about my obsession with getting long, luxurious locks that cascade down my back in the past. This has been something that I’ve been attempting to make happen for well over a decade and now I’m at a point where I feel like I can say “Hi, I’m Gaby and I have long hair.”
I’ve tried many weird and wonderful things to make it grow; applying athletes foot cream to my scalp and documenting my cringeworthy “hair growth journey” through a pixelated webcam on YouTube, using many different oils such as castor oil or coconut oil, horse hair shampoo, taking supplements, eating well, drinking lots of water, regularly massaging my head, regular hair cuts or not cutting my hair at all – the list goes on, but you get the picture.
This whole crazy journey started when I pulled out the micro-ring hair extensions I’d clumsily put it on my own on New Years Day of 2011/12 (I can’t be sure of which year) after months of de-tangling, re-fitting them and getting frustrated when they would randomly fall out wherever I went. I’d totally ruined my hair through continuous bleaching, straightening and my hair becoming matted at the root where the extensions had grown out, so I wanted to start from scratch without anything in my hair, stopping the bleaching and straightening.
So for ease of reading, I thought I’d go through each of the above and confirm whether or not they helped.
Athletes Foot Cream
This obsession started when I came across the following video on YouTube;
The active ingredient in Daktarin, which was the cream I was using, is called Miconazole Nitrate and in the US the anti-fungal cream is used for yeast infections of the vajayjay (Monistat). The whole theory came about when women were using the cream to ease a bit of thrush and noticed that fanny hair was growing (apparently quicker than usual). Therefore they decided to try it on their scalp and thus, the craziness ensued.
I started off by watering this down with water and some kind of conditioner, spraying it on my roots and massaging it in. This was to ensure I didn’t get the migraine like pain reported in videos from others online and in the forums. Eventually however, I noticed it wasn’t really working so decided to straight up apply it to my scalp. I got some headaches and continued for about a year, kidding myself that the natural growth I was getting was a result of the cream rather than Mother Nature. There are a number of videos and posts online to say different, but my experience proved to me that all I got were headaches and nothing else.
Stopping the Bleaching
The first thing I did when I started to take growing my hair seriously was to cut out the bleach as it was turning my hair into cotton wool where it was so dried out and burnt. Rather than focusing on my roots when I was highlighting my hair, I was applying bleach to all of it which led to it burning to a crisp. I let my hair grow out and for a little while, then decided I’d darken my roots to give me an ombré effect (which worked out well as it was on trend at the time). I kept my hair like that for a couple of years before gradually lightening it, mixing my shades of blonde to give my hair more depth and voila!
Bleaching your hair deprives it of moisture and without it, you’ll end up over processing your hair until it breaks. As much as I loved being super blonde, stopping with the bleach was the best thing I could have ever done for my hair.
Horse Hair Shampoo
Mane ‘n’ Tail is a lot more mainstream than it was a few years back, you can easily get it from Superdrug, Beauty Bay and Boots. But back then , telling someone you were using horse shampoo for your hair was mental indeed.
I found that using the shampoo alone would dry your hair out, so you always needed to use copious amounts of conditioner but once you did, your hair would be really shiny and gorgeous. I’m not sure it really helped with growth per se, but my hair was always in a great condition after using it.
To this day I still use hair oils and I’ve found that they definitely help improve the condition of your hair. At present I’m using Argan oil, but in the past have used castor and coconut oil to try to improve growth as I’d read about people seeing crazy lengths by applying it to your roots and lengths. I can’t say that this necessarily worked in terms of it growing but helped to maintain the straggly hairs I was clinging onto and stopped it feeling like cotton wool from all the bleaching.
In summary, I don’t think hair oils can make your hair grow faster but they can help to maintain healthy hair – so it’s definitely worth implementing into your hair care routine.
I’ve tried everything from Perfectil and Sea Kelp to Biotin when it comes to supplements, however I didn’t find that they helped my hair to grow faster. It could possibly be that my diet at the time wasn’t ideal (I was living on Diet Coke and junk food so probably not the best) or it might have been a load of shit, but I’m not sure I’ll ever know unless I try again, which is quite unlikely as I’m not inclined to spend money I don’t need to right now.
Drinking More Water
Over the last few years I’ve reduced the amount of shit I eat and drink a hell of a lot more water than I used to when I first started to grow my hair. I drank Diet Coke almost exclusively until I blacked out in the car park at work around four/five years ago and decided to cut down the four cans and two little bottles a day to just two cans, then one (I’m not perfect and won’t cut it out completely as we all need a vice!)
I’ve definitely noticed an improvement in how quickly my hair grows since drinking more water and it’s gotten a lot longer than it ever was before.
Regular Hair Cuts & Not Cutting At All
I went a couple of years without getting a hair cut and was clinging onto the straggly pieces of hair like they were worthy of love when in reality they needed chopping off and putting out of their misery. I would spend my time in lectures at uni with my embroidery scissors, cutting off individual split ends to save them and not acknowledging that my hair looked ratty and horrible. The main reason I decided against hair cuts for a long while was because I was sick of having too much cut off when I eventually got round to seeing a hairdresser. Eventually I found my hairdresser Chloe and know she’ll only cut off the bare minimum that needs to come off (although with COVID happening this year, she’s not seen it for quite some time and might not be too pleased I let my step-brother Josh give me a really quick trim!)
With the exception of this year, I have my hair cut every 6 months or so and have let Chloe be a lot more savage since Aaron and I got married a couple of years ago. The irony of my initial plan to not have it cut at all and having minimal cuts is that my hair is in a better condition than it’s ever been and the longest too!
I want to add a disclaimer in here to say that I’m not saying that cutting your hair makes it grow quicker because that’s mental. Regular trims help to maintain the health of the hair you’ve already got and by maintaining the health, it prevents it from breaking off and not growing as long as it possibly can.
I don’t think it’s safe to say there’s one quick fix for all that makes your hair grow faster. Everything is dependent on hair type and general health but I think the following things help promote healthy growth; lots of water, regular trims, don’t bleach your hair, a healthy balanced diet and decent oils to look after those tresses!