Speeding up hair growth: is there a quick solution?

Different factors affect hair growth, but how fast your hair grows is determined by your genes.

Most of us have had moments when we've wished our hair would grow a bit faster - especially when the hairdresser has snipped off rather more than expected! Of course, when it comes to hair cuts, nothing is unfixable: either it grows on you, or it simply grows out; but sometimes it does seem to take forever. So, is there anything we can do to speed up the hair growth process?

Many readers will be disappointed to hear that the answer is probably "no". Research suggests that the speed at which a person's hair grows depends on genetics, and that none of the lotions and potions on the market will speed it up. Dermatology consultant for L'Oreal Paris, Dr Jose Luis Lopez Estebaranz, tell us, "For a healthy person, without any specific problems, the hair follicle growth pattern is determined genetically." So, if you're longing for long hair, the best thing to do is to use a conditioner and just have the ends trimmed regularly: it may take a while longer than you'd like, but it's far better to wait for healthy long locks than to have it straggling in rat's tails. 

Relax and eat a healthy diet

Although there are no magic solutions, experts and hair care professionals do think that certain factors affect the way hair grows. Anxiety, poor nutrition and stress all have a negative effect. So stop worrying about how long it's taking, eat well and indulge yourself with a course of massages to improve circulation.

Not only does the speed of hair growth depend on our genes, but it tends to slow as we get older. Past a certain age, our hair will never be as strong as it was when we were in our teens. Women suffering hair loss have traditionally had vitamins recommended. Everyone's needs are different, and if you have specific problems you should seek professional advice, but vitamin B, iron, zinc and magnesium are all essential for healthy hair. Shortages of iron or vitamins, hormonal imbalance, including thyroid problems, and the use of certain medicines can have a negative effect on hair growth, according to Dr Lopez Estebaranz. 

Many specialists agree that your hair will grow better if you follow a balanced diet. Healthy eating is good for our bodies, and it's good for our hair, too. That means plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, so if your mother told you to eat your greens to make your hair shine, she may have been right!

Although there's probably no fast track to long hair, eating well and avoiding stress should let you show off a healthy head of hair whatever the style or length.