What’s the trick to growing long hair?

My hair is officially as long as it has ever been. In an effort to keep it long, strong and healthy, I’ve been reading everything I can on just how to go about doing that.

My hair is officially as long as it has ever been. In an effort to keep it long, strong and healthy, I’ve been reading everything I can on just how to go about doing that.

From my research, I’ve found quite a bit of information—some of which seems to be conflicting. But I’ll share with you the main steps to growing long, healthy locks. According to several articles—and I mean basically all that come up when you search the term “hair”—on WellandGood.com, these are the best tips to get your mane growing in no time.

1. Cut the dead and split ends. The easiest way to ensure your hair will continue to grow is to cut off the split ends. If your ends are split, they’ll just continue to split up the shaft of your hair. It’s hard to want to get a trim when you’re trying to growing your hair, but this definitely will help.

2. Shampoo your hair properly. It sounds pretty crazy, but you’re probably washing your hair wrong. You’re supposed to make sure your hair is completely wet. You should massage your scalp with just water to release 80% of the dirt and build-up on your scalp. Then, pour shampoo into the palm of your hand and massage it into your scalp. No need to worry about sudsing up the length of your hair. The length of your hair will get shampooed when you rinse it out.

3. Condition your hair properly. Just as you probably have been shampooing all wrong, you also probably have been conditioning your locks wrong. You shouldn’t be putting any conditioner on your roots. That will weigh down your ’do and clog the pores on your scalp. You should apply conditioner to your hair three to four inches from the roots and comb through to the ends.

Make sure to rinse with as cold of water as you can stand. Warm water opens your hair’s cuticles, and cold water seals them. This helps protect your locks from breakage caused during styling.

4. Use thermal protectants. If you don’t already, you should be using heat protecting creams or sprays prior to blow drying and using heat tools. Yes, both! Heat tools are the likely cause of many of your problems. Preventing breakage is the best thing you can do to grow your hair longer, faster. To be even more preventative, make sure to use your blow dryer and styling tools at medium heat. Avoid high heat at all costs.

5. Clean your brush regularly. When was the last time you cleaned your hairbrush? Probably not as often as you should. You should be cleaning your brush every one to two weeks.

To clean a bore bristle brush—the best kind to use to prevent breakage—swirl it in a bowl with water and shampoo. Once the hair and debris are out, use a comb to rake through and get the rest out. Then lay bristle side down on a clean towel to dry.

6. Detox your scalp. A new concept to us Americans is the idea of detoxing your scalp. The trend has been around for quite some time, but it has mainly been popular in Japan. If your hair feels full of build-up, whether it’s from dry shampoo, other styling products or overproduction of natural scalp oils, you need a scalp detox.

Many big cities have salons offering this treatment, but you can do a modified version at home. There are a multitude of scalp scrub products on the market that work similar to shampoo, but they get your locks squeaky clean and shining in no time.

Start by using your freshly cleaned brush to brush hair from the roots to tips to distribute oil evenly. Then massage your scalp with your hands, focusing on your hairline and temples. Then use said scalp scrub product. Make sure to really massage the scrub into your scalp. If you still feel buildup after rinsing, shampoo again and softly massage. This should do the trick. Follow with a deep conditioning mask.

If your scalp is healthy, your hair will be able to grow much more quickly.

7. Limit the chemical processing. It may be hard if you have grays or roots showing, but the less you chemically process your hair, the better. The longer you can stretch between appointments, the more your growing locks will thank you.

Now that you’re equipped with all of this healthy hair knowledge, your ’do will be shining and growing in no time.