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8 Ways to Optimize Hair Growth from the Root

• Jul 24, 2012

By Chinwe of Hair and Health

In the world of black hair care, optimal hair growth has become synonymous with the application of growth aids and the popping of supplements. The reality is that it normally does not require such extremes. In many cases, achieving optimal hair growth can be as simple as following the steps below:

1. Maintain a clean scalp.

After genetics and diet, maintaining a clean scalp is probably one of several important factors in achieving your maximum hair growth potential. A filthy scalp is more prone to fungal and bacterial infections that may adversely affect the follicle — the area where hair growth begins. Pollutants, product buildup, sweat, and dead skin cells can contribute to the filth. A regular wash routine will help to remove these items from the scalp.

2. See a doctor regularly.

Certain medical conditions can be the root of slow hair growth, but you may not know for sure until you visit a doctor. Some conditions include iron deficiency anemia, folic acid deficiency anemia, vitamin B-12 deficiency anemia, hypothyroidism, and different forms of alopecia. Mild forms of these conditions can go unnoticed and undiagnosed, yet affect the hair. Stay on top of your annual physicals and doctor visits!

3. Exercise regularly.

It is a big belief of mine that regular exercise helps with optimal hair growth. After all, exercise increases blood circulation in certain sections of the body, including the scalp. Increased blood circulation in this region may allow for more nutrients to reach the follicles. The more these follicles are fed, the more they flourish.

4. Massage with an essential oil and carrier oil.

DISCLAIMER: Essential oils are very potent. Please consult your doctor before using them, especially if you are pregnant, breast feeding, or have a medical condition.

The speculated cause of alopecia areata is an attack on the hair cells by the immune system. Some believe that stress may aggravate the condition. According to the results of one study, daily massaging of the scalp with an essential oil mixture proved effective in treating alopecia areata when compared to massaging with carrier oils alone. The reason for the improvement in hair growth is unclear; perhaps aromatherapy is beneficial in reducing stress?

For the time being, aromatherapy as a hair loss treatment remains a debatable topic in the research community. It couldn’t hurt, however, to incorporate it into your hair care regimen and perform your own personal study (assuming you’ve heeded the disclaimer).

5. Drink your water.

Water carries necessary nutrients to various parts of the body — including the follicles. Without it, achieving optimal hair growth is next to impossible. Be sure your body is absorbing sufficient water, whether via fruits and vegetables or the actual drinking of water.

6. Eat hair foods.

Because healthy, growing hair starts from within, a diet containing hair foods is key. According to doctors on WebMD, these foods include salmon, nuts, poultry, beans, and eggs for protein; dark green vegetables for vitamins A and C; whole grains for zinc, iron, and B vitamins; and carrots for beta carotene, just to name a few. Many of us worry about the external (i.e., what products to apply to our hair) and forget about the internal (i.e., what to eat for our hair). No matter what topical product we use, if we are not on our “A” game on the inside, we will not achieve optimal hair growth on the outside.

7. Get adequate sleep.

Sleep is an opportunity for the body to recuperate from a day’s worth of activities and stress. Without this resting process, our bodies — including our hair — may suffer. According to some researchers, “losing sleep for even part of one night can trigger the key cellular pathway that produces tissue-damaging inflammation.” In other words, insufficient sleep can be detrimental to our health. What does this mean for hair growth? Well, healthy growing hair begins with a healthy lifestyle, and adequate sleep is a part of that lifestyle. For your hair to reach its optimal growing potential, be sure to get the necessary sleep!

8. Take your multivitamins.

Did you know that canned vegetables and fruits contain fewer vitamins than fresh ones? Did you know that boiled, steamed, and microwaved vegetables contain fewer nutrients than raw ones? The same is true for certain meats, dairy products, etc. Therefore, it is possible that some of us are not absorbing sufficient nutrients from the “healthy” foods we do eat. With that being said, be sure to purchase and prepare your food for optimal nutrient absorption, or at the very least, invest in a good multi-vitamin to make up for that slack.

Do you have any extra hair growth tips?

About Chinwe

Healthy hair care tips and more!

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47 Comments on "8 Ways to Optimize Hair Growth from the Root"

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Shamaia Veira

Wonderful article! I agree with all of them!! This is how to grow ones hair!!!

These suggestions are good but other groups of women don’t have to do all this to get their hair to grow at a steady rate. I really do believe black women have to do a bit more to get their hair to grow. If they didn’t we wouldn’t need blogs like this. We wouldn’t invest so much (for years) in wearing weaves and braids to hide our short hair (yet still protective styles so it should’ve grown right?) and still be stuck in the chin to shoulder hair length. I had mid-back length hair unstretched in my childhood and my… Read more »

Hair grows from the scalp, and genetics do play a role in how fast the growth rate is. But the bottom line is that all hair DOES grow! If you hair is “stuck” in the chin to shoulder length, as you say, after 20+ years, and you are leading a healthy lifestyle you may need to see your PCP as there may be a medical issue.


But how do you explain a lion share of black women’s hair growth being stuck (unless they loc it)? Everybody ain’t sick.


Hair that is curly and/or kinky is more prone to breakage as the kinks are areas of weakness and so retaining growth is a major issue. As pointed above genetics, diet etc play a role but on the whole growth rate is similar. This is why protective styling, low manipulation, handling hair gently, ensuring that hair is moisturised and that the ends are tucked away are important practices. I hope that helps.


Yes! our grows but keeping it (retention) is the trick.

Also the majority of Black women didn’t/don’t know how to care for our hair. Which is why we have useful forums like this. In the past marketing was geared specifically for non-black hair, but as time evolved we ourselves began researching, studying, and even experimenting on our own hair to learn more about it. I was one of those ladie swho used to beleive I just couldn’t grow my hair past APL, but now it’s grazing BSL and on the way to MBL. It takes time and lots of patience to learn your own hair and to be patient with… Read more »

Agree, Landry is crazy to say people whose hair is stuck at one length for 20 years is sick. If you are ill, your hair generally becomes brittle, thin, dull, and fall out.


She isnt saying that your sick, she’s saying that there is a possibility that something much deeper IS wrong, if your not getting the desired amount of growth. Not everyone’s hair grows exactly 1/2 inch every month and its unrealistic to take a genralization of hair growth and put it to a group of people. This article is tips and advice on how to achieve MAXIMUM growth. Not on how to make it grow. As was stated before Hair never “stops” growing. You just lose the ability to attain any new length.

I’ve noticed too that in our culture we seem to have an issue with our hair not growing or not growing the way we want it to, but I do think genetics plays a role and also a lot of us perm our hair too frequently which causes breakage and chemical damage, and have unhealthy practices like not washing hair, high temperature flat irons, hot combs, curling irons, texturizers. I think a lot of us never got the proper education on how to take care of our hair whether its natural or relaxed, in a healthy way. My hair was… Read more »


I don’t think that is the case, I think because we live in a very white orientated world, products and hair regimes are not readily available to us, we eat a lot of processed foods and we use a lot of toxins on our hair including the water we wash it with. As black people I feel our environment is what causes some black people’s hair to take long to grow because it is toxic and their hair hasn’t adapted to the surroundings and our lifes. Some people adapt really well, thus there hair grows longer easily. I cut my… Read more »


Just because you can’t grow any hair doesn’t mean you speak for everyone. These are sound tips. If one were to look at the average American black woman compared to “others”, one would notice a lack of good hair practices and a lack of good hair diets. Most black women dependent on weaves, braids, extensions and haven’t even given their hair a fighting chance and have defeated the potential for growth before it’s begun. Black women are also guilty of “selective sight”. Many other woman hide their stunted growth with extensions and hair pieces designed to blend with their natural… Read more »
I can’t speak for all black women. But I can speak for the ladies that are in my family and circle of friends and myself. The times when I have the most problems with my hair is when I’ve relied on relaxers, pressing combs. coloring and other styling techniques and products that altered my hairs natural state. Wearing those braids, weaves and straight hair is what has damaged my hair the most. I only did that stuff because I wasn’t comfortable with who I was and the person that I appeared to be to others. I’m 36 and happily married.… Read more »

PREACH! If I could like your comment twice, I would! You just hit several nails on several heads, girl take a bow!


It’s true these blogs are here for a reason! Black hair is NOT EASY


Interesting article, it’s good to see the article focused on a person’s overall health because there is a misconception that as long as we cleanse, moisturize, and seal our hair we will have longer hair. But in reality what you eat and drink also plays a significant role. Also good that there is a disclaimer about the essential oils I know rosemary oil should not be used for a person who is pregnant or have high blood pressure.


Did you know that boiled, steamed, and microwaved vegetables contain fewer nutrients than raw ones?”

this statement is somewhat inaccurate. some vitamins and minerals do degrade through heating, but sometimes heating releases more nutrients for better uptake. the key is to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables prepared in a variety of ways.


Hi Sarah! Good point on the reality that heating sometimes releases more nutrients for better uptake. One example is lycopene (I believe) in tomatoes. Tomatoes must be cooked to better absorb this nutrient.

In general, many vitamins and minerals (especially those important to the hair) do degrade with heating. But you are right in that raw does not always necessarily equal better.

micah rose

Very true.…but microwaving is a whole different story. A dr friend of mine suggested NEVER using a microwave, as it kills nearly all the nutrients in food. I stopped microwaving and only heat things on or in the stove.

fluffy in flight
I agree with you — I don’t use micro waves at all, in fact in some countries they are banned. they change the molecular structure of foods that are microwaved, they destroy the nutrients,and they cause problems with the immune system. A few years ago I went to this lady that specializes in herbs, and she told me to stop eating food that has been heated by the microwave, because I have burns all over my pancreas. She didn’t ask me if i was using a microwave, she told me to stop using it, and it was at a point… Read more »

I have to agree with Denise… Can so many of us be doing it “wrong” that we have such a hard time retaining length? I’m all for putting the extra energy to take care to grow but after a two year battle of “growing” and it still looked like a TWA, it was just easier to cut it as a TWA, and leave it at that.


Did you know that canned and frozen vegetables and fruits contain fewer vitamins than fresh ones?”

Actually, this is true if you’re talking about fresh veggies you just picked (like veggies you might find at a farmer’s market). A vegetable loses its nutrients the longer it’s out of the ground. Frozen vegetables actually have more nutrients if they’re immediately frozen after harvest (as noteable companies practice).
Can’t say the same for canned stuff so, in that case I agree.

Hi Shades! Some reports show that frozen vegetables will not have more nutrients but similar when compared to store-bought “fresh” ones. Vegetables that will be frozen are first blanched or steamed, so there is some nutrient loss there. Additionally, if frozen vegetables are kept in one’s freezer for a long time, further nutrient loss can happen gradually over time. There is also nutrient loss during the thawing process. “Fresh” veggies found in the produce section of grocery stores lose some of their nutrients on the way to the store and while sitting in the store due to oxidative degradation. So… Read more »

To each it’s own. All I need is a good cut/trim, a good oil and drink more water and my hair will grow like a weed. Great tips but I’m not gonna stress myself trying to keep up with all that. Just use good common sense.

Ernestina Fallow

Virtually all of whatever you articulate happens to be supprisingly accurate and it makes me wonder why I hadn’t looked at this in this light before. This particular article truly did turn the light on for me as far as this specific subject goes. Tempe Dentist, Tempe Dental Studio, 4427 South Rural Road Tempe, AZ 85282

as others have said, my hair was growing but my strands were fragile and to maintain any real length was a challenge and the care my strands required to protect them was a major task. in my 13+ years of being natural i’ve been loose, had traditional locs, was loose again and now have sisterlocks. i’ve come to finally realize that if i want long hair, locs are the way for me. i don’t have to manipulate the strands and the process of loc’ing means i don’t lose hair so i have volume and length. if i want loose hair… Read more »

Wow! These are really great tips! It’s great to see all this information in one place to reference. Great article!!

I think we should all care for our hair in a way that is best for the individual. I refuse to spend half my day washing and conditioning and detangling my hair. My hair is bra strap length when stretched. I think hair maintenance should not take long to do. I enjoy reading hair regimens from other naturals but sometimes people do too much. My mother is from Honduras and back then, all she used was coconut oil. I don’t even comb my hair because I think my kinky hair is not meant to be combed. I wish everyone the… Read more »
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Ms. Polo
I feel this article is very informative. A lot plays a role in why many of us feel we are suffering from our hair not beinglong. It really doesn’t matter how long our hair grows. Bottom line is whenwe were younger times were different n stress really wasn’t too much of a factor. All we really had to d was let mommy or whoever did our hair do it. Now that we are older we may need to relax a bit n allow someone else figure out a hair regime for us n keep up with that person s much… Read more »
Adrienne Salter

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After reading several books on black hair, I now know the secret to growing hair! All these tips are correct but here’s the deal, if your hair grows half an inch each month, and you keep trimming at your hair each month, you will systematically clip off all the growth you would have accumulated in a year. The best thing to do is find your hair’s porosity, balance your moisture an protein, don’t use heat, keep your hair in a good protective ‚low tension hairstyle and keep a balanced lifestyle. Don’t overload your hair with products. Just trim your hair… Read more »

Great blog article. Keep up the good work BGLH. I hope everyone learns from these great tips.


I hav a problem with my hair..pliz help


[…] I want to encourage those with slow hair growth.  First, check out this earlier post to see if you have exhausted all avenues to reach your optimal growth rate.  Secondly, there is no […]

Trevor Batson

Foods with folic acid in them include leafy green vegetables, fruits, dried beans, peas and nuts. Enriched breads, cereals and other grain products also contain folic acid. If you don’t get enough folic acid from the foods you eat, you can also take it as a dietary supplement…;:.

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I think the article offered great tips on hair care. And I also think people really do need to highly consider genetics. If you are taking care of your hair with optimum care and you’re in good health and your hair has been the same length for years with no change no matter what you do, then maybe you have reached your “terminal length”. Not everyone will have hair draping down their backs. Love what you have because that’s maybe just what you’re going to have. It can be quite frustrating looking for more, when there is no more. I’m… Read more »
ms. v

Try. Onion juice on scalp. Works. Wonders


As in juice the onion?

I wonder why this article didn’t cover reducing stress. Stress to the body can do more damage than avoiding any one of these suggestions. Causing a healthy person to have deteriorated health making all these efforts useless. Stress can age you faster, slow down your health, weaken your immune system and actually kill. So I think that it shouldn’t have been over looked especially since going to your doctor, exercise and sleep are all suggestion for hair growth. I know stress is an important one because I had realized that some my hair turned white and started change back to… Read more »

well exercise does relieve stress

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Tanya diwan

hair fall major concern these days so many people uses different products looking positive feedbacks or adds even i used so many products and in last a product called amiri hair cream iam using it from last 10 days and slowly slowly it my hair stop falling and i am getting back hairs from roots which i lost i think in a month time i will get all hairs which i loose my age is only 35…

Myleik Teele

helpful article! It’s better to understand the root of a matter than trying to find a solution, and caring hair in natural way is the best.


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