Photo credit: Paola Kudacki
Secrets to Long, Thick, Shiny Hair
Experts and insiders reveal the tips and tricks for your lengthiest locks yet. Also take a peek at our little black book of celebrity hairstylists.
When the lights went up at Anna Sui's fall show and the models made their way down the runway, every woman watching had the same thought: "I want that hair." It was long, lustrous, and literally bouncing as they walked; hair god Garren had created the shampoo-commercial locks we all covet. But how to get such gorgeous hair? Surprisingly, no matter what type you were born with, the same rules apply: The less you do to your hair, the healthier it will be and the longer it can grow. First, give your torturous flatiron a rest. Of-the-moment long hair has "waves and/or volume," says celebrity hairstylist Mark Townsend, who coifs Amy Adams and January Jones. Read on for more advice from the pros.
DON'T IGNORE YOUR SCALPTurns out there's truth behind the old adage of brushing your hair 100 strokes every night. Here's why: When brush bristles come in contact with your scalp, they stimulate blood flow, which can jump-start your hair growth. The key is using natural bristles because they are gentler than damaging metal and synthetic versions and will prevent your hair from splitting and breaking off before you achieve your desired length. "It's all about the bristles," says Townsend, who favors Mason Pearson boar-bristle hairbrushes. New York-based fashion designers Lisa Marie Fernandez and Rachel Roy are both fans of another hair-growth ritual, scalp massages. "I pay someone to come to my house once a month and give me a 40-minute hot-oil scalp treatment," says Roy. "The massage stimulates growth." For an at-home treatment, try massaging essential oils into your scalp to boost circulation. We like Phyto Phytopolléine Universal Elixir ($32), with rosemary, eucalyptus, and lemon.
INVEST IN SUPPLEMENTSThere is no better way to strengthen weak strands than a daily supplement. "Biotin is amazing for the hair and nails," says Townsend, who has seen major changes in the tresses of his supplement-taking clients. Nutritionist Kimberly Snyder, who works with stars like Drew Barrymore and Olivia Wilde, agrees. A daily liquid dose of a B-complex vitamin "helps strengthen the hair and nails," she says. Try Garden of Life Vitamin Code Liquid Multivitamin ($46.95) with vitamin B complex, which is easily absorbed by the stomach and works more efficiently than taking a B6 or a B12 vitamin alone, she says. Another favorite hair booster of in-the-know celebrities, hairstylists, and models is a pill called Viviscal ($49.99 for 60 tablets), a natural blend of fish proteins, horsetail extract, and vitamin C that when taken twice daily for six months promises to deliver major growth and smoother, thicker strands. "I'm a firm believer in it," says Townsend, who has recommended it to at least six A-listers with successful results. He adds, "If you take it, you'll have a gorgeous head of hair." Actress Liv Tyler told Bazaar she started taking it as well after hearing buzz from friends.
HEALTHY DIET = HAIR GROWTHIf you really want to see permanent, positive changes to your hair's health, diet adjustments are crucial but can take one to two months to begin to have an effect. "Your hair comes from what you eat and drink," explains Townsend, who uses his client Jessica Biel as an example. "She has gorgeous hair and is probably the healthiest person I've ever met, so I attribute it to her diet," he says. Snyder recommends filling your plate with green vegetables like kale, Swiss chard, and spinach, which contain sebum-producing vitamins A and C; they act as natural hair conditioners and shine boosters. Chia or pumpkin seeds tossed on top of your salad add omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, and iron, all of which help maintain healthy hair. Actress and TV host Padma Lakshmi credits her long locks to a diet of lean proteins like eggs, chicken, fish, and veal.
WASH LESS, CONDITION MORELathering up daily can dry out your hair by stripping away the naturally occurring oils that act as your scalp's built-in conditioner and help fight split ends — and minimal split ends means less you need to chop. Experts agree: Scale back washing sessions to once or twice a week (try Fekkai Au Naturel Dry Shampoo, $23, as a refresher), and when you do shampoo, use a gentle formula like Sachajuan Scalp Shampoo ($25) or L'Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Moisture Shampoo ($6.99). Focus your attention on hydration. "Conditioning treatments are crucial," says Serge Normant, Julia Roberts's longtime stylist, who says combing through your hair while the conditioner is still in it helps to keep knots from forming and to avoid the breakage that occurs when you try to brush through post-shower tangles.
BOOST SHINEFor instant luminosity, try Liv Tyler's trick: "Before I get out of the shower, I do a cold-water splash, which makes my hair extra shiny," she says. Townsend does the same for his clients. "It shocks the hair and seals the cuticle," he says. "Shiny hair always looks healthier," says Normant, but beware of in-salon glossing treatments as a solution. While they can help smooth down the cuticle, they won't treat your hair and can dry out your scalp. Best bet: Try one before a big event to increase shine, but use Dove Nourishing Oil Care Leave-In Smoothing Cream ($4.74) for daily glossiness.
Read more: How to Get Long Hair - Expert Tips for Long Shiny Hair - Harper's BAZAAR