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I’m guilty of not getting my hair trimmed as often as I should. In fact, a lot of my friends are guilty of the same thing. Based on the theory that getting regular trims helps hair grow faster, we should all have strands that progress at a glacial pace.
I’ve read this tidbit in just about every magazine and heard it from countless friends and strangers. It’s so ubiquitous that I can’t remember a time when I hadn’t heard this little factoid. In fact, for some people, I think it’s just the kind of thing that’s easily accepted.
But, contrary to popular belief, getting regular trims won’t speed up your hair growth.
Regular Trims WON’T Make Hair Grow Faster
This one is absolutely an old wives’ tale. Think about it: Why would cutting off the ends of your hair have an effect on what was going on in the scalp? As it turns out, this popular beauty myth is just that: a myth (Huffington Post).
Hair growth comes from follicles, which are organs located in the scalp. These follicles build using keratin, a kind of protein, and eventually the hair pushes up past the skin (Your Hair). There’s a somewhat complex and not totally understood interplay between the hair and the tissue and skin of the scalp (Forensic Science International). This, however, doesn’t mean we don’t understand hair well enough to know that cutting it won’t make it grow.
The keratin cells that make hair are dead. They aren’t communicating with one another and so there would be no way to send a signal to increase growth in some particular way.
Why Trims SEEM to Make Hair Grow Faster
Hair grows about half and inch every month, which averages to about six inches every year. Unfortunately, that’s not always six inches of healthy hair. Through regular wear and tear, hair develops split ends and starts to break (Oprah). When this happens, the split end or break can go up a ways into the strand.
By getting regular trims — about a quarter inch every six to eight weeks — you can keep the ends of your hair healthy-looking, which means they’re less likely to break. This, in turn, means your hair will appear fuller and possibly even longer (if only because you don’t need to get as much taken off at regular cuts).
So What’s a Proven Way to Make Hair Grow Longer?
Believe it or not, there are ways to make your hair’s growth speed up. Because of the complex interaction between hair and skin, there are supplements that will cause processes that result in improved growth. One of these is marine protein, one of the most well-known of which is Viviscal ($35.84, amazon.com).
In tests done on those with alopecia areata, found that Viviscal worked to treat androgen-related hair loss. There are several suggestions for how it does this, including that it adds missing protein to hair follicles, and that its silica compound has an effect, but researchers aren’t totally certain (Viviscal Scientific Studies).
Getting regular trims won’t speed up hair growth, but it will maintain the quality of your hair. This could make it appear longer in two ways: by keeping the hair you have looking full and healthy, and by keeping hair well-maintained enough to avoid major cuts to get rid of breakage and split ends. If you’re really looking to speed up your hair growth, trying something like marine protein, which has been promising in laboratory studies.