Have you ever dreamed of long, luxurious locks without extensions? While hair typically only grows about a quarter or half an inch per month, there are some steps you can take to ensure that your hair is growing at its very best and fastest rate. Here are seven secrets for promoting faster, healthier hair growth.

Good Diet = Good Hair

Healthy hair begins with a healthy diet, so make sure your diet is rich in protein, vitamins A, B, C, and E as wells as minerals such as iron, zinc, copper, magnesium, and selenium. Pack your daily diet with all the nutrients you need and you won’t have room for any junk food. Make sure you’re eating foods with omega-3 fatty acids as three percent of a hair shaft is made up of omega-3 fatty acids. Sprinkle some flax seeds or walnuts on your yogurt, add a side of beans or winter squash to your meal, and use olive oil liberally in your cooking. Finally, Vitamin E and zinc deficiencies can lead to hair loss and you can easily be sure that you’re meeting your daily requirements by supplementing with a once-a-day multi-vitamin.

Don’t Brush When Wet

Brushing wet hair with a brush can cause severe breakage, so use a wide-toothed comb instead.

Drink Water

Drinking water helps the hydrate your hair from the inside out. Hydrated hair is harder to break.

Stimulate Your Scalp

Scalp massaging promotes blood flow to the scalp, stimulating the hair follicles. Mix coconut oil with a few drops of follicle stimulating essential oils such as rosemary, peppermint or lavender.

Avoid Stress

Avoiding stress is easier said than done but stress remains one of the biggest contributing factors to hair loss. It appears that stress can disrupt the normal hair growth cycle.

Get Some Rest

Growth hormone is released during sleep, so make sure you are getting plenty or rest.

Get a Trim

It might seem counter intuitive to trim your hair if you’re trying to grow it out, but cutting off the split ends – which lead to breakage and unhealthy looking hair – can ward off further damage. Visit your stylist every 6-8 weeks and ask to have 1/4th of an inch trimmed off your hair, keeping your goal of not just long hair but long and healthy hair in mind.

Finally, keep in mind that many medical issues, including thyroid disease, anemia, and protein deficiency, as well as many medications, can lead to hair loss and thinning, so always speak to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns.