When you’re tired of short or medium hairstyles, you’ll have to put a little more effort into your hair to help it grow. From avoiding products and styling techniques that damage your hair and hurt your scalp to using natural hair growth solutions, there are many ways to do it.

Discover the most important secrets to growing long hair, and you’ll be able to change your look and give up weaves and extensions for good. Here’s what you need to know about growing long, beautiful and healthy hair.

Avoid Dangerous Ingredients in Hair Products

You should definitely consider going natural and organic when it comes to your shampoo and other hair products, but even without that, you should still avoid harmful chemicals. Your hair products should never contain: alcohols, especially isopropyl alcohol, SLS or sodium lauryl sulfate, propylene glycol, PEG or polyethylene glycol, aminomethyl propanol, coal tar, mineral oil, along with synthetic colors and fragrances.

Banish Split Ends

Some say one of the secrets to growing long hair is getting a regular trim. However, that can extend the process, and sometimes it’s simply not necessary. Check your hair for split ends, and decide if you need it. Dry and frizzy ends are a sign that you need a trim, and you should stick to less than a half inch every other month if you can’t manage the split ends with regular treatments and masks.

Condition Correctly

Leave-in conditioner is a great way to keep your hair protected, but you’ll also need a regular deep conditioning treatment. For damaged hair, you should do it weekly. Protein treatments can also help prevent breakage and keep your hair in good shape.

Reduce Chemical Damage

All chemical treatments take a toll on your hair, so you should wait longer between each one or even give them up altogether. One of the secrets to growing long hair is protecting your scalp from the dye, which means that you shouldn’t apply it closer than 1/4 inches from the root. If that’s not going to work for you, try natural hair dyes, like henna.

Get Regular Oil Treatments

Coconut oil and argan oil from Morocco are among the best natural ways to nourish your scalp from the outside and keep your hair looking great. If you apply an oil treatment before shampooing, you’ll also prevent it from stripping too many natural oils from the hair shaft.

Protect Your Hair from Heat

Air drying is one of the most useful secrets to growing long hair, because it helps your scalp retain moisture. Blow-drying, especially at a high temperature, will dry out your scalp. All heat styling tools could use a break. If you can’t avoid heat, then make sure you use a good heat protectant, and apply it correctly, while your hair is wet.

Wash Your Hair Thoughtfully

Dry shampoo can help you give your hair a break, since it does not need daily shampooing. If you hate it, then consider co-washing, using conditioner instead of shampoo every other day. Always wash your hair when you sweat a lot, because otherwise you risk your scalp getting irritated. A daily scalp massage, either while shampooing or while brushing your hair helps stimulate circulation and can help hair grow.

Protect Your Hair from Breakage

Keep your hair healthy by avoiding any tight hair styles, and that includes sleeping with your tresses in a tight hair tie. Daily brushing is one of the secrets to growing long hair, but you don’t need 100 strokes. Use a wide tooth comb to untangle your hair when wet, and a boar bristle brush when it’s dry. Always start at the ends and work your way up to minimize breakage.

Trust Castor Oil

An excellent hair growth solution, castor oil has antibacterial and antifungal properties, so it can restore the natural pH of your skin. It will improve the health of your scalp, and you can even use it on your eyelashes. Stick to a tiny amount, leave it on overnight, and use a shower cap to protect your pillow.

Eat Right

Lean protein, along with foods rich in omega-3, iron, vitamins D and E, and folate, can help maintain the health of your hair. Supplements like Biotin and Viviscal are also among the secrets to growing long hair.