So maybe you gave in to the bob trend a little too quickly, or you’re getting married soon and always dreamed of cascading locks as you walked down the aisle — whatever the reason, you want long hair, and you want it now. As much as we wish gazing at Pinterest pics of braids would make our tresses grow faster, we’ve got five tips that will actually help out those locks. No matter what your hair type, we’ve got all the info you need to keep you and your mane healthy.


1. Stop Washing Your Hair: Yes, seriously. Washing your hair is stripping the natural oils your locks needs to grow. You should aim to shampoo once or twice a week — any more than that can seriously stunt growth. DIY dry shampoo is your new best friend. Naturally curly/kinky-haired girls: You can hold on to your shampoo bottles. Cleansing your scalp thoroughly and consistently will promote gorgeous hair growth.


2. Get Regular Haircuts: This may seem counterproductive, but if your hair is breaking off at the ends, you won’t keep any of the new growth. Hair typically grows a half-inch every four weeks. If you shoot for regular “baby” trims every six weeks, you’ll be trimming off the dead ends, while still maintaining your longer length. When you sit in your hairdresser’s chair, ask her to cautiously cut off a fourth of an inch.


3. Heat Protectant: Curling irons and blow dryers won’t stop your hair from growing — IF you’re protecting your tresses with the proper products. Quickly apply thermal protectant before you put heat on your hair, and that will inhibit any unnecessary damage. Go for a thermal serum or mousse before blowdrying, or use a spray before curling or straightening.


4. Take Your Vitamins: You can probably hear your mom’s voice echoing in your head, and in this case, she is totally right. Vitamins do wonders for our body, and healthy hair starts with a healthy body. To get you started, check out vitamin C, which helps with a healthy immune system, along with B vitamins, which promote cell growth.


5. Identify Hindrances: Stress, poor nutrition and more serious issues like alopecia could be reasons why your hair isn’t growing in the first place. If you sense one of these reasons could be stunting your growth, visit your doctor to express your concerns, and they can help get your health back on track. Remember, it all starts with a healthy body.

Got any additional hair tips for us? Tell us about it in the comments below!