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Have you fallen victim to the hair growth gummy vitamin ads on Instagram only to achieve zero results? You’re not alone! Unfortunately, despite an array of “grow-long-hair-fast” products on the market, there’s no magical formula for achieving mermaid-length tresses. Show of hands: who has a half-empty bottle of biotin or prenatal vitamins in their cabinets? In our early days, we'll admit we were lured in by the idea of a small pill to do the trick. However, as we and our hair have grown, we’ve learned that long lustrous locks have more to do with nature and nurture than a quick fix-all. The good news: Though certain factors are out of your control (i.e. genetics, hormones, etc.), there are natural remedies that will help kickstart the growth process and improve the overall health of your hair. Check out five easy ways to boost hair growth naturally, which in turn will have a positive effect on your mind, body, and soul.

Tip #1: Understand the growth process

Hair grows in three phases: anagen, the active growth phase; catagen, the transitional phase; and telogen, the resting phase. During the anagen phase, hair typically grows up to half an inch each month. The length of the anagen phase is genetically determined, while the catagen phase lasts 2-3 weeks. The telogen phase usually lasts three months, which is when you’ll experience the most hair fall.

It’s also important to note seasonal effects on hair growth. For example, hair tends to grow up to 10-percent faster during the summer due to increased humidity and increased blood circulation. Unfortunately, while the hair does grow faster during the warmer months, too much stress on the hair (i.e. chlorine, constant ponytails, etc.) can lead to breakage and hair loss.

How to make these phases work for you? During the winter months, take time to really nourish and stimulate your strands. Using a shampoo with tea tree oil or giving your scalp a good scrub and massage can increase blood flow that is often dormant during these times. Looking for the best scalp scrub for your budget? Check these out.  During the summer months, to cut down on damage, reinvent your drying routine. Instead of relying on hot tools to get the job done, invest in products and techniques that will allow you to effortlessly style your hair sans heat.

Tip #2: Load up on iron and zinc

When our bodies are depleted of necessary vitamins and minerals it can begin to show in the way we feel and often the way we look. Drinking more water is a common tip that most nutritionists say we often miss. From over-consumption of coffee, alcoholic beverages, and simple lifestyle changes, most of us are often dehydrated before we even know it. *Pro-tip: Keeping a cute water bottle on hand is an easy way to up your water consumption. When it comes to supplements, it has been shown that a diet lacking in iron and zinc can lead to hair thinning and hair loss, two things you don’t want to experience when growing out your strands. Zinc is crucial for keratin production, while the iron is necessary to produce hemoglobin in the blood, which carries oxygen to your cells. Simply put, not enough hemoglobin means little to no circulation to your scalp, resulting in stagnant hair growth. To combat this, add iron- and zinc- rich foods to your diet, including lean red meat, leafy greens, lentils, pumpkin seeds, and chickpeas.

Tip #3: Embrace healthy fats

While the keto-craze has come and gone, there may be another reason – besides weight loss – to pick up a few tips from this diet. Healthy fats are essential to healthy cell function. Omega-3 fatty acids nourish your scalp, promote growth, add shine and reduce inflammation that can lead to hair loss. By adding healthy fats to your diet, you can naturally help change the way your body functions and therefore the way your hair grows. Not sure where to start? Some great omega-3 rich foods to incorporate into your diet are: Salmon, walnuts, flaxseeds and olive oil.

Tip #4: Minimize heat-styling and coloring

If you’re determined to grow out your hair fast, then you must make sacrifices—namely, your hot tools and bleach. We know what you’re thinking, “summer is coming up” and you’ll want to lighten your look. The problem is: constant heat-styling and coloring can be incredibly damaging to your strands, leading to breakage and hair fall. Instead of sacrificing the appointment you just scheduled with your colorist, decrease the number of times you heat-style your hair each week and opt for a more low-maintenance shade. A few great alternatives to the classic highlight touch-up include balayage, “lived-in hair color,” and smudged roots

Tip #5: Opt for weekly at-home treatments

You’d be surprised at how effective at-home hair treatments can be. While there are a plethora of masks from our favorite brands that we can’t seem to get enough of, we’re also digging a few au naturel options! Case in point: an egg yolk mask. We’ll admit, this was originally a bit of a wives tale for us – literally – my mom was the first to tell me about it. However, yolks are packed with lecithin, a fatty substance that can promote hair growth and boost softness and shine; as well as protein, which is essential for healthy hair follicles; and biotin, a key nutrient for keratin production. To use, simply mix an egg yolk with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a little water, then apply it to your scalp and leave it on for 30 minutes. Looking for other easy at-home options? Castor oil has long been a favorite of some beauty bloggers, however, in recent times this oil has actually come under some scrutiny.  What’s better? Just like your latte and the public’s aversion to dairy, almonds are growing in popularity in the world of beauty as well. Products with almond oil have gained quite the following and are proving to be one of the fastest-growing ingredient crazes in the beauty industry.

What are some of our favorite natural beauty secrets? We want to know! Be sure to share in the comments below and follow along on social media for our latest updates!