She SAID: Going to Great Lengths

Terri Kennerson

Hair is one of those divisive topics that can make or break any given beauty conversation. While the crown on one’s head is as individual as the wearer, there are plenty of opinions on who should wear what, in what cut, color and style. The onset of the natural hair movement introduced plenty of new opinions, and now a random click on YouTube will introduce you to some of the strangest ‘hair-growth’ techniques you’ve ever seen. From hanging upside down to chucking shampoo forever, how far you go depends on your commitment to the (hair growth) cause. Believe it or not, some of this stuff actually works.


Technique: Hang upside down for 3 to 5 minutes a day (off your bed or a chair). The idea is to longhair3have your head below your heart. While upside down, massage oil of choice into the scalp.

Pros: Once you realize that the only requirement is having your head ‘down’ – you can improvise. Yoga is a fantastic cheat. Forward Fold, Downward Facing Dog, or any head or handstand will do the trick. You won’t be able to do the massage in anything but a forward fold, but we found that even without oil, the scalp was stimulated by the rush of blood to the area.

Cons: If you don’t practice yoga, and can’t remember to actually go upside down… it’s a challenge to stay consistent. Also, depending on your choice of oils, styling can be a pain.


If it ain’t broke…

Women (and men) of color have been using Jamaican Black Castor Oil for ages. The ash content of longhair2the oil is said to be the secret ingredient. This dark thick oil goes directly onto the scalp to treat follicles at the root and promote growth.

Pros: You can mix this oil with others to thin it out, and it’ll still work pretty well. You only have to deal with it once a week for great results.

Cons: It smells awful. Even with mixing and the addition of essential oils, it’s hard to get rid of the ‘burnt’ smell that is characteristic of the oil. It’s incredibly thick and difficult to spread on its own, and it sticks to everything like glue. Unless you’re keen to stay in the house for a couple of days or wear a stain-resistant hat while you’re out, a chignon may be your style choice for the duration of use.


This post-shampoo spray on treatment goes directly onto the scalp. The not-so-secret ingredients are fulvic and humic acids, and claim to grow hair much like a plant by cultivating the scalp to create ideal growth conditions.longhair1

Pros: Easy to use. After shampoo/conditioner, spray directly onto scalp and style as usual.

Cons: Expensive (considering amount/frequency per use). At $80 a bottle, you can easily go through 4 ounces in a week or two. There is also no moisturizing content, which means the use of additional products. A regimen with this spray can quickly add up, and may not be worth it in the long run.

We conducted a very unscientific study (one month for each technique/product), and found that some of them can actually promote growth upwards of an inch a week, hair type and natural growth rate considered.


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