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Products for Healthy Hair Growth

Q: My name is Jessica. I'm a late teen and I have a few questions and a little story for you. I love my hair but I would like to know how I can get it longer faster and keep it healthy so that I don't lose it as I grow older. I would also like to know what hair products - shampoos, conditioners, etc. (that are affordable - something I could get at Wal-mart) that I could use. I have fine hair and I'm pretty sure I have a lot of it though. I would like it to be a little thicker but I could live with it. I take pretty good care of myself and I take vitamin supplements almost everyday. So over all my questions are:
1. How can I get it to grow longer faster?
2. How can I get it a little thicker?
3. What products could I get possibly at Wal-mart or something that would help keep it healthy, soft (and if possible be "non-comedogenic")?
If you could help that would be great, I would really appreciate it. If it sounds like I completely hate my hair, I don't. I just have a few issues. Thanks so much for your help in advance, if you can give it.

 
A: Hi, Jessica. It’s nice to know that young people your age are getting serious about taking proper care of their hair. However, there are a few things I should help you understand better.
 
      The rate of hair growth is pretty much set for the individual. Some people’s hair grows faster than others (of course) but on average, a person can get about ˝-inch of growth per month from their hair. The key is to keep the hair and scalp clean and healthy to help the hair grow strong. That being said, there really is no way to speed up the growth process, in spite of the claims of some “supplements” out there.
 
      Vitamin supplements are great, and you also want to make sure that your diet is protein-rich (since hair is comprised of keratinized-protein) to ensure that there are good building blocks for your body to build the hair with.
 
      As for thickening the hair, you could look into getting a gentle body wave, although I only recommend this if you are prepared to take proper care of your hair afterward. Yes, a body wave will increase the diameter of the hair shafts and make the hair look and feel thicker, but it can leave the hair more porous afterward and the hair will need extra moisturizing and gentle handling. Another, much gentler option is to use volumizing products formulated to give fullness to fine, limp hair. You can also try inverting your head as you dry your hair to increase the volume of the finished style.
 
      Which brings me to your last question about products; generally speaking, there isn’t that much of a difference between brands of hair care products. Some people like one brand over another, and will argue that salon brands are superior to store brands, but I’ve never seen any evidence to suggest that the differences are sufficient to merit denigrating one brand in favor of another. I generally advise my own clients to follow their preferences and purse strings.
 
      I personally use Pantene products and I know that they have a line of products for fine hair called “Sheer Volume” with shampoos, conditioners and styling products specifically designed to give fine hair a fuller, thicker look. Another good national brand is Sunsilk (which is my mother’s favorite) and they have their “Anti-Flat” formula designed to volumize thin, flat hair.
 
      I hope this helps.
 
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