Can You *Actually* Make Your Hair Grow Faster? The Final Answer

Can You *Actually* Make Your Hair Grow Faster? The Final Answer

I have spent basically my entire life trying to grow longer, thicker hair, but alas—my genetics, hormones, and at-home hair highlighting (whoops) haven’t exactly helped me. I’ve tried nearly every buzzy trend to no avail: hair-growth vitamins, castor-oil scalp massages, aloe-vera treatments, hair-growth shampoos—you name it. I eventually panic-searched “how to make your hair grow faster,” read nearly every article and study, and found out the truth: While there are ways to help encourage faster hair growth, there’s not exactly a way to truly make your hair grow faster.

Which essentially led me down a rabbit hole and, eventually, straight to the experts to debunk the myths and get the actual best tips to make your hair grow faster. Because, unfortunately, only hormones, age, genetics, and overall health can determine how fast your hair grows. But (!) that doesn’t mean you don’t have a ton of options for encouraging healthy hair growth and setting yourself up for success—which is where I come in. Keep reading for all the insights I grabbed from three board-certified dermatologists, two trichologists (aka hair scientists), and three hairstylists:

✔️ FYI: We updated this article in April 2023 to give you the most up-to-date info on how to make your hair grow faster, including products going viral on TikTok, a dermatologist’s take on hair-growth supplements, and tried-and-true tips, just for you.

How fast does hair grow?

According to research, hair naturally grows at a rate of 0.35 millimeters per day, which equals roughly ½-inch per month for a total of 6 inches per year. Note: The shorter your hair (whether you’re working with a bob, lob, bangs, or a buzzcut), the faster your hair will appear to grow—even though the rate hasn’t changed. Similarly, already-long hair may appear to be at a standstill, when it’s actually steadily growing (barring, of course, medical complications; more on that below).

It’s also important to know that you were born with all of the hair follicles you’ll ever have—between 80,000 to 120,000—meaning you can’t create more hair follicles (or more hair strands) than what you were born with, even if a product claims to give you fuller, thicker hair. That being said, in certain cases, you can potentially stimulate your hair follicles to help with re-growth, which is where the following 10 expert tips and products come in.


Women's 5% Minoxidil Foam for Hair Thinning and Loss

Rogaine Women’s 5% Minoxidil Foam for Hair Thinning and Loss

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Rosemary oil

Rosemary Mint Scalp & Hair Strengthening Oil

Mielle Organics Rosemary Mint Scalp & Hair Strengthening Oil

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Caffeine hair treatment

Destined for Density Peptide Hair Serum

Briogeo Destined for Density Peptide Hair Serum

Peptide-rich scalp serum

Multi-Peptide Serum for Hair Density

The Ordinary Multi-Peptide Serum for Hair Density

How do you make your hair grow faster?

Your hair growth is determined by your hormones, health, genetics, and age. So despite what advertisements and product labels may tell you, there’s no topical product that can truly grow your hair faster and longer (unless, of course, your body has a health condition or vitamin deficiency that, when resolved, can result in hair growth).

That being said, hair growth requires a healthy scalp, a healthy body, and healthy hair habits to work most effectively. So to find out exactly how to create the most optimal hair-growth conditions, along with the products that really do help to make your hair grow, keep reading.

When should I see a dermatologist about hair growth?

You should see a dermatologist about hair growth at any point in your hair journey, whether you’ve only recently noticed hair loss or you’ve already tried every hair-growth treatment available. “If your hair loss is abrupt and without an identifiable trigger, your scalp is itchy or painful, or if your hair loss or thinning is accompanied by other symptoms, then a trip to the doctor would be especially warranted,” board-certified dermatologist Samantha Ellis, MD, previously told Cosmo.

But in general, it can’t hurt to see a doctor and get a full blood panel to make sure you’re healthy, as vitamin deficiencies can stunt hair growth. Your dermatologist can also recommend prescription treatments—like higher-strength minoxidil, spironolactone, and finasteride—that actually have research that back up how they work to help encourage hair growth, rather than spending tons of money on hair-growth supplements and scalp treatments with little-to-no scientific data.

How to make your hair grow faster

1. Ask your doctor about prescription hair-growth treatments

    If you want to get serious about treating hair loss and making your hair grow faster, head to your dermatologist for a prescription option, like spironolactone (a blood pressure medication commonly used off-label in women to treat hormonal acne) that can potentially help increase hair growth over time, board-certified dermatologist Dhaval Bhanusali has told Cosmo.

    You could also ask your doctor about a compounded-topical treatment, like HairStim, which allows your dermatologist to create a custom cocktail of prescription hair-loss treatments tailored to you. Think: Higher-dose minoxidil than over-the-counter options, topical finasteride, topical spironolactone, retinoids, salicylic acid, and more—all depending on your specific needs and goals. But FYI: HairStim isn’t covered by insurance, and it costs $60 for a 30 to 60-day supply, which can add up over time, as you’ll need to consistently use it for 10 to 12 weeks to see results.

    Spironolactone Prescription

    Apostrophe Spironolactone Prescription

    Spironolactone Oral Acne Medication

    Nurx Spironolactone Oral Acne Medication

    2. Try microneedling with PRP for hair growth

      PRP therapy, aka platelet-rich plasma therapy, is a treatment where a doctor draws your blood, separates the plasma from it, then re-injects it into your scalp to stimulate follicle activity. But for a less invasive route, consider getting a scalp microneedling session (like Vivace or Morpheus8), in which tiny needles microscopically puncture your skin to encourage collagen production and then your provider massages in the plasma.

      It usually requires four treatments to see results, which can cost between $600 and $1,200 per treatment depending on your location, your provider, etc. “I do think PRP can work in the right patient, but it’s not a guarantee,” Dr. Bhanusali previously told Cosmo. “Studies show that 20 percent of people get a significant improvement [in hair growth], 20 percent get slim-to-no results, and, anecdotally, the other 40 percent get a 10 to 15 percent improvement.”

      But if you’re afraid of needles/blood or want an at-home option, you can try running a dermaroller over your clean scalp once or twice a week, then massaging in your favorite scalp serum to help with product penetration and stimulate some collagen production (which can, potentially, lead to hair growth over time).

      Scalp Dermaroller

      Act+Acre Scalp Dermaroller

      Hair-Growth Derma Roller

      Bondi Boost Hair-Growth Derma Roller

      Hair & Scalp Micro-Needling Derma-Roller

      Foligain Hair & Scalp Micro-Needling Derma-Roller

      Now 21% Off

      Rejuvenating Scalp + Fuller Hair Therapy Set

      BeautyBio Rejuvenating Scalp + Fuller Hair Therapy Set

      3. Try topical hair-growth products

      If you’re concerned your hair isn’t growing fast enough—and/or you’re experiencing hair loss and thinning—book an appointment with a dermatologist asap who will help you identify the cause and help you formulate a treatment plan, which might include a topical solution like minoxidil, i.e., the active ingredient found in topical products like Rogaine and Hers.

      “We don’t know the exact mechanism for how it works, but we think a lot of it has to do with increasing blood flow to the scalp,” Dr. Bhanusali has previously told Cosmo. “It’s like giving more water to the plant to help it grow.” If you do decide to try minoxidil-based products, you need to be consistent and commit to using it daily.

      Minoxidil Topical Solution 2% Hair-Regrowth Treatment

      Equate Minoxidil Topical Solution 2% Hair-Regrowth Treatment

      Minoxidil 2% Extra-Strength Topical Hair-Regrowth Solution

      Hers Minoxidil 2% Extra-Strength Topical Hair-Regrowth Solution

      Scalp X 5% Minoxidil Hair-Regrowth Treatment

      Head & Shoulders Scalp X 5% Minoxidil Hair-Regrowth Treatment

      Flourish Minoxidil 5% Hair Growth Treatment

      Virtue Flourish Minoxidil 5% Hair Growth Treatment

      4. Consider hair-growth vitamins

      First, it’s important to note here that hair-growth supplements are not a miracle cure for growing hair faster (and usually won’t even work unless you’re actually deficient in vitamins). They also shouldn’t be taken without talking to your doctor first. Why? Because even though these gummies and vitamins seem innocent, they aren’t regulated by the FDA, meaning they can contain any ingredient they want and claim whatever fact they want.

      Not only that, but if you eat at least somewhat balanced foods (more on that below), your body will already be filled with the only hair-strengthening ingredients it needs, like biotin, folic acid, vitamins D, A, C, and E. So doubling up your dose by popping hair supplements won’t make a difference. “Your body only keeps what it needs and then it gets rid of the rest,” says Burg.

      That said, if you think you might be vitamin deficient, you could be a solid candidate for hair-growth supplements, ask your doctor. You’ll want to make sure you’re choosing the right amount (and type) of vitamins to help hair grow faster and longer, and that they won’t interact with any medications you’re currently taking. Once you get the green light, check out a few of the internet’s favorites:

      Vegan Vitamin Gummies for Hair Growth

      SugarBearHair Vegan Vitamin Gummies for Hair Growth

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      Ultra-Strength Hair Softgels

      Olly Ultra-Strength Hair Softgels

      Hair-Growth Supplement for Thinning

      Nutrafol Hair-Growth Supplement for Thinning

      Women's Hair Growth Supplements

      Viviscal Women’s Hair Growth Supplements

      Now 31% Off

      5. Massage your scalp with hair-healthy oils

      No, there isn’t some magical oil that will grow your hair faster in one week, but massaging your scalp will help increase blood circulation to your hair follicles that can create a healthy foundation for hair growth—especially when paired with the right oils. Dermatologist Hope Mitchell, MD, recommends pairing a scalp massage with hair oils such as:

      • coconut oil (which acts as an antimicrobial and antifungal and also helps prevent free radicals from damaging hair)
      • jojoba oil (which has antifungal properties and is rich in vitamin E and strengthening omega 6 and 9 fatty acids)
      • castor oil (which has moisturizing ricinoleic acid and omega 6 fatty acids)
      • rosemary oil (which has been shown in studies to be as effective as to 2.5 percent minoxidil for hair growth) for the most benefit.

      Castor Oil

      Kate Blanc Cosmetics Castor Oil

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      Jojoba Oil Hair Serum

      Pattern Jojoba Oil Hair Serum

      Aceite de Moska Pre-Shampoo Scalp & Hair Oil

      Ceremonia Aceite de Moska Pre-Shampoo Scalp & Hair Oil

      Nourish & Grow Healthy Hair and Scalp Oil

      Alodia Nourish & Grow Healthy Hair and Scalp Oil

      6. Try caffeine hair treatments

      According to Dr. Bhanusali, topical caffeine not only helps stimulate blood flow to your scalp (which is essential for healthy hair growth), but it also helps counteracts DHT, the hormone responsible for hair loss. Though it’s not guaranteed to grow your hair faster, it’s one of those at-home ingredients that can’t hurt to try.

      Still, you’ll need to be patient: If caffeine does help reduce some of your hair loss—or have a positive effect on your hair density and health—it will stake take two or three months to see results. So start using one of these shampoos, scalp serums, or leave-ins asap if you’re after longer, thicker hair:

      Procapil Hair Tonic for Thinning Hair

      BondiBoost Procapil Hair Tonic for Thinning Hair

      Caffeine Hair-Loss Hair-Growth Shampoo

      Terez & Honor Caffeine Hair-Loss Hair-Growth Shampoo

      Now 29% Off

      On Sale

      Anti-Hair Fall Coconut Caffeine Strengthening Shampoo

      OGX Anti-Hair Fall Coconut Caffeine Strengthening Shampoo

      Now 32% Off

      Caffeine Stimulating Scalp Treatment

      The Inkey List Caffeine Stimulating Scalp Treatment

      7. Eat nutrient-rich foods

      All doctors agree: Health hair growth stars with proper nutrition. “There are a lot of people who are vitamin deficient and don’t realize it, because of either dieting, poor nutrition, or intense stress,” Burg has previously told Cosmo. And when you’re not eating enough or you’re undergoing intense periods of stress, “your body will shut down your hair growth first and redirect nutrients and energy to the organs that need it most,” he says, which leaves your hair growth at a standstill.

      For the best foods to help your hair grow faster, Dr. Mitchell says to look for foods rich in protein, iron, vitamin B12, omega 3 fatty acids, and vitamin E to help promote new hair growth. What does that look like? The basics:

      • fruits (strawberries, avocados, blueberries, oranges, grapefruit)
      • vegetables (spinach, bell peppers, beans, broccoli)
      • fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines)
      • nuts and seeds (almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds)
      • eggs
      • red meat and chicken

      8. Trim your hair

      No matter how well you treat your body, your hair will never look longer if you’re not taking proper care of it, which starts with getting regular haircuts and trims. Despite what misleading hair products will tell you, split ends will never get better on their own; they need to be cut off, or they’ll keep splitting higher and higher until the strand of hair breaks off.

      So even though it sounds counterintuitive to cut your hair to make it grow “faster” and look longer, it’s a non-negotiable requirement. “Your hair will actually be shorter un-cut than it would be if you were to get consistent trims,” says hairstylist Mark Townsend. He suggests asking your stylist to take just an eighth of an inch off your hair every 10 to 12 weeks to prevent split ends before they even start.

      9. Wear protective hairstyles

      Whether you’re trying to grow out your 4c hair or your 2a waves, you’re going to have the most success at growing your hair “faster” if you stick to protective style. The general ~equation~ for hair growth is time (see: patience) + hydration (like hair masks and deep conditioners) + low manipulation (which means cutting out the chemical treatments, coloring, and tight styles).

      Hair that’s left down is prone to tangling up and drying out (especially at the ends), which is where protective styling is key. Opt for loose twists, rolls, and French braids that you can DIY at home regardless of your hair type, or ask your braider for jumbo box braids or faux twists for a longer-lasting protective style, if you’re working with type-4 hair.

      And if you are working with type-4 hair, listen up: “Don’t just braid your dry hair and call it good,” says Jasmine “Jazzee” Green, hairstylist and natural hair expert. “To prep, saturate your wet hair with a ton of leave-in conditioner, then blow-dry with a comb attachment until it’s 100 percent dry, stretching each section with your fingers as you work.”

      Yup, blow-drying natural hair. With heat. Sounds potentially scary if you’re dealing with breakage, but “heat helps the leave-in penetrate your hair cuticle and stretch it, so it won’t shrink up and dry out as quickly in your protective style,” says Green.

      10. Focus on scalp care for hair growth

      If you’re trying to grow your hair faster and longer, you need to pay attention to your scalp. “The two most important layers of the skin in relation to the scalp are the dermis and the epidermis,” says trichologist Bridgette Hill. “The dermis contains our hair follicles, glands, nerves, blood vessels, collagen, elastin fibers, and fat cells, so a proper scalp routine will impact the rate of hair growth and the health of your hair fiber.”

      When you take care of your scalp, you’re ensuring that fresh blood and nutrients can easily flow to the hair follicle, says Hill. So, what does proper scalp care look like? A mix of scalp oils, serums, and hair masks with scalp-stimulating ingredients like peppermint or tea tree oils that help increase circulation to the scalp, she says.

      Hill also suggests incorporating a proper scalp shampoo once a week, i.e., where you apply shampoo directly to your scalp and let it sit for five minutes before rinsing and conditioning. Pro tip: A hair-color applicator bottle can help easily distribute the shampoo through your scalp. “Also, remember that consistency is key,” says hairstylist Adam Federico. “Work yourself into a scalp-care routine and stick with it. Remember that when it comes to hair health, you’re playing the long game.”

      Perfect Shine Clarifying Scalp Scrub

      NatureLab. Tokyo Perfect Shine Clarifying Scalp Scrub

      SahaScalp Amla Soothing Serum

      Fable & Mane SahaScalp Amla Soothing Serum

      Natural Moisturizing Factors + Hyaluronic Acid Scalp Serum

      The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + Hyaluronic Acid Scalp Serum

      Scalp Revival Charcoal + Tea Tree Cooling Hydration Mask

      Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal + Tea Tree Cooling Hydration Mask

      11. Keep hair conditioned

      Consider conditioner and deep conditioner your hair-growth BFF. “It’s shocking to me how many people skip conditioner when showering,” says Townsend, “which is the worst thing you can do for your hair—especially when you’re trying to grow it long.” Why? Because coloring and heat-styling will eventually cause hair strands to get thinner at the bottom, leading to more breakage and shorter lengths.

      Conditioner, however, helps replace the fat and protein inside your hair shaft while also sealing in moisture. Basically, it’s your first defense against the damage that threatens your long-hair goals, because it’s actively working to protect and hydrate your hair.

      Intensive Hydration Hair Masque

      SheaMoisture Intensive Hydration Hair Masque

      Elvive Total Repair 5 Damage Erasing Balm Rinse-Out Mask

      L’Oreal Paris Elvive Total Repair 5 Damage Erasing Balm Rinse-Out Mask

      Miracle Deep Conditioner Plus Keratin

      It’s a 10 Haircare Miracle Deep Conditioner Plus Keratin

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      No.5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner

      Olaplex No.5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner

      12. Avoid bleach, chemicals, and damaging treatments

      Sorry, but avoiding all hair dyes, bleach, and chemical treatments is necessary when growing out your hair, says Dr. Mitchell.When you bleach your hair, it opens up the cuticle of your hair strands, causing significant damage—especially for those with darker hair—every single time. Plus, hair that’s been color- or chemically treated is more likely to break, which will require more trims and less length for you.

      When it comes to styling in general, “less is more” should be your motto when trying to make your hair grow faster. Dr. Mitchell recommends limiting the use of hair clips, extensions, and tight braided hairstyles that can cause tension. Even wearing your hair in the same hairstyle every day, like a ponytail or bun, can cause your hair to break over time too, so make sure to regularly switch up your style to help prevent damage.

      Final thoughts:

      Although you sadly can’t make your hair grow faster overnight or even within a week, you can change up your routine and food habits to make sure your hair can grow as easily and healthily as possible. And just remember: Your doctor should always be your first stop when trying to make your hair grow, because only they will be able to tell you what’s really going on inside your body or within your scalp.

      Meet the experts:

      Why trust Cosmopolitan?

      Beth Gillette is the beauty editor at Cosmopolitan with nearly five years of experience researching, writing, and editing hair stories that range from dandruff shampoos to hair botox. She’s an authority in all hair categories, but is an expert when it comes to how to make your hair grow faster, thanks to interviewing dermatologists and trichologists for years to help her grow long, mermaid hair.

      Chloe Metzger is the deputy beauty director at Cosmopolitan with nearly 10 years of experience writing about hair, makeup, nails, and skincare, with stories like the curly girl method and curly hair products. She’s tested hundreds of hair-growth treatments over her career that helped her write this story.

      Brooke Shunatona is a contributing writer for Cosmopolitan with more than 10 years of experience. She’s written beauty, fashion, and lifestyle articles, including flat irons and dry-scalp treatments. She interviewed experts and researched products to compile the best tips to make your hair grow faster.

      Headshot of Beth Gillette

      Beth Gillette is the beauty editor at Cosmopolitan, where she covers skincare, makeup, hair, nails, and more across digital and print. She can generally be found in bright eyeshadow furiously typing her latest feature or hemming and hawing about a new product you “have to try.” Prior to Cosmopolitan, she wrote and edited beauty content as an Editor at The Everygirl for four years. Follow her on Instagram for makeup selfies and a new hair ‘do every few months. 

      Headshot of Chloe Metzger

      Deputy Beauty Director

      Chloe Metzger is the deputy beauty director at Cosmopolitan, overseeing the editorial content and growth strategy of the hair, makeup, and skin space on digital, while also obsessively writing about the best hair products for every hair type (curly girl here; whattup), and the skincare routines that really, truly work (follow her on Instagram to see behind-the-scenes pics of that magazine life). She brings nearly a decade of writing and editing expertise, and her work has appeared in Allure, Health, Fitness, Marie Claire, StyleCaster, and Parents. She also has an unhealthy adoration for Tom Hanks and would like to please meet him one day, if you could arrange that. Thanks.

      Headshot of Brooke Shunatona

      Brooke Shunatona is a contributing writer for

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