Wouldn’t it be great if you could wake up one morning and – presto – you had hair like Rapunzel? Sadly, the dream stops right there, we’ll give it to you straight – there’s simply no magic bullet to make hair grow longer overnight. Inch-by-inch, day-by-day – you’ve got to play the long game. Which means creating the right environment for healthy hair to grow – with no splitting, snapping or breakage.

So, when you’re suffering from serious growing pains and the waiting just gets too hard, here are our 10 commandments for getting your longest, strongest hair:

Step 1: Choose the right shampoo: Hair isn’t silly – it knows exactly what it wants. And to help it grow longer, it demands a specific set of ingredients. Bring out the best in your hair by picking a shampoo that contains Keratin – a protein found naturally within each strand, which helps save it from snapping. New L’Oréal Paris Elvive Dream Length Restoring Shampoo ticks the Keratin box to repair and renew. The formula also contains castor oil (an ingredient well known in DIY communities as essential for hair health) as well as vitamins B and PP to guard against breakage from the inside too.

Step 2: Don’t wash too often: You know that expression, “too much of a good thing”? Like cupcakes on a Friday afternoon: The first one is naughty but nice – the fourth just makes you nauseous. So, shampooing is good – seriously good – but to grow long hair, try and limit yourself to doing it once every other day. Too much cleansing and you’ll strip the scalp and make it dry, bringing growth to an emergency stop. If things get greasy, here’s the trick: Double-cleanse, (just as you would longwear make-up) the roots alone.

Step 3: Get conditioner smart: Like skincare for hair, this is all about prepping the correct canvas – and here, conditioner will prove your good friend. Bypass those roots, which can get clogged with product build-up, and save the conditioning TLC of L’Oreal Paris Dream Length Detangling Conditioner for lengths below ear-height. Max out the benefits by gently pressing the formula into lengths and ends before rinsing. Et voila – your tips are sealed. Now you can skip your salon appointment and start growing that hair back.

Step 4: Don’t brush when your hair is wet: Yes, life’s too short to spend it detangling – but brushing your hair when it’s drenched from the shower is like a shortcut to breakage. Wet hair is fragile – and it snaps under pressure. So, to grow hair longer, play by the rules and simply stick to brushing when your hair is dry. If your hair is extremely damaged and fragile, gently using your fingers is an option as well.

Step 5: Skip super tight styles: That killer tight pony may look like a good idea. But then again, appearances can be deceptive. Dragging your hair back seriously stresses your scalp and hair out, making breakage all the more likely. So, pick a snag-proof hair tie like an Invisibobble or scrunchie and loosen up a little. Trust us, your lengths will thank you.

Step 6: Head massages are awesome – so do them more often: There are few things more relaxing than a head massage, so no wonder your scalp loves them too. Use a calming essential oil to ramp things up and the pressure from your fingers will increase circulation to your scalp. Plus, regular scalp massage is known to lower stress hormone levels, which can contribute to hair loss. Who knew that the secret to growing healthy hair lay beneath your fingertips all this time?

Step 7: Do a treatment once a week, (because treats make you and your hair happy): We get it: You’ve got Instagram to update, and Snapchats to view. Then there’s your social life and job too. But everyone’s got five minutes for a special treat. Take L’Oréal Paris Dream Length Saviour Mask: It’s rich, it’s caring, it envelops your lengths when you apply it from ear-height down – we like to think of it as a cuddle for our hair. You can even double up and apply it after your conditioner if your hair is feeling really damaged. You’ll notice the difference in shine, strength and softness after just a few minutes.

Step 8:Never skip heat protectant, (it’s literally a cardinal sin): Being fried beneath 230-degree heat would freak you out – so have a care for your poor hair. Yes, some protectants feel sticky to the touch – not to mention that they stink of alcohol. But L’Oréal Paris Dream Length leave-in No Haircut Cream actually penetrates the hair, to skip greasiness in favour of heat protection, softness and shine. Its texture is so lightweight that it’ll remain gunk-free, even on dry hair.

Step 9: Pick a boar bristle brush every time: Rescue those last centimeters from the mean blade of the scissors by being clever with your brush choice. Boar bristles distribute your scalp’s natural oils evenly through roots, lengths and tips when you’re running around between washes. Strange but true, this will even help you go longer before you need to wash again, just as commandment 2 recommends.

Step 10: Pat, don’t rub – you’ll only regret it later: So, you’ve nailed the other 9 commandments but hey, there’s always room for growth. Rubbing your hair dry with a towel will only lead to breakage and frizz. Instead, ever so gently, pat your hair with your towel to absorb the excess moisture. Strong, long, smooth and shiny – your hair will soon be ready for a selfie.

10 commandments, done and dusted – get ready to wave a fond farewell to your hairdresser in favour of growing long locks. It seems long stories have happy (hair) endings, after all.

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