Let me start out by saying my hair journey was definitely a lot of trial and error and took quite a bit of time. I can't make any promises that this will 100% give you a mermaid mane, but these steps surely helped me get to an overall better place in terms of the healthiness of my hair.
The very first thing I did to try and jumpstart my hair's growth and length was take a hair supplement. I decided to try Hairfinity based on the reviews and friends of mine who had personally tried it. It is a little expensive (to me) at $30 a bottle, and one bottle is a month's supply. I did two months of taking this and it was completely worth it.
My hair had been stuck at the same length for a few years and just would not grow. I was over having a shoulder length style without even intentionally wanting it, so at that point there was nothing to lose. After my two months of taking Hairfinity vitamins I easily saw my hair grow two inches, and was amazed. If I could have continued to afford paying $30 a month to take them I seriously would.
Goodbye to Drugstore
I had always used drugstore shampoo and conditioner for as long as I can remember. It was affordable, smelled good and I never thought twice about how it could be affecting the quality of my hair... until my hair was in the worse shape of my life.
The products I was using were super harsh on my hair, and weren't giving it the moisture I needed whatsoever. Once I started working at a salon and could receive a discount to make them cheaper (I'm all about saving where you can) then I began to regularly use higher end products that were paraben and sulfate free, and color safe. The difference was obvious, however I will say it wasn't until recently that I finally feel like I've found the perfect match for my mane. I decided to try out the Moroccan Oil Moisture Repair Conditioner and honestly don't know if I'll ever go back to anything else. I have course, frizzy, dry hair and this gives my hair a whole new feeling and soft texture that I never thought I'd have.
I'm not as picky about shampoo, but currently am using the Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser's Invisible Oil which works great for me.
Haircuts are a necessary evil, but I'm telling you they will make all the difference. I would try to go so long without haircuts that my hair would literally start cutting itself and just break off from all of the heat, dryness and bad product I was using. Take it from me (someone who despises haircuts) it will take you way more time to get your hair back in a healthy routine and grow back out if you wait too long rather than if you just get regular trims.
Masks, Oils, and Leave-In Conditioners
Masks, oils and leave-in conditioner's are something I now can't go without. My hair has a tendency to be very dry and by using a combination of these things, I can really lock in the moisture that my hair is needing. A lot of these products also have vitamins and good nutrients for your hair as well, and will help contribute to your mane's overall well-being.
I always use either the Bumble and bumble Hairdresser's Invisible Oil or the Pravana Nevo Hydra Perl Replenishing Hair Oil. I like to switch between them depending on how dry my hair is and will use them both while my hair is wet and dry.
I'm currently flexible with the Masks, but personally really love the one from the Hairdresser's Invisible Oil line. And as for leave-in conditioners, a few of my must-haves are Fave4's Dearly Detangled, Pravana Nevo Intense Leave-In Therapy, and Briogeo Rosarco Milk.
Lay Off the Heat
I tend to go at least three days in between washing my hair. Because of my hair's texture, I prefer it "dirtier" since it doesn't get super oily. I used to wash my hair constantly, and with having naturally curly hair that meant more blow-drying and hot tools, which in turn means more damage.
It probably wasn't until college that I realized my hair could go longer without washing it, and the benefits from me doing so were tremendous. It's so nice to give your hair a break from styling and heat, so as a trick to help push it out even further, try putting it in a messy bun - I even get to the point when I know dry shampoo won't save me, but when it's up in a bun no one has a clue.
Aside from that I also don't flat iron or even curl my ends everyday. I have a lot of baby hairs around my face that usually need to be fixed, but whenever possible I don't continually put heat on my ends. I also over the years have drifted to a more messy, beach wave style which helps. I have come to realize not every inch of my mane is going to or needs to be perfect - a huge relief.
Eliminating stress and "finding your happy place" as I sometimes call it can be hard - very hard. I realize there's so many different factors that play into peoples stress-levels and each situation is unique to that individual. So, with that in mind I also realize this last part is easier said than done, because it has taken me years to get to where I am mentally after losing my Mom.
Anytime you have a life changing event take place, the effects on your body can be immense. For me I struggled with the health of my hair, some skin concerns - acne and then psoriasis (which I realize probably would've came anyway since it's genetic), and some dietary things as well (I was stressed to a point where anytime I ate I just got sick).
Luckily, as they say nothing lasts forever so eight years later I can confidently say I'm in a good, good place both mentally and physically. I do want to mention that the first three years were the hardest for me, and that's where the root of my hair concerns began. However, once I got through my grieving period (again, it's different for everyone) my body slowly but surely started to get back on track.
Although this isn't a cookie cutter, step-by-step way to get the hair you've always dreamed of I do hope that this is helpful. I also hope that if you're struggling through this then you can see that while it is a process, there is definitely a light at the end of the tunnel, and you'll absolutely get there with time.