Emtalks | Beauty, Fashion, Travel, Fitness and Lifestyle Blog


Friday, 16 May 2014

Best Hair Growth Products, How To Make Your Hair Grow and Updated Hair Extension Guide

So as most of you know, I have been trying to grow my hair since last August after a horrendous experience with bonded hair extensions. Hair extensions left me with bald patches, my hair had matted into dreadlocks and my hair actually snapped off in places. In the end, I was told that I had to either cut all my hair off and start again or well, I’d be left with nothing at all. I have always been a ‘length princess’ as my hair dresser used to say, I’ve always had long hair, even before I got extensions and I’ve never wanted to have short hair, in fact, I have extremely weak moments still, even though my hair is growing now, I do sometimes nearly crumble and get extensions again (they’re like an addiction). I decided it would be the right time to update everyone on the products and things that I’ve found have really helped my hair to grow back and re-gain it’s strength. I also wanted to give you an updated hair extension guide so you don’t have to go through what I’ve been through with bad hair extensions but hopefully it should answer any ‘which hair extensions should I buy’ questions that you may have, I get lots of people emailing me about which hair extensions are the best and which hair extensions they should be using so let’s hope this helps with that too! Basically, I really want to help people who are wanting to grow their hair or strengthen it... Let's go!

Best Hair Growth Products:

how to grow long hairFirstly let’s talk about hair growth products. There are so many hair growth products out there, I truly believe that you have to find the ones that are right for you, obviously there is no miracle lotion or potion which will grow your hair over night (hopefully someone will invent that soon) but there are a number of products which help the hair grow by strengthening it, therefore it means you’ll get less split ends and tadaa, your hair will be longer and thicker. Some products claim to make your scalp healthier, this apparently stimulates hair growth as it stimulates blood flow and obviously, like soil, if you’re wanting to grow plants, you need healthy soil first, so pretend that your hair is like that: you’re trying to grow a garden of fresh, blooming, healthy flowers (long, beautiful strands of hair which don’t snap) so you need to keep feeding and watering the soil (your scalp).  Below are the products I have been using…

fast shampoo and conditioner

I was kindly sent these to trial about a year ago and I do think they are good, I’ve read rave reviews about them however, for me, the name ‘fast’ did actually put me off them because everyone knows that hair growth isn’t fast and any product that promises to grow hair ‘fast’ for me is a bit untrustworthy. I did a lot of research though and the internet truly loves this product so once you get past the bad packaging (this wont look beautiful in your bathroom but who cares if it’s gonna grow your hair) when you apply it the shampoo is quite thick, it does feel like it’s really cleaning the hair, I love how gooey it feels. It’s built up with natural vitamins etc so it is kind to the hair plus it's paraben free etc. I do feel like these products did get my hair moving, my hair didn’t want to grow and after using these for a while I think it gave my hair the shake it needed to start growing so yes, I would recommend fast hair growth shampoo and conditioner. You can buy both the shampoo and the conditioner for £22.00 on Amazon on the link above which is quite affordable for natural hair growth products. 

michael van clarke 3 more inches

Michael Van Clarke 3 More Inches I instantly fell in love with everything about these products and still use them to this day, I have the travel versions which I love and I apply their pre-wash treatment every time before I wash my hair. The great thing about MVC products is that they come in huge bottles, mine have only just started to run out after about a year. They do travel sized versions too (as seen on the above photo) which are perfect for girls who are trying to stick to a good hair growth routine whilst travelling. Their pre-wash treatment is great, I tend to leave it on for two hours before washing as an intense treatment or sometimes, I’ll sleep in it. You don’t need to shampoo twice with this shampoo either as it cleans the hair so well, so it lasts even longer. These products claim to make the hair younger and therefore, stronger so that it grows more. You can buy the massive gift set for £63.00 which sounds expensive but actually, it lasts forever, I've had mine for well over a year. 

DS Laboratory Revita LT High-Performance Hair-Stimulating shampoo and conditioner – Now these really are good hair products. I just wish that the bottles were bigger because I used these pretty quickly and they are quite expensive. I’d say that it was with these products that I noticed the biggest change to my hair growth, however, it could have been because these were the last hair growth products I trialled. DS Laboratory hair growth products are designed to maintain scalp vitality and the shampoo has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, as well as amino acids to help the hair shaft.  Basically, it promises to do lots and lots of good things and I do believe that these products are really good, expensive, but good and definitely worth it. People complimented my hair so much once I'd washed it with this shampoo, it just made it look so smooth and luxurious. I wish I had an unlimited supply of this.

Macadamia hair products – I have always sworn by Macadamia, ever since my hair dresser recommended their products to me years ago. Every Christmas my Mum used to buy me tubs of their strengthening hair mask and trust me, it works. Macadamia don’t claim to help your hair grow, but, their products do strengthen and fix damaged hair which then obviously, makes it grow quicker, stronger, longer and faster. Macadamia as a brand are my hair saviours. They nourish, re-hydrate and generally fix broken and damaged hair, allowing it to regrow.  My favourite Macadamia product for hair growth is the healing oil, I put this on my hair every time I’ve washed it and if it’s feeling super dry, I sleep in loads of this as a super intense leave in oil and then wash it off in the morning. I love their nourishing leave in cream too and I also love the deep repair masque, my favourite Macadamia product of all time and unfortunately I haven’t replaced it for a while because I simply can’t afford it anymore. You can buy it for £22.00 here or a bigger version for £33.00 here. If you have the money, I do think these products are more than worth it (plus they smell delicious). Their luxury travel kit including all of my favourite Macadamia bits is only £42.00 on FeelUnique here so I usually buy that so that I can use all of the products. If it was up to me, I would live on Macadamia products. 

Other good hair growth/strengthening products:

bumble and bumble hair

Bumble and Bumble hair products - I was given some lovely new treats from the team at Bumble to try and I'll never look back, they are just amazing. Bumble have always been a favourite brand of mine, they're most definitely a necessity for any beauty lover or anyone who loves to be pampered, they truly do make you feel super pampered for a number of reasons. Firstly, they smell amazing, secondly they work so well, they make your hair feel so smooth and rejuvenated. At the moment, I'm loving the 'mending masque', it's a nice strong hair mask which I leave on for an hour before washing my hair. The creme de coco range it great for damaged, dry hair as it's got really good oils in it, you can get the whole set for just £40.00 here which is amazing for Bumble and they're truly such life-changing (or hair changing in this case) products. Basically, once you go Bumble, you'll never go back, I've never heard anyone say anything bad about this brand and rightly so, I think I'll be team Bumble for life. I wish there was a Bumble salon close to me so that I could indulge in their products all the time! 

Kevin Murphy hair

Kevin Murphy – another great brand, I highly recommend their young again range, it made such a difference to my hair. Everyone in my hair dressers swears by Kevin Murphy and it made my hair dressers hair so healthy and thick so I often use this too! 

Lee Stafford, Charles Worthington - I wouldn't ever touch my hair with heat without using a heat protector spray. I've had the Lee Stafford one for years as it's got argan oil in it so it's great for nourishing the hair. Charles Worthington do some really good, affordable strengthening products too which are usually on 3 for 2 at Boots so you can often get them at quite good prices. 

L’oreal Kerastaste – Me and my Mum have used this brand for years. They do an amazing leave in hair milk called the Resistance Ciment Thermique Heat-Activated Reconstructor Milk it’s a great leave in conditioner which really does fix the hair and make it stronger. I used to pay loads for it but you can get it on FeelUnique for just £14.00 here which is really good... I may have to treat myself! 

Hair serums - Fom do a really good revitalising hair serum, again, all natural and great for fixing the hair which I often put on straight after washing my hair. I put serums/oils through the ends of my hair after washing it and before styling. I also love Macadamia oils and Lee Stafford as mentioned. Liz Earle do some great ones too which surprised me as I didn't even know that Liz Earle had a hair range! Just be careful not to put too much on as I've made my hair look too greasy before by blow-drying it with far too much oil! I have slept in Macadamia oil before as a really intense leave in treatment and then washed it off the next morning. 

ego hair dryer

Ego Alter Hair Dryer - I received this about a year ago and I have blogged about it quite a few times because it is such a good product. I’ve stopped drying my hair because obviously, heat doesn’t make your hair grow but when I do need to dry it, I only ever use my Ego hair dryer, it’s kinder to the hair, it speeds up drying time (my hair dries so quickly with it) and it makes my hair so so soft it’s ridiculous!
This is the perfect hair dryer if you’re trying to grow your hair but still need to blow dry it.

Cleansing Conditioner Palmers – This is a great new product, as most of you know, I am obsessed with Palmers tanning cocoa butter, literally obsessed (unfortunately my supplies have run out so I need to top up) but now they’ve brought out a cleansing conditioner. My Mum’s always sworn by Palmers as a brand and they didn’t disappoint with this cleansing conditioner, I love it, it's passed the Mum test too as she loves it! It makes my hair feel so smooth, hydrated and in such good condition plus it’s a huge bottle and it won’t break the bank. This one is a good product for strengthening the hair if you don't want to spend a lot of money, it's bursting full of extra virgin oil, olive oil, vitamin E, Keratin Protein and more. It's designed as a 'safe-way' to pamper dry, frizzy and generally over-worked hair. It has no harshness in it so it's fine for you to use if you're trying to grow your hair! 

I did tend to mix up what I use on my hair so that my hair doesn't get too used to it, for example I will use DS Laboratory one day and Michael Van Clarke the next. I didn’t want my hair to stop responding to the products.

Tablets for hair growth:

I never used the ‘hair growth’ tablets from Boots because numerous hair dressers have told me that actually they just make the ends thinner, so instead, I did a lot of research online and these are the tablets that I feel have helped to make my hair grow.

-       Sea Kelp – I read lots of things on Twitter and online which say that sea kelp tablets help to promote hair growth, I try to take one every day and I have done this for a few months now, my hair really has started to grow so obviously something is working.

-       Evening Primrose Oil – I have been taking EPO for years once daily after the doctors recommended it to me to calm down my period pains, they also explained that it helps with clear skin, healthy hair and healthy nails. I feel like I break out with spots if I stop taking this so I do really think this has helped to calm my hormones down, I wouldn’t say it’s really good for hair growth but it’s well worth taking just to calm down hormones.

-       Cod Liver oil everyone raves about cod liver oil, not just for hair growth but for many things. I read that it really does make your hair grow and because I don’t like fish, I decided to start taking a tablet of cod liver oil every day instead. It also keeps help you alert. I really don’t get enough fish in my diet so I truly do need this and I have friends whose hair has grown so much after taking this – it’s a bit of a wonder tablet! I truly do believe that this is a bit of a miracle tablet when it comes to making hair grow, my hair wont stop growing at the moment and I’m convinced its down to this (thank you cod liver oil). 

I take all three of the above tablets together once a day – please don’t take my word for this though, as mentioned, this is just what helps me. Go to your local Holland and Barratt store or similar equivalent and speak to them about what healthy supplements you should be taking for hair growth. Please only buy stuff from a proper certified shop, anything on the internet that promises to grow your hair probably really isn’t safe at all - make sure it's a certified retailer please! 

Foods which make your hair grow:

I did a lot of research about which foods make your hair grow and to be honest, the only new thing that I added to my hair growth diet was spinach. I never used to eat spinach and I truly have seen such a drastic change in my hair since adding it to nearly every dish I eat!

If I cook pasta, I add a massive handful of spinach into it, the same goes with sandwiches, fajitas – anything I can add it into, it’s such an easy thing to add to your diet.

My Hair Growth:

Start of August 2013, the day I had to get all my hair cut off and the day I started to grow my hair.

End of September 2013, my hair finally started to grow out.


February - Dyed my hair a shade darker in order to make it grow quicker and as you can see, it's quite a lot longer in February. 

March - Started wearing my hair more curly in order to make it grow more.

As you can see, it did quickly grow back once I had it all cut off, I am just waiting for it to all thicken up now and get to the same length because of extensions, some of the underneath is snapped so the right hand side is a lot thicker and fuller than the left hand side, I still have hardly any hair on the left hand side underneath, it is growing but it's probably going to be another year until it's fully grown back. I would like to get my hair to look like the photo below, length and thickness...

Hair Extensions Guide (updated):
(for those of you that can’t wait for it to grow…)

Personally, and from personal experience (using nearly every hair extension on the market) I would always say to just wait for your natural hair to grow, hair extensions generally thin your hair out and tug at it, I was told this so many times and didn’t listen and I should have listened however, even I sometimes crumble still and need to try extensions again so here is an updated hair extension guide for those of you that can’t wait for it to grow (I know it’s boring and tedious).

(Above, me wearing HedKandy extensions from DRTYLOOKS. Personally I think these were amazing quality hair, amazing colour and amazing thickness with minimal clips). 

Clip in hair extensions – I would say that clip in extensions are the safest method of instant hair growth, however, they don’t tend to look the best, I’m sure you’ve all seen clips sticking out and I do feel like you need to add a lot to make them look thick and healthy and natural (I don’t like the thin hair extension look) – my favourite clip in extensions are by DRTYLOOKS. Quite some time ago I was kindly sent some to try by DRTYLOOKS and I've got to say, the quality was incredible and you couldn’t even tell that I had them in. I used the HedKandy ones and unfortunately they no longer work on my hair as I changed my hair colour (gutted because the extensions are truly amazing) but they were so so thick and you only needed to apply three strips of them for the ultimate thickness. I’ve honestly never seen clip in extensions like these, they come with like a triple weft which is completely hidden under your own hair, trust me, you wont see any clips when you put this in because of the way that the clips are sewed onto the weft. I got mine in 18inch length because I wanted them to look naturally long rather than look like hair extensions.  However, my hair dresser did tell me that my hair had snapped off again at the sides after wearing these on a few nights out – I used to wear clip in hair extensions all day, every day (and even sleep in them sometimes!) when I was younger so I guess they did take their toll on my hair eventually. As with everything, just use them when you need to if you’re trying to grow your hair, particularly if it’s bleached and damaged. I would highly recommend hair extensions from DRTYLOOKS though, they are just amazing, I’m gonna have to probably get some more just for nights out now my hair has got better.

 (Above, me wearing cold fusion hair extensions).

Cold fusion hair extensions – If you’re wanting hair extensions which are permanent I still stand by my thoughts that these were very kind to my hair. They weren’t too long and they weren’t too thick so they didn’t tug at my hair too much. They were attached to my hair without using heat. The amazing thing about these too is that they didn’t matte and they naturally just slid out of my hair, I eventually took them out myself using conditioner and my hair was in good condition underneath. I got these done at Robert Calvin salon in Huddersfield and these are the only extensions I’d consider getting done again. This is quite a pricey option but the guys at the salon looked after me so well and whilst they weren’t as thick or long as my bonded ones, they were much better for my hair and I loved them.

(Above are the bonded hair extensions: the colour was probably a bit yellow but the quality of the hair and the look and thickness was the most amazing thing, but, they ruined my hair!)

Hot bonded hair extensions – This is what ruined my hair, they looked absolutely incredible (even if I do say so myself) and the hair that was used (BeautyWorks) was incredible quality, the hair was no issue at all and could have been used over and over again, however, there were so many bonds glued to my head that they all matted together and after 3 months, I was left with snapped off hair and dreadlocks, a hairdresser had to get the bonds off and the glue out using hair straighteners and an extremely strong bleach-like solution. I would say that unless you have the money to get these taken in and out every month and a half like celebrities do, then they’re not worth the hassle or the heartbreak when you’re left with ruined hair at the end. They are extremely heavy on your hair and you will find it uncomfortable when you first try to sleep on them (surely anything that hurts your head that much really isn’t worth it) but they do look absolutely incredible, you just do need to make sure you look after them, run your fingers through the bonds every single night and every single morning to make sure they’re not tangled and get them taken out and re-put in regularly to give your hair chance to rest and so that they don’t get matted. You can get this done quite cheap but if you want it doing very well, good, experienced extensionists do charge a lot and for good quality hair which you can reuse, that will also cost a lot. 

Make sure you always go for good hair, I always recommend BeautyWorks and now, DRTYLOOKS for hair, you want high quality, thick hair that is going to last and not go disgusting or shed after a few months. I absolutely adore DRTYLOOKS, truthfully I just wish I they were the right colour and then I'd wear them on nights out - it's my own fault for dying my hair straight after getting them though! Remember though, having any sort of heavy weight hanging from your scalp isn't going to be good for your hair if you're trying to strengthen and grow it.

long hair

Easy Hair Growth Tips:

-       Use Minimal Heat – The key to hair growth is stop doing anything to your hair so this means using minimal heat unfortunately! You’ve just got to do it but your hair will thank you for it. I can’t remember the last time I used heat on my hair.

-       Sleep with your hair tied up – This just means it wont get matted and tangled in the night, reducing the likeliness of it snapping off.

-       Sleep in conditioner – Whenever I can, I sleep in a hair mask, it just means that my hair will be super nourished and conditioned. I wash it off in the morning and my hair always feels amazing. I always use my Kevin Murphy deep conditioner for this.

-       Comb/Brush gently – Be careful not to tug your hair out when combing and brushing, I get scared when I brush my hair as it feels like it snaps off sometimes (or used to do!) so just be really gentle, use a tangle teezer.

-       Get regular trims for split ends – Regular trims really will make your hair in better condition, if you don’t get it regularly trimmed it will just look thin and straggly at the ends, you want it to grow thick and healthy. It also tends to look thicker and fuller when you get the bottom cut anyway too.

Thanks for reading this massive guide, I just really wanted to share my hair journey with you so I hope it's helped!

Do you have any hair growth tips and tricks? Have you used any products that have helped your hair grow? Do you take any hair growth supplements or eat anything that has made your hair grow quicker? Let's talk hair growth! 

Lots of love, Em x

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  1. Such a good informative post. I totally swear by Sea Kelp tablets, my hair has finally grown past my shoulders after using these. But I do still rely on my good old clip ins!

    Belle ♥
    Mascara & Maltesers

    1. Aw so glad you think so - thank you! Ahhh this makes me feel better as it shows that someone else loves them too! I've only been having one a day but it says you can have up to three a day so I've upped my dosage to two a day after reading this! Thank you! xxx

  2. This is such a helpful post, I am going lighter next wednesday and I am so scared that there may be some damage, so fingers crossed some of these tips will help me keep my hair in good condition! :) x

    1. Ahh yay so glad you find it helpful! Woohooo, yes just keep conditioning and using heat protector etc and you should be absolutely fine! xxx

  3. Thanks so much for this post! I killed my hair last year with lots and lots of bleach (never again!) so am trying to get it healthy/longer again. The tablets sound great I will for sure be trying those out! Do you think the shampoos and conditioners really made a difference? Im on a super tight budget and they are all pretty expensive :(



    1. Anytime! Ahhh I didn't think bleach killed mine too much but to be honest it's probably contributed towards the breakage! Bleach and extensions together are a recipe for disaster! I really do think they have, I swear by using really good conditioners mainly - any shampoo should do but I did see a huge difference when using like natural shampoos with oils and then strengthening conditioners and then sleeping in hair masks! I did try put some in on a low budget too so hopefully they help xxxx

  4. Loved this post, thank you! My hair tends to grow really slowly so I'll be incorporating some of these tips into my routine :)
    Ella x


    1. Anytime! Ahh you must let me know how you get on! xxx

  5. I love this post, thanks for sharing! I am desperately trying to grow my hair for my wedding next year, so this was really useful

    Beccy // Bluebell & Bumpkin

    1. Anytime! Ah I've been growing mine since around August so not even a year yet and it's grown loads - you can do it! xxx

  6. Such an amazing and insightful post! x


    1. Aw thank you - glad you think so! xx

  7. I love this post, thank you! x


  8. Really great post Em ! I've been cutting mine and dying it brown to get it growing again back to a longer length, and co-washing once or twice a week and intensive masks help loads
    Lauren x
    Please nominate my blog for Best Lifestyle Blog and Newcomer here !
    Britton Loves | Fashion Lifestyle + Photography - www.brittonloves.blogspot.co.uk

    1. Aw thanks so much! Ahh yep it's a pain having to get rid of my bleach but it had to be done! I love intensive masks! xxx

  9. After seeing all these progress pic's I am totally taking your advice on hair growth.

    Meg | Meghan Silva's Blog

  10. After seeing all these progress pic's I am totally taking your advice on hair growth.

    Meg | Meghan Silva's Blog

  11. Thank you so much for this post. I was in a hair show last year and I had all sort of pastel colours in my hair. It really ruined it :(. I'm definitely going to try and use some of these products.
    Thank you,

    1. Aw gosh really? Your hair looks so big and full and amazing on your photo! You must let me know how you get on :) x

  12. I personally really like the mid length cut in the August 2013 photo.

  13. im stuck between getting new clip ins or beauty works bond/micro rings but since seeing your post I'm put off the idea of bonds. what would you suggest new clip ins or micro rings?

  14. Your hair is so long and thick anyway, looks lovely with and without extensions.. I love Imogens videos, the prices of the extensions are so reasonable, fingers crossed ill have some soon! :)

    indian hair


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