How to Grow Hair Out for Braids

Freida Pinto shows off gorgeous braids at the premiere of

Photo: Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Braids are a super-versatile look that can be dressed up for a night out or dressed down for a bit of spring cleaning. Trouble is, braids don't work so well with super-short hair---there's just nothing there to braid! If you're decided that braids are your next big thing, take the time to grow your hair out the right way. A few changes to your routine and the hair you grow will be long, gorgeous and strong enough to braid every day.

1.

Decide how much longer your hair needs to be for you to braid it. If you have hair that's barely below your scalp, then you have a long way to go. If you're able to begin braiding your hair already, then you're closer to your goal. Knowing where you need to be will help you get there---you might have a day or two where the growing time seems too long and knowing where you started and where you have to end might keep you going.

2.

Start chowing down on the right foods. It'll help your hair grow faster and more healthily. After all, hair is made of protein---there's no way you're getting braidable locks without munching on some fish, beans or poultry. For that matter, try taking a multivitamin and getting some biotin from a supplement. If you can boost your iron, B vitamins and all the other nutrients that make your hair healthy, then you'll be a happy girl when your hair comes out lengthy and super strong.

3.

Throw out your blow dryer, straightener and curling iron. Applying high heat to your hair can damage it, and braiding can break damaged hair. You don't want fragmented strands frizzing out of your braids.

4.

Destress. Your hair will never be in sexy braids if you're totally uptight all the time. Stress---the bad kind, not the kind you feel before a first date---can make your hair growth slow down. You don't want that! So relax, take a bath and have a cup of hot cocoa.

5.

Moisturizing is important---even if your hair doesn't feel too dry. A hot oil treatment can protect your strands and keep them healthy. While you're applying it, massage it in with your fingertips. You might be able to stimulate hair growth while you're blissing out from the pressure of your fingers on your scalp.

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