Surprise, surprise - there’s no magic pill for hair growth but transforming your hair into a thicker, fuller-looking mane is a journey worth going on. We sat down with hair expert and MCM co-founder Monique McMahon to pick her brains on how to get your best hair yet. Monique has over 30 years of experience in the industry with a cult hairdressing business built on the philosophy ‘Healthy hair, healthy colour’; she knows a lot about what makes hair happy!
We sat together to map out the key areas that affect how healthy and happy your hair is - and how you can encourage the holy grail; growth….
“We're looking for longer, stronger hair that holds onto moisture to keep it full of elasticity.” explains Monique.
The Nitty Gritty
Hair is the fastest-growing tissue in your body. The average rate of growth is 0.5 to 1.7 centimetres per month, according to The Tricological Society (and you lose between 50-100 hairs per day) You’re born with a fixed number of follicles - between 80,000 and 120,000 to be precise, and there’s nothing you can do to grow more of them.
While science and human biology dictate that you can’t force your hair to grow faster or make more follicles, there’s nothing to stop you from encouraging better growth by creating the best possible growing environment for luscious, luminously healthy hair.
Where do we start?
Whatever is going down in your life (or not) is likely to be reflected in how healthy your hair looks. If it’s looking glossy and lush, you’re probably eating well, getting heaps of sleep, not feeling too stressed out and generally being kind to yourself. If your scalp is itchy and flaky, and your hair is lacking it's usually glowy-ness, it’s likely that other elements of life are out of kilter for you.
The most common culprits for tripping up your hair’s happiness are:
- Poor diet
- Lack of sleep
- Fluctuating hormones, menopause
- Too many colour treatments
- Low-quality hair care with SLS, silicones, phthalates
- Using heat tools daily
Hair Cycling and how it supports healthy hair growth
“Really, hair cycling is all about changing up your shampoo to suit where your hair and scalp are at that moment”, shrugs Monique. “Being able to treat and manage the hair and scalp as it moves in and out of different cycles means healthier hair and healthier scalps all year round.”
How does this impact how your hair will grow?
“You’re more in tune with your hair and scalp health. You’re noticing when it needs more moisture, a deeper cleanse when it’s cold and wintery because your scalp might be itchy, or your hair a bit duller than usual- or a lighter shampoo and a leave-in mist when you’re on your cycle. It’s a more intuitive, holistic approach to looking after your hair and scalp so it’s in better condition and able to handle periods when you’re colouring it more, or partying and sleeping less.”
“Wash your hair upside down! It lifts the root and means that you can clean those hard-to-reach areas, and the extra blood flow as you tip your head upside down is great for keeping your hair follicles oxygenated! Brushing your hair upside helps to remove product build-up from the scalp while oxygenating your hair follicles (keeps them healthy and happy, creates the ultimate garden for your hair to grow)” Taylah Jones, QUE Colour
We can’t do it without scalp and hair care products
- A Scalp Scrub or treatment, used weekly, will slough away dead skin, product build-up, and pollution to smooth and treat itchy, flaky or sensitive scalps - leaving hair and scalp refreshed, light and soothed. Christophe Robin’s Cleansing Purifying Scrub is the OG, used at QUE for over 10 years to treat salty scalps.
- Gentler options include Christophe Robin Hydrating cream scrub with jojoba to polish and hydrate the scalp or Purifying Mask with thermal mud which lifts irritants away from the scalp, gently remineralising the skin and softening stressed lengths.
- A clarifying shampoo to remove heavy metals, styling products, and environmental build-up without stripping oils or colour, like Larry King’s City Life Shampoo or Christophe Robin’s Purifying Shampoo with thermal mud
- A weekly nourishing mask that’s enriched with creamy nut butters, minerals, and natural extracts to replenish and regenerate tired, stressed, coloured locks without weighing it down. A hair care mask will also help replace fat and protein inside the hair shaft, and seal in moisture. We love Christophe Robin’s iconic Regenerating Mask with prickly pear seed oil or Colour Shield Cleansing mask for sensitised, highly coloured hair.
- Hair Grow vitamins: our favourite hair care tablets are from the Australian ingestible brand, Apotecari. Their Mane Event vitamins are specially formulated to support hair growth, reduce hair fall, thinning and breakage with beautiful ingredients like horsetail, japanese sea kelp and biotin selected by founder and trichologist Simone Abaron. Priced from $49.99 for one month's supply.
45-day growth after using @apotecari’s Mane Event ingestibles.
- A Wet Brush: The flexible bristles enable pain-free detangling and stimulate circulation at the follicle – giving you a healthier scalp and more potential for hair growth. Ibiza’s Contour Vent Brush combines the benefits of a wet and dry brush in one ultra-satisfying, scalp-tinglingly delightful hair care experience
“Incorporate a clarifying shampoo into your hair care routine. Look for ones that say they are detoxing, or purifying as they work on the same ethos. They are formulated to remove stubborn build-ups from hair like slippery silicones, hard waxes, moisturisers, and oil serums, styling products which build up as residue on the scalp and can block hair follicles. You want to remove this residue as it can trigger hair fall over time and restrict healthy hair growth. Clarifiers will also remove mineral deposits from hard water, chlorine and other harsh chemicals that stick to the hair – and often change the clarity of its true colour.” Christophe Robin, colour artisan
We couldn’t write a blog about growing your best mane ever without mentioning hair slugging, this trending treatment is all over TikTok - slated as the ultimate remedy for transforming dull, lifeless hair into luscious, fast-growing lengths.
“To put it a little more clearly, hair slugging is a deep hydration haircare treatment using layers of product and heat to lock in moisture, tame frizz, nourish and add a glaze-like shine. Just like you would with your skin, your hair and scalp benefit from the extra nourishment and TLC sometimes,” reveals Monique. “If you follow the TikTok trends, you might have seen that slugging has evolved to scalp oiling - rosemary oil is the latest obsession! Apply diluted rosemary oil on the roots, then brush your favourite hair oil, cream or mask through to the ends. Self-massage with fingers or a shower brush or wooden pin brush.” she adds.
Keen to try slugging or oiling? Our favourite hair care oils and treatments help your hair grow, repair damage from colouring and styling, and prevent breakage and split ends:
- mon huilette HAIR, $69 - this award winning natural treatment is the bomb. Designed to stimulate your hair to grow better, stronger and shinier, this all-natural multipurpose serum is fortified with castor oil, sunflower, hibiscus, lavender and jojoba. Learn more from les huilettes founder and pharmacist, Pascale Gal from her blog post on hair loss and growth here.
- Christophe Robin night recovery oil $52- with natural bond optimisers and wheat glycoproteins, this unique hair care oil smooths the hair fibre, reinforcing and strengthening it from the inside to leave a smooth, touchable finish.
Comb through these lusciously fragrant, professionally formulated hair care treatments selected for their hair growth benefits, and leave them overnight for transformational results both short and long term. Like your richer night cream, these oils are designed to supercharge your hair and scalp health while you sleep - making the most of the downtime to regenerate, strengthen (and grow!).
Before and after using Christophe Robin Night Recovery Monoi Oil
Brushing and detangling your hair with a boar bristle brush - like the Ibiza OC6 - before applying the oil reduces the chance of breakage, stimulates the scalp to support natural hair growth and helps spread the skin’s natural oils from scalp to tips. Warm your oil gently before application, and massage into scalps, gently combing the oil using a comb or shower brush like the CX8 (Mon’s current fave, IYKYK) or Airwave to distribute the treatment evenly through mid-lengths and ends.
Ingredients that make your hair grow
If you want to encourage your locks to grow, keep your eyes peeled for these super-powered ingredients when you’re reading your shampoo’s INCI list!
- Castor oil - moisturising ricinoleic acid, omega 6 fatty acids
- MCM Loves: Mon huilette Hair, $69
- Aloe vera - Vitamin B12 and folic acid can prevent hair fall, vitamins A, C, and E for shine and healthy cell growth; copper and zinc for hair growth
- MCM Loves: Christophe Robin’s Hydrating Melting Mask with aloe vera, $47
- Coconut oil - antimicrobial, antifungal, prevents hair damage from free radicals
- MCM Loves: Christophe Robin’s Night Recovery Monoi Oil
- Jojoba oil - antifungal, omega 6 + 9 fatty acids for strength, vitamin e
- MCM Loves: Larry King Curl Enhancing cream, $47
- Rosemary oil - rich in polyphenols like carnosic acid, stimulates nerve endings
- Tucuma butter - antioxidant, moisturising, smoothing, vitamin A for stronger hair growth
- MCM Loves: Christophe Robin’s Regenerating serum, $68
- Magnesium - an unsung hair hero which helps to unblock follicles nourish the scalp, promoting hair growth and glossy hair.
- MCM Loves: Christophe Robin Detangling Gelee conditioner, $47 (Works wonders on fragile baby hairs and upset scalps)
- Prickly pear seed oil - fatty acids and amino acids promote shine, scalp health, and hair grow
- MCM Loves: Christophe Robin’s Regenerating mask, $85
Which foods will help my hair grow?
Foods rich in protein, iron, vitamin B12, vitamin e and omega 3 fatty acids help promote new hair growth. A snapshot of what this might look like on the daily:
- Nuts and seeds (almonds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts)
- Veggies (spinach, broccoli, beans, capsicum)
- Fruit (avocado, strawberries, blueberries, oranges)
- Oily Fish (sardine, tuna, salmon, mackerel)
Source: Simone Abaron, naturopath and trichologist, founder of Apotecari
Eat the rainbow! Credit @lovebitesbondi
Scalp care is a non-negotiable - weekly exfoliation will support healthy hair growth
Regular brushing with a boar bristle brush - stimulates the scalp and distributes natural oils
A healthy diet, enough sleep, not too much stress, lots of laughing - happiness is a powerful tonic
Don’t sleep with your dry shampoo! It blocks hair follicles and can lead to hair fall.
See your hairdresser on the reg - snip those split ends off, chat about your hair cycle
Avoid using your hair tools too often - damaged hair doesn’t grow well
Wear a hat in the sunshine - protect your scalp and hair
Take a quality hair growth supplement like Apotecari
Never brush your hair when it’s wet and at its most fragile
Keep going, and be patient - it can take 2 or 3 months to see any changes!
If you have any questions, email us or DM us on Insta @mcm_beauty_