Growing up, I dreamt of long hair, my grandma would brush it when I was just a tot and say; "It's getting long, soon it will be princess hair." But the reality was, my mum was actually keeping my curls short, a mix of practicality and 'cute'. She said I looked like Halle Berry. Everyone else said I looked like a boy.
Then, at the age of eight, a nit-induced pixie cut was the final time I let it be cut short. From there, it took a long, slow, 10 years for my hair to finally edge past my shoulders. Then, I let a girl from school 'trim' my hair as part of her hairdressing course. The result? Walking out with hair barely past my ears when straight, clumsily hacked to all different lengths. I had to start university two months later, my confidence in tatters (just like my hair). I cried for months, knowing it wouldn't reach the previous shoulder-length again, even by the time I graduated in four years. It didn't.
So you have to understand, what hair growth means to me personally. Years had gone by since that heartbreaking day, and after initially re-growing quite quickly, my hair was, once again, eternally stuck at shoulder length.
Despite learning to take 5* care of my hair with a mixture of silk pillowcases and scrunchies, the best products out there, never blow drying, rarely straightening, never rubbing a towel on it; it still didn't get long. I had just accepted that length was something I would never have. Shoulder-length was as far as my hair could get before succumbing to good old breakage.
Then, one day, at the end of 2021, HairGain sent me their gummies and I decided to give them a proper go, having half heartedly trying the capsules in the past. You're instructed to eat two a day, together, after breakfast, but as a chronic breakfast skipper the time I took them varied. Still they became a staple part of my daily routine and, because I only straighten my hair a few times a year, I didn't even realise what was happening.
After five months of taking them, I straightened my hair for the first time that year and it had cleared my shoulders. I scrambled back through my camera roll to New Year, the last time I'd straightened my hair, I really wasn't imagining it; my hair had grown inches and looked so much thicker. Three months later, I straightened it again and now, it was undeniable.
My hair was the longest it had ever been, that total block at shoulder length had been smashed past, and for the first time in my life, I had long hair. I can't tell you what I would have given for my long-awaited princess hair, but it was a lot more than £1 a day, which is what the £29.99 month supply of 60 roughly works out as.
Formulated with, biotin, zinc and the brand's 'AnaGain complex', the supplement claims to give thicker, stronger, shinier hair by stimulating molecules within your follicles (lil' poem there). Derived from organic pea shoots, an Anagain clinical study showed the ingredient contributed to a 78% growth increase. The brand explains the science-y ins and outs, saying it works by stimulating specific signalling molecules in cells called 'dermal papilla', required to initiate new growth in the follicle.
I'd known my shoulder length block was an equilibrium between my rate of growth and breakage, cancelling each other out. But I'd only been focussing on combatting breakage to achieve length, not really believing you could speed up growth at the root. Not only did these supplements genuinely boost growth at the follicle giving the acceleration needed to overtake breakage, but my stronger hair helped to reign in that breakage, too. My only critique is that the apple and berry flavour gummies are too delicious and I struggle to not eat extras.
As for its current length? While I was delighted with the length in September 2022, I knew it was very much in need of a cut, and took a good few inches off to even out the hair into a healthy blunt cut. It was a little more than I would have liked, but for the first time that didn't cause despair, because I knew it wouldn't take years to grow back.
Just over a year and two excessive haircuts later, when all I asked for both times was a trim, my November 2023 hair is back even shorter than when I started the gummies. *Deep Breath*.
I'm now embarking on a year long hair cut ban to see how much it grows, gummies stocked up. I have faith they'll have it catching back up and you can best believe I'll be back to update you when it's down to my bum in the summer.
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