As soon as spring hemlines lengthened from mini to maxi, it seemed like every bob around was being grown out too. From brushed out curls to slicked back looks, long hair styles were seen all over the runways for F/W 2011 and S/S 2012. Want the versatility of long hair without the help from extensions? Read below for healthy hair care tips on how to maximize your growth cycle.

Long hair styles tip #1: Get a regular trim for healthy hair

As most of us know, getting a regular trim to encourage growth is not an urban myth. Clean up your ends every six to eight weeks to get rid of split ends. If split ends are left, they can travel up the hair leading to thin, straggly strands. Although it may feel like you’re taking a step backwards towards your ultimate long hair style goal, getting regular trims serve you better in the long run because your hair will be longer and stronger.

Long hair styles tip #2: Ease up on the heat styling and colour processing

Your hair needs to be as healthy as possible to reach new lengths and due to excessive heat styling and
colour processing, it may be stripped of both moisture and protein respectively. In light of this, try and avoid using high amounts of heat when styling as it can exacerbate breakage and hinder growth. Instead, experiment with ways to air-dry your hair: tousle it with your fingers while running the dryer through it set to cool or if you already have some length, twist and tie it into a bun at the back of your head to set it overnight into a loose wave. If possible, outright avoid the use of flat irons.

What to eat to get long, healthy hair on the next page …
Long hair styles tip #3: Indulge in a protein-rich treatment

Ask your stylist whether your salon offers protein-infusions like Kerastase’s Vita Ciment from its Resistance line. At approximately $30, this is a quick and effective treatment for dry, over-processed and damaged hair. Applied, combed through, and washed out in under 5 minutes, professional treatments like Vita Ciment leave your hair noticeably healthier by rebuilding and fortifying the hair fiber from the inside out. At-home deep conditioning treatments and masks are also a great way to restore
moisture into the hair, but for long-term results with visible effects, an in-salon protein infusion is highly recommended.

Long hair styles tip #4: Eat the right foods (and take your vitamins!)

Eating the proper foods loaded with the vitamins necessary to stimulate hair growth is also vital. We spoke with Holistic Nutritionist Joy McCarthy to get the scoop on what to eat for long, healthy locks:

1. Protein: “Good quality protein is important as your hair is literally made of protein,” says McCarthy. “Lack of protein can promote brittle hair and even hair loss.” Make sure to incorporate enough lean meat, fish, eggs, nuts and seeds into your diet to boost your protein intake.

2. Cruciferous Vegetables:
“Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, kale and cabbage contain phytonutrients that promote hormonal health which is important for hair growth,” she says.

3. Healthy fats:
“A lack of good fats can cause dry, dull and lackluster hair,” says McCarthy. “Good fat is important for hormonal balance and thyroid health; both of which govern the overall health of your hair. Eat ample amounts of fish, extra-virgin olive oil, avocado, and seeds such as chia, pumpkin and sunflower.”

Fresh hair style ideas while growing your hair on the next page …
Long hair styles tip #5: Shake up your long hair style with one of these fresh ideas:

Brushed-out waves

If you wear your hair with texture, consider moving away from structured tendrils as brushed-out waves are feeling more current this season. From runways to red carpets, the long hair style is soft and slightly messy. Whichever way you prefer to put curl into your hair; whether it’s with hot rollers or a curling iron, give them a brush through and a tousle until you get the desired amount of volume and separation. Let the look settle for a few minutes before setting with hair spray.

Sleek ponytail

This trend seen on Fall 2011 runways at Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton is minimalist chic at its finest. Pull the hair off the face and slick it back into a straight, long ponytail positioned at the height of your choosing and finish with a serum or a light oil through the ends. We love ponytails set in the middle at the back of the head — too high can feel a little high school cheerleader and too low often feels drab off of the runway.

A reinvented top knot

We have seen top knots all over the streets for a few seasons now but only recently has one of the industry’s insider secrets gone mainstream: The Sock Bun. Check out these YouTube demonstrations on how to create this simple and frankly quite amazing hairstyle. You won’t believe the volume!

When it comes to getting healthy hair that is both long and strong, be prepared to put in some extra effort. With the amount of colouring and styling that most women carry out on their tresses, it can be difficult to sport long hair styles without significant breakage. In short, be good to your hair: Get regular trims, pull back on heat styling, consider a special treatment at the salon, and most importantly, make sure you’re being nourished properly with ample amounts of lean protein, cruciferous vegetables and healthy fats in your diet. Moving into Spring 2012, hemlines and hairstyles are remaining long — if you’re dreaming of miniskirts and pixie cuts, dream on.

Read more:

The best celebrity hairstyles

How to get runway inspired style at home

Celebrity beauty: Short hairstyles

Celebrity beauty: Red carpet waves