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How to Grow Out Your Hair (Even When It's Totally Fried)

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By Kristie Dash, Allure

Photo: Delphine Achard/WWD

The process of growing out bleached hair or getting rid of fried ends can seem as tedious as watching grass grow. And since we don't expect everyone to be down for a major pixie cut, we consulted colorists and stylists for their best tricks on how to deal.

Switch up your style
"You need volume at the roots," says Kyle White, colorist at the Oscar Blandi Salon in New York City. "When your roots look flat, it draws more attention to them, which draws more attention to the variations in color." Some root-concealing styles he recommends include zigzag parts, messy updos, and loose ponytails. "You want to avoid strong parts, stick-straight hair, and anything that pulls the eye to the hair closest to your scalp," he says. Hairstylist Kazu Suzuki, of Louis Licari Salon in New York City, opts for a little dry shampoo and teasing around the part, but feel free to experiment.

Use coconut oil as a leave-in
Roots might seem like the most obvious issue when growing out your hair. But the difference between dry, processed ends versus your natural regrowth--even if you blend the color--can give you away in an instant. Dana Ionato, a colorist at Sally Hershberger Downtown names coconut oil as her secret repair weapon. "There's no right or wrong way to use it, wet or dry, but it will help with the texture," she says. "My favorite trick is to drench your hair with the oil, concentrating it at your ends, flip your head over, twist it into a high topknot, and use the oil like a styling product to smooth flyaways." This way, you'll be conditioning all day long while still looking chic.

Get regular trims
If you don't want to go for a full-on pixie, we get it, but at least get trims to keep up with breakage--dyed or not. "The ends of long hair have been styled and colored so many times that they get dry and frizzy very quickly," says hairstylist Serge Normant. If you snip off half an inch every other month, you'll avoid the situation.

Utilize texturizer
A little strategic styling can also disguise dry, frayed ends. Your best bet is to add lots of texture with a product like Jonathan Dirt Texturizing Paste. The rough, mussed-up waves you get when you scrunch in the product will conceal a lot. So your hair doesn't look too dry, add a hint of shine to the ends with half a pump of oil (we like Sally Hershberger 24K Golden Touch Nourishing Dry Oil).

Jonathan Dirt Texturizing Paste, $19.93,

Sally Hershberger 24K Golden Touch Nourishing Dry Oil, $40,

Add highlights, lowlights, or a gloss
If your hair is dyed, the key is to blend the old color and the new growth so that there's no stark line on the top of your head that screams, "I'm growing out my hair!" The best thing to do is add bits of color here and there. "Connect a few thin--not chunky--highlights around your face to take care of that straight line of regrowth. As those grow out, it creates the illusion of that beachy blonde look and it will be less wear and tear on your hair," says Ionato. If blending isn't your problem (example: you're trying to get rid of your ombré), Ionato suggests going for a gloss since it's more translucent and natural-looking.

Try root-concealing sprays
There are so many different root concealers on the market right now, and we're happy to report that they actually work. Your best (and least messy) bet is to use a spray rather than a powder. "Sprays have a shinier finish than powders, which can look a little dull," says colorist Rita Hazan. Powders can also flake and come off when you touch them. "Root-concealing sprays, on the other hand, won't rub off on your pillow or fade when you sweat--but you need a cleansing agent to remove them," says Hazan. To find the most believable color, Ionato says to match your roots, not your ends. "It will appear lighter on white hair, especially," she says, so it's best to go a shade darker than you think. Our favorites: Oribe Airbrush Root Touch-Up Spray and Rita Hazan Root Concealer.

Oribe Airbrush Root Touch-Up Spray, $29,

Rita Hazan Root Concealer, $25,

Take hair supplements
"Healthy hair starts from the inside," says White, who recommends adding a hair growth-supplement to your daily regimen. "Try a vitamin like biotin, or if you want to really go for it, there's Viviscal, which is a whole system you can follow," White says. (Although be aware that Viviscal may not work for everyone. It's loaded with iron, which can cause adverse effects for some people, so make sure to consult your doctor before taking it.) Additionally, Phyto and Ouai (Jen Atkin's new hair line, out in February) both have supplements that contain helpful ingredients for the cause, like fish oil and vitamin D.

Viviscal Extra Strength Hair Nutrient Tablets, $29.92,

Invest in shampoo and conditioner
Every expert we spoke to stressed the importance of investing in sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner. "Sulfates are the detergents in shampoos that cleanse away dirt, oil, and other impurities from your hair, but they also wash away color molecules and fade highlights," White says. Look for a duo that is specially formulated for color-treated hair that's low in sulfates and high in moisturizers. And read the ingredient list. "If alcohol and water are on top of the list, it's going to be drying and watered down. Treat your hair like you treat your face," says Ionato, who, like her fellow colorists, recommends any of the tried-and-true formulas from Kérastase, Shu Uemura (we love their Color Lustre line), Oribe, and Bumble and Bumble.

Shu Uemura Color Lustre Brilliant Glaze Shampoo for Color-Treated Hair, $59.90,

Shu Uemura Color Lustre Brilliant Glaze Conditioner for Color-Treated Hair, $48.87,

Care for your scalp
Scalp treatments should be your new best friend if you're trying to grow your hair out. The concentrated essential oils in the formulas "nourish the scalp, creating the right foundation for healthier, stronger hair with less breakage," says Francesca Fusco, a dermatologist based in New York City. Oh, and really massage it in for at least a minute or two to "stimulate circulation and promote better scalp health." We recommend Philip Kingsley Stimulating Scalp Mask and Christophe Robin Cleansing Purifying Scrub With Sea Salt.

Philip Kingsley Stimulating Scalp Mask, $11,

Christophe Robin Cleansing Purifying Scrub With Sea Salt, $58,

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