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Does Keeping Dry Hair Moist Make It Grow Longer?

By Brynne Chandler ; Updated July 18, 2017

Growing long hair takes patience, time and attention, but doesn’t require expensive products or salon treatments. The most effective way to nurture hair into growing long is to treat it gently and keep it moisturized. Dried-out hair tends to become brittle, which causes it to break more easily. Because your hair is not made of living tissue, it can’t repair itself if you damage it through over-processing or harsh treatment. Fortunately, keeping hair well-conditioned helps seal in moisture, protecting it from splitting and breaking as it grows.

Hair Structure

Hair is made up of two to three layers, some of it living and some of it not. The innermost layer, the medulla, appears in coarse hair, but is often absent in very fine hair. The living tissue is tucked away inside of the follicle, which is hidden just underneath your skin. The shaft, which is made up of a cortex covered by tiny scales called the cuticle, is not living tissue, according to "Exploratorium Magazine." If it becomes dry or brittle, it can’t repair itself.

Dry Hair Causes

Many things can cause dry hair, from serious disorders like anorexia nervosa and malnutrition to simply living in a very dry climate. According to MedlinePlus, using high-heat styling tools like blow dryers and curling irons can also dry out your hair. Hair dyes, relaxers and perms all contain harsh chemicals that can dry your hair, as can shampooing every day.

External Moisturizers

Your hair shafts are not living tissue, so they can't absorb things any more than your fingernails can. Conditioners work by coating your hair with moisturizing oils or other emollients like glycerin or lanolin. Even hot oil treatments simply coat the cuticle, pasting the tiny scales down so that your hair looks and feels smooth and silky. Spray-on anti-frizz treatments usually contain silicon, which smooths the hair and reflects light.

Internal Moisturizers

No amount of vitamins or secret foods will increase the rate at which your hair grows. Eating a balanced diet that includes healthy fats will nourish your body. This generally leads to clearer skin and healthier hair and nails, but it’s an ongoing process rather than a quick miracle cure. Preliminary studies have shown that there is some correlation between biotin supplements and healthier, stronger, hair and nails, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Changes in nail thickness have been proven, but results as to biotin’s effects on hair need more clinical trials.


Eating a healthy diet, exercising and staying hydrated will help your hair to grow in healthier. Treating it gently by avoiding harsh chemicals and intense heat and keeping it moisturized and supple though the use of conditioners and hot oil treatments will keep it from drying out and breaking. Keeping dry hair moist will not make it grow faster, but it will help keep your hair healthy enough to grow longer in its own time.

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