She's a real-life Rapunzel.
But one woman who has ankle-length hair says there are two things in your pantry that could help keep your locks healthy, too.
Andrea Colson, a American missionary living in Micronesia who also runs a hairstyle blog for long hair , tells the Daily Mail that she's been growing out her hair since she was little and regularly gets stopped by strangers, who compare her to Rapunzel. “People ask the same question—is it real?” Andrea says. “But it is, both length and color. I've never dyed my hair, which I think has helped keep it healthy.”
As you can imagine, styling hair that long isn’t easy—Andrea says it takes 30 minutes for her to braid her hair, and she has to use special hair ties to control her locks. Andrea also just uses regular shampoo and conditioner, but only conditions the ends of her hair, since she’s found that conditioning her scalp makes her hair brittle. She also only washes her hair in cold water.
Andrea has been growing her 64-inch tresses virtually all her life pic.twitter.com/GSoc6yjxOr
— PA Real Life (@PA_Real_Life) August 23, 2017
So how does someone with 64-inch-long hair prevent breakage? Andrea swears by eating a spoonful of peanut butter every day to keep her tresses healthy. She also massages coconut oil into her hair each week, and only trims the ends to keep them looking good.
Her other styling tricks: She straightens her hair once or twice a year (which takes about 45 minutes to do) and blows out her bangs every day. Otherwise, she doesn’t use any heat on her hair. But Andrea says the peanut butter trick definitely helps. “I notice my hair becoming dry and brittle if I haven't eaten any,” she says.
The peanut butter thing seems kind of weird, but Joshua Zeichner, M.D., a New York City-based board-certified dermatologist, says there might be something to it. “Peanut butter is rich in proteins and natural fats that provide building blocks for healthy hair growth,” he says. Peanuts contain vitamin B, which has been linked to healthy hair and nails, says Gary Goldenberg, M.D., assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital.
As for coconut oil, it contains a particular type of fatty acid that attaches to hair proteins to help moisturize and strengthen the hair shaft, Zeichner says. If your hair is dry, Goldenberg recommends leaving coconut oil on your hair and scalp for 10 minutes before washing it off.
If you have long hair and want to keep it that way, there are a few things you can do. “The mission is to protect the outer cuticle of the shafts, especially if you have hair that is fragile,” says Cynthia Bailey, M.D., a diplomate of the American Board of Dermatology and president and CEO of Advanced Skin Care and Dermatology Inc. She recommends using conditioner to help keep tangles at bay and minimizing the use of heat and dye, which can damage your hair shaft’s outer structure.
Towel-drying your hair by stroking downward will also make your hair look shinier, feel softer, and stay better moisturized, Bailey says. And finally, try to avoid rough combing and using harsh rubber bands on your hair, she says—they’ll create split ends.
And, if you like peanut butter and want to see what a daily dose does to your hair, give it a try. It definitely can't hurt.