3 More Inches, available at SpaceNK.com. Courtesy Photo

If you've been trying to grow longer hair, you know what a long and frustrating process this can be -- especially if your tresses are prone to breakage and thinning. Just when it finally reaches your shoulders, your hairstylist says it's time to snip a couple of inches off those fried and tattered ends, bringing you right back to where you started a few months ago.

But one of London's leading stylists, Michael Van Clarke, is hoping to remedy this with his new product line, 3 More Inches (3MI) -- a haircare system designed to decrease hair's aging process (those thinning ends) and thereby increase its length and thickness.

"I truly felt that there was nothing on the market that nourished and protected the hair effectively - in a natural way," said Van Clarke. "Manufacturers always took the quick-fix cosmetic route, either filling their products with cheap silicones and plasticizing ingredients, which generally gave the hair more than a hint of Barbie doll texture, or using such heavy surface-smoothing ingredients that anyone with normal or fine hair avoided because it made their hair too heavy and flat."

Consisting of a pre-wash treatment, shampoo, conditioner and a "finishing feed", 3MI was manufactured to prevent the wear and tear of everyday living from our environment, styling routines and lifestyle.

"Hair is made up of 97% hard and soft proteins and 3% water," said Van Clarke. "As it grows away from the scalp, it suffers attack from UV light, sea water and chlorine, aggressive blow-drying and flat irons, colorants, harsh styling products, shampoo cycles, etc. All these factors weaken the molecular structure of the hair, causing them to break and fall away."

London hairstylist Michael Van Clarke. Courtesy Photo



Van Clarke pointed out the effect of this aging process: If you were to weigh one inch of end hair it would weigh less than one inch of the same hair at the root.

"Hair grows half an inch per month," he explained. "This rate is surprisingly consistent across ages and cultures. Many people struggle to grow their hair and think it stops growing. Usually the hair is aging too quickly, so while it is still growing at the root, it is disintegrating at the ends and not getting any longer."

3MI joins a growing force of hair products focused on anti-aging haircare. Recent launches in this new category include Finesse Revitality and Redken Time Reset, along with Age Premium Densitive Dietary Supplements from Kérastase.

Priced from $20 to $35 each, the 3MI products don't actually make the hair grow faster, but they claim to keep hair at its root quality. Meaning, unless you have an unhealthy diet and lifestyle, the hair at its roots is the best quality you're going to have, so maintaining this texture and thickness is the goal.

"The 3MI products contain select conditioning agents, proteins and amino acids from cashmere," Van Clarke added. "These are virtually identical to the structure of human hair and are able to penetrate deeper and fill in the gaps in the hair structure. This helps maintain correct moisture balance, keeping hair more supple. The hair stays thicker for longer in a natural way."

In addition to his haircare system, Van Clarke's shared his top ten tips for growing longer, healthier hair:

Kent Hand-Made General Grooming Comb, $12.49. Photo: Amazon.com

1. Throw away your dryer nozzle --Unless you have thick, wavy hair which you need to dry dead straight, your nozzle unnecessarily concentrates heat and can lead to excessive damage. Keep a one inch gap between your hair and the end of the dryer.

2. Always use conditioner -- Shampoos open the cuticle to clean, conditioners reseal the surface cuticle for protection, shine and comb-ability.

3. Color your hair professionally -- Choose a colorist that cares about condition and quality and is up-to-date. Modern tints are much gentler on the hair.

4. Use a deep conditioning treatment at least once a week -- This will help restore suppleness, reduce breakage and maintain the vibrancy of color.

5. Use a professional saw-cut comb -- Moulded plastic combs often have imperfections on the teeth which can lacerate the surface cuticle, aging the hair prematurely.

6. Do not use a brush to take out knots on wet hair -- When hair is wet use a wide tooth comb to gently ease out knots from the ends first, working up to the roots. Don't believe the myth of brushing hair 100 times before bedtime. Once it's brushed, further friction just wears it out quicker.

7. Always protect your hair in the sun -- Hats or scarves are best, protective treatments come second. The UV rays of the sun break down the molecular structure of hair, which unlike skin, doesn't recover its appearance within a few weeks. Long hair can take years to renew.

8. Trim ends regularly -- Trim every three to eight weeks depending on length and style. As the ends decay and disintegrate, they look tired and unattractive. Any splitting can also travel up the hair shaft if not caught in time.

9. Choose a good stylist -- The right haircut, well-executed, can save you 95% of the time you may be spending 'over styling' your hair.

10. Use a little light wax or moisturizing cream on dry ends -- This will protect and keep the hair looking and feeling healthier.

Another great way to keep your hair healthy? Following the below tips from Ted Gibson on how to care for highly textured hair. It's one of the most fragile hair types, so these tips are geared to gently care for and style hair to keep it in great condition.





Know what else is great for lengthening your locks? Find out here!