Has anyone else noticed that their hair has been dry and brittle lately? While hair breakage is a normal part of life, especially as we get older, there are a few different ways to stop the process before it gets out of hand. Try to incorporate a few of these quick tips into your daily routine to avoid damage to your hair.
You are what you eat! A diet which is high in fat and sugars won’t exactly give your body the best nutrients, will it? Make sure you stock up on superfoods such as quinoa and whole grains to give your body the boost it needs from the inside out. Biotin is also another great way to feed your body from within, whether it be with eggs or daily supplements.
Spend less time using heat on your hair and let it dry naturally. All that pulling, tugging, teasing and colouring has damaging effects on your hair and scalp in the long-term. Comb it daily and remember not to over-process it with styling products which can cause build-up on the scalp.
Use organic shampoos and conditioners which are sulphate-free since this is the number one cause of premature hair loss and breakage. These silicons can actually break down the hair follicle and leave your hair looking brittle and dry.
If your hair is seriously looking dry and brittle, there are always supplements which are available at your local chemist or supermarket. Biotin is a popular choice since it helps to encourage the growth of healthy hair and nails over time.
Treat your hair once a week to a detoxifying coconut mask before rinsing with shampoo and conditioner. All you need to do is apply it all over your scalp and massage it directly into the hair follicle. Coconut oil is a fantastic treatment since it moisturises the scalp and repairs each hair from root to tip.
Image via The Hair Society
Did you know that some hairstyles can cause hair damage?
Unnecessary hair loss can easily be prevented by simply taking more care in our daily hair routine, but what does this actually entail? Sometimes your hair loss could be a sign of a hormone imbalance (this usually happens after a pregnancy), so take care with the following tips:
Not only is coconut oil great for cooking, but it’s also fantastic for hair and skincare. Apply directly onto your roots and make sure to massage slowly – it also doubles up as a soothing head massage! Keeping your scalp hydrated and healthy will actually encourage hair growth in the long-term and will also decrease the chance of dandruff.
Primarily found in eggs, whole grains and bananas, biotin is great for repairing hair and nails. It is packed with vitamin H, which benefits the entire body – even though it’s quite rare to suffer from a deficiency. If your hair is looking brittle and lacklustre, you can purchase a supplement which is also normally combined with silica for healthy skin.
If your hair is particularly dry or brittle, then you may want to consider Fenugreek seeds. They are so quick and easy to prepare, and adds instant softness to dry or damaged hair. Make your own DIY hair mask which includes Fenugreek seeds, coconut oil, and water to replenish the hair follicle once a week.
Did you know that even the most common hairstyles could be damaging your hair? As a general rule, never put wet hair into a bun or ponytail since the follicles are actually most vulnerable. If hair is wet, leave it down or use a clip instead to divide your hair.
Use a soft bristle brush such as a wet brush to detangle any impending knots. They’re actually much more gentle on hair than a comb and won’t lead to nearly as much breakage. Use on dry hair to protect the hair follicle from damaging.
Image via Bone Health Now
Last month, we looked at four foods that are damaging your hair, from sugar to sodium. Some readers expressed dismay over the hair sins they were committing without even realising.
If you’ve been unkind to your hair, relax. Just as unhealthy foods are bad for your hair, a balanced diet can do wonders for your locks.
Nutritionist and author of The Beauty Diet, Lisa Drayer, explains, “your hair reflects your nutritional status. Behind great hair is great nutrition. There are no hair products that can be applied on the outside that will make up for poor nutrition.”
Read on for five superfood groups that will kick start your hair recovery.
1. Omega 3-rich foods
As we uncovered in the four foods that are damaging your hair, deficiencies in your diet can be just as damaging as overindulgence. People who don’t consume enough foods that are rich in omega-3 may experience brittle hair and scalp conditions such as eczema.
Drayer warns, “Your body needs quality fats to grow hair, since about three percent of the shaft is made up of lipids.” Additionally, fats are used to build cell membranes in the scalp and to create the natural oil that keeps your hair from drying out.
Salmon is an excellent (and tasty) source of Omega 3. If salmon isn’t to your tastes, you can also boost your body’s essential fatty acid intake by eating other fish, such as mackerel or sardines. Other options include walnuts, pumpkin seeds and whole grains. Drayer also recommends flax or hemp seeds.
2. Iron-rich foods
An iron deficiency, sometimes seen in pregnant women or people with restricted diets (such as vegetarians or vegans), is a known contributor to hair loss and hair thinning.
Research by Wilma Bergfeld for the America Academy of Dermatology suggests that, even if anaemia is not the main cause of a person’s hair loss, having too little iron in the blood only makes matters worse.
A great iron-rich food is spinach. Spinach contains not only iron but also folate and Vitamin C, all of which encourage production of healthy scalp oils for hair growth.
If you don’t enjoy spinach, you can also find iron in other dark vegetables, such as kale, broccoli or bok choy.
We recommend oysters for pescetarians.
3. Vitamin C-rich foods
Drayer explains, “If you are not eating abundant amounts of vitamin C-rich foods every day, you may not have enough to take care of your lovely locks.”
Why is Vitamin C so important? Among other things, Vitamin C aids collagen product. Collagen isn’t only found under our skin, but it also surrounds your hair strands. As we age, the collagen breaks down. This process makes hair more prone to breakage.
Fortunately, there are plenty of delicious foods that can help you get your daily fill of vitamin C. Blueberries are a particularly rich source of vitamin C. Other options include oranges, strawberries, kiwi fruit and red peppers.
Consuming 250mg of vitamin C daily won’t just help you get beautiful hair – the increased collagen production will also fight signs of ageing, like wrinkles, on your skin.
4. Zinc-rich foods
Zinc is another essential mineral for strong, healthy hair. Drayer notes that, while many people have a zinc deficiency, “taking zinc supplements can throw off your body’s natural balance between zinc and copper.”
Why resort to supplements when you can eat your way to healthy zinc levels?
Drayer’s top 10 beauty foods lists oysters and yoghurt as excellent sources of zinc. Other foods that can help your boost your zinc intake include seafood, beef, lamb, eggs and nuts.
5. High fibre foods
While we may not often associate fibre with lustrous locks, Drayer explains, “some skin-care experts believe toxins contribute to scalp and hair problems.” Additionally, making sure you get enough fibre in your diet will prevent undigested food from lingering in your intestines and robbing your body and hair of precious nutrients.
You should aim to eat at least 20 to 25mg of fibre per day. Good sources of fibre include foods made from whole-grains, such as brown rice or bread. Raw vegetables, such as carrots, are another easy way to get fibre into your diet. Carrots have the added benefit of increasing your body’s production of Vitamin A, which is vital for a healthy scalp.
By including some of these five superfoods in your diet, you can easily combat hair loss and eat your way to silkier, stronger and more manageable hair.
What are your best tips for healthy hair?
Bethany Tyndall writes about beauty on her blog Beauty Junkie.
Are you eating your way to bad hair?
Most of us spend a lot of time thinking about how food impacts upon our bodies – but have you ever stopped to consider what your diet might be doing to your hair? It’s all right to treat yourself from time to time, but a consistently poor diet is a serious no-no for healthy hair!
Read on to discover the four food groups that might be damaging your hair…
1. Sugary foods
Jessica Wu, dermatologist to the stars and author of Feed Your Face explains, “just like sugar is bad for the skin…foods that are sugary are bad for your hair and nails.”
Over-indulging in your favourite sweet treats encourages your body to produce more insulin and increases the levels of the male hormone androgen in your system. Androgen then causes the hair follicles to shrink, which leads to hair thinning and hair loss.
To back this up, Nancy Appleton, author of Lick the Sugar Habit, says that excess sugar consumption can actually interfere with the body’s production of Vitamin E, a vitamin which plays a huge part in growing and maintaining healthy hair.
If you’re suffering from thinning hair, try cutting down your sugar intake.
2. Salty foods
Unfortunately for us salt addicts, research by the Mayo Clinic suggests that even the delicious bag of crisps hidden away in the cupboard could have a negative impact on your quest for healthy, manageable hair.
An occasional treat won’t hurt, but you should aim to keep your sodium intake below 2,300 mg a day (1,500 mg for those 50 and over) to achieve strong hair and maintain a healthy body. If you regularly consume more than 2,300mg of sodium per day, you may find that your hair is prone to weakness, breakage and shedding.
Be aware that sodium isn’t just found in junk food, but also in breakfast spreads such as Vegemite, condiments (like soy sauce) and even in cheese.
3. High-glycaemic foods
Foods with a high glycaemic index are quickly broken down into glucose by the body. As with sugary foods, this process causes the body to increase levels of the hormone androgen. In turn, this hormone causes hair loss by narrowing your hair follicles and making it more difficult for them to absorb nutrients.
High-glycaemic foods are generally foods that are high in starch and refined sugars, such as cakes, breads, white rice, potatoes and fruit juices.
Fortunately, research suggests that a low-glycaemic diet can have the reverse effect and combat hair loss. Low-glycaemic foods includes oats, beans, legumes, vegetables and whole grains.
4. Low-protein diets
As our hair is literally made of protein, diets that restrict protein intake may cause hair to become dull, weak and prone to breakage. Protein deficiencies can also be responsible for puffiness around the eyes and brittle nails.
Jessica Wu explains that vegetarians or those with eating disorders are most at risk. Although meat is a good source of protein, there are many protein alternatives available, such as tofu, spinach and lentils.
If you’re suffering from dull hair or experiencing hair loss, the cause might just be your diet. Try not to over indulge in these four food groups that can damage your hair and you may see an improvement in your hair health. You might lose a sneaky inch off of your waist too!
What are your best tips for strong, healthy hair?
Bethany Tyndall writes makeup blog Beauty Junkie.