I feel like it has, at one stage, been every girls dream to grow our hair so long that even Rapunzel would be jealous! We’ve tried every product our hairdresser has suggested, avoided heat, stocked up on vita-gummies from the supermarket, sitting tight hoping we’d achieve that extra inch in time for our birthday bash & 9 times out of 10 we’re left wondering if all the money we’ve spent was even worth it. Well, if you’re fed-up like me, I think it’s about time we look into the science behind hair-growth and brew our own award-winning formula to grow hair, longer, stronger & healthier!
THE TOP 4 REASONS YOUR HAIR ISN’T GROWING:
Our hair is one of the fastest growing tissues in our bodies which is why stunted or slowed hair growth can be a sign of imbalanced in the body.
Vitamin and Mineral deficiency – is one of the major reasons why we struggle to achieve long, luscious locks! Poor diet results in reduced intake and absorption of essential hair-growing-vitamins leading to slower hair growth and in some cases, hair thinning and hair loss!
Stress – High levels of stress can also deplete us of these essential vitamins and minerals leading to stunted hair growth or hair loss! Yes, that relaxing spa weekend you’ve been daydreaming about may just be the start of not just reduced stress, but a mane your girlfriends will turn green over.
Genetic/ Hereditary – sometimes your hair growth rate can simply come down to the genetic cards you’ve been dealt. Some of us are just not wired to be Rapunzel! This doesn’t mean we can’t optimise what our mama gave us!
Other disease – some other health conditions may affect your ability to grow those locks. If you are concerned by your hair growth, it’s always best to discuss with your healthcare professional.
So let’s get to it…
LIFESTYLE CHANGES FOR HEALTHIER HAIR:
You knew I was going to say it… Say GOODBYE to synthetic chemicals! Many of the commercial products we use on our hair are laden with nasties that will ultimately cause hair breakage, loss and stunt growth. I recommend a shampoo with natural ingredients, these are actually better for our hair as they often contain natural oils that keep our scalp nourished and in turn, promote hair growth! I pick up my hair-care products from Enough Studio!
Hydrate! Dehydrated hair tends to break easily, crushing your Ariel dreams! Drink plenty of water to ensure your hair has it’s best chance to grow!
Make your hairdresser your bestie! Regular trims of split/ dead ends have been proven to promote hair growth time and time again!
Speaking of the hairdresser, my friend, and founder of Enough Studio, Lisa Nguyen, had this to say about growing a healthy mane:
Trim your hair
Although going for regular trims at the salon does not necessarily help your hair grow ‘faster’, it does help your hair grow healthier and longer over time.
Wash your hair
Washing your hair less often where possible can help to maintain a healthy level of natural oils in the hair. Daily shampooing, especially with a shampoo made with sulphates, can strip the hair of its natural oils and dry it out, making hair prone to breakage.
After rinsing off the shampoo, always applying conditioner to the ends to ensure your hair is well moisturised. A good, nourishing conditioner will help to keep dryness and split ends at bay. Opt for a silicone-free conditioner; silicones coat the hair with a type of plastic, making it feel soft at first, but the hair can still regress underneath the coating.
Use regular treatments on top of your normal conditioner routine to get your hair in excellent condition. Hair is made up of protein and moisture and maintaining the right levels of each is essential when it comes to healthy hair growth. Consult your stylist to get a prescription of hair products that are right for your hair.
Styling your hair
The tools and accessories we use on hair can also play a big part in preventing breakage. Following your shower routine, your hair is in its most fragile and delicate state when it’s wet, so avoid using a bristle brush after you shower, using either a ‘Tangle Teezer’ or a wide-toothed comb, which will help to prevent breakage. To avoid damaging the growing hair, use minimal heat on your hair as possible. Using straighteners and hair dryers frequently can result in protein loss in the hair and cause split ends.
Hair is made up of a protein called keratin, so when we remove protein from the hair through lightening procedures and the use of hot tools, it becomes weaker and therefore more likely to break. To minimise breakage, it’s imperative to protect your hair before you use hot tools of any type.
For a straighter look, choose a hairdryer over irons. Be as kind to your hair as you would to your skin! Think how much gentler a hairdryer would feel against your skin than a tong or straightening iron. Unlike skin, however, hair is not self-repairing – that’s up to us, in terms of what we use on it.
If you can’t move away from those irons, at the very least try turning the temperature down a few notches to minimise the damage caused.
Another major cause of breakage is colour damage, usually caused by bleach and hair colourants, the worst offender being ammonia due to its high PH and ability to damage the natural protein in the hair. Using ammonia-free hair colour is much more respectful to hair, minimising the possibility of breakage.
If you’d like to add low-tox TLC to your hair-growing regime, you can find Lisa and the Enough team here.
Now for perhaps the most important part…
Analyse your plate – eat to grow your hair!
THESE KEY VITAMINS & MINERALS ARE ESSENTIAL FOR YOUR HAIR:
Vitamin A – This vitamin is key for hair growth as it is needed by all bodily cells for development! Vitamin A also plays a role in the production of sebum which moisturises the scalp to keep your hair healthy! Vitamin A can be found in orange foods i.e. sweet potatoes, carrots and pumpkins.
B Group Vitamins – B vitamins are involved in creating red blood cells that carry oxygen and nutrients around the body, including our scalp and hair follicles. B vitamins are also used up by our body during times of stress, thus many of us may be deficient. B Vitamins are found in a wide range of our foods such as leafy greens, seafood, nuts and whole grains.
PRO TIP: B12, another essential B vitamin is generally only readily available in animal products, so if you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet, it may be worth considering supplementation.
Vitamin C – aaaahhh, good ‘ol Vitamin C! Vitamin C is one of the most powerful known antioxidants, protecting our hair from free radical damage that may stunt growth. Vitamin C is also essential in the bodies’ production of the protein, Collagen, an essential structural component of hair (More on this later).
Vitamin C is found in berries, citrus fruits, broccoli, cauliflower and capsicums!
Vitamin E – like our good friend, Vitamin C, Vitamin E is another star antioxidant!
You can find Vitamin E in almonds, sunflower seeds, avocado and spinach!
Iron – Iron is your key to-gooder, helping red blood cells to carry oxygen to your cells. Making this guy super important when it comes to hair growth! Iron deficiency is often one of the major causes of hair loss, particularly in women.
We can boost our iron levels by enjoying eggs, spinach, leafy greens, lentils and oysters!
Zinc – Zinc is our happy handy-man, playing an essential role in hair growth/ repair, along with keeping the oil and follicle glands in shape. Zinc deficiency is also often associated with hair loss. Get your Zinc fix from seafood, spinach, pumpkin seeds, lentils and wheat germ!
Protein – our hair is made of almost entirely protein, so it’s obvious that without adequate protein consumption we won’t achieve our dream mermaid mane! On average, females require approximately 46 grams of protein per day and men require 56 grams.
Collagen – Oh Collagen, the latest trend that’s swept the nation! If you’ve been wondering if Collagen is really all it’s cracked up to be…the answer is YES! Collagen helps to promote healthy hair by being a building agent for hair proteins resulting in stronger, healthier hair! Collagen is formed in the body by combining amino acids from the proteins we eat, along with Vitamin C and Zinc for good measure. Yet another reason why meeting our protein targets are so important!
SHOULD YOU SUPPLEMENT?
I’m a firm believer in food as medicine. What does that mean? Well, I think all health is determined by how we treat the vessels in which we reside, and this includes how we fuel it. Before you go running to your local health-food store, and filling your basket with the latest you-beaut hair growth formulas…consider: are you giving your body everything it needs to fulfil your mermaid hair dreams? If the answer is NO, pop those vita-gummies back on the shelf and take a long-hard look at your diet. There are always ways we can improve our vitamin & mineral status, the best part is, it can taste delicious too!
If you’ve upped your culinary skills and designed a mermaid hair protocol and are still concerned, it’s time to bring in your health-care team! Let them work with you to uncover where you may be lacking.
And there you have it! Your Naturopathic insight into growing an enviable mane!
Want more tips & tricks? Or concerned about your nutritional status? Make a booking here today!