NATURAL BEAUTY: HAIR TALK 101
H A I R T A L K
Taking a small break from Skin Talk, to talk about all things Hair.
Every single one of us has unique strands of DNA, therefore producing unique and beautiful strands of hair.
Growing up my hair was always my 'thing'. I had lots of it, had to use mane and tail shampoo + conditioner (the one with a horse on the bottle) , and every time I got my hair cut hairdressers would revel in it's thickness. I also got told I had too much hair when I had to get it braided for Ukrainian dance competitions, or done up for my dancing days.
Fast forward to my darker days with lyme disease when I started to lose clumps of hair after every shower. It started falling out around 2008, and proceeded to shed for a good two+ years. I had bald spots, couldn't pull my hair back, and my hair was both stringy, and thin. I showered in the dark for years as I feared seeing all the hair I lost pre + post showering. It was traumati to say the least. While I was forever grateful for the hair that did stay on my head, I felt shame, lack of confidence and continued to hide in my shell, with my body slowing falling apart. Not to mention the acne, weight gain, over active nerves and confusion as to what was really going on in my body! Let's just say it was a dark, unsettling, yet growth filled period of my life. ( I was then diagnosed with chronic late stage lyme in 2012).
Fast forward even further and my hairs state has completely healed. It took years, and years to fully restore, and while it wasn't easy, I know I went through it all, to help others along their journey.
At the moment my hair is au natural, long, thin-thick - I have lots of thinner hair, and I don't use any products or styling tools! Nothing. I'm the least high maintenance hair person you will meet. My only hair accessory is a comb. I use natural shampoos, and do coconut oil masks maybe once a month. In my experience, the less you do the better! I also learned during my hair shedding days that just like skin, hair does not like to be tugged, played with and manipulated too much. AND...
Just like skin, our hair is a reflection of our internal health. What we feed ourselves, also feeds our Hair. And because hair is made out of protein, it is critical to get ample amounts of protein + healthy fats.
Skin and hair are accessory organs, so it's critically important to stress that vital nutrients will go to keeping us alive first, and the last source of nourishment will always be our skin, hair and nails which is why we have to heal on a deeper level to see a difference in this organs. Our bodies don't need shiny hair, and clear skin to survive. It's always survival first, beauty last.
So today I wanted to high some common hair struggles + types, and some nutrients that target the hair. Remember that a solid foundation of nourishment is key, as nutrients aren't absorbed if gut health isn't functioning properly. It's all a beautiful ( yet sometimes confusing + frustrating cycle) but when it starts to shift, balance, heal, re-calibrate, we're so, so grateful for the rhythms, cyclical nature, and processes that take place every single second.
LET'S TALK HAIR //
Dry hair, and often dandruff, are signs that the skin of the scalp isn’t functioning as well as it should be. The perfect way to improve this condition is by hydrating the skin cells on the scalp and hair follicles with essential fats and Vitamin A, which is involved in the production of our natural oils.
-Oily fish are the absolute best source of essential fatty acids or EFAs, go for mackerel, salmon, sardines, anchovies, herring. Eat 2-3 portions of fish a week.
-Vegetarian sources of EFA's include flax oil, walnuts (and other nuts & seeds), avocados, olive oil. Eat at least portion of these healthy fat foods per day. I eat about 1/2-1 Avo a day!
-Vitamin A is converted in the body from sources of beta carotene, a green and orange pigment found in green veggies, sweet potato, carrots, squash – just go with the colours!
-Poor digestion, imbalanced gut bacteria and food intolerances are often responsible for dry and fragile hair, because they can prevent you from absorbing nutrients optimally. Again, just like skin, GUT HEALTH is paramount to healthy + lustrous hair.
SLOW GROWING HAIR
Slow growth, fading colour (including greying) and hair loss are often down to a lack of zinc (HUGE), iron and lysine (an amino acid).
-Seafood is a great source of zinc, or go for pumpkin seeds if you’re a veggie. Pumpkin seeds ARE the best for zinc intake.
-Brilliant places to get your iron are: hormone free animal protein if you eat meat, fresh fish, dark leafy greens, organic dried apricots, black strap molasses, and dark chocolate!
-Spirulina is a bit of a wonder for hair as it contains iron, zinc, B Vitamins and lysine.
-Another reason for thinning hair and slow growth is a hormonal imbalance, if this is affecting you, it’s definitely worth checking out! Our body speaks to us in symptoms, hair is an external display, of an internal problem
For hair that’s on the oily side, watch out for an insufficiency of B Vitamins. These, as well as Vitamin C are used up in times of stress, so try to C H I L L and deal with your stresses if possible, as well as choosing your foods wisely.
-The very best veggie and vegan sources of B's: Watercress, mushrooms, broccoli, alfalfa sprouts, asparagus, brown rice.
-Along with another superfood for hair // Chlorella - it's a great source of biotin, and contains copper, which is involved in healthy hair pigmentation (color).
-Eggs deliver biotin (Vitamin B7) which is especially important for hair.
-Meat of all varieties, just go for the highest quality, organic and grass fed you can afford.
If your hair is weak, you can give it some support by making sure you have lots of good sources of protein in your diet – this is what your hair is made of, along with Vitamin C that helps to keep the follicles working their best.
Best protein sources //
-My superhero - Spirulina contains 60-70% protein, which is actually more absorbable than the protein in meat!
-Nuts, seeds, sprouted beans and seeds are a m a z i n g vegan sources of protein. My favorites include pumpkin seeds, sunflowers seeds & brazil nuts.
-For your Vitamin C eat plenty of berries, kiwi fruit, broccoli, peppers.
-All hormone free Meat, fish, eggs, goat's cheese (if you tolerate dairy)
-Bone broth - the best!
WHAT ELSE CAN YOU DO FOR YOUR HAIR?
Eating well, nourishing yourself, and saving your hair from the consequences of nutritional deficiencies is critical for having healthy hair, but there there are a few more lovely practices that can improve hair whilst boosting your wellbeing generally:
-Scalp massage – go for an Indian head massage, or spend a couple of extra mins when washing your hair. (this stimulates your hair follicles!) Even better get your love to massage your head in the shower...!
-Head stands and all inversion postures in yoga are fantastic for promoting the circulation to your scalp.
-Treat your hair once a week with a teaspoon of melted coconut oil, rosemary essential oil, and frankincense. Massage through to the hair ends, keep it in overnight (or just a few hours), put a plastic bag on your head, and wash out the following morning – hair heaven. (warning: stay away from the scalp as it will make it look oily even when you wash it out! I like to put it on my ends and twist it into a bun).
-Switch to organic shampoos that gently wash and nourish the hair rather than stripping away its natural oils, anything containing sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) is to be avoided!
-The herb nettle - insanely rich in B Vitamins which are again critical for hair strength, growth, and thickness
Never forget that your body is wanting you to heal, and feel / look your best, we just get in the way.
Either we're doing too much, not the right things for us, or we've been struggling with illness, inflammation, gut distress, hormonal imbalance, or the like, for far too long, and we don't even know what it feels like to 1) feel good 2) look like ourselves 3) heal.
It's 1000% possible, we just need to take inventory, make some shifts, and see what works best for us! It's all a journey, never a race, so with patience, love, and guidance we can do it all.
IF YOU'RE LOOKING TO DELVE DEEPER INTO YOUR BODY, MIND AND SOUL, WHILE USING NUTRITION, FOOD AS MEDICINE, REPROGRAMMING YOUR MINDSET, ADVISORY INTO YOUR TRUE INNATE SELF, AND TO TAKE YOUR HEALING TO THE NEXT LEVEL, I WOULD LOVE TO BE THERE FOR YOU. LET'S CONNECT.