Many of us would love to have Rapunzel worthy hair, but our genes are partly responsible for hair growth, and even if you do have a natural full head of long locks it’s crucial that you show it some TLC to keep it in tip-top condition. We have asked our experts for their top ways to encourage optimal hair growth and condition.
1. Healthy fats for healthy hair
“If you have dry or brittle hair this could be a sign that you are deficient in omega 3. The fatty acids in omega 3 are anti-inflammatory and are thought to help open the hair follicles, which can encourage hair growth. When the body is lacking in these nutrients it can cause the hairs, that naturally fall out on a day to day basis, to not be replaced as easily,” suggests Nutritionist, Cassandra Barns.
To make sure you’re keeping your omega levels topped up on a daily basis try the brand new OOOMEGA Original (Available from Waitrose and independent health stores, RRP: £1.99),which is the first of its kind – a plant-based flaxseed drink, that is rich in omega 3. As well as being suitable for vegans and those who are lactose intolerant, flaxseed oil is one of the richest plant-based sources of Omega 3(ALA), meaning each drop of OOOMEGA drink is packed full of goodness.
2. Address your stress
Stress and anxiety can also affect our hair and may trigger excess hair loss. Most specifically, a type of hair loss called alopecia areata, where hair starts to fall out in patches, this is can be related to stress or traumatic events. “This could be because stress can disrupt our digestion and absorption of nutrients needed to nourish the hair, and also because stress can affect the circulation to the scalp. So do what you can to avoid it – try yoga or meditation classes, listen to relaxing music, take time to do things you enjoy, and try to eliminate the main sources of stress from your life. Avoid coffee and other caffeine-containing drinks, which trigger the stress hormone adrenaline to be released,” suggests Shona Wilkinson, Nutritionist at SuperfoodUK (www.superfooduk.com).
3. Say no to sugar
Sugar is an ‘anti-nutrient’, meaning it provides no nutritional benefits of its own, and actuallyuses up nutrients in the body to process it, including those that you need for healthy hair. “Refined carbohydrates such as white bread, pasta, white rice and anything else made with white flour have a similar effect, as they have had all the vital nutrients stripped away from them, and are quickly absorbed and turned into sugar in the blood. I’d suggest that you ditch the white carbohydrates and go for whole grain alternatives,” suggests Cassandra.
4. Go natural
It hasn’t been proved as fact that certain hair care products can cause hair loss. However, it is usually better to choose natural products for the treatment of your hair. Samar Farooq, co-founder of Samol Herbal explains, “Herbal remedies in most instances are natural without any harmful ingredients, which means that these can be better for your hair in the long run.
“Organic cold pressed blackseed oil has a reputation as a cure-all remedy. Studies have shown that it is one of the most effective ways to tackle hair loss. It helps form a protective barrier over the hair, shielding it from toxins, the elements and day to day wear and tear.”
Treat your hair with this vital ingredient combined with a unique blend of natural herbs and other luscious organic, cold-pressed oils found in Samol Herbal Hair & Scalp Oil (£18.33, www.samolherbal.com). Samol Herbal is inspired by ancient Ayurvedic medicinal remedies that help deliver essential nutrients to your hair and scalp. A few drops of oil simply needs to be massaged into the scalp, left over night and washed out in the morning to help achieve beautiful nourished tresses!
5. 100 brushes a day?
It may go against the old wives tale, but too much brushing can actually break the hair and cause more to fall out. Never brush your hair when it is wet – use a wide-tooth comb instead, or ideally leave it to dry naturally before brushing. Tight ponytails or other hairstyles that pull on the hair can also affect its condition and increase hair loss, so avoid these if you can. Ensure you have regular trims – especially if you have long hair – as this can also help to reduce breakage and hair loss.
6. Keep your thyroid happy
“The thyroid gland is situated in the neck and is responsible for our metabolism. Poor thyroid function can have many symptoms, and these can include dry or brittle hair, and hair loss, especially around the hairline. If you also have other common symptoms such as tiredness, weight gain, feeling cold, and dry skin, it is worth asking your doctor to test your thyroid to see if you need extra support.
“Even if your thyroid is found to be functioning normally, you can still protect it by ensuring you get enough of the nutrients that it needs, and two of the most important of these are the minerals iodine and selenium. Iodine is found in fish and seafood, meat, eggs and dairy products. Seaweed is also a very rich source of iodine and is particularly a good way for vegetarians and vegans to top up their levels. A good source of selenium is Brazil nuts, so munch on a couple of Brazils every day – they’re also a great source of essential fats and protein!” recommends Cassandra.