The health of your hair is affected by everything from the food you eat to the products you use and even how stressed you are. Using quality hair products is important, but to get gorgeous, healthy hair you’ll also need to do some inner work, too.
Hair care and self care are a match made in heaven. But where should you start? To help you show your hair some love this Valentine's Day, VEGAMOUR spoke to experts to get their best hair wellness tips for you and your locks.
1. Take a Holistic Approach to Hair Wellness
“No singular or ‘silver bullet’ approach is tenable. A holistic, truly comprehensive approach is necessary in order to produce a long-term, sustainable impact on hair health,” VEGAMOUR CEO Dan Hodgdon told Modern Salon.
2. You Are What You Eat
“What you eat is as important as what products you put on your hair. If you want stronger hair that grows in thicker, then you need to have a decent amount of protein and iron in your diet,” said Kenneth Byrd, founder of Curl Centric. “Getting more omega-3s also promotes stronger and healthier hair.”
3. Avoid Overwashing Your Hair
“Be careful not to over-wash hair,” said Dr. Ailynne Marie Vergara-Wijangco, clinical dermatologist and researcher with ThankYourskin.com. ”If you wash your hair everyday, this one may take some getting used to. Even gentle, SLS-free shampoos are designed to remove some oil from your hair, including the oil produced by the scalp to moisturize hair (sebum). While no one wants to walk around with greasy hair, it’s important to not go overboard in the shower. In fact, stripping the scalp of too much oil may cause the scalp to overcompensate and produce even more oil.”
4. Prioritize Stress Management
"Healthy hair begins within. To keep hair looking and feeling great prioritize self-care by staying hydrated, reducing daily stress levels, and getting plenty of beauty sleep," said Aaron Matthew, CBD expert at Sachet Infusions."You can keep well hydrated by carrying a water bottle or canteen wherever you go and keeping it full of fresh water. Practice mindfulness and try out breathing techniques to help reduce daily stress levels, or take up activities such as yoga or meditation. Use apps to track your sleep and identify when and why you don't get the sleep you need to keep you feeling healthy and beautiful.”
5. Minimize Heat Styling
“As someone who suffered from hair loss, my no. 1 tip for hair wellness is to simply stay away from heat as much as possible because it is extremely damaging to hair and can help prevent further hair loss,” said Christine Songco, Certified Health and Wellness Coach, Third Bliss.
6. Opt for CBD
“Many people wonder if CBD is good for hair. CBD contains a variety of nutrients that help with dry scalp and overall hair health,” said Logan Derrick, co-owner of Steel Wellness. “Because of its high concentration of Vitamin E as well as omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9 fatty acids, studies have shown CBD oil can make hair stronger and nourish your scalp.”
7. Avoid Sulfates
“Steer clear of sulfates in shampoo,” Dr. Vergara-Wijangco added. “Not only are sulfates derived from palm oil, the harvesting of which contributes to the loss of jungle ecosystems, they’re also nasty to your hair! Commonly known as Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, or simply, SLS, these surfactants break down oil on hair. If you’ve ever washed your hair with shampoo that builds a substantial lather, you can bet that sulfates were responsible. While hair stripped of oil may feel amazingly clean, we want to retain some of our hair’s natural oils since these nourish and protect the hair shaft.
8. Massage Your Scalp for Stronger Hair
“Here's one I learned by mistake during Covid: Don't brush your hair, massage your scalp instead. I rarely brushed my hair during Covid and my hair was stronger and thicker than ever,” said Nadia Charif, dietitian and health advisor for Coffeeble. “I massage my scalp and run my fingers gently through my hair. This stimulates the scalp and hair growth while distributing oils from root to stem. Better yet, have your [significant other] treat you — there's nothing more corona-calming than a scalp massage from a loved one.”
9. Use Non-Toxic Hair Products
“Switching to non-toxic hair care products is one of the best things you can do for your overall hair and scalp health,” said Breanne Connor, owner of Essential Moves to Wellness. “Traditional hair products, whether it's your shampoo or your hairspray, contain ingredients that have been proven to irritate your scalp and cause faster breakage in your ends. When I first switched to natural hair care, my stubborn shoulder-length hair quickly grew over six inches!"
10. Only Apply Shampoo to Your Scalp and Conditioner to Your Ends — Except When Using VEGAMOUR
“We all have shampooed our hair lengths to keep them clean, right? But it turns out that shampooing your lengths and ends makes your hair dull and dry by striping out the useful moisture out of them,” said Harman Awal, beauty and lifestyle blogger at Your Girl Knows. “So the correct way to shampoo your hair is to clean the scalp thoroughly as it is the area that produces oil and accumulates all the dirt. And conditioner should be used to nourish your lengths and ends to make them shiny and frizz-free.”
There is one exception to this rule — VEGAMOUR’s GRO Revitalizing Conditioner and GRO+ Advanced Replenishing Conditioner should both be applied to your scalp. Why? Since thinning hair starts at the root, it’s important to use VEGAMOUR products directly on your scalp — yes, even conditioner.
11. Prioritize Plant-Based Ingredients
“Vitamin A is a micronutrient that helps our hair to grow,” said Kayla King, certified nutrition coach, CEO and founder of MacroMenu. “So to promote healthy hair we want to be consuming foods rich in Vitamin A. Sweet potato, butternut squash, carrots, spinach, apricots, kale and melon are a few. Since a vegan diet is mostly made up of these kinds of rich vegetables, following more of a plant based diet could help to ultimately promote hair growth.
12. Try Forest Bathing for Stress Reduction
When reducing stress, Hodgdon practices sshinrin-yoku, or forest bathing.
“The 24/7 nature of digital media hijacks our mental and emotional process,” Hodgdon told Modern Salon. “People feel distracted and overwhelmed, rushed, tired and burned out. This literally causes system-wide inflammation. Just turning off the phone and spending time in nature can help us think more clearly, make better decisions, feel more empathy for others, be happier, balanced and content.”
Shop: GRO Balance & Boost Kit
13. Use Dry Shampoo in Between Washes
“Wash it once a week tops,”Charif added. “I am an athlete and yogi, so this one was hard for me at first. I like my hair to feel and smell clean. But there was just no use arguing the fact that washing is bad for hair. Oils built up extra at first, so I used dry shampoo on my roots only (also made it smell lovely) and washed with conditioner (not shampoo) one extra day per week. Eventually, my hair got used to the once a week regiment & extraneous oil build-up went bye-bye.”
14. Never Sleep With Wet Hair
“I myself have been guilty of washing my hair at night and then sleeping with damp hair,” Awal added. “This habit of mine led to yeast infection-causing dandruff which was hard to get rid of. So if you are struggling with it, I would suggest to dry your hair naturally first and then sleep. Do not use hair dryers as they are hair-damaging in long term.
15. Prioritize Gut Health
“Probiotics can also address inflammation in the gut microbiome that dulls hair and skin,” said Heather Hanks, M.S. Nutritionist at Instapot Life. “Probiotics also help assist with digestion so that you're breaking down and absorbing the nutrients from your food needed to nourish healthy hair.”
16. Choose Brands That Are Transparent About Ingredients
“Start small and find some new hair care products that do not contain ingredients like sulfates or parabens,” Connor added. “Then you can eliminate even more toxic ingredients by finding brands that are incredibly transparent about their ingredient lists. You might be surprised at what you find!”
17. Stay Hydrated
“My number one hair wellness tip would be drinking water! I know that is a typical wellness tip but drinking enough water has tons of benefits and hair growth along with strengthening is just one,” said Gabrielle White, master cosmetologist and creative director of DashStylists. “Drinking enough water helps to keep your scalp hydrated as well eliminating problems like dandruff and stimulating growth.”
18. Eat Foods that Promote Hair Growth
“My number #1 tip for hair wellness is not topical products, but it’s in your diet,” Elise Armitage, founder and writer of What The Fab. “Make sure to get a healthy amount of good fats such as Omega 3 fats … Fruits such as berries, vegetables, especially spinach and sweet potatoes promote hair growth.”
Related: The Best Foods for Hair Growth
19. Protect Your Hair and Scalp From the Sun
“For stronger, healthier hair, be sure to protect your hair from the sun's harmful UV rays,” Chanel Meekins, co-founder of Pierre Michel Beauty. “And definitely avoid putting things like lemon juice on your hair to lighten it in the sun. Instead, cover your hair with a hat or wrap when you know that you'll be out in full sun for an extended period. If you do get too much sun exposure, then it will dry out your hair and you'll need to apply a DIY avocado mask to your hair. This is my favorite mask for repairing dry, sun-damaged hair.”
20. Use Your Fingers to Detangle Hair
“I want to recommend your readers reduce the stress on their hair and scalps by combing their hair less frequently,” said Monica Davis, founder & editor-in-chief of MyStraightener.com. “Combing can overstretch your hair and make it more prone to breakage. It’s also recommended to forget about wet combing unless you have a special comb and apply a good detangling conditioner before that. Dry hair also requires special comb models to minimize potential damage to the cuticle. The best way to comb is to ditch the brush and use your fingers with a conditioner to detangle your wet hair naturally. Next, you should let your hair dry naturally as well and carefully style it with a tangle teaser or a similar brush.”
21. Avoid Hairstyles That Cause Breakage
“Minimize breakage by ditching your ponytail holder for hair sticks,” said Lynn Power, co-founder and CEO of MASAMI. “They are just as easy to use but much gentler on your hair. They don't break or pull out your hair when you remove them.”
22. Choose Your Shampoo Wisely
“We can’t control all the environmental factors that cause stress to our hair, but what we can control is the kind of shampoos we use,” said Toby Dash, Founder of fivestarskincare.co.”For healthier hair select a gentle shampoo that suits your hair type, with fewer chemicals. Sulfates and parabens are used for lathering and preserving respectively, but they can cause skin irritation and increase the risk of hormonal disruptions”
23. Boost Hair Wellness From Within
“Ultimately, the health and vitality of your hair is a reflection of how healthy your are on the inside and the primary biological system you have to keep health in balance is called the endocannabinoid system,” said Matthew. “It regulates nearly every aspect of health and wellness, including scalp and hair health. CBD is a great way to support healthy functioning of the endocannabinoid system, boosting wellness from within.”
24. Ask Your Doctor to Check Your Hormones
“Hormones play an essential role in hair growth support for women. Optimal levels of the hormones estradiol and progesterone are critical for healthy hair growth,” said Brian Burfield, marketing manager at Evolve. “Annual follow-ups are often recommended to ensure hormone levels stay within a healthy range. Always remember to consult with a physician before starting your hair treatment.”
25. Take a Daily Vitamin D Supplement
"Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to the autoimmune condition alopecia areata which leads to hair loss, when the immune system mistakenly attacks the hair follicles," said Dr.Stacie Stephenson, author of "Vibrant: A Groundbreaking Program to Get Energized, Own Your Health, and Glow." "Taking a daily vitamin D supplement could help to prevent this condition."
26. Find the Right Amount of Hair Washing for You
“How often one should shampoo varies among individuals and may change as the scalp adjusts to a more gentler ’poo routine,” said Dr. Vergara-Wijangco. “Begin by shampooing only every other day and allow scalp moisture levels to adjust. If it suits you, try going longer without shampooing. On off days, rinse hair with cold water or wear a shower cap.”
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