The strength, look and feel of “healthy hair” can define not only your overall look, but also, how you feel. While there are literally thousands of products that market to “healthy black hair” there are only a handful that have the proper ingredients to keep your hair healthy. And just like vitamins help your body, there are certain vitamins that specifically help your hair.
Here is a short list of eight vitamins that you need to look for in your hair products:
1. Amino Acids: These are the building blocks of protein and your hair follicles require a constant stream of amino acids for optimum hair growth. Eight amino acids are essential for humans, as the body cannot produce them by themselves, and they have to be supplied externally. These are: isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine.
2. Biotin: Biotin is a crucial vitamin for hair growth. In laboratory studies, people who were low in Biotin experienced slower-than-normal hair and nail growth. Biotin is also water-soluble and supports healthy skin as well.
3. Inositol: This nutrient actually helps strengthen hair by ensuring that your hair follicles retain moisture.
4. Choline: Your body actually makes choline in very small amounts, but you need more for hair growth because choline works together with inositol to encourage hair growth.
5. Zinc: An essential mineral for proper health and hair growth. It’s quite common for American women to suffer from low mineral levels.
6. Copper: Another essential mineral, copper, aids in the production of collagen and elastin, which are crucial for healthy nails, skin and hair.
7. MSM: MSM is a naturally occurring form of sulfur, which helps the body form keratin – a tough protein that strengthens hair and nails against harmful chemicals.
8. Overall Diet: While it’s not a vitamin per se, a healthy diet plays an important role in how healthy (or not) your hair is. Any product that you use topically on the skin and the scalp won’t achieve it’s best results unless you put good nutrition in your body. Your body is one big organism, and your body’s system works together as an organism.
So, remember whatever you put on your skin and in your hair isn’t going to work unless you can put it in your body too. The main reason anyone would not see ample results combining topical treatments and good nutrition is if they had other medical issues.
Salon-Healthy Hair…At Home
Raise your hand if you spend hundreds of dollars a month getting your hair done. You shave off a few dollars from grocery money or forgo paying a bill just to get that straight-out-of-the-chair look. And although your hair stylist may give you tips on how to achieve the same thing in the comfort of your own home, you don’t have the confidence in your ability. But the truth is, you can.
The key to healthy and beautiful hair at home is product. The best products make the best hair! You can purchase quality products at a salon or beauty supply, or you can make your own from natural ingredients.
In addition to good products, you need to make sure that you give your locks a trim every 6-10 weeks. This will ensure that you grow healthy, strong hair. Allowing hair to become dry and split will only halt the growing process because ends will break off and can split up to the scalp. Biotin supplements can also help to increase the strength and growth of hair and can be found at local health food stores.
Anyone can create conditioning and detoxifying treatments at home with natural ingredients. Coconut oil is a great answer for dry scalp, skin and hair. You can find it at your health foods store. Massage coconut on to hair to add shine and moisture. For a detoxifying treat, combine 1 tablespoon of lemon juice with 1 tablespoon of white vinegar and combine with your shampoo when washing. Lemon cleanses hair and scalp while vinegar neutralizes build-up.
No special ingredients are required to make your own organic hair products. Many of the items can be found in your store cupboard right now! Eggs, honey, cider vinegar and olive oil not only make a wonderful salad dressing, but also are great for use on hair to give you smooth, silky locks. The most important thing to remember is that the better quality the ingredients, the better the end result will be. Therefore use the freshest of ingredients wherever possible. The benefit of using certified organic ingredients is that you have the reassurance that the ingredients you are using have been grown without the use of harmful chemicals or chemically derived substances.
Some of the most common ingredients used in homemade hair products are:
• Coconut Oil
• Cider Vinegar
Where the Damage Comes From and How To Avoid It
For at home styling, be sure to always hold your blow-dryer at least 4 inches away from your head and keep the air flow moving. If you focus too long on one spot, you’ll over-drying or burn hair.
Another way to avoid unnecessary damage is to be sure to leave big color changes to the pros! Bleach, highlights and a jump from either end of the color spectrum can be very dangerous at home and can cause extreme damage.
In the end, try to avoid fighting your natural texture too much! Ask your stylist for products that are specific to your hair and for tips on easy styling at home, such as diffusing curls or quick blow-dry techniques. Try to keep big texture changes to a few times a month in order to preserve your hair!
Skip a trip to the salon with these tips to creating healthy, shiny hair:
Shampoo: If you can, try to shampoo every other day with a shampoo that isn’t too strong. You don’t want to strip hair by over cleaning it. Look for a gentle or daily use formula.
Conditioner: Use a moisturizing conditioner whenever you shower. Comb it through your hair, with a wide tooth comb, before you rinse. This will protect your hair from fading and becoming dry, which in turn will make it shinier.
Deep Conditioner: Deep condition your hair once a week with. Use a serum consistency that doesn’t have to be rinsed out. They’re usually more effective and more convenient. Look for vitamin E, essential oils, and wheat protein in the ingredients. These conditioners balance and tone your scalp, repair and fortify your hair shaft, prevent split ends, and all of these things lead to healthy, shiny hair.
Protection: You must protect your hair from the heat of your styling tools (blow dryer, flatiron, curling iron). Your tools are what damage your hair the most. Before blow-drying, cover damp hair from roots to ends with a blow drying agent. This will simply protect your hair from the heat. If you are going to use an iron after you blow dry, mist with hair spray. It will provide an extra layer of protection from the hottest of the hot tools.
Finish: Using a finishing shine product is very important. It will fake it ‘til you make it. It will add polish and unreal shine to your hair, whether it’s healthy or not. A finishing shine product is completely cosmetic. Healthy hair is shiny; therefore, shiny hair ‘appears’ healthy!