I have to admit, this article was inspired by the recent press that Olympian Gabrielle Douglas received for focusing on winning the gold metals and not her hair. As black women, we lead busy lives and as we look for haircuts and styles that fit our lifestyles, it can be challenging.
In addition, add in the importance of maintaining a healthy eating regime that will not only gives us strength physically but provide our hair with the vitamins and nutrients needed to be strong and grow. “It is very important to adapt your hair to the vitamins you intake. Definitely drinking lots of water; that is very important for your skin and your hair. Also, making sure that you get the vitamins that you need [through the foods you eat],” shares Mahisha Dellinger, founder of CURLS, a multicultural hair product line for natural hair.
They say we are what we eat and that also includes our hair. There is a strong connection between the foods you eat and the health of your hair. Even if you don’t eat certain foods, incorporating them into your weekly hair maintenance routine might not be a bad idea. We’re all familiar with the mayonnaise conditioner craze that had everyone creating their own at-home dry hair remedy. Nowadays, olive oil is the industry’s latest food favorite to be infused or mixed into conditioners, shampoos, oil sheen sprays, hair creams and more.
Vitamins and minerals that are important to hair growth and a healthy scalp include vitamins A B-1, B-2, B-3, B-5, B-6, B-9, B-10, B-12, C, E, H, iodine, zinc, iron, inositol, choline bitartrate, and Brewers yeast. According to WebMD and other sources such as the blog Eat. Relate. Love by Shelley Chapman, there are more than 10 foods that are rich in these vitamins and minerals. On average, we experience ¼ to ½ inch of hair growth a month so what you put in your body can determine how much hair comes out. Next time you go shopping, keep these foods in mind based on the list above to round out your hair care diet plan:
- Avocados – Vitamin E
- Beans – Biotin, protein, zinc and iron
- Brazil nuts and Walnuts – Selenium
- Carrots – Vitamin A
- Dark Green Vegetables – Calcium and Iron
- Eggs – Protein
- Low-fat dairy products – Calcium
- Poultry –Protein
- Oysters – Zinc
- Salmon – Omega-3
- Whole grains – Vitamin B, iron and zinc
And of course, don’t forget water, water and more water.
Lastly, some foods are not just fun to cook with and eat but also to create hair care products for cleaning and conditioning that can be as natural you want them to be. After all, that is how most companies got their start, by working with ingredients and testing them until they yield the results desired. Begin by researching and experimenting with ingredients based on what you like, their qualities and what they do for the hair. Also, don’t be afraid to ask around to see what others are doing and what is working for them to get additional ideas.
In the meantime, for easy, moisturizing recipes that you can create at home tonight, try Dellinger’s Banana & Avocado Hair Mask and Milk & Honey Hair Smoothie recipes below.
Banana & Avocado Hair Mask
1 medium banana
1 egg yolk
3 tablespoons buttermilk
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Double the recipe for long hair
- Mash banana, egg and avocado in a small bowl.
- Add remaining ingredients and stir until well combined. Apply to hair from roots to tips.
- Leave in for 30 minutes and then wash out with a moisturizing shampoo.
Milk & Honey Hair Smoothie
1 can of pure coconut milk (rich moisturize – hydrates, conditions and de-frizzes hair)
1 ripe avocado (natural source of protein – chemical processes rob the hair of protein)
2 tablespoons of pure honey (conditions and adds sheen)
2 tablespoons of olive oil (fatty oil that moisturizes and conditions dry hair)
- Add ingredients to blender. Mix at high speed until your concoction reaches a smoothie consistency.
- Store in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. You can warm up your hair smoothie in the microwave before next application. Just enough do de-chill.
Feel free to substitute the olive oil for any natural oil of your choice.
Add an additional tablespoon of olive oil for extra dry hair.
Add 2 additional tablespoons o honey for hair that needs more sheen.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE
- Section hair into 4 segments.
- Generously apply evenly to hair, from root to ends concentrating on ends as they are the most prone to damage.
- Smooth hair into a protective style (e.g. braided ponytail or bun). Enjoy your day at the pool, lake, or ocean!