Hair coloring is supremely popular, especially for women. A study done by Clairol in 2008 revealed that 75% of American women dye their hair and that 88% of women feel their hair has an effect on their confidence. Although this study was done a number of years ago, just imagine what those numbers must be like now. Four years ago I started coloring my hair…well bleaching it to be exact. Three years of that was enough to do some serious damage to my hair. Now it’s been almost a year without coloring and the process of growing out the overprocessed, unhealthy leftovers is still underway. The only way it will ever be permanently gone will be for me to be patient and let it grow until I can cut every last dyed piece off.
This process is what started my research into what makes hair grow. I wanted to know what I could possibly do to grow my hair out as quickly as possible and I was willing to try anything. So I looked around, watched videos, read articles, and experimented. Here’s what I learned over the better part of a year trying to get back naturally healthy hair.
1. Conditioning is Key. Since bleach dries out hair and everyday styling can be harsh, it was really important for me to moisturize and condition my hair. One of my favorite products to use for this is coconut oil. Not only does coconut oil moisturize hair, but it helps strengthen and protect hair as well. To use, melt the coconut oil and massage into hair, leaving on as long as possible as the benefits only increase with time. Shampoo to remove the oil and you’ll instantly feel the benefits!
2. Eat a Healthy Diet. A diet rich in protein, vitamins and minerals is essential to healthy hair growth. Make sure to include foods high in vitamins A, B, C, and E, iron, zinc, magnesium, selenium and even omega-3 fatty acids. Adding in a variety of foods like milk, poultry, eggs, fish, whole grains, spinach, broccoli, carrots, avocado, oranges, and nuts are great to help nourish your hair and scalp. Overall, eating a healthy diet matters. Make sure to feed your body healthy and nutrient foods.
3. Use Natural Hair Care Products. Look for products that are free from parabens, pthalates, preservatives, and SLS as these potentially dangerous chemicals have been associated with negative health impacts. The best thing you can do? Keep them off your hair. There are many great natural shampoos, conditioners, and styling products that work just as well as the standard products!
4. Supplement If You Need To. Trying everything but still not seeing a significant difference? Maybe a supplement can help. I started taking biotin (part of the B-complex vitamins) to help support my healthy hair growth since it’s water soluble (we excrete what we don’t need) and hasn’t been shown to have side effects. Other recommended supplements to support healthy hair growth – vitamins A, C, D, E, and zinc. Don’t forget to talk to your doctor if you’re thinking about starting a new regimen of supplements! Remember, you can’t replace a bad diet with supplements so it’s best to use a combo approach.