Your dry, dull, brittle hair is trying to tell you something about your health and diet. Your hair should grow around 0,35mm per day. There are three stages of hair growth: anagen, categen and telogen. Each strand of hair is at its own stage of development, once the cycle is complete, it restarts, and a new strand of hair begins to form. You have around 150 000 hair follicles – around 80% to 90% of your hair at any one stage is in the Anagen or Growing phase. This usually lasts between two to seven years. The Categen or Transition phase lasts around ten days. This is followed by the Telogen or Resting phase, which lasts around three months. Around 10% to 15% of your hair is in this stage, and when the old hair is resting, a new hair begins its growing stage. Exogen or the Shedding stage is when the old hair detaches and sheds, while the new shaft of hair begins to grow. On average, you lose between 50 to 150 hairs a day.
Hair grows from the root, or follicle, found underneath your skin. Your hair is fed by blood vessels at the base of the follicle, which gives it the nourishment it needs to grow. This is why it is so important to ensure that your diet is rich in nutrients to help maintain healthy hair growth.
Kim Snyder (www.kimberlysnyder.com), a nutritionist, yogini and the New York Times bestselling author of The Beauty Detox Solution, The Beauty Detox Foods and The Beauty Detox Power, explains that a healthy diet is vital.
She offers the following tips:
Thinning hair? You may not have enough protein in your diet.
Eat more: Broccoli, mushrooms, romaine lettuce, raw nuts (such as almonds, Brazil nuts, pecans, hazelnuts and pine nuts), legumes and beans.
Want a healthy scalp? Omega-3 and omega-6-rich foods help to nourish your scalp, necessary for thick, beautiful hair.
Eat more: Spinach, kale and other salad greens. Brussels sprouts are another great source, as are pumpkin seeds (these contain zinc, B vitamins including biotin, and other vitamins and minerals that benefit hair health), chia seeds, avocados, flax seeds, acai berries and walnuts.
Does your hair not retain its colour? You may be deficient in Biotin (B8 and B12)
Eat more: Sprouts, pulses, pumpkin seeds and spirulina to boost your vitamin B intake. Also look to take a daily probiotic to help balance your gut, which allows B vitamins to be synthesised.
Dry and brittle hair? You need more vitamin A, beta-carotene and vitamin C as these help detox your liver and blood, which means that the nutrients get more easily to your scalp and hair.
Eat more: Carrots, spinach and other leafy greens, sweet potatoes, red peppers and squash
Dry scalp? If your scalp is dehydrated, it’s not a welcoming space for hair to grow.
Eat more: Watery fruit and veg, such as watermelon, cucumbers, tomatoes and celery. Also make sure you drink your eight glasses of water a day to ensure overall health and wellness.
Did you know? Just as food can help to nourish your hair, so too can it damage your hair. Snyder recommends that to keep your hair healthy and vibrant, cut back on “clogging” foods such as dairy, soy, wheat, animal fat, sugar and cooked vegetable oils, as these make it difficult for blood to get to your hair follicles.