Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Fairy tales are full of maidens with luxurious hair - long and glistening, full of body, blinding with shine and va-va-voom... with not a split end or dry spot in sight.
We all want it. I want it without having to work too hard for it. I am a no-fuss woman with little interest in hair dryers and zero time for rollers, irons, straighteners and the latest styling gadget.
I am a wash and wear woman who just wants this lion mane of mine to be longer, stronger and slightly less out of control if I let it go free. I haven't exactly reached a peaceful agreement with my feisty mid-back curls, but I'm getting closer.
There are actually lots of things you can do to optimize hair growth and overall vitality. Here's a handful of my favorites:
* Eat more spicy food. Capsaicin, the chemical that makes peppers spicy, has been shown to promote hair growth by mimicking natural human growth factors. As a pretty strong side bonus, this same compound causes an increase in your metabolic rate by raising body temperature, helping burn more calories immediately after a meal. Besides a slight uptick in metabolism, spicy foods also may increase feelings of satiety. Yum yum yum.
* Avoid shampoos with sodium laureth sulfate, benzophenone-3, benzyl alcohol, DMDM hydantoin, and sodium lauryl sulfate. These detergents and alcohols are hard on the hair, causing it to be dry and brittle. You want a gentle moisturizing or replenishing shampoo. My favorite is by Allafia, followed closely by anything from John Masters.
*Keeping your long hair moisturized is an absolute must. Commercial hot oil treatments are good depending on the purity of the oils used, but my preferred and super cheap natural alternative is a mixture of warm rosemary oil and olive oil worked into the hair and left for 45 minutes under a warm towel. Jojoba oil and coconut oil are also excellent options to moisturize dry hair.
* Have a bounty of biotin. Naturally occurring in nuts, oats, brewers yeast, rice, tomatoes, carrots, romaine, and chard, this vitamin's best-known dietary role is in hair and nail health, as a deficiency can cause hair loss and weak, brittle nails. Sometimes called Vitamin H, biotin is actually one of the B-Vitamins. It is very important in cell growth and the production and metabolism of fatty acids, also playing a solid role in maintaining blood sugar and the body's energy level.
* Give yourself a scalp massage. They increase circulation, helping to stimulate your hair follicles as well as easing stress which is a major contributor to slowing growth and a countless number of other ills. Take your time, enjoy the experience... or better yet, have a friend of lover lend a hand and do a trade!
Eat well. Breath deep. Love yourself.
And watch your own fairy tale self be revealed!