Good-looking, shiny and silky hair is one big element in the beauty of women and men. Besides beauty having healthy-looking skin and hair is a definite sign of excellent general health and good hair or skincare practices. But what are the easiest way to achieve shiny hair?
To achieve desired shiny hair, there are two key elements:
- Good nutrition
- Appropriate hair care practices
As I mentioned earlier, the reward for healthy habits and good nutrition is having glowing skin, shiny hair and good health. The question is how nutrition affects shiny hair, and what exactly is good food for hair. Here I am going to explain good food and suitable hair practices for your shiny hair to enjoy your look and appreciate it every day. A nice natural look presents your personality and increases your self-esteem.
Good nutrition to make your hair shiny
It seems if not very easy at least doable to fix a problem by eating a kind of food or generally by improving your diet. That’s true if you are lucky enough to be in a place with food abundant.
Many people have no access to proper foods and good nutrition, some may have medical conditions that cause malabsorption and nutrient deficiency. This condition is often reflected in skin and hair. Hair may be dry, brittle, fine and soft.
Nutrients essential in shiny hair
Protein and shiny hair
Protein deficiency in children is clearly visible in hair and skin. In these children, hair can be dry, brittle and sometimes fine and soft. Alopecia can happen too. Sources of proteins are meat, egg, beans and nuts.
Effects of Zinc on shiny hair
Zinc is another essential nutrient in your diet. It is necessary to get from the diet because your body cannot make it. If you are having enough meat or fish, you shouldn’t worry about zinc deficiency. However, during pregnancy, you may need more zinc. Other health conditions such as renal disease, infection or burn may cause zinc deficiency. Taking some medication such as diuretics for blood pressure or valproic acid may lower zinc levels in the body. Hair loss is a sign of zinc deficiency.
Selenium, a micronutrient for shiny hair
Selenium is a trace component essential in the synthesis of many proteins and enzymes in the body. Deficiency of selenium may cause hypopigmentation in hair and skin and hair loss. Food sources of selenium are meat, fish, cereal, nut and eggs. Brazilian nuts are the richest selenium source.
Essential fatty acid as an easy way to shiny hair
Essential fatty acids are fatty acids that you have to have in your diet because the body cannot synthesize them, but you need them for good health. Two fatty acids are essential, omega 3 and omega 6. Deficiency in fatty acids can cause similar symptoms in your hair as zinc deficiency.
Some food sources for omega 3 and omega 6 are:
- Olive oil
- Chia seed
- Flaxseed oil
- Canola oil
- Pumpkin seed and
- Leafy vegetables
Biotin function in shiny hair
Biotin is found in many foods such as meat, egg, fish, nuts and seeds. It is also synthesized by bacteria in the intestinal tract, so biotin deficiency is rare. Studies on the effects of biotin supplements on healthy hair and skin have given mixed results. Some clinicians suggest taking biotin supplements for patients with hair loss, possibly because of its proven benefits on brittle nails.
In some countries, biotin is a part of a protocol with oral zinc and topical clobetasol for hair loss treatment.
Iron and hair growth
Iron is important in many functions in your body. Reduced iron stores affect somehow hair loss. Even a minor decrease in iron availability in hair follicles may result in diminishing hair growth. Iron deficiency is very common, particularly among women. If you suffer from iron deficiency fixing the problem may not be overnight, but it’s not hard. Apart from taking iron supplements, you can improve your diet and include iron-rich foods, such as red meat, chicken, egg, leafy green vegetables and beans.
Vitamin A toxicity and hair loss
If you are taking supplements for improving general health and hair growth, be careful about the toxicity. Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin. Because fat-soluble vitamins are not readily excreted, they can accumulate to toxic levels if you take them in excess. Overtime excess vitamin A can result in liver failure.
The symptoms of vitamin A toxicity are visible in skin and hair. Some of these symptoms include dry or rough skin, itchy or peeling skin, skin cracks at the corner of your mouth and hair loss.
Always follow the limitation in a daily dose of the supplement you are taking and don’t go beyond.
Haircare practices for shiny hair
First of all, it’s better to pay attention the routine care that actually damage your hair. For example force combing when your hair is tangled can damage your hair. Here are some recommendation about your daily routine:
- Untangle your hair with a wide-tooth comb or brush when the hair is not too wet. If you did not apply conditioner after shampoo, use an after-shower conditioner or some coconut oil to lubricate your hair. Avoid force combing.
- Allow your hair to air-dry first before using a blow dryer. Using a blow dryer every day can damage your hair. If you can and the weather condition allows you, sometimes let your hair air dry completely.
- Try to do your hair down more often, if you like to put your hair up sometimes use a good hair tie. Hair ties may pull scalp and hair cuticles.
Shampoo, a hair care product
When you think of hair care the first product we think of is shampoo. In order to get our shiny, healthy-looking hair, what shampoo do we have to use? Are shampoos really beneficial or harmful? And how often do we need to shampoo our hair?
It is easy to formulate a shampoo that will remove all of the sebum and dirt from the hair and scalp but this may leave the hair frizzy, dry, unmanageable and not beautiful. So many shampoos clean and condition your hair to make it smooth and beautiful.
There has to be a balance between removing sebum and dirt just enough to make the hair clean not too dry.
There are many choices of shampoo in the market for different hair needs such as shampoo for normal hair, dry hair, oily hair, baby shampoo and shampoo with medications that contain a kind of medication like zinc pyrithione or selenium sulphide for people with seborrheic dermatitis. Pay attention to the label and choose the one according to your hair type and the frequency of your washing.
Conditioner hair care product for shiny hair
Another often-used product for hair is conditioner. Conditioning agents make your hair more manageable, improve the hair look and increase lubricity. After using shampoo and removing the sebum from the scalp and hair, it is time to use a conditioner. You clearly see the difference between using or not using a conditioner. When you use a conditioner, it minimizes static electricity, increases hair shine, volume and improves hair manageability and styling.
How often should we use shampoo and conditioner
The frequency of hair washing is usually your own preference. It may depend on your hair length and type. If you have oily hair with seborrhea you may need more frequent washing to get rid of excess oil. Frequent and regular cleaning with a well-formulated shampoo will not damage your hair. Of course not too much, you don’t want your scalp to get too dry and itchy.
Adverse reactions to shampoos and conditioners are rare. It is known that a pH higher than 5.5 may cause irritation of the scalp. If you use the wrong kind of shampoo for a while, it may damage your hair especially if no conditioners are applied for protection and restoration.
When you are changing your shampoo and you are trying for the first time, pay attention to possible allergic reaction or irritant contact dermatitis.
If patch testing to shampoo is required, the shampoos should be diluted to form a 1-2% aqueous solution for closed patch testing and a 5% aqueous solution for open patch testing.
Easiest way to have shiny hair
Lubricating your hair with oil
Oils play an important role in protecting hair from damage. Applying oil on a regular basis can enhance lubrication of the shaft and help prevent hair breakage. Among the studied oils, coconut oil was the only oil found to reduce the protein loss for both undamaged and damaged hair when used as a prewash and post-wash grooming product. Sunflower and mineral oils do not help in reducing the protein loss from hair.
The mineral oil and the sunflower oil may have a film effect and adsorb to the surface of the cuticle enhancing shine and diminishing friction and for these, avoid hair damage.
Mineral oil or sunflower may leave an oily and heavy look to the hair.
Mineral oil main effects are its higher spreading capability on the hair surface which improves gloss, combing facility and reduces split end formation.
Marrocan argan oil has become very popular as a hair cosmetic main ingredient, referred as capable of keeping the hair moisturized. Argan oil is mostly used as a moisturizer for skin and hair because it is full of fatty acids, mainly oleic acid and linoleic acid. These oils have been shown to lubricate the hair shaft and help your hair maintain moisture.
Some people believe applying vinegar on your hair may improve the health and beauty of the hair. However, vinegar does not help in hair beauty very much. It may even dry out the hair and may cause hair fall.
Coffee is not only a very popular drink, but research also shows that coffee can stimulate hair growth while increasing shine and adding depth to dark hair.
I have seen a traditional recipe of a coffee paste that people apply on their hair for strength and shine. That actually is supported through research studies.
How to apply coffee on your hair:
- Brew a strong coffee (2 tablespoons per cup).
- Shampoo and rinse your hair as usual.
- While still in the bath, pour the coffee (now it’s cold) over your hair and massage to make sure it gets everywhere.
- Use a shower cap and gather your hair under it. Wait for 30 minutes.
- Now rinse your hair thoroughly.
Be careful, coffee will darken your hair color, the longer on your hair the darker the color.
Henna increases the shine and the strength of the hair. It gives a shade of red color to your hair. I have a full article about henna.
How to apply the mixture of coffee and henna
- Brew a strong coffee
- Make a paste by adding 1-2 tablespoon of henna to your coffee. Start by adding 1 tablespoon of henna per cup of coffee. Add henna gradually to reach the desired consistency. Wait a bit, it gets thicker after a few minutes.
- Apply the paste on your hair and leave it for 30 to 60 minutes. It darkens your hair. The longer you wait, the darker it gets.
- Rinse your hair thoroughly.
Pay attention to your diet, a balanced diet always rewards you with a good look and general good health. Be gentle with your hair when washing, conditioning, styling and combing. Some routine practices may damage your hair deeply such as force combing and heat styling. Applying some natural treatments have given proven results on the shine and growth of the hair such as coffee and henna.
Please leave your comments and question!
So much love, Fatemeh