According to 2020 trend reports, hair ‘wellness’ is the next big thing we need to be aware of. Just like skin can reflect how healthy your insides are, so too can hair and is why more and more supplements and personalised haircare routines that focus specifically on hair nutrition are popping up. “Brands and indeed consumers are making the connection between digestive health, stress, hormonal balance and nutrition and health and beauty,” explains Lucie Greene, founder of trends agency, Light Years. “Beyond loss, hair health in general is something consumers will invest in correcting.”
What’s impacting your hair?
When it comes to how ‘well’ your hair is, it’s not as clear cut as one might hope. Heat styling, colouring and pulling or yanking hair are the more obvious culprits but sun, minerals from hard water and increasingly, pollution are the latest saboteurs. In fact, if you are an urban dweller, take heed because recent studies show that pollution can cause hair loss as it kills the protein cells needed for healthy hair growth.
Stress and diet will also impact how swishy and strong your hair is and is why brands are looking to supplements as your hair’s saving grace. That’s because if your gut is off kilter (whether it’s down to poor diet or stress) your body – including your hair – won’t be able to absorb the nutrients it needs to produce thicker, stronger and more resilient hair.
How to give your hair a health check
“If the outer cuticle layer becomes damaged or raised, the strand will become porous, allowing natural moisture to leach out which leaves hair dehydrated and brittle,” explains Dr Joe Cincotta, Product Development and Formulator at Color Wow. “This means there will be a visible, unhealthy appearance and the surface texture will look rough, dull, dry and get frizzy easily.”
As well as eyeballing your hair, there are two tests Cincotta recommends. The Porosity test where you take two inches of hair and drop them in a glass of warm water. After a couple of minutes, if any of the hair fibres sink, your hair is porous. If the fibres remain on your hair, the cuticle layer is sealed and in tip top condition. There’s also the elasticity test. Take a strand, soak it in warm water for ten minutes and then slowly stretch the hair. You should be able to stretch the hair 40-50% before it snaps he says. If it falls short, you’re in the danger zone.
Rectify and rehabilitate
Topical products like Ameliorate’s Scalp Care Regime Kit is a great way to boost scalp health as they not only contain ingredients that improve circulation and stimulate hair growth, they get rid of build up from pollution and product that suffocate the follicles. Moisture treatments and masks are another sure-fire way to strengthen the outside layers and ensure your locks remain hydrated, fluid and easy-on-the-eye.
However, it’s the new breed of supplements that will really make a difference to how our hair looks, feels and acts according to the pro’s. “Most hair is protein so a diet that incorporates this is essential,” explains Dr Megan Ross who specialises in gut health. “Iron, vitamin D, zinc and B vitamins are all essential to stop hair fall out and omega 3’s provide healthy fats that keep hair healthy and well hydrated.”
Of course, you can find these essential vitamins and minerals from food – a Mediterranean diet with plenty of fish, seeds and nuts is a great place to start but that’s where brands like Hairgain, Nutrafol, Better Not Younger and Superior Hair are here to help. Cocktailing a specific blend of essential nutrients to feed your hair and help the gut, hair follicles get a fighting chance of staying intact and remaining healthy.
If you feel like you pop enough pills already, brands like Fulvic Acid have even produced an Elixir that can be glugged straight down or mixed with juice or water. Containing Ioniplex, a scientifically sound complex that improves cellular energy and neutralises toxins, it also increases collagen production – another essential protein needed for fabulous hair.
Other top tips to keep your ‘do en pointe? Tread carefully with finishing products like hairspray or dry shampoo as pollution sticks to them like glue. Don’t go overboard on protein shampoos and conditioners as they can make your locks feel brittle, try moisturising products instead. And always use a thermal protectant like Color Wow’s Speed Blow Dry Spray before styling your hair.
You never know, a re-think from the inside out might just be the tweak you need to take your hair from limp to lustrous.