Ladies, we finally survived the winter months, but that doesn't necessarily mean that our beauty routine is spring ready. To say the least, the winter does a number on our hair. We can all relate to waking up at the crack of dawn for work and battling winter's harsh winds that blew our tresses in all different directions. This caused our hair to dry out and become brittle. And if you're anything like me, you want to repair your locks so you can focus on growing your hair out for all those gorgeous braids and beachy waves for the upcoming warmer seasons.
You may be reading this article thinking that you have already tried everything when it comes to hair care. You've bought the most expensive hot oil treatments and shampoo and condition regularly. But if there is one thing that I have learned as a fashion and beauty editor, it's that beauty really comes from the inside out. When you fuel your body with the right foods (and even put some of these foods on your hair topically), that is when you start seeing lasting results.
If you have no idea where to begin with natural hair care, don't worry! Here are 5 natural, vegan, and paraben-free tips that will leave you with a healthy and strong mane you can sport all year round!
1. You are what you eat
When it comes to having long and healthy tresses, you are what you eat. In order to have thick hair, it is essential to eat foods that are high in healthy fats. Foods such as avocados, pumpkin seeds, coconut oil, and walnuts are essential to keeping your hair healthy. In addition, consuming vitamin A and vitamin C can help the collagen production in your hair. Lastly, eating foods that are high in protein are essential for keeping your hair strong and preventing breakage and split ends.
Even if you are a vegan or a vegetarian, you can consume great sources of protein from beans, nuts, quinoa, and even protein powder! If you find yourself struggling to be able to consume these foods, consider taking a supplement called biotin. It's a form of vitamin B that is used to maintain the health of your hair, skin, and nails.
2. Use natural shampoos and conditioners
When you use the traditional drugstore shampoos and conditioners, the chemicals that you are rubbing into your hair can seep into your bloodstream. A chemical that is typically in shampoos and conditioners called DEA or diethanolamine is actually a carcinogen. The health-centered company Livestrong states:
“By reacting with nitrites found in cosmetics as anti-corrosive agents, DEA compounds can potentially form nitrosamines, which the International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies as a possible human carcinogen despite its bacteria-busting properties, formaldehyde, an occasional shampoo ingredient, is also a known carcinogen that can irritate your skin, eyes and respiratory system”.
Not only can these chemicals be potentially harmful, they can also strip down your hair color and cause unwanted side effects such as frizzing, due to the damage that has been caused to your hair.
What do I recommend? Everyday Shea shampoo and conditioner. This brand puts the same exact foods that I recommend to grow your healthy hair into an incredibly nourishing and powerful shampoo and conditioner. I personally prefer the scent of the vanilla mint lime, but they also have lavender and passion fruit scents. This natural, vegan, non-gmo, paraben-free, gluten-free shampoo and conditioner just hits all of the key checkmarks when it comes to nourishing your hair.
It is mostly compromised of shea butter, which we normally rub on our bodies to keep our skin from being dry and rough in the winter, so imagine lathering this nutrient-packed ingredient into your hair! It also contains aloe-vera, which is great for moisturizing and coconut oil, which gives your hair a luminescent shine.
3. Use a hair mask
Using hair masks, like Earth Science Olive and Avocado Deep Conditioning hair masque, can completely moisturize, nourish, and boost the overall health of your hair. This particular product even contains natural protein to keep the roots of your hair super strong. I recommend putting hair masks on while you are in the shower. Place a dime-sized amount in your hand before you put in your conditioner and let the mask sit on your hair for five minutes and then rinse it out. Once it is rinsed, brush out your hair with a wet brush while you are still in the shower to avoid brushing through and breaking any tangled hair when it dries.
4. Avoid adding heat to your hair
With the right products, you truly do not need to take an iron to your hair on a daily basis. Flattening irons can heat up to 400 degrees and the contact of this extreme temperature to your hair is severely drying. That said, you should try using heat on your hair sparingly. Instead of putting heat to your hair, I recommend using natural beauty balms. For example, Mineral Fusion’s beauty balms, which serves as a hair-mousse or hair-gel for the following purposes: hair repair, shine, curl care, and to increase your volume. I have super crazy, curly hair so I prefer to use the curl care balm. This product is sold at Whole Foods and is completely natural and features nutrient packed ingredients such as aloe, sunflower seeds, and natural protein. Best of all, each beauty balm is just $13. The products work to style, repair, and shape your hair based on your hair’s natural setting. Truly a natural-beauty steal!
5. Use natural hair protectants
If you prefer to style your hair with heat, a natural hair protectant is essential to shield your hair from the harsh temperatures that it is exposed to. My favorite natural and vegan protectant is Giovanni’s 2 Chic Avocado and Olive Oil. All you have to do is spray your hair before you style and the superfood-infused spray will help your hair stand up to the heat, while moisturizing and nourishing it at the same time.
Giovanni 2chic Avocado and Olive Oil Ultra-Moist Leave in Conditioning and Styling Elixir, $7, Amazon
As much as we view our hair, skin, and nails as a vain form of beauty, the natural health of these parts of our body is truly a reflection of what is occurring inside our bodies. Everything from the foods that we eat to the natural rhythm of our hormones plays a role in each and every part of our body and our well-being. These natural tips will never leave you standing in the middle of the isle at your local drugstore wondering what the ingredients will do once they reach the inside of your body.
Using natural products is all about recognizing the real ingredients that your body needs to flourish and feeding them to your body on both the inside and the out.
Image: Author/ Instagram; Getty (4 Images)