atin Hey loves!
Right now, we aren’t talking about that banana bread. Although, to be honest, I could talk about it all day & night. That’s just how good it is. If you want it, here it is: Crumbly AF Vegan Banana Bread (Bonus: Caramelized Baked Banana a.k.a. Your Banana Bread Dream Come True!
But now, let’s talk about HAIR. THE HURR.
As you guys know, my hair & I have had our fair share of ups & downs.
When I was a teen, less wise & more vain, my hair was always perfectly pin-straight & glued to my head! That meant tons of products, blow drying & straightening. Looking back, I had beautiful naturally thick & curly hair that I would KILL FOR today, but you always want what you can’t have, right? It’s safe to say, years later, my hair suffered the consequences of all the chemicals & heat. It was damaged, brittle, dull, dry, weak, thin & uneven.
Since my hair was so damaged, I thought I’d make matters worse by getting clip-in hair extensions. YES, I was that wise (FULL ON BEING SARCASTIC RN). Obviously, the extensions made my hair look better, but little did I know the harm it was doing to my scalp & my hair. Basically, the way clip in extensions work is you wear them all day & then take them off to go to bed (or, if you slack, you also sleep with them = even worse). You wake up in the morning & putting them in is the first thing you do after brushing your teeth. It’s a habit. It just becomes a part of who you are. But, the problem with theses clip in extensions it that they NEED something to clip onto or they don’t hold. Since you want your hair to look somewhat the same everyday & since the extensions are cut in such a way that they fit on certain parts of your head, you end up clipping them in the same or very similar spots everyday. Overtime, the extension begins to pull on the hair where you’re clipping it, making it weak, brittle & eventually, completely breaking it & even causing bald spots. So yes, I made matters worse.
THEN, law school rolled around. My stress levels were through the roof, I neglected myself a lot (more than ever), continued to wear the hair extensions & my hair suffered again: low & behold… bald spots. The stress clearly took a toll on my body & my hair was one of the first places that started to show. It was terrifying. I was 20-something years old & already getting bald spots. You can imagine I freaked the F out, right? That’s when I knew it was time to try to figure out SOMETHING. ANYTHING. that could help fix my hair.
Believe it or not, keratin extensions are what saved my hair. During bar school, I got Great Length air extensions, did treatments & took supplements to fix the bald spots & bring life back to my hair & help it grow.
Having the extensions made styling my hair a lot easier. It always looked good; I did it myself once or 2x/week & didn’t apply any heat to it otherwise! I just kind of always figured it out: I got over the pin straight look & had fun with braids, ponytails, buns & even letting it dry naturally!
Every time I took out the extensions to let my hair breathe, I noticed it was thicker, silkier, longer, shinier & more ALIVE! Progress was being made, but then… another one.
ANOREXIA hit me. Because I was so malnourished, my hair became weak, lifeless & brittle YET AGAIN. It was basically STRAW. Obviously, this was to be expected: I was feeding my body hardly any protein, so my hair wasn’t being nourished with the amino acids it needed to produce keratin & allow my hair to grow & be healthy.
THEN: RECOVERY. I still wear extensions but now I use Bellami hair & get them done by the fab Nolan (Check out his Instagram at @hairbynolan). I’m better nourished than ever, I take Vital Proteins collagen, krill oil, zinc & a B complex vitamin daily, I do my hair once a week & very rarely apply heat to it & I use JUST 4 go-to products with very clean & natural ingredients. Verb Products & Moroccan Oil are my go-to’s! Today, I TAKE CARE OF MYSELF & MY HAIR. My hair NO LONGER SUFFERS. It’s healthier than it’s been in years & it’s only looking up from here!
But like most things on my journey, it did NOT happen overnight. It took a lot of commitment & dedication to wanting to improve my situation & a lot of patience & faith that I could actually get my thick & healthy hair back one day.
So how did I do it?
As crazy as this might sound to some who may not care about their hair as much as I did, I really had to get over the idea of my hair always having to look perfect. Part of getting used to that was starting to do my hair only once or twice a week. Every time I did it myself, I let it air dry. Until today, I still don’t use a blowdryer at home if I’m doing my own hair (unless of course I’m in a really big hurry!). The only time I’ll use a blowdryer is if I’m getting my hair done at a salon. This is a way to reduce heat application & damage caused by heat. In between my two washes, I make a really conscious effort not to apply ANY heat to my hair at all (Instead of using the straightener, if I’m having a bad hair day or my hair is greasy, I’ll just tie my hair in a braid, bun or ponytail & let it be!).
Reduce the amount of hair products you use. I have four go-to hair products that I use & those are the ones I use every time after I wash my hair. You can read about them here: My Go-To Post Hair-Wash Haircare Routine! And yes, good quality hair products are nourishing. But, f you’re constantly applying different products to your hair, no matter how good quality they are, odds are they still contain some sort of chemical ingredient that’s making them effective at doing what they do! In the same way you are conscious & aware of what you are applying to your skin, be mindful about what you’re applying to your hair. I think people have a tendency to worry more about their skin than they do about their hair, but in the same way that you wouldn’t apply three vitamin C moisturizers to your face one after the other, you should also not overdo it with hair products.
Collagen! Collagen! Collagen! It’s been about ten months since I started taking collagen. As you guys know, collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies. Our bodies produce it naturally, but with age, production declines & we have to replenish & refuel it in order for our body to have enough of it, to stimulate hair growth, healthy skin, strong bones & elasticity in hair, skin & nails. In the same way that you use collagen for your to help fight the signs of aging in your skin & to promote firmness, elasticity & bounce, your hair ALSO needs the amino acids in collagen in order to produce keratin (keratin is a protein, BTW!).
Collagen is responsible for cell renewal & regeneration & will help strengthen your hair follicle & it also contains antioxidants! In the same way we use products on our skin that contain antioxidants in order to fight damage caused by free radicals, we need to do the same thing to fight any damage that may have been caused to our hair follicles as a result of our body’s different metabolic functions. About 10 months ago, my hair was already getting better, but then my eating disorder reached its ultimate low & my hair got weak, brittle & felt like straw YET AGAIN. Ever since I started taking collagen, I notice a huge difference in the thickness & strength of my hair. I literally used to run my fingers through my air & it would shed. And that’s not normal for a 20-something year old!
To read more about the benefits of collagen, click here: Collagen Here, Collagen There, Collagen Everywhere: The Basics & Why You Should Add It To Your Daily Routine!
Biotin. Biotin is a water-soluble B-vitamin. I no longer take it because I’m taking a B-complex vitamin! I started taking it when I first got the Great Length extensions (because it was recommended by my hairdresser). I do think it helped a bit, but I’ve recently done a lot of research about biotin & research is not conclusive that it actually helps with hair growth. What it really does is help with growth in general & with repairing hair shingles that are damaged due to overly shampooing.
Moreover, research has shown that it helps with SKIN & in turn, it has been associated with helping with hair, as well. Basically, biotin helps the body absorb the nutrients form fats, carbs & proteins more & that’s really what led people to believe that biotin is effective in helping with hair growth. Its kind of like a domino effect, the logic is if your body is absorbing nutrients from protein, it’s better able to use the protein & you need the protein & amino acids to nourish your scalp, hair follicles & promote growth. But, research is not conclusive to the point that biotin alone will help solve hair problems. I would not necessarily recommend it as the one supplement to start if your goal is to promote hair growth.
WHAT ARE YOU PUTTING INTO YOUR BODY? So much of what leads to healthy hair is about WHAT YOU EAT! You need to be eating foods that are rich in protein, healthy fats (omega 3, 6 & 9), iron, B12 & zinc (Eat foods, such as: spinach, fish, lean meat, eggs, plant-based protein). Those are the nutrients & minerals that you need to bring keratin to your scalp, to allow your scalp to produce it and to allow your hair follicles to use the protein it is provided with to help your hair grow.
Healthy fats are ALSO important because they contain essential omega fatty acids that bring nourishment to your hair! Trust me guys, I speak from experience. When I was anorexic, I was SO malnourished & I saw what that did to my hair & it really was a result of what I was eating (or rather, what I wasn’t eating). Everything else that I was doing at the time pointed in the direction of healthy hair: taking supplements, using minimal products, reducing my hair’s exposure to heat, etc. BUT, my nutrition was out of whack & my hair suffered! And now that I’m eating such nutrient-dense foods & that I understand what’s in the foods that I’m eating, I see A WORLD OF A DIFFERENCE in not only my hair growth, but the thickness, shine & life!
Zinc. Zinc helps inhibit hair follicle degeneration: as we age, our hair follicles degenerate, hair thins, starts to fall out &/or becomes grey – it’s a natural process, right? But what zinc does is it promotes hair follicle recovery & helps strengthen it. If you had to choose between zinc & biotin… ZINC! Yes, it has been shown that biotin can help with growth & can help repair hair shingles, but research is NOT conclusive. BTW, not many foods contain zinc; it’s hard to get an adequate amount or the RDV from nutrition alone. That’s why it might be a good idea to consider supplementation (not to mention all the other amazing benefits that zinc will provide).
Do not over-shampoo, a.k.a. wash your hair less often. I only wash my hair 1-2x a week. Over-shampooing your hair can actually make it greaser in the long run. If you wash your hair too often, your sebaceous glands (yes, sebum; the same sebum we talk about when talking skincare) become overactive in response to incessant washing. Once the scalp acclimates to less frequent shampooing, sebum production will regulate (& will stop being over-produced).
It’s the same logic we use when talking about skincare: If you have oily skin & you try to get rid of the oil by using products that dry out your skin, your skin will end up over-compensating for the lack of oil by producing more of it & eventually, you’ll have TOO MUCH OF IT. That’s why they say you should fight oil with oil. In the same vein, if you have oily hair, don’t fight it by washing it everyday – your hair will end up producing MORE OIL & end up greasier in the long run. If the greasy hair feeling really bothers you, there are other ways to cut the grease: rinse with water when you shower to freshen up your hair (without using shampoo) by massaging your scalp or use dry shampoo!
B12: B12 is also super important when it comes to hair growth as it provides nourishment to all the cells of the body, including hair follicles. Not consuming enough B12 can actually lead to premature hair loss or slow hair growth rate. Lastly, only once the body is getting enough B12 can hair follicles start receiving proper nutrients & be able to replicate correctly, leading to the growth of previously lost or damaged hair. If you don’t eat a lot of red meat, eggs, milk, other dairy products, salmon or other foods rich in B12, you might want to consider taking a B-complex vitamin. In doing so, you’ll get your dose of B12 & you’ll also get your biotin (Whether it helps or not!).
A B-complex is great because regardless how much meat or eggs you chow down on, vitamin B12 won’t actually be able to enhance your hair growth if your body isn’t able to use the vitamin properly (The body cannot process B12 on is own & cannot use the food you eat without B12). What I’m trying to say is that as a member of the complex B family vitamins, B12 does not operate alone when contributing to a lush head of healthy hair. A deficiency of any of the B vitamins could potentially keep the rest of the group from performing their proper functions & this might lead to weak or brittle hair shafts & a plateau in hair growth. That’s why the best way to maximize the promotion of healthy hair growth is consuming a well-balanced diet including foods rich in all eight complex B vitamins &/or supplementing for them!
Moroccan Oil Restorative Hair Mask. I’ve been using this for years. I started using it when I went to do my Great Length hair extensions for the first time of the goal is to replenish your hair with the proteins it needs & have been damaged by excessive heat styling or dyes/chemical treatments. It contains Shea butter, argan oil & proteins that replenish your hair with what it’s lacking & in turn, promotes hair growth. I GOT INSANE RESULTS with this mask (Granted, I did use it quite regularly), but it really restored the elasticity & the strength to my hair & I just couldn’t stop using it! I won’t lie, it’s expensive, but it’s so worth it. As you guys know, I swear by this brand & the fact that it contains the restrictive proteins really helps restore the keratin & amino acids to the hair to promote growth, thicken hair & nourish hair follicles.
Lastly, BE CONSISTENT! Obviously, you need to be consistent with all these tips. Like anything, it most certainly will NOT happen over night. It’s a process, but in my opinion, it’s one that is sure as hell worth the work! Don’t despair if you’re not seeing results as soon as you would like to – if you do things right, if you supplement adequately & you eat a diet rich in hair-growth promoting foods, you’re well on your way, my loves! <3