Luscious locks are the envy for many especially when the big day is heading your way. Many ladies start to grow their hair as soon as the flashy engagement ring is on and plans commence. Throughout history, western and eastern cultures had the idea that a woman’s hair was great glory and a symbol of power and for many this still floats around in the subconscious of many today. Short hair at a wedding (especially Asian weddings) is frowned up because how will the bride manage to wear her Dupatta (scarf) on her head? With hair padding and hair extensions being available in hundreds of natural shades, this isn’t a problem anymore.
Walk into any health and beauty store, you will see various oils from olive oil, coconut oil, argan oil, macadamia nut oil or some kind of silky and frizz free serums sitting on the shelves waiting to be put on the hair, and we clearly remember the days when we’d run away from our mothers and grandmothers to avoid the grease that takes 5 washes to remove, but are these really the right solutions for luscious hair? Nourishing the hair externally can work wonders with the right product for your hair type. What might work for your naturally straight silky hair may not for curly and frizzy hair. Being inundated with perfect hair has resulted in consequences, dry hair that breaks easily and looks fair from perfect. A combination of product build up that doesn’t remove with a standard shampoo, styling products, heated hair styling tools, stress from pulling and tying hair obviously is the opposite to luscious hair. And everytime you battle a new hair disaster, out comes yet more remedies to help heal your already damaged hair.
Having healthy hair is not just about hair treatments or using products that make your hair look healthy, it also includes scalp treatments to circulate blood cells so they stimulate the hair follicle in order for hair to grow healthy. FYI! Your hair can grow up to around 6 inches a year, so that chin length bob will be mid length in no time and if you nourish your hair and scalp from the inside and out, it may just grow quicker and longer than that. If you hair has grown and is weak and damaged it most probably down to diet, and styling tools. We eat food everyday but we often don’t eat enough to provide all the nutrients to help grow healthy hair and in the process you will be feeding your skin for a healthy glow.
And what exactly do you eat for healthy glossy hair? Here are some tips on how to get a healthy scalp and healthy hair by eating a correct balance of vitamins and minerals.
Your hair is made of protein so you need to make sure that it is included in your daily meals. If you do not have enough protein your hair will become weak, dry and brittle. Sources can be found in poultry, fish, eggs, pulses, nuts and dairy products.
Many people suffer from hair loss and this is due to a lack of iron. If your iron level is low this will not feed the hair follicle. You can find good iron from red meats, green vegetables such as broccoli, kale, leafy greens, chicken and fish. If you experience high levels of hair loss due to anemia you should see your GP.
When hair is dry and there is hair loss, we often think it is a lack of Iron. Lack of zinc also includes a flaky scalp, which is a nuisance, especially with dark hair. By eating cereals fortified with Zinc, whole grains are good sources for Zinc. Other sources include oysters and eggs.
This essential fatty acid is so important for our bodies as it lines our skin that keep it hydrated. So if you have a dry scalp or hair, you probably have low levels of Omega-3. Boost your Omega-3 intake by eating oily fish, salmon, sardines, trout and mackerel. If you are vegetarian then good sources for this essential fatty acid are avocado, pumpkin seeds and walnuts.
This B-Vitamin can increase stronger hair and a lack of this can lead to brittle hair and severe cases include hair loss. By eating Biotin rich foods such as wholegrains, liver, egg yolk, soy flour and yeast you can really nourish your hair from the root for strong and healthy hair growth.
Vitamin A in our bodies creates sebum, which is created in the hair sebaceous glands and is an oily substance. When your hair feels greasy it is usually the sebum that is nourishing your scalp to help keep it healthy. Vitamin A can be found in papaya, mango, carrots, pumpkins and sweet potato.
This vitamin is so important for not only our hair, but for your body as it is an antioxidant. Vitamin C helps iron to be absorbed by your body and the they boost the collagen to grow strong hair. Oranges are the most common source that we all know of that contains Vitamin C, but blueberries are also a very good source, along with blackcurrants, broccoli, kiwi, papaya, strawberries and sweet potato.
Eating foods with Vitamin E can provide natural sun protection, which our hair also needs protection from. Just like our skin, the sun can damage hair making it dry and brittle. Using a specific hair sun protector can also help as well as snacking on Vitamin E rich nuts ranging from hazelnuts, brazilnuts, almonds etc.
Combined with a regular head massage to stimulate blood cells you can be sure you will have strong and healthy hair with a well-conditioned scalp. Remember you won’t see results over night and can take up to 3 months for the benefits to be shown. But if you have long hair you are still carrying the old hair while the new hair is growing so it may even be a while until you see changes.
Hair Rituals around the world
In Chinese culture, it is custom to do a Hair Combing ceremony on the eve of the wedding by female family members and four blessings are given.
1st combing: Be blessed to be together until the end.
2nd combing: Be blessed with a hundred years of harmony in marriage.
3rd combing: Be blessed with a houseful of children and grandchildren.
4th combing: Be blessed with longevity.
Northern Indian families traditional use blades of grass and brush the front of the bride or grooms head with mustard oil, which is traditionally done by the elder or mother just before the Maiya/Vatna/Pitti/Haldi ceremony. Originally, the oil was applied to the all the hair and not washed until the morning of the wedding. The oil has excellent conditioning properties, however today mustard oil is avoided at all costs. Prior to the brides wedding, hair was often plaited and on the day of her wedding is when the hair would be tied into a bun and adorned with flowers and jewels.
Hindu hair rituals begin with a child’s head being shaved at 11 months. For girls, mainly in India, this is the only time their hair will be cut. The significance of this is to detach the child from past life memories and for them to finally be set free from any previous ties. From then onwards, oil is applied to the hair for healthy thick growth. As the brides wedding nears, regular hair treatments are applied with more fragrant oils such as jasmine oil.
Both men and women in Africa often treat their hair on a regular basis due to the natural dryness. For weddings, some brides opt for a traditional bridal braid which is native to some tribes throughout the continent. Adorned with beads and infused with fragrances, this is only a part of the traditional bridal rituals.
Our tip for anyone who wants healthy hair for your wedding is to start as early as possible, as we’ve mentioned, hair can grow around 6 inches per year. If you do have severe scalp conditions such as thinning, hair loss, alopecia, psoriasis, eczema, dandruff you should refer yourself to a GP or trichologist who can recommend the right treatment for your condition with a bespoke plan to treat the root of the problem.