If you’re reading this, you obviously care about your hair. Having healthy hair comes from having a healthy scalp and they need to work together for the best results.
Weak-looking tresses is a clear indication of poor health. And, let’s face it, a flaky scalp and thinning or brittle hair just looks awful.
From vitamins for healthy hair, to massages trick for healthy scalps, we’ve covered all bases to getting stunning locks that everyone will notice. So, take a look through the incredibly easy things you can do to achieve both shiny hair and a healthy scalp at the same time.
Live by this hair-health boosting diet
We’ve all heard the saying ‘beauty comes from within’, and with hair this is absolutely true. So, your first step on the road to healthy hair and scalp is what you eat.
Scalp and hair are made from keratin protein, and a lack of this in our diets can cause hair to become weak, dull and even fall out! If you want to avoid this like the plague, make sure you include plenty of the below foods in your diet for strong, shiny hair.
- Salmon – this tasty fish is packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which are also found in your scalp cells and in natural oils that hydrate your hair. Since our bodies can’t make fatty acids on its own, this is essential to maintaining moisturised locks!
- Oranges – the go-to fruit for vitamin C, this will help your body create collagen which is vital to getting that radiant bounce in your hair.
- Beans and chickpeas – legumes like these are full of natural oils and are key sources of iron and protein, deficiencies of which lead to hair loss and thinning.
- Broccoli – an excellent source of vitamin A, broccoli promotes the production of sebum. This not only naturally conditions hair, but also improves our blood circulation for a happier, healthier scalp.
- Tomatoes – providing your body with a hearty dose of the antioxidant lycopene, eating tomatoes helps maintain shine-boosting collagen in your body and even helps to protect your hair from sun and UV damage!
- Eggs – jammed with protein and one of the world’s most versatile ingredients, eggs are full of iron, zinc, keratin, protein, selenium, and vitamin B12. This combo penetrates the hair follicles to repair and nourish your strands, reduces the risk of a dry and flaky scalp, and boosts the amount of oxygen going to your scalp to strengthen your roots.
Wear these hair masks
You might think people only wear hair masks if their hair is already in bad condition or just when they’re having a ‘pamper night’. But hair masks are as good for your hair as conditioners and have an important part to play in your crusade for healthy hair and scalp.
Unlike conditioners, which rest on the surface of your locks, hair masks penetrate the hair cuticle (the outermost part of the hair shaft). A decent hair mask gives your hair an eye-catching, well-nourished sheen and makes it that touch more manageable.
As you know, hair is big business and there are loads of hair masks available. If you suffer from dry or brittle hair, we suggest looking for a mask that promotes intense moisturising. Anything with panthenol and jojoba oil is good for this type of problem. If it’s flat or fine hair you think you have, go for a product that’s packed with proteins, such as wheat proteins and keravis. For the ultimate in shiny hair, we love anything containing argan oil, which is a favourite of Kim Kardashian, who, if nothing else, has stunning hair.
For the best hair mask results for healthy hair:
- Firstly, shampoo as normal to open up the cuticles on your hair.
- Then, towel-dry your hair before spreading the hair mask evenly from roots to ends.
- After, comb through with your fingers or a wide-tooth comb.
- Now, leave on for about 20-30 minutes and cover your head with a towel.
- And finally, to remove, rinse with cool water and either re-shampoo or condition.
Enjoy this scalp massage
A huge mood booster and fantastic alleviator of stress, there are so many things to love about a scalp massage. But on top of these pros, it’s also a great way to improve your scalp’s general health. A good scalp massage, provided by a professional or anyone who likes you enough, helps get rid of dead skins cells and reduces the risk of dandruff and psoriasis.
The kneading technique also boosts the oxygen supply to your scalp, which helps in lymphatic draining and makes your skin more supple, allowing the scalp cells to function at their best.
The best scalp massage should go something like this:
- Start at the front of the scalp and work backwards.
- Be gentle yet firm.
- Use consistent pressure and a circular motion, placing your hands in an L-shape.
- Utilise all your fingers, but don’t get them tangled in the hair, as this can cause breakage.
- Do it twice a week for 5 to 10 minutes — if possible.
Take these life-changing vitamins
Our hair is attached by between 100,000 and 350,000 follicles on our scalps. Every 1000 days or so, these follicles shed the hair they’ve been growing and start producing a new strand in its place. As you can imagine, it’s crucial that we take the right vitamins and minerals to help support this key process of our hair’s life and make sure that each new lock is just as shiny and healthy as the last.
Nutritional deficiencies are scientifically linked to hair loss. Here are our best minerals and vitamins for healthy hair:
Protein – hair is 97% protein and animal studies have shown that not eating enough protein leads to hair loss and a decrease in the re-growth process above.
Vitamin C – a powerful antioxidant that helps to create collagen, which is essential to basic hair structure. Vitamin C helps you absorb iron from your food, which promotes hair growth.
Vitamin A – also known as retinol, vitamin A produces oils in your scalp to stop hair drying and breaking.
Vitamin E – this is a top oxygenator, which means your scalp receives a better level of oxygen via the blood and so is better equipped to produce new hair.
Omega-3 fatty acids – significantly improve hair hydration and fends off dry, brittle, unmanageable locks.
Iron – similar to vitamin E, iron helps red blood cells carry oxygen to your scalp and hair follicles. Not getting enough iron disrupts the hair-creating process we talked about earlier and often leads to shedding (a.k.a. hair loss).
Biotin – this is a B vitamin complex and an essential vitamin for healthy hair. You might see it on the shelves as vitamin H, but basically; biotin increases the elasticity in your hair and reduces dryness, which means less breakages. Even better, biotin is a strong promoter of keratin (what hair is made from), which is fundamental to healthy, shiny hair. Some people even reckon biotin slows down greying, but the jury’s out on that one…
Hair and scalp have a pH of around 4.5, so slightly acidic. You might be wondering what this has to do with healthy hair, but give us a second. Often, the greatest interaction we have with our hair and scalp is when we’re washing them, so what we’re washing them with is going to have a massive impact on their wellbeing. Maintaining the aforementioned pH is crucial to keeping hair healthy and our scalp functioning as normal.
A good shampoo should, of course, clean dirt, oil and dead skin cells from the scalp, but it should also maintain the normal pH level. Messing with the acidic balance of your hair can seriously irritate your scalp, causing redness, itching and the infamous dandruff. So, keep your pH in check to help keep the good ingredients in shampoos locked in your hair.
If you’re a beauty DIY girl, our favourite natural hair products are aloe vera, lemon juice and apple cider vinegar, which should all help maintain the ideal pH level.
Don’t overwash your hair
There are usually two camps when it comes to washing our hair: the addicts who thrive on doing it every day and the “it’ll last another day”-ers who find it nothing but a chore.
To get shiny hair and a healthy scalp, stop washing your hair every day! Your locks have natural oils that condition the follicles and get stripped away by shampoo when you overwash. Plus, this act panics your hair into producing even more oils to compensate for the self-inflicted drought. So, you’ll find that your hair gets greasier even quicker than before!
But wait, we’re not saying change it to a weekly, Sunday-night wash. Waiting five days or longer to wash your hair causes excessive buildup of dead skin and oils which might inflame your scalp and slow your hair growth process.
We suggest washing your hair every three days to strike a balance for healthy hair and scalp. However, if you use a lot of product (another unhealthy vice) and demand a daily wash, then make sure you use a shampoo that is gentle and free of sulfates, like sodium chloride and polyethylene glycol (just check the back of the bottle). This will lessen the risk of getting a dry scalp.
Tweak your showering method
Achieving healthy, shiny hair has a lot to do with your washing routine. Everyone’s got their own way of doing things, but here are a few of our tips to make sure you’re not making any rookie errors and harming your scalp and hair.
- Use a 20p-sized blob of shampoo/conditioner for short to mid-length hair and a 50p-sized one for longer tresses.
- Aim for the scalp when shampooing and don’t scrub at the ends of your hair.
- Use warm, not hot, water to prevent your hair from drying out and creating tangles that cause breakages.
- Quickly towel-dry your hair before applying conditioner or apply the conditioner before your shampoo. Either of these methods will help the conditioner penetrate the hair shaft and better nourish your hair.
When it comes to conditioner, many people say don’t put it on your roots, as this will cause your hair to get greasier more quickly. However, good conditioners contain essential oils and moisturising agents that’s as good for your scalp as using special creams on your face. So striking a balance here is a safe bet for a healthy scalp and non-greasy hair.
Maintain good brushing etiquette
Another key interaction you have with your hair that can impact its wellbeing is when you get around to brushing it. With the rise in quality of hair extensions and hair pieces, most of us are brushing our hair less and less, but regular brushing is actually an easy, cheap way to achieving a healthy scalp and hair.
Brushing your hair before washing it removes dead skin cells that hinder hair growth. Plus, you stimulate your scalp which aids circulation and encourages the moisture in your roots to move down your hair and nourish the tips without any intervention from hair masks or conditioners.
For the best results, get a natural bristle brush (we like boar or vegetable types), as plastic varieties don’t redistribute the oil through your hair as well.
Clarify and oil your hair
If you’re really serious about getting strong, shiny, healthy hair; then take it up a gear with clarifying shampoos and special oils.
For optimum hair growth, use rosemary essential oil. Or, if you’re worried about dandruff, rub on some antiseptic lavender or tea tree oil. All you need is a few drops of any to massage onto your scalp before bed. Then, wash it out in the morning. Not only will your pillow smell like a treat, but this will allow the oil plenty of time to do its work.
If you can’t be without your styling products, then make sure you’re minimising their negative impact on your hair and scalp by using clarifying shampoo. Things like hair spray and hair gel can create a coating on your scalp that can irritate the skin, slow your hair’s growth and even cause hair loss! To reduce this risk, use a clarifying shampoo once a month. Make sure it contains citric acid to effectively get rid of any residue and let it sit on your scalp for about three minutes before rinsing it off. Then, you can use your regular shampoo and conditioner as normal. We’d advise you not to use this just after you’ve dyed your hair, as clarifying shampoo is also a top colour stripper!
Be careful with the hairdryer
It might be last in our guide, but it’s equally as important and seriously harmful to your quest for healthy hair and scalp.
We’d all love to be able to let our hair dry naturally, but life just isn’t that good to us sometimes. If you regularly blow dry your hair, you could be causing unnecessary scalp dryness and hair breakage. So, check our dos and don’ts to how you should go about this to make sure you’re being kind to your tresses and skin.
Don’t blow dry to often; try to give yourself plenty of time to wash your hair before you have to leave the house so that you don’t panic-dry.
Use protective cream; there are loads of good products out there that can help guard your hair from the full hot-air impact.
Don’t blow dry straight after showering; try and let your hair dry naturally for 15 minutes.
Use a low heat setting; the hotter the air, the more harmful it is.
Angle your dryer and put some distance between you both; your hairdryer should never be closer than three inches to your hair, as this can contribute to hair thinning. Ensure that it’s pointed downwards, too.
Keep moving; be fluid with your hairdryer and don’t direct the hot air on the same section of your head for too long.
Check out our hairbrushes and beauty products before you go to help you on your healthy hair and scalp mission!