Now that I’ve been pregnant several times and had the wonderful thick hair that accompanies pregnancy and seen it thin again after birth, I started searching for and testing ways to naturally promote hair growth.
Of course, some of the post-pregnancy shed is entirely hormonal and somewhat inevitable, but I’ve found some tips that seem to help promote hair growth and improved follicle strength. I also wonder if these tips help baby’s hair growth in utero, as my kids have all come with a LOT of hair, especially my 4-year-old (her hair is in the picture above and she was three when taken!) Her hair has always been naturally thick, curly and easy to work with. In fact, she was born with almost two inches and I’ve now cut off over 16 inches of her still waist-length hair!
It is also important to remember that the condition of the hair and skin can be a good indication of the state of the body on the inside, so it is important address the body as a whole to improve hair and skin for the long term.
Either way, these natural tips are also good for the body in other ways, so there isn’t much to lose. Have you ever done anything to help improve hair growth? Please share your tips below!
1. Consume Enough Protein
Protein is essential for hair growth, so consuming enough protein can make sure that the body has the necessary building blocks for hair. Complete sources of protein like meats and fish are the most beneficial for hair growth and many meats also contain iron, which is another essential aspect of proper hair growth.
Foods like meats, fish, eggs, and especially bone broths (see below) are excellent for hair growth. These foods also contain necessary fats that help promote healthy hormones (see below) and healthy hair!
2. Get The Vitamins!
Some vitamins help promote hair growth- most notably: Vitamin C and Biotin. The body needs Vitamin C to produce collagen, which is necessary for healthy hair and skin. Vitamin C also helps with iron absorption, which promotes hair growth (plus it is an immune booster!). Since the body can’t manufacture Vitamin C, it is one vitamin that must be obtained from food or supplements. Foods like citrus, broccoli and spinach all contain Vitamin C.
Biotin (and other b-vitamins) can also promote faster and stronger hair growth, and it is also good for the skin. Biotin is a water soluble B-Vitamin that is also used in proper digestion of fats and sugars. Eggs, nuts, berries, fish and some vegetables all provide Biotin, though in small amounts, so sometimes a supplement can be helpful.
3. Up the Gelatin
I’ve posted before about the many benefits of Gelatin, including its support of healthy hair, skin and nails. Gelatin is one thing I make sure to consume daily in some form, either in bone broth or gelatin powder (or both). From a previous post:
“Gelatin is largely composed of the amino acids glycine and proline, which many people don’t consume in adequate amounts as they are found in the bones, fibrous tissues and organs of animals and as a population, we don’t consume these parts as much anymore. These amino acids are needed not only for proper skin, hair and nail growth, but for optimal immune function and weight regulation!
Glycine, which makes up about 1/3 of the amino acids in gelatin powder is anti-inflammatory and evidence is finding that it can help speed wound healing. Glycine in gelatin can also help improve sleep ease and quality.”
4. Balance the Hormones
“When it comes to health, hormones and gut bacteria have a much bigger effect than many people realize. In fact, these two factors can destroy health even if everything else (diet, supplements, etc) is optimized. Conversely, fixing hormones and gut bacteria can do a lot to boost health, even if not all the other factors are optimal. In fact, there are even studies about using certain hormone reactions to heal brain trauma.”
Hormones are often a major cause of hair loss or poor hair growth and unfortunately, there can be many causes of hormone imbalance. This is also the reason for hair loss after pregnancy. Of course, some steps can be taken to improve hair while working to balance hormones, and these are my top tips for balancing hormones naturally.
Stress and lack of sleep are two major contributors to hormone imbalance and here are some suggestions for optimizing those.
5. External Hair Treatments
Though the major causes of poor hair quality and growth are internal, external treatments can help improve existing hair and prevent breakage. From a previous post:
I got this tip from Pinterest and have been amazed at what an intensive conditioning and strengthening treatment it is! To make, stir 1 tablespoon of Gelatin powder in to 1/2 cup of cool water until mixed. Add 1/2 cup warm/hot water, 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and 1 teaspoon of honey to create a thick gel/liquid. Pour into hair and massage through hair and scalp. Leave on for at least 5 minutes and rinse with hot water. Shampoo as normal.
I’ve also found that many natural hair products can actually cause problems with hair! Conventional shampoos and products have problems of their own (like being linked to cancer), but natural ones are often not pH balanced correctly for hair and strip important natural oils.
I’ve turned to natural clay based shampoos and see great results. They don’t lather like traditional shampoos but get my hair clean, nourish my scalp and are pH balanced for hair.
And you can always use external treatments such as a hair mask to help strengthen and improve you hair.
How do you keep your hair healthy? Share your tips below!