How I Got Thicker, Stronger, Healthier Hair

How I Got Thicker, Stronger, Healthier Hair

I was born with nat­u­ral­ly fine, curly hair. Hair­dressers always told me to be grate­ful I had “body” from the curls because my hair looked and felt thick­er.

Dur­ing my veg­an days, my hair was incred­i­bly thin. It was limp, bro­ken, and all around unhealthy. It took a few years, but my hair has come back thick­er and shinier and more awe­some than ever.

This is how I got health­ier hair, and this is how you can strength­en the strands you have and encour­age faster and health­ier growth.

Best Foods & Supplements for Hair

Pro­tein. Omega 3s. Zinc. B vit­a­mins (Biot­in in par­tic­u­lar). The­se are all present in a healthy diet, yet you would be sur­prised how lit­tle of the­se nutri­ents peo­ple (espe­cial­ly wom­en) con­sume dai­ly.

Wild-Caught Fish: Omega-3 fat­ty acids, of which salmon is an excel­lent source, are impor­tant to a healthy scalp. Salmon (I only choose wild Alaskan salmon) is also a great source of pro­tein. A tip for those who don’t like or have easy access to wild fish: try a high-qual­i­ty fish oil sup­ple­ment like Nordic Nat­u­rals Ulti­mate Omega, Carl­son Cod Liv­er Oil, or Green Pas­tures Cod Liv­er Oil Cap­sules. Veg­etable oils like flax or veg­etable oil blends are incom­plete, as they do not con­tain DHA and they have low lev­els of EPA – both impor­tant omega 3 fat­ty acids present in fish and krill oils. Be aware that veg­etable oil man­u­fac­tur­ers or pro­po­nents may state that ALA (present in veg­gie oils) will con­vert to EPA, but what they may not men­tion is that less than 5% of ALA gets con­vert­ed to EPA¹. I want you to be informed so you get the most nutri­tion for your dol­lar and are tak­ing the appro­pri­ate sup­ple­ment for your body’s needs (and your hair).

Eggs: A good source of pro­tein, which helps pre­vent dry, weak and brit­tle hair. I chose organ­ic, omega 3 for­ti­fied eggs from cage-free hens for the most beta carotene, biot­in, choline.

Leafy Greens: I’ve been yam­mer­ing about this since the incep­tion of Epic Beau­ty Guide in 2009. Unless you have an issue with oxalates, leafy greens are your best bud­dies. They pack an incred­i­ble array of nutri­ents (includ­ing vit­a­mins A and C), but to access them, you need to steam, sauté, or high-speed blend (I use a Vita­mix – I’ve used the same one since 2007 and I love that beast) to break the cell walls. Our bod­ies do not make cel­lu­lase, which is the enzyme that breaks down cel­lu­lose, which is what makes up a plant’s cell wall (and that cell wall holds in all those lus­cious vit­tles). My favorite greens are kale, spinach, col­lards, Swiss chard, mixed baby greens, romaine, and cab­bage. Juiced, steamed, or blast­ed into a smooth­ie – how­ev­er it hap­pens, I make sure to eat them dai­ly.

Legumes: The­se are a good source of pro­tein which helps pro­mote hair growth, as well as iron, biot­in and zinc. The only legume I can tol­er­ate is lentils, so I enjoy them in home­made soups.

Nuts & Seeds: Speci­fic vari­eties of nuts con­tain vit­a­mins and min­er­als that can help pro­mote the health of your scalp. Brazil nuts are a good source of sele­ni­um (lim­it your­self to two nuts per day, since they are very high in omega 6, which is inflam­ma­to­ry). Wal­nuts provide the omega-3 fat­ty acid alpha-linolenic acid and zinc, which helps min­i­mize hair shred­ding. Cashews, almonds and pecans are also great for the hair. Pump­kin seeds are one of my favorites because I find them real­ly tasty and they are high in zinc and sul­fur. Nuts and seeds are very dense in fat and calo­ries, and you can eas­i­ly and quick­ly over­do it and gain unwant­ed pounds and pim­ples as a result. Soak nuts and seeds for 6–8 hours in a bowl of clean water, then strain away the water and enjoy your snack.

Sweet Pota­toes: I’m a huge fan of the­se because they are a deli­cious source of car­bo­hy­drates and beta-carotene, which is impor­tant for a healthy scalp and thus makes for shiny, healthy hair. As a bonus, beta-carotene also helps reduce acne.

Zinc: I took 30 mg of zine a few times per week, which decreas­es shed­ding and aids in hair growth.

MSM: One of my favorite sup­ple­ments for all-around hair and skin health, this sul­fur com­pound has no known tox­i­c­i­ty and is incred­i­ble for hair growth and shine, smooth skin, and scar reduc­tion.

Hair Products for Hair Growth and Thickness

Nour­ish­ment needs to come from the out­side too. I used qual­i­ty hair care prod­ucts specif­i­cal­ly for­mu­lat­ed with ingre­di­ents that pen­e­trate the scalp and deliv­er nutri­ents straight to the fol­li­cle.

MillCreek Botanicals Biotene H-24 | Epic Beauty Guide

Mill­Creek Botan­i­cals Biotene H-24: This sham­poo is sul­fate-free and paraben-free, rich in biot­in, ker­at­in, pro­tein, net­tle, and oth­er nutri­ents that encour­age healthy, fast grow­ing, thick hair.

Rahua Conditioner | Epic Beauty Guide

Rahua Con­di­tion­er: I alter­nat­ed between Rahua’s high­ly mois­tur­iz­ing con­di­tion­er and a protein/strengthening con­di­tion­er. The rea­son is if you keep using pro­tein and strength­en­ing treat­ments, the hair becomes dry and can snap or break eas­ier, so it’s impor­tant to provide mois­ture while strength­en­ing. I used this one as a nor­mal con­di­tion­er, leav­ing it in for 2–3 min­utes and once a week would leave it in for 10–15 min­utes as a deep con­di­tion­er.

Aveda Damage Remedy Intensive Restructuring Treatment | Epic Beauty Guide

Aveda Dam­age Rem­e­dy Inten­sive Restruc­tur­ing Treat­ment: While not entire­ly nat­u­ral, this is one of the few strength­en­ing pro­tein treat­ments I can use that leaves my hair soft and feel­ing thick­er and denser. It has pre­vent­ed break­age on my fine strands, and I’m forever in love with this deep con­di­tion­er. I use this every 2 weeks and leave it in for 10–15 min­utes.

BioRegenerative Sciences Advanced Hair Treatment | Epic Beauty Guide

BioRe­gen­er­a­tive Sci­ences Advanced Hair Treat­ment: My tri­chol­o­gist pre­scribed this and gave me speci­fic instruc­tions on when and how to use it, so ask yours about it and their rec­om­mend­ed usage.

Phylia de M. Connect | Treatment for Fine & Thinning Hair | Epic Beauty Guide

Phylia de M. Con­nect Leave-In Treat­ment: This 100% organ­ic spray leave-in is like fer­til­iz­er for the scalp. It con­tains humic-free ful­vic acid, aloe, and tan­nic acids to stop excess shed­ding and thin­ning. It’s also sul­fate-free and paraben-free. My hair grew over 1 1/2 inch­es (near­ly 4 cm) in a mon­th when it nor­mal­ly grows may­be 3/4 or 1 inch (about 2 to 2 1/2 cm).

One Love Organics Healthy Locks Dry Shampoo Powder | Epic Beauty Guide

One Love Organ­ics Healthy Locks Dry Sham­poo Pow­der: Styling with a nat­u­ral dry sham­poo has been great for me on the sec­ond or third day between wash­ings. I love this one because it con­tains sil­i­ca, which enhances hair growth and strength, and healthy oil-absorbing clay and starch that increas­es the width of each hair strand (increas­ing thick­ness).

John Masters Organics herbal cider hair clarifier & color sealer

DIY Scalp Clar­i­fy­ing Recipe: This is super sim­ple to do and a great way to remove excess sebum and dead skin from the scalp (just like you would for your face). Fill a mason jar or tall glass 1/4 of the way with organ­ic, unfil­tered apple cider vine­gar (ACV). You may add a squeeze of fresh lemon if you are not sen­si­tive and/or do not go in the sun (lemon can make your skin/scalp sen­si­tize to the sun) or a few drops of essen­tial oil for a nice touch of scent. Fill the rest of the glass (3/4) up with water. Before or after sham­poo­ing (your pick), pour the cider vinegar/water mix slow­ly over your scalp, gen­tly mas­sag­ing in with one hand and pour­ing with the oth­er. Let that sit for full min­ute or two while you shave or wash your body, etc. Then rin­se out. You may sham­poo and con­di­tion after rins­ing. Alter­na­tive­ly, if you’d rather buy some­thing ready-made, John Mas­ters Organ­ics Herbal Cider Hair Clar­i­fier is easy to use and works great.

Skin Apotheke Organic Ayurvedic Amla Hair Oil | Epic Beauty Guide

Oth­er Treat­ments: I have heard about using coconut oil, cas­tor oil, etc. and they sim­ply don’t work for my hair type. Everyone’s hair and scalp – like the skin on your face – is unique and requires dif­fer­ent treat­ment. My scalp tends to be normal/oily and my hair is fine and curly, thus it tends to be dry and weighed down rather eas­i­ly. Using those oils by them­selves on my hair and scalp is a night­mare. The only two oil blends I like using on my hair as a hot oil treat­ment once a mon­th is Skin Apotheke Organ­ic Ayurvedic Amla Hair Oil or La Bel­la Fig­u­ra Bohemia Verde Hair Elixir.

Enlist Help

I researched and found a licensed tri­chol­o­gist – a doc­tor who spe­cial­izes in hair loss, hair growth, hair restora­tion, etc. Just like how you go to your der­ma­tol­o­gist or den­tist for skin and teeth, you go to a tri­chol­o­gist for hair. The con­sul­ta­tion was rough­ly $80 USD and it was well worth it to have my hair, scalp, and blood eval­u­at­ed so I knew exact­ly what was hap­pen­ing and the exact treat­ment to fol­low. I was told my hair and scalp were healthy, but that too many of my fol­li­cles were going dor­mant at once (usu­al­ly they go dor­mant in cycles, so the hair nev­er appears thin­ner, despite there always being a cycle of active and inac­tive fol­li­cles). He pre­scribed two top­i­cal sprays (men­tioned above) and I took the rest of the treat­ment into my own hands fol­low­ing his guide­li­nes and the knowl­edge I had about nutri­tion.

How Long Did It Take?

It only took me about 3 or 4 months to start see­ing results from my changes in nutri­tion and sup­ple­men­ta­tion. A year lat­er, when I took it a step fur­ther by being con­sis­tent with my hair care and began using top­i­cal sprays (like Phylia and BioRe­gen­er­a­tive Sci­ences), it took less than 2 months to see a HUGE dif­fer­ence. My hair was stronger and thick­en­ing up right from the root. If I pull a hair out, I can stretch it in my hands with­out it break­ing, and you can vis­i­bly see how much thick­er the strands are – it’s awe­some! When I go to my hair­styl­ist every mon­th, I nev­er ask her “how does my hair look” – her mouth just drops open every time with how much it’s grown and how much thick­er it has got­ten.

Enjoy and be con­sis­tent, and your hair will look and feel amaz­ing in no time.
~Steph  x

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