WANT LUSCIOUS HAIR?
Get It Naturally, With TCM
Who doesn’t want a head full of hair so luscious that it makes shampoo commercials envious? Glossy, bouncy hair is not only stylish, but a sign of health and general wellness. So, if you want that locks to flow beautifully, some fancy shampoo won’t do the trick.
The Key Ingredients for Luscious Hair
In the pursuit of healthy, shiny, and lush-looking hair, experts around the globe have agreed on a few key actions. Both Eastern and Western medicine are in alignment on this one: the most successful way to have luscious locks long-term is with a holistic and healthy lifestyle. These are the five key ingredients required to get the hair of your dreams.
Keratin – Scientifically, each strand of the hair we see on our heads is known as a hair shaft. Ever heard of keratin treatments? That name stems from the fact that the hair shaft is essentially made of the protein keratin. This makes keratin an important piece of the puzzle if you’re looking for strong hair that doesn’t break or frizz easily.
Hydration – The body needs water to thrive, and your hair is no exception. As mentioned above, the hair is made up of part water and relies on quality hydration to flush toxins and oils out of the system. A build-up of these bad oils can result in an over-stimulated sebaceous gland which leads to greasy hair.
Sebum – You’ll also find around 3% of the composition of hair is from lipids. Part of these come from fatty acids in what’s known as the hair bulb. The hair bulb is located beneath the skin, almost at the foundation of where your hair comes from. The other lipids are from the sebaceous gland and known as sebum. The sebaceous gland is right at the base of the skin, and the sebum is in direct contact with the hair on our heads. The amount of sebum produced determines how dry or greasy our hair is. When the sebum is perfectly balanced, it can add a glossy look to the hair.
Circulation – In TCM, it’s believed that good circulation is needed in the head to ensure that all hair follicles are stimulated frequently and getting the nutrients they need. Lack of blood circulation is said to lead to dry, damaged, or greying hair. There are several ways to improve blood circulation to the head, from yoga poses, massage, and in some cases acupuncture.
Minerals – The foundation of all strands of hair also contains about 12-15% water. Along with it are a collection of minerals like calcium, iron, zinc, silicon, copper, and chromium. These minerals have the important job of fixing any damaged hair as well as providing layers of extra strength for new hair growth. A healthy dose of vitamins and minerals is said to help keep your hair in tip-top shape.
What to Eat for Healthy Hair
At the end of the day, what you put in your body is likely more effective than any topical hair treatment you try. TCM outlines options for boosting circulation, antioxidants, retaining moisture and more. Consulting with a TCM practitioner can help you determine a customized diet to help you achieve your health and wellness goals. The healthy hair dieting basics? Lots of healthy fats, nutrient-rich foods, and lean proteins are the way to go.
Refer back to the list of healthy hair qualities and match your meals to the minerals and vitamins listed there. Dark, leafy greens like spinach and kale contain plenty of antioxidants and vitamins A and C, which help with the production of sebum. When it comes to protein, try eggs, or light meats. Salmon is a great choice because it contains omega 3’s, fatty acids, B12, and iron all packed into one dish. Bone broth, yogurt, avocado, nuts and seeds, or coconut oil are other foods said to help make your hair the best it can be.
Try He Shou Wu for Thickness
He shou wu is one of the most popular Chinese herbs for healthy hair. It’s known for being a powerful enricher of the blood and circulation as well as high in antioxidants. This checks off quite a few of the key requirements for healthy hair production. Fans of this herb claim that it helps hair grow more quickly, strong, and reduce the number of grey hairs. It’s a good choice for those suffering from hair loss or thinning, as well as people who want a stronger and more lush look.
Want to make your own he shou wu tea at home? It’s important to note that this herbal remedy can only be taken as prescribed by your TCM practitioner as it can cause liver problems when taken with the wrong dosage. Once you’ve recieved the go-ahead from your practitioner, simply boil the pieces, then simmer for about 8-10 minutes. Drink this woody and herbal tea hot or cooled. Consult with your TCM practitioner to find the right plan for you.
If circulation is a problem for you, regular massages might be just the thing you need for gorgeous hair. It’s been said that getting a gentle head massage can help stimulate the hair follicles and promote better hair growth. Many massage therapists are trained in head massages, so you should be able to add one on to your next appointment. You can also practice head massage on yourself at home. Rub gentle circles along from the base of your neck all the way to the crown of the head and along your hairline to boost circulation the natural way.
Avoid Harsh Chemical Treatments
In your quest to fill your body with nutrients to support a beautiful head of hair, you also should cut out practices that deplete those mineral stores. While we all want to rock a fun new color, it’s important to know what chemicals you’re putting on your head. Repeated use of bleach or dyes containing harsh chemicals like p-Phenylenediamine (PPD), resorcinol, and ammonia can dry out the hair, cause irritation of the skin or eyes, hormonal imbalances, and even more serious issues. Try to use more natural dye options or skip out all together when you can.
Herbs for Added Shine
Chinese angelica root, or dang gui, is used in TCM to enrich the blood, promote circulation, and boost immunity. It’s said that the additional circulation gleaned from this root can help make hair healthy and shiny. The tea made from Chinese angelica root is said to be sweet, spicy, and a little bitter, so be sure to add honey or lemon to adjust the taste to your liking.
Another hair-friendly sweet herbal tea to try is goji berry, also known as gou qi or wolfberry. A TCM practitioner will likely prescribe goji berries as part of herbal treatments when there’s a yin deficiency in the liver or kidneys. Beyond balancing energy in those important organs, goji berries are well-known for their anti-aging properties. They’ve been used to treat a variety of conditions, like improving eyesight, improving strength and immunity, and making hair and skin radiant.
Minimize Hair Heat Damage
Is your hair frayed and dry? That lackluster look might be a result of heat damage. Your hair could be hurting even if you don’t use a styling tool every day. Many hairstylists say that blow drying incorrectly or even one improper style with a curling iron can have long-lasting effects on hair. Heat damaged hair results in weak strands due to wounded keratin that lacks hydration. Limit your use of heat each week, stay hydrated, and consider a protein therapy hair treatment to get your locks back in shape.
Condition for Radiance
To back up your lack of heat, treat your hair to some conditioning to support the strength of your keratin production as well as get the soft, shiny texture you’re looking for. Conditioners, whether they’re your usual after-shampoo, deep, or leave-in variety all work towards the same goal: easy to comb and style, minimize frizz, amplify bounce and shine. These are all key ingredients to that luscious look. Hair experts say that conditioners work because they rehydrate and strengthen the cuticle, or outer coatings, of your strands. This better protects your hair from the pollutants and wear and tear of the outside world, and locks all that moisture in.