Food and Your Clients’ Healthy Hair Journey

As hair professionals, we have all kinds of people sit in our chair. Some clients have full heads of hair, some may be experiencing hair loss or thinning, and others may simply be looking to restore health and balance to their hair. 

Often, we have those clients who want long, healthy, and luxurious locks but can’t seem to achieve the results. As stylists, we can suggest shampoos, conditioners, or various treatments, but clients may still see no real improvement. 

There is always the possibility that underlying factors—whether they are medical conditions or treatments or major life stressors—are contributing to hair thinning or loss. In some cases, the use of a topical treatment may not be the answer. 

More and more research suggests a strong link between the foods we eat and the health of our gut and skin and hair health. Components like protein, healthy fats, and vitamins may contribute to the strength of hair, sebum production (which helps with shine), and other factors that influence hair health and combat hair thinning and loss. 

Of course, as hair professionals, we need to be mindful of offering dietary advice out of our scope; remember to advise your clients to consult their primary care doctor first if they’re interested in changing their diet or adding new supplements in the hopes of improving their hair health. 

Following are examples of foods containing protein, healthy fats, and/or vitamins thought to contribute to healthy hair:   

  1. Cinnamon—Existing in a category of its own, cinnamon helps with vasorelaxation (the reduction of vascular tension) as the compounds within it produce nitric oxide. This contributes to improved blood circulation and anti-inflammatory results, both of which may promote healthy hair growth. 
  2. Healthy fats—There are good fats and bad fats. Saturated fats, for example, can weaken hair follicles due to increased cholesterol levels, and trans fats can increase inflammation in the body, which may affect sebum production. However, omega-3 fatty acids can help promote sebum production, which could add shine to your clients’ hair. Some foods that are high in healthy fats and omega-3 fatty acids include fish such as salmon, tuna, herring, and sardines.

    Most nuts and seeds are also rich in fatty acids and have anti-inflammatory properties to keep the scalp and follicles healthy. Walnuts, for example, can stimulate dormant hair follicles to help promote hair growth, and flax seeds can aid in blood circulation and prevent follicle inflammation. 
  3. Iron—Low iron levels have been thought to play a role in hair loss. Foods like spinach, which are typically high in folate (vitamin B9) and iron, may assist in new cell growth within hair follicles. New cell growth in hair follicles can help produce healthy, flowing locks.  
  4. Protein—Our hair is made of protein, as is our skin and nails. Ensuring our bodies have a proper amount of protein can support hair growth, as it strengthens the hair follicles; weak follicles can sometimes contribute to hair loss. In addition to the protein found in eggs, cottage cheese, and Greek yogurt, vitamin B5 and biotin can help fight hair loss and thinning as they aid in blood circulation, which is crucial for optimal blood flow to the scalp and ultimately, hair growth. Lean meats like veal, chicken, turkey, and fish all contain high amounts of protein. 
  5. Vitamin A—Found most often in leafy greens and orange-colored fruits and vegetables (through the conversion process of beta carotene), vitamin A encourages sebum production, which may improve shine and increase lubrication of hair strands. Foods such as carrots, pumpkins, cantaloupes, sweet potatoes, and mangoes contain beta carotene. 
  6. Vitamin B—Foods rich in vitamin B, like eggs, leafy greens, and milk, encourage cell rejuvenation, which helps our hair follicles stay refreshed and producing new, healthy hair. 
  7. Vitamin C—This magic antioxidant aids collagen production, which helps promote strong hair by preventing it from becoming brittle. Some foods packed with vitamin C include guavas, bell peppers, kiwis, mangoes, broccoli, and strawberries. 
  8. Zinc—A key player in providing the building blocks needed for healthy follicle development, zinc helps fortify the foundation from which hair grows and is shown to reduce the risk of hair breakage and loss. Zinc-rich foods include oysters, crab, beef, and chickpeas.  

Hair growth relies on nutritional support, just like the rest of our body parts do. When we are consulting with a client and they are looking for additional support on their hair growth journey, recommending they consult their doctor or primary care physician to discuss incorporating some of the foods and ingredients listed above may help them achieve the Rapunzel tresses they’ve been dreaming of.  

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Masterson, Danielle “More Fat Means Less Hair, Study Suggests.” NutraIngredients USA. Last modified October 4, 2021.

Milady. Milady Standard Cosmetology. 13th ed. Milady, New York.  

Raman, Ryan. “The 13 Best Foods for Hair Growth.” Healthline. Last modified February 5, 2024. 

WebMD. “Top 10 Foods for Healthy Hair.” Last modified February 25, 2023. 

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