Rapunzel doesn’t have to be the only fair maiden with long, shiny locks. The secret to the luminous, ponytail-swinging hair of fairytale lore isn’t just from the shower; it can be found in the kitchen, and even eaten on a plate. Bad hair days are no more, thanks to a couple easy (and tasty) additions to your grocery list. They say beauty comes from the inside out—we say prove it with luscious locks!
Feast on Fruit
On the Inside: Fruit is packed full of the special vitamins that our hair needs for a thick mane. Fruits that boast big-time servings of biotin, vitamin E, beta-carotene, and zinc (all scalp- and hair-strengthening vitamins) include apricots, bananas, berries, avocados, and papaya.
On the Outside: As delicious and nutritious as these fruits are to feast upon, some also serve as excellent ingredients in creating the ultimate hair mask. Instead of tossing a browning banana into the compost, mash it into a paste and massage the purée into your scalp. As a helpful aid in allowing your hair to absorb all of the banana’s vitamins, wrap your banana-laden hair into a hot steaming towel, sit back, and relax. Leave the banana in for roughly 10 minutes and rinse clean in the shower with your normal hair washing regimen. Note: this trick also works with avocado, which can achieve an even glossier look.
On the Inside: Who would have thought that the chilled tall boy enjoyed last Friday night could saturate your hair with nutrients? A protein-packed brewsky can actually help improve hair strength, and in turn allow it to grow longer, faster. However, just because beer has been found to help improve locks doesn’t mean that it’s time to go crazy on the hops; finishing a case will not result in floor-length hair, but rather a very sick individual on the floor.
On the Outside: Beer nicely accompanies not only a tailgating party, but also the shampoo and conditioner in the shower caddy. Souse and massage a popped can onto your thirsty scalp for a few minutes before washing the yeasty smell out with some floral-scented shampoo and conditioner. To find a list of cruelty-free beers, check out VegNews’ Vegan Beer Guide.
On the Inside: To turn hair from lackluster to lovely, add healthy plant-based oil into your diet. Just like beer, drinking a gallon of extra virgin olive oil will not turn your hair into a cascade of voluminous, silky tresses, but the recommended one tablespoon dosage per day is all you need. One scalp-nourishing oil that can be drizzled on salads, vegetables, or roasted potatoes (to name a few!) is flaxseed oil, rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
On the Outside: You can also soak your hair in oils pre-shower. Some great oils that cosmetically nourish hair are argan, almond, castor, coconut, flaxseed, jojoba, olive, and sunflower, and all of them can be combined with the fruits suggested above for a double-threat hair treatment. Just as the banana and avocado masks ask for hair to be wrapped in a hot towel for extra effectiveness, so does the oil treatment. Add two tablespoons of oil to damp hair, and let sit for about 20 minutes. Once you are ready to rinse, wash the treatment away with tepid H2O to seal in the shine.
On the Inside: Some swear by a butternut squash’s numinous ability to thicken hair and keep scalp follicles healthy. While the sweet veggie denotes memories of crisp autumn weather to many, it also delivers in providing warm, nutritious, hair-strengthening vitamins in a very delicious manner. Butternut squash, along with the rest of the squash family, is chock full of vitamin A and C—some of the most essential nutrients for a healthy and hydrated scalp.
On the Outside: Have some canned pumpkin saved from last Thanksgiving? Crack it open and pour the contents straight onto your head for a fall-inspired remedy for those dull split-ends. To keep this mixture from slopping to the floor, wear a shower cap to contain any spillage. After about 10 minutes, rinse head clean as per usual. Note: coconut oil makes a great mix-in for the pumpkin pulp.
On the Inside: It’s no surprise that healthy and filling whole grains have been eaten for centuries. But you might be surprised at what quinoa can do for your hair; rich in vitamin E and zinc, whole grains allow the scalp to stay nourished and healthy. Oats are plentiful in folate and vitamins B6, which allows for breakfast to become a nourishing experience for your mane. Certain grains such as brown rice and wheat germ are a good source of the antioxidant selenium, which helps maintain healthy skin, and thus healthy hair.
On the Outside: A simple whole grain hair mask is best when made with sticky oatmeal. Simply cook up some oatmeal (no need for cinnamon or agave here!) and stir in a couple tablespoons of almond oil. Massage the mixture into your head and rinse clean after at least 10 minutes, or once the hair has been fully saturated.
There you have it. All of the best-kept secrets for a long shiny mane can be found inside nearly anyone’s kitchen. Rapunzel just kept it all to herself.