Inside Out

I have said it before and I will say it again - This year I want to go back to basics and try to live in a more wholesome and celebratory way. I feel tired of reading about faddy diets and listening to everyone claiming they have this allergy or that intolerance. Being in this business I know that good hydration and a varied, balanced diet is essential to grow healthy, luscious hair as well.

Most of us have about 120,000 hairs on our scalp and these are made up of very fast growing cells – in fact, hair cells are the second fastest growing cells in out bodies, (slower only than intestinal cells). This vigorous growth must be sustained and supported.

The only problem is that since our hair is not a vital tissue or organ it is not - and will never be - prioritised in terms of the nutrition and hydration sent its way. As a result, nutritional shortcomings and dehydration often lead to hair loss or depletion in hair health.

I personally believe that the vast proliferation of fruit and vegetable heavy diets in recent years has led many people to believe that their bodies won’t be compromised by a diet that doesn't contain sufficient proteins, carbohydrates and calories. This isn't right. Yes, vegetables and fruit are hugely important, but nutritionists remind us constantly that happy, healthy bodies (and hair cells), need protein, complex carbohydrates, iron, vitamins, minerals and good hydration to work well.

Trichologists (hair and scalp specialists), advise that to enhance hair health we should try to eat protein for breakfast and lunch, as well as a portion of complex carbohydrates such as potato, sourdough bread, oats, brown rice, pasta or whatever.

Water is equally essential to the health and vitality of all our bodily cells, delivering essential nutrients and removing waste. Put simply, a dehydrated body can’t function properly. Those who don't drink enough water on a long-term basis will compromise the health of their hair follicles and cells, which won’t be able to grow sufficient hair to replace that which is shed naturally.

Hair loss caused by dehydration is easily fixed by making a conscious effort to drink more water. Note that the best water for hair health is natural spring or mineral, and that in a cooler climate like ours, doctors advise consuming at least 1.2 litres of water a day. Prepare to drink up!

The long and short of it

Long hair seems to have eternal appeal – Perhaps it’s because our childhood fairy tales were full of longhaired princesses, or perhaps it something more evolutionary. Either way, the trend for long, luscious hair is going nowhere. But if you wonder why some people can grow their hair to their waist, while yours struggles to pass your shoulders, the answer lies partly in your DNA - The speed our hair grows is genetically determined.

For most people this is a quarter to half an inch a month. And though there’s not much you can do to speed this up, you can take steps to ensure your strands are growing at their optimal rate and not snapping or falling out before they should. Here are my tips for being a modern Rapunzel!

TRY SKINCARE FOR HAIR Our hair grows from our scalp, so looking after it is a must if you want yours to be long and strong! Skincare for hair is a big trend right now. I love Hair Rituel by Sisley Revitalizing Fortifying Serum for the Scalp, £135, Kerastase Initialiste Advanced Scalp and Hair Concentrate, £44.70, and Redken Recovery Sheet Mask Cap, £12.
EAT WELL A healthy diet is as important for your hair as it is your skin. Eating protein and complex carbohydrates (like brown rice, chickpeas and sweet potato), maintains a good hair growth cycle. Consume these at breakfast and lunch when our energy expenditure is greatest.
CONSIDER SUPPLEMENTATION Ensuring your body has healthy levels of certain minerals encourages hair growth and helps prevent breakage. Biotin, part of the Vitamin B family, plays an important role in hair health and has transformed my hair. Fulvic acid is also proven to provide significant improvement in hair thickness and condition, while iron deficiencies affect 15% of the world’s population and can suppress hair growth too.
SHOWER RIGHT It horrifies me how many women skip conditioner – The worst thing you can do when growing your hair. Conditioner helps replace the lipids and proteins inside the hair shaft, as well as sealing the cuticle to prevent moisture loss, snags and heat damage. In reality it’s shampooing that you should skip when possible. Here's why: Shampoo washes away not just dirt and product build-up, but also the natural oils that keep our strands soft and healthy. Reduce the days you shampoo, and do a cold rinse after you do - This smooths and protects the hair cuticle as above.
TRY TREATMENTS Hair can't get long if it keeps snapping off, so invest in products that strengthen it. To minimise breakage I recommend a weekly pre-shampoo treatment like Oribe Gold Lust Pre Shampoo Intensive Treatment, £62 to plump the hair shaft with moisture, improving elasticity and strength. Or try our Kerastase Extentioniste in-salon treatment, £45. It helps reduce the appearance of split ends and minimises breakage to promote sublime lengths.
BE SCISSOR HAPPY Having an invisible trim whereby your hair tips are skimmed without removing length doesn't make your hair grow faster, but does prevent the split ends that cause breakage. Our in-salon hot scissor cuts are great too. Heated scissor blades round off and seal the hair tip to lock in moisture and minimise the damage caused by pollution, sunlight and heat styling.
BRUSH RIGHT Never brush your hair from the roots as this causes friction and damages the hair shaft. Instead start at the ends and work your way up.
QUIT PONY CLUB If you have bleached, dry, or fine hair wear it down when your can. Ponytails break off hair where the elastic holds the tail in place. Instead twist your hair into a bun and clip it with a claw clip or pin. Slip Silk Skinnies Hair Ties, £39 and Popbands, £8 are gentler on hair than traditional ties too.



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