YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT
Jessa Blades is a natural beauty expert, fancy-pants celebrity makeup artist, herbalist, and Ayurvedic practitioner.
She also has one of the best heads of luxurious, untreated, mermaid hair around, so she was an obvious choice to ask about healthy habits for mega-amazing hair from the inside out. A no-bullshit realist, she told it to us straight when we asked her how to get the hair of our wildest dreams, which we appreciate.
JESSA! HI. WHAT SHOULD WE ALL BE EATING FOR SILKY, STRONG, LONG, SHINY LUSTROUS, ABUNDANT HAIR?
Look, some people will never have thick or long hair. The question I like to ask myself and my clients is: What is healthy for you?
We’ve got to respect our bodies as they are. I could tell you to do x, y, and z to get long hair, but the truth is that if Rapunzel-length hair isn’t in the cards for you genetically, you’ll probably never achieve it.
Hair, skin, and nails are things we all want to improve. They’re also a really good indicator of overall health and what’s happening on the inside: We can use them as a mirror for health and as a sign of what is and isn’t working in our diets and lifestyles. If we can get ourselves to a place of baseline wellness—an awareness of how we look, think, and feel when we’re operating at or near 100%—we’ll have a much better idea of what true health is for each of us and how our body and hair looks when we’re experiencing it.
Bottom line, no one who’s really healthy and grounded in mind, body, and spirit has horrible skin or lackluster hair. That just doesn’t happen.
WHAT ABOUT ELIMINATING SPLIT ENDS?
See above, but I do have some tips for how to love up on your scalp.
WHAT ARE WE ALL PROBABLY NOT GETTING ENOUGH OF IN OUR DIETS?
The body loves diversity.
Some people are into #wellness and only do the lean protein, brown rice thing for dinner and put blueberries, bananas, and kale in their smoothies and that’s it. Mix it up! The body loves and responds well to all the diverse vitamins and minerals and healthy bacteria. This morning I put roasted sweet potato in my smoothie; it was delicious.
One of the most important things you can do for your overall health, and thus the strength and vitality of your hair, is to keep your blood sugar stable.
If you’re skipping meals, only having coffee for breakfast, or eating foods that cause your blood sugar to spike (the usual culprits like sugar and processed foods) you’re not creating a great environment for glowing skin or shiny hair.
WHAT SHOULD WE EAT FOR HAIR HEALTH AND, THUS, GENERAL HEALTH?
Again, focus on diversity, but these are my go-tos:
• Vitamin C – helps the body absorb iron
• High quality protein
• Sulphur – great for strengthening hair
• Essential fatty acids including much more omega-3
• Whole grains
• Bone broth – great for collagen production
WHAT SHOULD WE CUT OUT OR AVOID?
This answer is no fun, but here you go:
• Processed foods (wheat + dairy)
• Inflammatory foods
We’re living in a stressful time; most of us will want to find ways to help ourselves feel better and starting with food is the easiest and most important step. If you are already stressed out and suffering from hormone issues, anxiety or sleep disruption, look for foods that are cooling and don’t disrupt your adrenals or cortisol levels.
*A note on coffee. Coffee is a plant medicine, it’s not inherently good or bad. Before having coffee or any plant medicine (like wine!) check in with yourself and ask: Does it serve me in this moment?
WHAT DON’T WE WANT IN OUR HAIR CARE PRODUCTS?
Become an ingredient label detective. Avoid these ingredients in your hair and beauty products in general:
• Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate or Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES). Sulfates are very strong detergents that strip the natural oils from your hair.
• Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)
• Sodium Chloride
• Polyethylene Glycols (PEG)
WHAT SHOULD WE SKIP IN OUR HAIR ROUTINES?
AND, FINALLY, WHAT TREATMENTS OR RITUALS DO YOU RECOMMEND FOR HEALTHY, HAPPY HAIR?
I love a classic Ayurvedic oil scalp massage.