If you’re vegan and have natural hair, you’re probably concerned about hair health and whether you’re eating right.
Choosing the right plant-based foods to get gorgeous natural hair is no easy task. Despite the proven benefits of veganism (for research, see Jama Internal Medicine), it can be challenging to know if you are getting all of your necessary vitamins.
The condition of your skin, hair, and nails is a clear indication of whether you’re healthy or not. Often, it’s the weak appearance of the hair and skin that gets vegans to become more meticulous about their diets or to consult with a professional.
By: Patrina of Natural Hair Queen
One common culprit for hair loss is an unhealthy diet.
Being vegan doesn’t mean you can eat whatever non-animal product you can find. It’s much more than that.
First, I’ll discuss some common health challenges of being vegan, and then you’ll read about how to solve them so that you can have the healthy, lustrous natural hair you want.
Ultimately, if you want gorgeous, natural hair and you’re vegan, you must be diligent about how many healthy calories you’re eating and how you’re eating it.
Hair Loss: Is it a Hair Issue or a Deficiency Problem?
Are you vegan and natural and losing hair like crazy?
Hair loss can be a devastating and traumatic problem to have, especially when you’re vegan because it will probably make you reconsider your entire lifestyle. The good news is that you don’t have to give up being vegan. You just need to identify the problem and correct it.
It can be difficult to tell whether it’s your hair or your body when it comes to hair loss.
If you’re experiencing thinning during your natural hair journey, the first step is to figure out:
- if you’re deficient in vitamins
- if you have scalp issues, like fungus which is common
- if you’re just not taking care of your hair properly
Next, examine your hair loss and determine if you are experiencing shedding or breakage. Signs of breakage include weak or split ends, and thin strands only in certain areas where you’ve worn a pony tail holder regularly. It’s perfectly normal to shed up to 100 hairs per day. If you hear your hair snap, crackle, and pop while you’re detangling your mane, you may only have a breakage issue. If so, then you probably need to get back to the basics of natural hair care.
Remember that curlier hair needs more love and patience.
Moisture and protecting your curls is crucial to avoiding breakage. The LOC method, deep conditioning, protein treatments, and using the right shampoo and other products can all help to add moisture to your hair.
Layering on products using the LOC method is ideal because it keeps your hair moisturized throughout the week and protects against friction and damage caused by the elements.
Honey is a go-to ingredient because it draws moisture from the air into your hair, but you’ll want to go with agave nectar or glycerin if you’re strict vegan. You’ll also want to look for vegan and cruelty-free labels on products when you’re at the beauty supply.
How to Have Healthy Hair If You’re Vegan
If you’ve narrowed a hair loss issue down to deficiency, your next step will be to determine why you’re deficient.
The two most likely answers are that you’re not eating enough or that you’re not absorbing enough.
Many people’s intestinal walls are lined with toxins like mucoid plaque, which make it nearly impossible to absorb nutrients from the foods they eat. So, if you truly feel like you consume enough of the right foods daily, you may just need a colon cleanse. Cleansing will help your cells get the nutrients from the food you eat.
You just need to be highly proficient at getting enough calories and nutrients. Aim to get as much of your nutrients from veggies, fruits, legumes, and other plants.
Here are the nutrients you may be lacking if you’re vegan:
- Iron. The best way to get more iron into your diet is by eating leafy greens morning, noon, and night. The easiest meals to make are kale or spinach smoothies, and romaine salads. The recommended dosage of iron, if you’re under age 50, is 18 milligrams. If you’re over 50, it’s 8 milligrams. Always take your iron with vitamin C to increase absorption. Be sure to get an iron test with your doctor before running out to get iron pills, because an overdose is not healthy.
- Vitamin B12. If you’re always tired and vegan, lacking this nutrient could be the culprit. The body requires this vitamin, and it’s only naturally found in animals. Low vitamin B12 intake can lead to anemia and nervous system damage, according to Vegan Health. There are two options you can take to get this essential vitamin into your body. You can eat a B12 fortified food product like breakfast cereal, or you can take a supplement. The less frequently you take B12, the more you need to take. If you take it daily, you can get by with just 10 micrograms. If you take it weekly, you need 2000 micrograms.
- Vitamin D3. The best way to get vitamin D3 is through a healthy dose of sunshine. Getting sun rays can be hard if you’re busy or you live in a cold, rainy area. If there’s no way you can get outdoors more, your next best bet is to take a vitamin D3 supplement. Make sure to choose a vegan supplement which does not come from animal products.
- Protein. Getting enough protein can be a big challenge if you’re vegan. Consume about half your body weight in grams of protein per day. So, if you weigh 150 pounds, try to get 75 grams of protein per day. Luckily, there is a wide variety of vegan protein available. Choose between legumes, hemp, nuts, and more. Also, don’t overlook veggies as a source of protein. Three high-protein vegetables are avocado, potatoes, and broccoli.
- Omega 3 Fatty Acids. Supplementing with omega 3 is a must for all humans. Omega 3 is excellent for hair growth because it enables your cells to do their job of renewing the body. The three most important types of omega 3 are ALA (Alpha-Linolenic Acid), DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid), and EPA (Eicosapentaenoic Acid).
ALA is found in plants like flax, chia, and hemp. DHA and EPA are found in fatty fish like salmon and herring. ALA must be converted into DHA and EPA before the body can use it. Humans do not convert it efficiently enough, according to several scientific research studies.
What does this mean for you, as a vegan? It means you need to supplement with a plant-based omega 3 pill to get the right kind of fatty acids your body can use. The best omega 3 supplement offering DHA and EPA is algae.
Make Time To See A Nutritionist
One of the best things you can do for your vegan lifestyle is to schedule a visit with a plant-based nutritionist. They will understand your needs and will be able to help you work through any challenges.
More on KimberlyElise.com: Transitioning to a Plant-Based Diet with Jennie Miremad
It’s a good idea to see a professional whether you’re struggling with hair fall, or not, but it helps to have useful tips first to determine if there might be a problem.
You can have thick and long, natural hair if you’re vegan. If you’re experiencing hair loss, don’t let it be the end of your vegan journey. Rather, let it be the second phase in your vegan lifestyle—the one where you go nuts about your health.
If you are diligent about eating the right plant-based foods, and you supplement with other needed nutrients, you’ll have the healthy, full, and gorgeous hair you’ve always wanted.
About the writer
Patrina is the founder of Naturalhairqueen.net, which is a blog to educate and inspire women with natural hair. Patrina just celebrated her 10-year natural hair anniversary, and achieved her goal of waist length hair. With the knowledge she has learned over the years she is dedicated to share her knowledge, and experience to educate women who wish to have moisturized, healthy natural long hair.