How To Get Thicker Hair: A Comprehensive Guide
Hair thinning is a worldwide issue common in both genders. While hair loss and thinning may be a genetic factor or a problem associated with age, in most cases, hair issues arise from external factors such as pollution, poor hair care, overuse of chemical-based hair product’s and most importantly, improper nutrition.
On the bright side, you don’t have to wait till you lose most of your hair for a hair transplant and spend a ton of dough. Hair loss and thinning can be effectively addressed via several inexpensive and natural methods. When it comes to using products, all I can say is, do your research!
It takes some trial and error to find out what works best for you. The following are some tried and tested ways through which you will get results in no time!
A Healthy and Balanced Diet
I can’t stress enough on how important your diet is for well, everything. For most people, the first thing that comes to mind from the word diet is “weight loss” or “I don’t need that!” or “diet, shmiet, I’m skinny enough.”
Well, here’s the deal…
How Do You Know If Your Hair Is Healthy? Take The Hair Quiz and Find Out Now!
The word diet does not indicate weight loss, starvation or anything else that is negative or synonymous to the word “skinny”.
First of all, never ever go on a diet to get skinny. Skinny isn’t a term you should settle for – you’re much better than that. Aim for fit, lean and sexy!
A proper, nutritious and well-balanced diet will help you become healthy. You need to add in more protein, reduce trans fat, sugar and salt and have healthier alternatives for unhealthy food items – such as guacamole instead of mayonnaise! I absolutely love this list because its practical and it doesn’t make me feel empty inside.
What You Should Eat For Thicker Hair
The idea is to have more of what is good for you and less of what’s bad. I would never advise anyone to quit foods that they love no matter how bad they are but moderation is key. Learn to truly enjoy the foods you eat and value your meal times to prevent overindulgence and blind-consumption of both health and unhealthy foods.
Your hair is made if protein so it only makes sense to add more of it to your diet if you aren’t consuming enough. Lack of protein can result in dull, brittle, weak hair that often appears and feels dry and unhealthy. Hair loss may also become a consequence of a low protein diet. Add more chicken, turkey, fish, eggs and dairy to your diet for maximum protein. Vegetarians and vegans can get their proteins from nuts and seeds, legumes, soy products such as tofu and green leafy vegetables.
Anemia may be a major cause of your hair loss as well because of too little iron in your blood. Your hair follicles are not sufficiently fed with this mineral, thus affecting hair growth.
Try to get your iron intake up by having more chicken, grass-fed red meat, fish, green vegetables, dairy and lentils. If you’re still unable to have enough through your diet, try taking a supplement.
Vitamins A, B, and E
Your body needs vitamin A for sebum production. Sebum is the oily substance the glands in your scalp create to condition it. Lack of sebum may result in dry hair and itchy scalp. Try to include orange and yellow vibrant vegetables in your diet as they are rich in beta-carotene, a compound that forms vitamin A. These include carrots, squash, pumpkins and yes, sweet potatoes.
Vitamin B, especially biotin is required for healthy and thick hair.
Lack of biotin in the diet may result in hair loss and brittle hair that is prone to breakage.
Bonus: Download these 10 Aloe Vera Hair Gel Recipes for longer, stronger and healthier hair you'll fall in love with.
Make sure you include plenty of whole grains in your diet. Other sources include soy flour and liver. Don’t throw away the yolks either because they are a rich source of biotin!
Vitamin C indirectly plays a role in improving hair health by aiding in the absorption of iron. Vitamin C also plays a role in the reduction of collagen which strengthens capillaries and enhances the blood supply to hair shafts. The best sources of vitamin C include oranges, lemons, berries, blackcurrants, guava, papaya, lemons, strawberries, kiwi, grapefruit and sweet potato.
Your hair is prone to sun damage just like your skin, therefore, it requires equal protection. Vitamin E protects the hair from sun damage and keeps it healthy. Nuts and seeds are exceptional sources of vitamin E as well as zinc and selenium.
Zinc and selenium
When it comes to protecting the scalp, you need to include potent minerals such as zinc and selenium into your diet. Lack of these minerals in your diet may result in dry and flaky scalp as well as hair loss. Get ample amounts of these minerals via fortified whole grains and cereals, beef, eggs, oysters and nuts and seeds.
Your body requires omega-3s for a myriad of reasons. These are the good fats that are too amazing to be left out of any diet so say yes to fat! Omega 3s help in the production of oil in the scalp, which conditions it and makes it healthier. They also hydrate the scalp and hair making them thicker, healthier and silkier. Add plenty of oily fish in your diet such as salmon, trout and mackerel. Other sources include avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, nuts and seeds and whole grains.
Here is a video by Pop Sugar that explains the main nutrients and foods that are required in any person’s diet for better hair health and for overall wellness.
If you're looking for more awesome foods that will help you grow thicker and fuller hair then check this post out!
Try Some Natural Treatments, But Not All Of Them
Trying out a bunch of natural remedies may be tempting because they are well, natural and side effect-free but it is essential to understand what is best for your hair type as well.
Choose remedies that suit your hair type.
Do you have fine hair or moderately thick hair? Are you experiencing rapid hair loss? Is your hair thinning? Does your hair get greasy every day? Do you shampoo every day?
If you have long, fine hair I would advise you to stay away from oils. Oil massages are amazing for the hair but they also weigh your hair down even further. If you want voluminous, sexy and oh-so-fluffy hair, use oils minimally.
Applying warm oil to your scalp and hair adds nutrients and the TLC your hair needs but it also adds build up to your locks. Oils and silicones simply coat the hair and reduce its volume.
Second, use conditioner and homemade conditioning hair treatments to your roots only. If you have fine, thin hair that is prone to greasiness, avoid applying conditioner to the scalp as conditioner may weigh your hair down even further.
Get A Haircut
Longer hair means more weight and less volume. Your hair gets pulled down thanks to gravity and ends up looking limp and unhealthy. Short to medium cuts are best for those with thin or fine hair. If you don’t want stringy looking hair but want to keep your length, try modifying your diet and see if it helps in increasing the thickness of your hair.
Everybody is different but a few smart trial and errors can help you figure out what suits you best.
Modify Your Shower Habits
Another advice my dermatologist gave me a long time ago was that I should only shower thrice a week. Wash your hair twice or thrice a week to remove impurities and cleanse the scalp. Minimizing washing your hair will prevent you from stripping your hair of its natural oils. Moreover, shampooing frequently may result in split ends and breakage of hair.
Bathe in lukewarm water as hot water is too drying for the hair as well as a skin. To prevent drying, apply some conditioner on days you aren’t shampooing.
I would also recommend drying your hair using a t-shirt instead of a regular towel. Unlike with a towel, drying your hair with a t-shirt will not cause breakage or split ends. I got this tip from Michelle Phan’s website, michellephan.com.
Stop Stressing So Much
Hair fall can cause a lot of stress but stress can cause hair fall and thinning too – it’s a demonic cycle that doesn’t end! Prolonged stress may stimulate hair to fall due to the release of stress hormones and chemicals such as cortisone. In order to address hair fall, make sure you have a check on your daily lifestyle too. If you’re stressing too much or have an overscheduled, busy lifestyle consider getting involved in some stress management techniques. My favorite is yoga and exercise but there is a plethora of ways to manage stress such as listening to music, reading a book, giving yourself a spa day, aromatherapy, meditation, acupuncture or getting a dog.
Or my favorite, dancing.
Deep Conditioning Home Remedies
Eggs are packed with protein and vitamin B and are used all around the world, especially in India for thicker, stronger hair. Wet your hair a little with a spray bottle, beat two eggs and apply them all over your hair. Wait 15 minutes and rinse with lukewarm water. For best results, repeat twice a week.
This is a less common approach but trust me, it works! Soak two tablespoons of fenugreek seeds overnight or for at least 7 to 10 hours and mash them into a paste once they are soft. Apply the paste all over your scalp and hair for about one hour and shower as you regularly do.
Avocado and banana mask
Mash one small ripe banana with half an avocado and add one tablespoon of honey to the paste. Mix well and apply to the scalp. Leave the mask for one hour and shampoo and condition as usual.
Aloe vera is amazing for the skin and hair. Apply the gel all over your hair and scalp and leave it for at least half an hour. Wash your hair with your regular shampoo and conditioner.
Coconut and olive oil
Like I said before, oils aren’t the best treatments for those with soft, shiny and fine hair. However, if your hair is falling and is yet, dry and thick individually, an oil treatment can do wonders. Apply olive, coconut or almond oil to your hair and scalp for half an hour and shower with your regular shampoo and conditioner.
Use hair extensions
I know I know, you’re looking for ways to thicken your own hair but why wait? While improving your daily habits, eating better and using better products for your hair, you can also add in that extra oomph by using some good quality extensions. It’s much better than using dodgy miracle products and drugs that are expensive and not worth the side effects.
Invest in some good quality hair extensions that match your hair type and color for a fuller, lustrous look. Go for human hair extensions because they can be cared for just like your own hair. You can’t use styling products and heat treatments on synthetic hair. Moreover, not only is human hair low-maintenance, it lasts much longer and looks natural too.
Here's a detailed guide on how to choose the best hair extensions.
Best and worst hair care ingredients
While some hair products may contain ingredients that are awesome for hair, many consist of horrible chemicals that ruin its health, cause damage and thinning.
Look for products that don’t mask damage such as anti-frizz serums and products that add shine.
The following are some of the best ingredients you can find in hair products:
- Moisturizing oils - If you’re looking for a moisturizing shampoo, that is if your hair is dry and damaged, go for products containing argan, sweet almond, jojoba, hempseed, kukui or coconut oil.
- Essential oils - When a product uses essential oils for fragrance instead of artificial scents and colors, you know it’s a winner. Some common examples include peppermint, lavender, tea tree and rosemary.
- Plant extracts - Plant extracts such as those from ginger or peppermint aid in speeding hair growth, reducing dry scalp and dandruff and boosting circulation, amongst others.
- Aloe vera - nourishes the hair and scalp and adds moisture while diminishing dryness and dandruff.
Ingredients you should avoid
- Silicones - Silicones are added to shampoos to give hair that nice shiny finish. However, it is important to understand that such products only hide damage, they don’t fix it. Read the labels on the products you choose carefully and avoid those with ingredients ending with –cone. These may give you short-term benefits but they also make it difficult for the hair to trap moisture and to get thoroughly nourished.
- Paragons - Parabens are preservatives used in certain beauty and care products. Studies have shown that overuse is linked to hormone disruption and even cancer. Have a look at this article on the effects of parabens and their relationship with cancer, mainly breast cancer – it’s quite frightening when you think about it.
- Sulfates - Sulfates allow shampoos to lather but they are evil when it comes to hair care. Avoid products containing ammonium lauryl sulfate, sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate as they irritate the skin, damage cell membranes and are also linked to death in animals.
- Fragrances - Go for products that are organic because they are least likely to contain artificial fragrances. Most products add “fragrance” to the ingredient list so you never know what is used but in some cases, they may lead to allergic reactions such as dryness, flaky scalp and itchiness. Hormonal disruptions may also result.