Tips For Growing Long, Thick, Shiny Hair On A Vegan Diet
For anyone that has been reading this blog for a while, you’ll have noticed that I have been letting my hair grow long for quite some time now while being on a vegan diet.
In 2012 my hair was just around my neck, but now, when straightened out, it’s much longer
That is a lot of hair growth for just over two years.
It’s easy to grow long hair on a vegan diet when you give your body what it needs. Supplements like these are also very helpful for vegans, as a vegan diet can easily be short in some nutrients.
If you’re new to a vegan diet, go here to check out my guide to starting a vegan diet.
So anyway, I’ve been experimenting with two things in the last few months: licorice root extract and spearmint tea. Both of these are able to significantly decrease the level of testosterone which is converted to DHT and causes hair to fall out.
They are pretty weak inhibitors compared to medications, but they will help slow down any hair loss at least.
For more powerful DHT blockers you would need something like Finasteride.
A low-calorie diet can reduce testosterone also, and might be one of the reasons I have kept my hair and my father and grandfather did not.
Judging by my father’s pictures, he had a significant amount of hair loss by his early 30s, but I’ve managed to maintain my hair’s thickness and I don’t seem to be following the same path as he did.
He obviously led a very different lifestyle, so perhaps that is a factor. Maybe I just don’t have the genes that predispose me to hair loss at an early age?
Either way, what I’m doing is working for me and I’m able to grow my hair super long!
Hair Growth Since Going On A Vegan Diet
Since going vegan, I had expected my hair growth to slow down. I’ve been vegetarian since 2007, but that didn’t seem to affect hair growth at all. I’ve been anticipating the decrease in levels of growth hormone and IGF-1, and because of this, I thought my hair growth would at least slow down somewhat, but it doesn’t seem to be the case.
In fact, my hair is probably thicker and healthier than before! I’ve not been very good when it comes to trimming the ends, so I have even had some breakage. Apart from the last inch or so, my hair is pretty healthy. (I need to get a trim soon!)
I’ve heard people say that vegans tend to have “thin hair”, but this might be because of various reasons. One thing you must understand is that any significant weight loss will cause hair to fall out, but it does grow back.
For women, the main cause of hair loss is usually not related to DHT, so there are likely other factors like stress, illness, childbirth, autoimmune diseases. Increased levels of androgens can play a role, to a smaller degree, and usually later on in life.
My growth since going on a vegan diet has been great. If you do the right things, I’m sure you can grow long hair too.
Growing Long Hair On A Vegan Diet: Should Vegans Take Supplements To Grow Long Hair?
Maintaining a good balance of minerals like copper and zinc is very important. Zinc is important for hair growth, and this might be one reason for hair loss on a plant-based diet.
Getting an adequate amount of essential fats like omega 3 from sources like flaxseed is also important. Vegans can also be low in iron or B12 levels, so it’s worth testing those.
The more restrictive your diet becomes, the more attention you have to pay to get everything in the right amount and right balance.
Some of the best sources of biotin are from animal products, so it’s not uncommon for vegetarians or vegans to have a low intake of biotin.
Biotin is very important when it comes to growing long hair on a vegan diet. The main functions of biotin is a major co-factor in carbon dioxide metabolism. It’s important in the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats, and proper functioning of the nervous system.
Biotin supplements might help those of us who do not eat meat or other animal products maintain our hair growth or speed it up. Many people report that they get a boost in hair growth using biotin, but a few people report breakouts when taking high dose biotin. For some, this goes away as the body gets used to it, but you’ll have to experiment.
Vegan Hair Supplements
When going vegan, you can be at risk of being deficient in Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, and Zinc. I also recommend that if you’re trying to grow out your hair, you also take a supplement which contains biotin.
Below are different supplements aimed specifically at helping hair growth on a vegan diet.
Hair Anew – Supplement for hair, skin, and nails (suitable for vegans)
Hair Anew is aimed to address the deficiencies which may cause slow hair growth. It contains a combination of herbs, vitamins, and minerals, making it a great supplement to take if you’re trying to improve the rate of growth and hair health while being on a vegan diet.
The main ingredients:
Biotin – The supplement contains a large dose of biotin (5000 mcg). Biotin is one of the most well-known ingredients for improving hair growth and strength.
Zinc – This mineral can be low in vegan diets, and can lead to hair loss and other health problems. If you’re eating a lot of plant-based foods, then high intakes of copper in the diet may cause secondary zinc deficiency.
I really love that they included zinc in the supplement as it can help prevent acne. Some people are prone to getting breakouts with biotin, but this can be prevented by taking zinc for some.
Vitamin C – Important for helping build and strengthen collagen and keratin in the hair.
Silica – Promotes strength of protein fibers, collagen and helps skin, nails, and hair stay youthful looking.
Ginko – Improvs blood flow to the skin and hair follicles to deliver nutrients for well-nourished hair follicles. 🙂
This has become one of my favorite hair supplements and one that I will often recommend to other vegans.
Deva Vitamins For Growing Hair
Deva hair supplement is a budget hair vitamin, but it does contain a lot for the price.
I would recommend this supplement only as a ‘next best option’ for vegans who want a hair supplement but are on a budget. It contains many different vitamins and minerals which are known to help support and promote hair growth.
The supplement goes for a conservatively low dose of each vitamin and mineral. It only contains about 500 mcg of Biotin, which is very low if you compare it with HairAnew which has 5000 mcg!
Deva hair vitamins also contain just 200 IU of vitamin D2, which is a very tiny amount considering it’s recommended we get at least 1000 IU a day.
On the plus side, Deva Hair Vitamins contains different plant/herb extracts such as horsetail, fenugreek and others which can help boost hair growth.
Vitamin D3 and B12 Gummies for Vegans
One of the main risks of being vegan is the development of a B12 deficiency.
It is crucial that all vegans take a vitamin B12 supplement or risk serious health consequences. B12 is cheap and easily available and comes in different forms.
Several studies have now shown that the majority of vegans who do not supplement are either deficient or critically low in B12.
Two findings from recent studies looking at levels of B12 in vegans:
- 52% of vegans were deficient in vitamin B12 when measuring levels of B12 in the blood.
- In another study where they measured levels of MMA (a better measurement of B12 status), they found 92% of vegans had very low levels of B12!
Therefore, it is extremely important that all vegans get vitamin B12 somehow. Supplementing them is perfectly fine and is very safe.
Vitamin D3 is also very important for good hair growth. Low levels of 25(OH)D3 can lead to many health issues, including hair thinning.
Tips On How To Grow Long Hair
I don’t really use anything special on my hair, just normal products from the store that I mentioned in an earlier post. I make sure that I eat an extremely healthy diet and try to look after my hair the best that I can.
Much of it may come down to genetics, but there are some things which will help you achieve your terminal length more quickly. For what it’s worth, here are some basic tips for growing long hair on a vegan diet:
- Train yourself to wash less frequently. At first this might be difficult because of the oil build up, but eventually, the scalp adapts and starts producing less oil. The more you wash out the natural oils, the more the scalp will respond by secreting more oils. Also, frequent washing can cause your hair to break and become brittle.
- Don’t always tie your hair back or have hairstyles that will pull the hair too much. I tend to wear my hair loose.
- Never brush your hair when it’s wet! I see people do this all the time and it’s one of the worst things you can do. Wait until the hair has dried a bit first before you brush it.
- When brushing, start from the bottom. Hold the hair above the point where you’re brushing. Keep doing this until you make your way up to the top. Brushing from the top to the ends of the hair can pull hair out. Brush gently and take your time.
- Try to let your hair dry naturally without heat. If you have to use a hairdryer, then use a low heat setting. If you use any sort of heat styling, then use heat protection sprays. (it’s preferable to just avoid heating styling altogether or do it less often if you can).
- Take a multivitamin to make sure you’re getting all of the essential nutrients. Experiment to see if it makes any difference to your hair growth. If you notice things improve when you take a supplement, then go and look at your diet to see what is missing or out of balance.
- Use a clarifying shampoo or anti-residue shampoo. Every week or two I recommend that you use a mild anti-residue shampoo. This will take away all the product build up that is making the hair seem more dull and limp than usual. If you’ve ever noticed that after a while your shampoo doesn’t seem to work as well, then it’s worth trying something like this to get the best results.
- Don’t bleach your hair. This is one of the worst things you can do.
- Use sulfate-free shampoos for your regular use shampoo
- Use a decent quality hair brush
Vegan Foods To Grow Long Hair
It is the nutrients we get from the food that we eat which helps support the body for optimal hair growth. Below is a list of vegan foods to grow healthy thick hair.
Before taking vegan supplements to support hair growth, it’s always best to get quality nutrition from your diet first.
Growing long hair on a vegan diet is only difficult when you fail get the essential nutrients in your diet.
You can easily supplement anything that you fall short on, but you shouldn’t really on supplements entirely either.
Growing long hair when you’re vegan is sometimes harder because it’s easier to fall short on calories and essential nutrients. Many of the foods that are eaten by the average non-vegan have been fortified with nutrients.
Leafy Green Vegetables
Leafy greens like spinach and kale are packed with minerals that help support hair growth. They provide minerals like copper, potassium, magnesium, and iron. They are also loaded with vitamin A and vitamin C. It’s easy to consume lots of leafy greens every day by using them in a green smoothie!
Beans are a great source of protein for a vegan. There are many different varieties to choose from and go well with many different dishes. Beans also help you control blood sugar because of their fiber. The hair is made up of protein, and beans are a great way to get what you need.
Oatmeal is one of the best ways to start the day. 100 grams of Oatmeal contains up to 500 mg of silica. These minerals will help improve the quality and strength of your hair. Eating fruits and nuts with your oatmeal is also a great idea to pack in some extra nutrition.
Sweet Potatoes are one of the richest sources of beta-carotene. Some of this beta-carotene will get converted to vitamin A. A lack of vitamin A in the diet can cause poor skin (scalp and face) and poor hair quality. Vitamin A is essential for cell growth and differentiation.
Avocado is high in fat, but the good kind. Eating an Avocado every day or even just a few times a week will make your hair appear shinier because it contains fatty acids such as ALA which can be converted to EPA and DHA.
Green tea is very high in antioxidants like EGCG. Green tea also helps block DHT which is a hormone that can attack hair follicles and cause hair loss – especially in men.
Green Tea is thought to inhibit 5 alpha-reductase type 1, and so improve hair and skin health. Green tea also contains l-theanine which helps relax you by increasing alpha waves in the brain. Add ginger to increase the anti-inflammatory power of the drink.
My hair in 2014 – 2 years of hair growth on a Vegan diet
I hope these tips allow you to keep growing long hair on a vegan diet. Growing long hair can be fun, but it’s not easy to keep up with the maintenance sometimes. Many people just resort to cutting their hair before they ever get to their desired length because of the damage that occurs over time. Many of the tips I’ve shared he will help ensure that you can maintain healthy hair on a vegan diet (or any diet for that matter).
As you can tell from my pictures, it is possible to have quite thick hair on a vegan diet. It’s not true that you are doomed to have your hair fall out because of lack of protein or essential nutrients. Although my protein intake is quite low as a vegan, you can see that I’ve managed to maintain healthy and thick hair even after seasonal hair fall (which is normal).
Check back to see updates about growing long hair on a vegan diet.