Growing Long Hair On A Vegan Diet

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For anyone that has been reading this blog for a while, you’ll have noticed that I’ve 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 past waist length. That is a lot of hair growth in just two years!

hair growth since going vegan

It’s easy to grow long hair on a vegan diet when you give your body what it needs. Supplements can be very helpful, as a vegan diet can be short in some nutrients which will cause slow hair growth if not addressed.

If you’re new to veganism, I’d recommend checking out my guide to starting a vegan diet for beginnersI go into more detail about the nutrients you need to watch out for and what you should supplement.

I also have a post on a healthy vegan breakfast to help improve skin and hair growth.

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 decrease testosterone, but more importantly, it lowers levels of DHT, which is the hormone that causes androgenetic alopecia

They are weak inhibitors compared to medications, but they can help slow down hair loss if it’s caused by high androgen levels. Women with PCOS may benefit from taking these supplements according to some research.

Hair Growth Since Going On A Vegan Diet

Since going vegan, I had expected my hair growth to slow down a lot, but this doesn’t seem to be the case. Even when I became vegetarian back in 2007, my hair was pretty good and wasn’t affected in a negative way by the diet.

I always pay close attention to getting all the vitamins and minerals I need in my diet, and then I’ll supplement where needed. So, perhaps this is why I’ve done well compared to others who say they have experienced hair loss.

In fact, my hair is probably thicker and healthier than before. It would also probably be in a lot better condition if I trimmed it a bit more often, but I still get a lot of nice comments about how healthy it looks.

I’ve heard people often say that vegans tend to have thin hair, but this might be because of various reasons. Initially, going on the diet might cause some problems because of a sudden change in your diet, weight, hormone levels etc. Once you’ve been on the diet for a while, the new hair that grows should be healthier than before.

There are also many other factors which are unrelated to a vegan diet that can cause thinning hair. These include things such as stress, illness, childbirth, and autoimmune diseases.

Should Vegans Take Supplements To Grow Long Hair?

Maintaining a good balance of minerals like copper and zinc is very important, especially for someone on a plant-based diet and for someone who eats a lot of fruits and vegetables.

Zinc is very important for hair growth! It might be one reason why some people experience poor hair quality and growth.

Vegans can easily become deficient in zinc. The reason is that copper interferes with zinc absorption, and a healthy diet which is primarily focused on fruits and vegetables will contain a lot of copper and only a small amount of zinc.

Also, getting an adequate amount of essential fats such as omega 3 is also very important in maintaining healthy hair. If you want to increase your omega 3 intake, check out some of the best alternative omega 3 sources here.

blonde hair

Making sure that you’re getting an adequate amount of Vitamin B12 is also crucial. You cannot get this vitamin on a vegan diet and so it should always be supplemented.

It’s important to remember that the more restrictive your diet becomes, the more attention you have to make sure you’re meeting all the recommended daily intake of vitamins and minerals.

Biotin is also a very popular vitamin known to improve hair growth. The main sources of biotin are usually from animal products, so it’s not uncommon for vegans to have a low intake of this vitamin.

Many people who take biotin supplements have reported that they have better and stronger hair growth (and stronger nails too!). However, you should be careful when taking high doses of biotin (5000 mcg or more) because it can cause acne breakouts.

If you take high dose biotin supplements, you definitely should also take zinc, as it can help prevent acne.

Here are a few basic tips on looking after your hair to keep it looking healthy!

  • 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. Also, frequent washing can cause your hair to break and become brittle.
  • Don’t always tie your hair back –  Try to wear hairstyles that won’t pull on your hair too much, as this is can be a cause of hair thinning in some people.
  • 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 for your hair. Wait until your hair has dried a bit first before you brush it. Or you can buy a ‘wet brush’ that is very soft and won’t damage the hair.
  • Start from the bottom –  Hold the hair above the point where you’re brushing and start brushing at the tips of the hair and work your way up to the roots. Take your time and don’t be too aggressive.
  • Try to let your hair dry naturally without heat – If you have to use a hairdryer, use a low heat setting. And if you use any sort of heat styling, use heat protection sprays.
  • Take a multivitamin  I already mentioned this, but it’s very important that you get all the essential nutrients in your diet. Try taking supplements to see if they make a difference. Here are some of the best vegan supplements for hair growth (This link goes to my hair website).
  • 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. If you’ve ever noticed that your shampoo doesn’t seem to work as well, this is one of the main reasons why (product build up).
  • Don’t bleach your hair – It goes without saying, this is one of the worst things you can do to your hair.
  • Use sulfate-free shampoos 
  • Use a decent quality hairbrush 

Hair Supplements

#1. Hair Anew – Supplement for hair, skin, and nails

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 your hair growth and make it look more healthy and strong.

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 fall and other health problems. If you’re eating a lot of plant-based foods, high intakes of copper in the diet may cause secondary zinc deficiency. I really love that they’ve 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 people.

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 – Improves 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.

See more information and reviews here.


#2. 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.

See more information and reviews here.


#3. 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 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.

See more information and reviews here.


Vegan foods for hair growth

Below is a list of vegan foods that will help your hair growth and make it look shiny and healthy. 🙂

I recommend that you try to get most of your nutrients from diet before thinking about supplementing.

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  

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 

Oatmeal is one of the best ways to start the day. Around 100 grams of oatmeal will get you 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 into your meal.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potatoes are one of the richest sources of beta-carotene. Some beta-carotene will get converted to vitamin A by the body. Vitamin A deficiency can cause poor skin (scalp and face) and poor hair quality. Vitamin A is also essential for cell growth and differentiation.

Avocado

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

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 androgenetic alopecia.

Green Tea is thought to inhibit 5 alpha-reductase (type 1), so it may improve hair and skin health. The beverage also contains l-theanine, which helps relax you by increasing alpha waves in the brain. Add some ginger to increase the anti-inflammatory power of the drink!

Conclusion

Many vegans love having long hair and there is no reason why you can’t maintain healthy locks while also being vegan. If you’re experiencing slow hair growth, it may be caused by nutrient deficiencies which can be fairly common on the diet.

As long as you’re consuming a wide range of healthy fruits and vegetables, while making sure that you supplement some key minerals and vitamins that are short on a vegan diet, you’ll be able to grow thick and healthy hair!

Article reviewed and updated: February 2019.

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21 Comments

  • I lost more than 25 kilos since i started calorie restriction and what noticed about my hairs is a very significative reduction in hair falling. I have always had a good number of hairs on my head 😀 but before calorie restriction they tended to fall very often especially during sleep and shower. Since in full CR it’s very very hard to find even a single hair on my pillow! What I think is that hair loss during weight loss is due to the lack in vitamin and minerals related usually related to weight reduction.

    Bye bye Matt and thanks for your usefull blog!!

    • I guess you could be right. Most people that lose weight just tend to focus on restricting what they eat rather than making sure they’re getting good nutrition. I rarely see hairs fall out either most of the year… If I do, it’s mainly around October. It seems to be a seasonal thing that is fairly common.

      Thank you for visiting!

    • I wouldn’t have too much. I have about 40-50 grams when I eat it. I also have licorice tea as well. It’s best not to have too much every day because it can also increase stress hormones and blood pressure.

  • We are what we eat. If you do not consume enough vitamins on a daily basis, sooner or later your body will ask for them in its own way. Skin, hair and nails are the basic ‘indicators’ of your overall health. Therefore, in case something is wrong with any of these three, you should look for a reason inside. I was very anxious with my hairloss, which used to happen each year in autumn-winter time. I started using external remedies, but in best case they were giving just a temporary effect. Then I have consulted a trichologist. He advised me to revise my nutrition and pointed the products which are especially needed for healthy hair. Besides, he recommended the natural nutritional supplement – Hair Gain Formula by Military Grade – which was supposed to enhance healthy hair growth. I must say, that following his advices during a year, I noticed that my hair became much thicker near the roots, which means that new hair is growing. Moreover, my hairdresser told me that my hair became more shiny and healthy.

    • Absolutely! Your boy tends to put resources where it’s needed most. So if a person is deficient and not getting what they need, the ‘less important’ things will suffer. That means, skin, hair, nails…

  • Thank you for your reply Matt. Having tried licorice, taking into account its rather chewy texture, may I ask how you have it? These days, I just cut a portion of the stick and chew it until soft, and then just spit it out once I’ve had most of it.

    It seems a bit of challenge to fully eat it, not to mentions having as much as 40 g, unless softened. Do you boil it perhaps? Curious to hear how you have it.

    Take care for now, though 🙂

  • looking for a way to make your hair grow longer and look nice like indian physical hair here is an opportunity for you to make it now, no need of buying too much cosmetic for hair just contact dr.idedia to request the hair growth herb which he perpared for me too which is making my hair looking nice,strong and beautiful just with his traditional herbs, no more hair creams or cosmetic which take too much time to work here is a solution for you with the help of dr.idedia through his email contact; dr.idediatraditionalhealinghome@gmail.com thanks for listening to my advice.

  • I become vegan bexause i grew anemic so if i eat to much of something that i an alurgic to causes me throw up what could this mean i only eat veggies burgers tofu and fish but not often lectos intalurent

  • In how many days should I wash my hair…….
    I had a long and thick hair since I was of 12 years but I’m 15 years only and there is a lot of hairfall and I’m taking stress because of that can u give me some tips…..

    • I recommend twice a week if you can do that. It really varies though! Some people have such oily hair that they need to wash it every other day at least. Stress certainly don’t help. You need to learn how to react less negatively to stressful things. I found Magnesium and L-theanine quite helpful, as they regulate our mood. Fortunately, even if you’ve lost hair, once the stressor has gone, you will regain all of your hair back.

      Excuse the late reply. I hope that your stress has gone and your hair is better.

      Thanks for the comment Athira 🙂

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  • While many animal foods are promoted as beauty foods, I always say turn to plants instead whenever possible. Vegan foods are practically bursting with nutrients to make your hair, skin, and nails look fantastic, not to mention your mind and body. Plus, eating these vegan foods that make your hair long and gorgeous.

  • I need to learn the vegan foods to cook and to gain good nutrition and protein please can you help as I have stopped eating chicken red meat eggs vows milk yogurt thing is I don’t know what nutrition meal is good please help

    • Various types of beans and peas are good sources of protein. If you combine it with wholegrain bread, you’ll get a complete protein source. This is usually adequate to provide enough of the essential amino acids for growing your hair. Sorry about the delay in responding! I’m sure you’ve figured it out by now 😉

  • Hi. I have naturally thick and layered curly/wavy hair, and it is my first time going vegan. what tips would you recommend?

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