What Your Hair Tells You About Your Health

Written by: Eleanor Hoath


Healf Journal

When we think of long & healthy hair we often only think of the aesthetic that comes with it. The bouncy blow-dry or the slicked back styling. Hair health goes beyond the aesthetic. We tend to seek the solutions to a great head of hair - in addition to boosting your confidence, when it's cold, your hair keeps you warm, and when it's hot, it helps wick sweat away from your body. Additionally, it provides some padding if you fall, and may protect your scalp from the sun.

With consideration of the power of genetics, but similarly to our skin, our hair is an outward reflection of what may, or may not, be healthy on the inside, let’s dive into what your hair health is saying about you & what you can do to nourish from within.

What is my hair telling me about my health?

Greying Hair

Are there any new "highlights" in the mirror when you wake up? It is inevitable that we will all do so. During ageing, the colour production in our follicles slows, resulting in us becoming grey, and while going grey is a natural process, it is determined by our genes.

The first glimpse of grey may mean something more if you notice it much sooner than your parents. Experiencing extreme amounts of stress is one of the most common causes of premature greying. Known as "oxidative stress," this adverse condition affects your hair colouring and halts follicle repair processes.

Thinning & Hair Loss

Skin and hair health are largely dependent on the intake of vitamins and nutrients from foods. You may be suffering from anaemia, or an iron deficiency if you notice hair is collecting on your brush or around the shower drain.

An iron deficiency can be detected by a simple blood test, and vegetarian diets that are low in iron-rich foods such as chicken and red meat are most likely to suffer from this condition. Anaemia is also common among those who have recently given birth or who are experiencing significant hormonal changes. With supplements and dietary changes, iron deficiencies can easily be corrected.

Dry and brittle hair

If your hair suddenly lacks its lusciousness, it could indicate that it needs moisture both internally and externally. There can also be underlying factors to be considered, such as:

  • Nutrient Deficiencies or Under-nourishment

  • Menkes Syndrome : a rare genetic disease resulting in copper deficiency

  • Hypoparathyroidism : a parathyroid condition causing a calcium deficiency

How can I keep my hair healthy?

Firstly it’s important to have an understanding of what our hair actually is, so we know what we’re working with and where we want to strengthen. Hair is composed of protein filaments, of which keratin is one of the most important. In addition to fats, the inner shaft of hair contains lipids. Hair strands are protected by a cuticle, a layer of dead cells that makes up the outer layer of the hair strand. With that in mind it’s important to consider the foods that would contribute to strengthening and building the hair follicle.

Foods for Hair Health


Salmon is one of the most nutritious types of fish, offering amazing health benefits, from keeping your heart healthy to improving mood and fighting inflammation. It's an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which is a key nutrient for healthy hair. Most women who took omega-3 supplements and other supplements reported a reduction in hair loss and an increase in hair diameter and density, according to one study. In order to get omega-3s, you will need to consume food or take supplements.

Oily fish such as Salmon, Mackerel, Anchovies, Sardines & Herring do wonders for hair health. This is because they're also rich in protein, selenium and vitamin D and B vitamins. These nutrients keep hair strong and healthy whilst being cofactors for building keratin in the strand of hair. Further foods such as flaxseed, chia seeds and healthy fats such as avocado also provide essential fatty acids.


A small seasonal snack that's packed with nutrients but most importantly loaded with antioxidants. As we discussed earlier, our hair responds to stress. This can be combated with the power of antioxidants that protect your body and hair by protecting cells from the damage of free radicals. It’s also key for the production of collagen.

Strawberries, in particular, are a powerful source of Vitamin C, a cofactor to the amino acid collagen. About 150% of your daily vitamin C needs can be obtained in one cup of sliced berries. The red berries may even help control blood pressure and support brain health, keeping everything in and on top of your head in great shape.


We often think of oysters as aphrodisiacs or something served in the sunshine by the sea. However, this small sea food is the optimal way to get zinc in your diet. With each serving providing 28 to 32 mg. To put this into perspective, the following food on the list if Beef which comes out at just 3.8 mg per serving.

It has been suggested that zinc is crucial for hair growth, and that a lack of zinc in the diet may cause telogen effluvium, which is a type of hair loss. In addition, they are a great source of protein, iron, and vitamin D.


Biotin, a B vitamin found in eggs, also promotes hair growth. On the flip side, a biotin deficiency can lead to hair loss. You may be at risk of a biotin deficiency if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, malnourished or have certain gastrointestinal disorders like Crohn's Disease. Eggs are rich in protein and nutrients that promote hair health, including choline, iron, and vitamins A, D, and B12. Eggs also contain lutein and zeaxanthin, two substances that are important for maintaining cellular health, especially that of the brain, eyes, and skin. The yolk contains most of the vitamin D, so don't be afraid to eat it!

Natural Remedies for Hair Health

Going beyond the plate is important when we are considering our hair health too. Which is why creating a routine with habits can be that additional healthy hair hack.

Ayurvedic Head Massage

Massaging the scalp with natural and organic hair oils and masks stimulates blood flow to the scalp and may improve hair thickness. Massaging your scalp can also help relieve stress and tension, two emotions that may cause hair loss.

This can be done as part of your daily routine or when showering - use your fingertips, not your fingernails. Move your way across your scalp in small circles, applying light to medium pressure.

We love Rosemary, Coconut, Amla and Argan Oil for this principle

Scalp Detox

Consider the stress we put our scalp and skin through every day. Hairspray, products, polluted streets and gym sweat. Detoxing your hair and cleansing your scalp is one of the best things you can do for your hair. In essence, a scalp detox is the equivalent of a deep cleanse. Impurities, dead skin cells, and dirt are removed. As a result, your hair follicles are unclogged enabling fresh new and healthy hair to grow.

Similarly, cleaning up your hair care routine will reduce the toxic load and build up that places pressure on your scalp. You can easily do this by making small and steady changes to your hair care routine by:

  • Swapping to ‘clean’ hair care products
  • Introducing a Filtered Shower Head
  • Make use of an scalp exfoliator
  • Aloe Vera Juice to use as a topical cleanser


This article is for informational purposes only, even if and regardless of whether it features the advice of physicians and medical practitioners. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. The views expressed in this article are the views of the expert and do not necessarily represent the views of healf