Updated: Aug 1, 2020
Sooo, We've looked into the different types of hair, moved on into the structure of hair, and finally we get to look at the nutrients found in our hair!!
Knowing what nutrients are found in our hair plays an important role in how hair is structured and how well it functions. These are the same nutrients that we want to be used in our hair products! Nothing more, nothing less (for the most part).
5 Essential Nutrients Found In Hair !
▪ Protein (Keratin) ▪
While there are several forms of keratin protein, our hair utilizes alpha-keratin. This is the building blocks of the hair strand, the strength. As with anything when you have too much protein, the hair can suffer adverse or negative effects
▪ Amino Acids ▪
Amino Acids are essential in the health and growth of hair fibers! These acids help process proteins in your hair and provide vital nutrients to various parts of the hair.
Of course each of the amino acids can be found (and needed) in different amounts depending on the hair type, your diet, gender, body part (skin vs hair), etc.
Our hair needs more of the amino acid, cysteine, than our skin does... but less glycine than the skin. Our hair also LOVES both aspartic and glutamic acid. It has also been found that males have more cysteine acid in their hair than females.
▪ Sulfur Proteins & Glycine-Tyrosine Proteins ▪
These are keratin associated proteins.
▪ Water ▪
Waters function in hair is to stabilize the protein structure of our hair!
It is one of the most crucial nutrients/elements of our hair.
Our hair is hygroscopic, meaning it's able to absorb large amounts of water... and can actually absorb 75% of it's max water within 4 minutes of being introduced.
Water also expands our hair shape increasing fiber length by 2% and fiber diameter by 15%. This expansion can cause our hair to be vulnerable to breakage if the hair strands are not properly moisturized. The amount of water that can be absorbed is related to the # of lipids and the pH of the hair (and products on the hair).
▪ Lipids ▪
These are the cholesterols, trigylcerides, etc that are found in our hair. Lipids in the hair function as lubricant to decrease friction on hair strands (from growing out of the follicle & rubbing on each other).
▪ Trace Inorganic Elements ▪
These are the various elements that can be found in hair based on your diet, medications, pollution, drugs, etc.
(Think hair drug test!)
What we introduce into our body (food or products) can affect our hair, likewise.. what we introduce into our hair (products or air) can affect our health (body).
When all of these nutrients we have discussed are introduced to the hair, you're giving your hair the best chance at optimal health!
Which allows it to do it's job efficiently!
BUTTTTT. . . each of these nutrients alone can cause damage to your hair (you know, too much of a good thing). However, everything in balance yields amazinggg results!
For water to properly absorb into the hair, it requires lipids. Without lipids, water increases the size of your hair strand, causing more friction which leads to popping and hair loss.
DON'T DROWN YOUR HAIR !
The pH of products MATTER! Our hair is acidic, in nature, so any product that has a basic pH is repelled by our hair, which can leave it dry, stringy, greasy, frizzy, etc. if they are not absorbed, and can in addition cause damage to the follicle if they are absorbed. ~ Let me know if you want more on importance of pH balanced products!
If your goal is healthy hair, you'll want to be diligent in finding, using and sticking to products that contain each of these nutrients in harmony without extra "fluff"!
Stick to the ESSENTIALS!
Alrightyyy, looks like we've looked at the importance of hair, different hair types, hair structure and hair nutrients! The next stops on the journey will be either common hair problems or ingredients that cause issues... let me know what you want to see!
What are some traits you've noticed about your hair?
As I always... I have enjoyed furthering our journey together. Hopefully you have learned something that will positively impact your hair journey moving forward!