Blonde or brunette, smooth or curly, human hair is unique among mammals. It covers the top, back and sides of our heads. On average, an adult has between 100,000 and 150,000 individual hairs.
Despite its ‘fixed’ appearance, hair follows a specific growth cycle. In full growth during the anagen phase, it then undergoes a period of rest in the catagen phasetelogen phase, to be replaced by a new hair, and so on (1).
Since the dawn of time, hair has been powerfully symbolic. In mythology, it embodied feminine seduction or masculine strength, and having strong, shiny hair remains a key preoccupation for many of us.
So what can you on a day-to-day basis to maintain beautiful hair? Though genes are undoubtedly a factor, you can still adopt good habits to help look after your locks:
Alongside these measures, the right supplements can help reacquaint you with a radiant head of hair. A brief overview!
It’s not just for keeping pandas happy. An ornamental forage plant from Asia, bamboo has played a part in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years. It contains silica, a trace-element stored in connective tissue and integuments (skin, hair, nails), which can give an undeniable beauty boost to our hair(3).
That’s why you’ll find this exceptional plant in formulations (such as Hair and Nails Formula, enriched with biotin and zinc for optimal synergy).
Known variously as vitamin B8, vitamin B7, vitamin H, and coenzyme R in English- and German-speaking countries, biotin is a water-soluble vitamin. Playing a fundamental role in activating certain enzymes, it supports, amongst others, normal metabolism of macronutrients and helps to maintain healthy hair (4).
An invaluable aid to hair fibres, biotin is found at high levels in chicken livers, cooked eggs, brewer’s yeast and almonds.
Worried about taking too much? There’s no need to tear your hair out doing complex calculations: any biotin surplus to requirements is eliminated via urine. So you can quite happily take a biotin supplement to boost your intake (such as the product Biotin, a high-quality vitamin B8 formulation).
What if the secret to fabulous hair were to be found in your chemistry lessons? With the abbreviation Zn in the periodic table of elements, zinc is a trace-element primarily present in our bones and muscles. With a role in more than 200 different enzyme reactions, it is involved, in particular, in helping to maintain healthy skin, hair and nails(5-6).
It is more bioavailable from animal-source foods, with significant levels found in seafood, calves’ liver, meat and certain cheeses such as Maroilles and Morbier. But if these foods don’t appeal to you, you can also increase your intake with zinc supplements (including the synergistic formulation Keranat, which combines zinc, biotin, and excellent plant extracts).
For many years, its saffron-colored flowers meant that safflower was consigned to use as a dye plant. It was only in the 1950s that its oil was recognized by the cosmetics world. Playing a role in healthy, beautiful hair, it breathes much-needed life into our precious locks (7).
Used in face masks or for massages, safflower oil is also edible: rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, it is not without nutritional benefits. So why not make space for a safflower-containing supplement (such as CLA, naturally-extracted from the safflower oil of dyers)?
Do you know what our hair, nails and skin have in common? They share major structural similarities, including a high keratin content. This important fibrous protein is produced in the inner layers of the epidermis by specialized cells called keratinocytes(8).
In terms of our hair, keratin is primarily found on the hair’s surface in an area known as the cuticle. For silky hair, it may therefore help to take a solubilized keratin supplement (for example, Daily Beauty, a product based on Cynatine® HNS, 100% natural solubilized keratin).
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