Is Veganism Wrecking Your Hair?

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Many vegan and vegetarian clients are incredibly well informed about their diet; however, I have noticed more of these clients suffering from weaker hair growth, increased hair loss and more brittle hair

Edward James London

We see so many clients coming in to our salons with hair-thinning issues.  There are several reasons why someone’s hair may start to thin, which many include thyroid issues, hormonal changes, iron deficiency, alopecia or genetic deficiencies.  The big question recently posed with the huge increase in veganism is whether this is taking its toll on client’s hair.  There is a lot of scaremongering regarding this issue, and what we want to do is educate our clients on how to avoid weakened hair because of their diet and lifestyle choices.

Over the years, Edward James has seen similar issues with clients on a vegetarian diet and says that with the vegan diet it requires more conscious effort to sustain high levels of quality protein in the diet when dairy produce is removed.  Many vegan and vegetarian clients are incredibly well informed about their diet; however, I have noticed more of these clients suffering from weaker hair growth, increased hair loss and more brittle hair, and often it is a result of lack of adequate high-quality protein on a regular basis within their daily routine.

Edward James gives his top five tips for clients who are vegan or vegetarian, or who have a restricted diet:

  1. Hair is made from chains of proteins, so if you are eliminating meat or dairy, it is important to supplement with alternative sources of protein.  We normally recommend they speak to a nutritionist and we will normally recommend they consult the Vegan Society for advice on following an adequate protein rich diet.

  2. If colouring your hair, use a hair-bond booster such as the Olaplex system, which is 100% animal cruelty free and vegan friendly. It will create new chains of disulphide bonds (what the hair is made from) whilst the colouring process takes place, effectively protecting the hair during the colouring process as it is these bonds that break down and not your own hair bonds, resulting in healthy and stronger hair long-term.

  3. Use a treatment that will increase the elasticity of the hair and protect when washing it, particularly before you shampoo as it will protect the cuticle.  Philip Kingsley Hair Elasticizer is a pre-shampoo treatment that increases the elasticity of the hair. Also, Oribe’s Gold Lust Pre-Shampoo Intensive treatment will moisturise and repair, minimising damage through friction and pulling.

  4. Use a protective spray on wet hair and when hair is at its weakest. Aveda’s Damage Control spray is perfect for this and is also Vegan aligned.

  5. Make you use a soft brush to detangle hair that will softly separate hair and start from the bottom and work your way up.

When clients come into the salon for their initial consultation we will normally look at the strength and condition of their hair, particularly when having a colour service.  We will assess the hair’s tensile strength and elasticity to establish if there is any weakness.  With clients who follow a strict vegan or vegetarian diet, we will often find that their hair has lower tensile strength, but elasticity that is uncompromised.  If this is the case, we will then carry out a colour strand test to assess the hair.  We feel it is essential that the quality of the hair is not compromised further through colour processing services.  Hair that has a lower tensile strength is more likely to snap through over-brushing or heat styling, so it is essential that protective products are used to aid the hair.

It is important to keep in mind that diet will only affect the hair so much.  Overcolouring or heat styling, relaxing or perming your hair on already weakened hair will cause more breakage over time, so opt for services that focus on the health of the hair.  Aveda colour is 96% naturally derived and contains more natural oils to protect the hair whilst it being coloured or for home colouring avoiding ammonia heavy colourants.  A good option is Tints of Nature, which is plant based.  If you have concerns over your hair, speak to your stylist who should be able to recommend a plan to reduce hair-loss and breakage in the long-run.

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