I have never had a super strong attachment to my hair or thought it was anything special, but that did not make it any easier to lose.
When I was diagnosed with lupus at age 18, one of the first symptoms I experienced was hair loss. It began with general thinning and breakage. When I showered, huge globs of hair would gather in the drain. I had to start using the baby hair ties and butterfly clips instead of the normal ones for adults. Most hairstyles looked ridiculous with the little hair I had.
The hair loss progressively worsened as my health declined, though, and it culminated in bald spots. I lost most of the bald spot photos when my computer was stolen a few years ago, but you can see in some of these photos that I had small patches on my scalp where my hair fell out in clumps. I will never forget the day I flipped my hair over in the pool (Elvis-style) and watched my family members jaws’ drop as I revealed a massive bald spot on the back of my head that I didn’t even know I had.
I know that my drastic weight loss and malnourishment were a huge part of the reason I lost so much hair, but my hair did not immediately recover when I gained weight and began to nourish my body. In fact, I have been eating a healing diet for over three years and have been the same (normal) weight for about two years but I only now feel like my hair is healthy again.
I have done a few things that I believe really helped my hair grow. Let me start with some of the basics: cut it short, leave it natural, and don’t wash every day. Long, thin, breaking hair is just depressing, so I kept mine short until I felt like it was thick enough to grow out. I used to think it was necessary to shampoo every single day, but now I go days without washing and it has helped my hair so much. I also avoid blow-drying and straightening as much as possible.
Of course, you all know that the next thing I am going to say is that I changed my diet. You need to provide proper nourishment for your hair to grow, and that nourishment will come from healthy fats (SO IMPORTANT!), high-quality animal proteins, and a wide range of fruits and vegetables. I guarantee that your hair will not grow if you are eating dry toast or pizza on a regular basis. You hair needs nutrients.
But the single most important factor in my own hair growth has been collagen peptides. You may remember hearing about collagen in this post about bone broth, but here’s a quick refresher: collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies, found in blood vessels, muscles, tendons, skin, and more. Collagen is essential for hair growth and repair – in addition to MANY other processes in your body – and most of us do not have nearly enough of it.
You can get collagen by drinking bone broth and eating gelatinous cuts of meat, but the easiest and most efficient way to get collagen is by using collagen peptides. I have been using 1-2 scoops of Vital Proteins collagen peptides every day for the past eight months or so and I have been absolutely blown away by the difference it has made in my hair. Collagen peptides come in the form of a powder that you can dissolve in any liquid. I mix mine into smoothies, soups, coffee or tea, or even just plain water. I find that it has a slight taste that is almost always masked by whatever you mix it with.
There are an insane number of additional benefits of collagen peptides, including longer and stronger nails, healthier skin, better digestion and nutrient absorption, more agile joints, and more. Collagen is the one supplement that I refuse to go without now that I have seen the benefits in my own life, and I highly recommend that you give it a try as well.
I hope you know that I do not think my hair is anything to brag about. I do not have picture-perfect hair, but I do have hair that is far thicker, healthier, longer, and stronger than it was before. If you want to boost your own hair health, give these tips a try!
Do you have questions about collagen peptides or how to have naturally healthier hair? Let me know!