Tag Archives: hair loss

The gift of hair…

18 Nov

It seems the moment after we’ve packed away our Halloween costumes and decorations the holiday season is upon us. Christmas lights and ornaments adorn storefronts starting the first week of November and slowly Christmas carols are floating through the air, trying to add merriment to the general public. Besides an excuse to deck the halls and stuff ourselves, to many, the holiday season is about giving, whether to friends, family or those in need.

Toy, clothing and food drives are in full force at this time of year, supplying a little bit of cheer to as many less fortunate families as possible. These initiatives are vital, there’s no doubt about it. But this holiday season, there’s another gift that you may be able to give to a child in need. The gift of hair.

Locks of Love is a public, not-for-profit organization that provides custom-made hair pieces to financially disadvantaged children in the U.S. and Canada. The age bracket for recipients goes from six to 21 and it’s for those suffering from long-term medical hair loss, from any diagnosis, be it cancer, alopecia or a traumatic accident. (learn more about the organization here)

LOL uses donated hair to create the highest quality hair prosthetics to give to children in need free of charge, or on a sliding scale, based on financial need. Their custom-made prosthetics are the ideal option for children because they do not require the use of tape or glue because they form a vacuum seal. Only the wearer is able to remove the wig and they can swim and shower with it in place, avoiding any shame or embarrassment that might come with it accidentally being removed. And so the child truly feels like he or she is getting her own hair, she’s able to choose the colour and length of the hair, the skin tone of the silicone base and the cut or style she wants. This process takes between four and six months and recipients may reapply for a new prosthesis every 18 months.

These prostheses are made possible through financial and actual hair donations. Each prosthesis requires between six and ten ponytails at least ten inches long, and it’s estimated that 80 per cent of all donations come from children who want to help other children.

If you want to donate your hair, there are certain guidelines that must be followed, but most salons are familiar with the organization and can help you make sure they are met. For a full list of guidelines, click here.

So this holiday season, or the next one, if you find yourself wanting to make a difference to a child in need, think about Locks of Love… all it takes is a little time, patience and care.

Eat your way to healthy hair!

15 Jun

Is your diet helping or hurting your hair?

What you eat affects your physical state in every sense, and your hair is no exception. According to Ladies’ Home Journal, you need a mixture of protein, complex carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals to promote good scalp and hair health.

Here are six foods to help you get shiny, healthy hair:

Poultry & Beef

Since proteins are the building blocks of your hair, getting enough high-quality protein is essential to avoid weak, brittle hair. Chicken and turkey are excellent healthy options and if you don’t have high cholesterol, eating red meat twice a week can promote optimal hair health with B vitamins, iron and zinc.

Whole Grains

Another great source of zinc, iron and B vitamins are complex carbohydrates that feed you energy over a longer period of time… and your scalp does need energy! Whole wheat bread, fortified whole grain cereals and brown, short grain rice are great options.

Salmon

Fatty fish like salmon are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B-12 and iron, making it one of the best foods for beauty benefits! According to the American Dietetic Association, these vitamins and minerals are essential to support scalp health. Not a fan of fish? You could try one or two tablespoons of ground flaxseed!

Dark Green Vegetables

We all know that vegetables are good for us. And they’re good for our hair too! Greens like broccoli, spinach and Swiss chard not only provide you with vitamins A and C, iron and calcium, but they produce sebum, an oily substance secreted by your hair follicles – basically, the body’s natural hair conditioner! Adventurous? Try seaweed  or a kelp supplement for your dose of iodine, iron, calcium, magnesium, niacin, zinc, sodium and potassium.

Beans

Forget that old rhyme about beans and focus on the health benefits! Legumes like kidney beans and lentils provide protein, iron, zinc and biotin to promote hair growth.

Nuts

For a great source of zinc (a deficiency of which can lead to shedding) try cashews, pecans, almonds and walnuts. The latter also includes alpha-linolenic, an omega-3 fatty acid, that can help to condition your hair! And did you know that brazil nuts are one of the best sources of selenium, an important mineral for the health of your scalp? Include some of these in yoghurt or cottage cheese at breakfast or lunch!

The key to good hair health is the same as overall body health – balance. If you consume too much of a vitamin or mineral, you may create problems with hair growth, so make sure you have a balanced diet of lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, omega-3 fatty acids and low-fat dairy to keep your hair looking its best.

And beware of crash diets with super low-calorie counts and a stressful lifestyle. If you lose a lot of weight quickly or have continued high stress, you may affect the hair cycle and increase shedding. Diets and stress are bad enough without hair loss!

Many salon brands are also aware of the benefits of these foods and include natural ingredients to heal hair from the outside in. Ask your stylists which products include the right natural ingredients for your type of hair in addition to a balanced diet to give it that extra boost.

So now you know what it takes to keep your hair naturally gorgeous. Now only if we didn’t continuously blow dry, curl and flat iron it. Hmm… I guess that’s what treatments are for!