Incredible Women. Incredible Fashion. Every Day.

Porter
Hair & Makeup

Beauty’s most-asked: how to get fuller, thicker, healthier hair

To answer beauty’s most burning questions, we ask the world’s experts to share their knowledge. ANABEL KINGSLEY, consultant trichologist and specialist in all aspects of hair and scalp care, explains how everything from diet and pollution to the birth-control pill can have a detrimental effect on hair. Read on to discover how to achieve your best hair yet…

Beauty

I have a healthy diet, so why don’t I have healthy hair?

“We can often track a new fad diet by the increase in new clients that come in to the [Philip Kingsley Trichological] clinic a few months later. Going on a crash diet, even cutting out a food group, can lead to reactive hair shedding. The hair’s nutritional needs are unlike anything else and, as it is not an ‘essential’ for the health of the body, hair gets everything last, as the nutrients you eat go to support the major organs. So, even if you are eating well, it can be difficult to meet all the hair’s needs, which is why dedicated supplementation can help.

“Do make sure you eat some protein within a couple of hours of waking up, as this has been shown to help with healthier hair growth. If you are vegan, you may not be getting enough [vitamin] B12. It doesn’t occur naturally in plant food, so either ensure foods are fortified with it or take a supplement, as a lack of this is a very common reason why you might notice a difference in the thickness of your hair. The liver can store B12, so you may not notice a difference for quite a while. There are eight essential proteins that the body can’t make but needs every day, and animal protein contains them all, while tofu has only four, so you need to know what combination to eat – like eating vegetable whey and quinoa – to get the full quota.”

Can supplements help?

“I have yet to see a client who, when tested, has healthy levels of vitamin D. Hair follicles have vitamin-D receptors and it’s a key part of the growth cycle, so if you are low – and about 95% of us are – it will be affecting the thickness of your hair. I suggest taking about 2000iu of vitamin D a day. People think iron levels are important, but it’s the levels of stored iron (ferritin) that matter. So if you are getting tested, ask to have both checked.”

My hair seems to be getting thinner; how can I stop it?

“Nothing will stop it dead in its tracks, but, with the right treatment and supplementation, and if you eat protein in the morning, you will see a difference in around 12 weeks. By the time someone comes into the clinic to get help for thinning hair, they have generally had this problem for about five years, so it won’t reverse that quickly. If you are noticing a difference in your hair density, don’t leave it and do seek professional advice (from a trichologist or dermatologist) as soon as you can.”

Do hormone levels affect hair?

“Definitely. And that includes the type of birth-control pill and HRT you may be on. So, again, if you’ve noticed a difference since going on or changing your Pill or HRT, get advice, as there are some that affect hair density and others that are more ‘hair-friendly’. And talking of hormones, there is also an increase in women suffering with polycystic ovaries, and for some, this can lead to hair thinning, too.”

What about my haircare regime?

“Don’t think of your skincare as stopping at the hair line, as hair drops and scalp masks can help – in a great way. You don’t need to have a problem to use either. Using a scalp mask once a week is an excellent way of keeping it healthy.”

Can Botox injections negatively impact hair?

“No. There is absolutely no link between Botox and any detrimental effect on the hair. We are seeing some evidence that pollution – the tiny particulate matter – may have an impact on hair growth, as one Spanish study has shown it decreases a protein responsible for healthy hair growth.”

RELATED READING

The model featured in this story is not associated with NET-A-PORTER and does not endorse it or the products shown