air was fresh and the spring water clean, her diet was most likely wholesome and organic, and life - pretty much devoid of stress. Her world was a fairy tale (maybe at some point she was even Taylor Swifts - who knows...)
Since not everyone is destined to be a fairy tale creature, we have to work extra hard to maintain glossy and bouncy locks. Yes, it all begins with the right nutrition, but it's worth remebering that the health of our hair also depends on stress levels, thyroid health, hormones, age, genetics, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, medication we take, weight we lose, and even the products we use, hairstyles we prefer and the frequency of blow-dries we rely on.
In other words - restoring and maintaining a beautiful mane is a multitasking process that involves a good look into the diet and lifestyle as well as a visit to your doctor to ensure that all of the above mentioned systems are working as nature intended.
In a meantime, here are my nutrition tips and a few fantastic foods that can give you a stronger, healthier, shinier hair - and take care of your skin and nails, too.
Eggs: the hair is made of protein, keratin, to be precise, and egg whites are one of the best sources of protein on the planet. In addition, egg yolks are a source of biotin which is essential for healthy follicles (remember to avoid eating raw eggs - avidin, a protein in rawthat binds to biotin and prevents its absorption), zinc, B vitamins and choline- for hair growth and lecithin and sulfur - for smooth stands.
Beauty tip: try my good old favourite hair mask that Russian girls swear by: in a bowl mix two egg yolks, 1tbsp raw honey, 1tbsp cognac and 2-2tbsp EV olive oil. Massage into dry hair and scalp, cover with foil and towel and leave for 30-45 minutes. Then wash off with warm water and shampoo if necessary. Also try Jason Natural Biotin Shampoo, super gentle Hair Molecule, sulfur-rich Honey & Hibiscus Reconstructing Shampoo and The Purifying Serum for a dose of biotin.
Apricots are high in beta-carotene that supports production of keratin, regulates production of oil and makes your hair glossy. Iron in dried apricots will make your hair strong and add extra volume by stimulating blood supply, so the nutrients are delivered to every single follicle without failure.
Beauty tip: John Masters Organics Rose & Apricot Milk and Essentually Nature Rejuvenate Shampoo are formulated with iron-containing botanicals, plus a bunch of vitamins and minerals to maintain healthy scalp, strong hair and prevent split ends.
Chocolate, the dark and, ideally, raw kind is another super food for topping up levels of B vitamins and iron.
Beauty tip: think of a wonderful aromatic blend of cacao and vanilla - now get it in a bottle of Faith in Nature Chocolate Shampoo.
Brown rice is one of the best wholegrains to rely on. Rich in zinc, biotin and B vitamins, it will make your hair strong and plentiful while taking care of the hormones essential for hair growth. Brown rice is also a natural source of co-enzyme Q10 - the levels become lower as we age, and are important for blood circulation and marinating hair growth.
Beauty tip: Try Rahua Finishing Treatment made with brown rice oil.
Kiwi doesn't only taste delicious and look super pretty, they are also one of the best sources of vitamin C that improves iron levels, collagen production and protects the follicles from free radical damage. In beauty terms - you get long, healthy, fast-growing locks Rapunzel would be proud of.
Beauty tip: Treat your hair to Sukin Shampoo made with kiwi extract as well as rice and wheat proteins.
Olive oil makes a perfect salad dressing (and a hair mask). It is also a source of vitamin E and essential fatty acids that calm the scalp, improve texture of your hair and add natural shine.
Beauty tip: Rich in olive oil as well as herbal essences and flower extracts, Neals Yard Nurturing Rose Conditioner smells like summer in a bottle and really nourishes and moisturises the hair.
Brazil nuts: eating just three brazil nuts daily is all that it takes to maintain levels of selenium, a trace mineral with real potential to prevent dandruff, improve hair growth and even postpone the moment when the hair starts going grey.
Beauty tip: Burt's Bees More Moisture Raspberry and Brazil Nut Shampoo even sounds delicious! Imagine what it can do for your hair...
Bananas are packed with hair-building silica, so add some to your smoothies or porridge every day.
Beauty tip: for the DIY nourishing mask, mash 1 ripe banana, 1 small avocado, 1 egg yolk and 1tbsp of EV olive oil, massage into dry hair and leave for 30 minutes. Another great recipe is a blend of 1 ripe banana, 1 egg yolk, 100g natural yoghurt and 1 tsp raw honey. For oily hair, mash 1 banana, add 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice and optional tsp of raw honey. For the girls who prefer ready-made option, Lush Blousey Banana Shampoo and One Love Organics Dry Shampoo are the ones to go for.
Asparagus contains hair-strengthening-growth-promoting MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) as well as B vitamins, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper and calcium. On a side note, asparagus is high in vitamin K that keeps wrinkles at bay.
Beauty tip: Try Organic Pharmacy Shampoo made with MSM, spirulina, propolis and essentials fatty acids to nourish the hair and prevent flaky scalp.
Green tea may prevent hair loss, reduce any chances of dandruff and make your hair feel like silk. Drink it and use as a post-shapoo-conditioner rinse once in a while.
Beauty tip: Use John Masters Organic Green Tea Leave-in Mist and Tabitha James Kraan Organic Hair Perfume as a finishing touch.
Soy sauce contains powerful isoflavones that are said to inhibit the formation of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and prevent hair loss. Always choose organic Tamari sauce. Organic miso is another soy food to rely on.
Beauty tip: Lavera Orange & Green Tea Shampoo and Mango & Avocado Treatment are made with organic soybean oil to add moisture and shine to the hair.
Kelp or seaweed is packed with minerals needed for proper hair growth, so if you think about it, sushi made with nori, brown rice, avocado, salmon and soy sauce is pretty much the hair treatment on a plate. Another budget-friendly option is to buy a bag of nori flakes and sprinkle them on your food for extra flavour and goodness.
Beauty tip: don't worry if you suddenly run out of nori sheets, Living Nature Balancing Shampoo contains plenty of seaweed plus shea butter and coconut oil to make your hair super soft and restore natural balance.
Photo source: Elle France May 2015 (photography: Damien Blottiere, styling: Julie Chanut-Bombard, model: Stephanie Hall), Emily DiDonato in Beauty Feutree / Vogue Paris February 2015 (photography: Cuneyt Akeroglu, styling: Celia Azoulay)