The world is divided into two kinds of people. The gorgeously-maned TV commercial artists with glossy, silky, bouncy hair, and then there’s us. Raise your hand if you feel depressed every time an ad pops up with hair models, knowing that you will probably have a frizzy tussle of bedhead the next morning all over again. So, when I saw my friend with her long, beautiful curls without any frizz, I had to ask for her beauty secret.
The secret? She’s vegan.
Plant-based diets are extremely rich in protein, unlike what most people believe. This natural source of protein aids in hair growth, strengthens each strand and makes your hair healthier and manageable. I dug in further and realised that these protein-rich, plant-based whole foods when used in hair care products provide immediate results and nourish frizzy and dry hair like none of the chemically formulated products I’ve used before! Behold the secret to genuinely un-tousled, tamed and frizz-free hair. I’ve listed below the yummiest and most nourishing plant-based protein foods for you!
I’ve listed below the yummiest and most nourishing plant-based protein foods for you!
1. Good Hair Ploy? Everything Soy!
What to eat: Add some tofu and chunky soybeans to your diet. You can make a classic Indian ‘sabji’ with both or add these to your salad with some edamame beans. Looking for something yummier? Trust us when we say soy burgers are delicious, especially when served with kidney bean sauce.
What to apply: Soy milk is one of the most nourishing and cleansing milks in nature. You can directly use fresh soy milk as a conditioning agent and rinse off with water. You can even make hair packs with soy milk, crushed almonds and a squeeze of lemon.
What does it do: Soy is high in fibre, high in protein and is an excellent agent in helping your hair grow. It also allows your hair to strengthen and improve its texture.
2. We’re Nutty About Your Mane
What to eat: Nuts, nuts, and more nuts! Add almonds and pistachios to your snacks, grind cashews for your sauces, flavour your coffee with some hazelnuts and use peanuts in just about everything. You can also favor butters churned out from nuts like peanuts and cashews.
What to apply: Sweet almonds for your hair makes a great, great mask for instant revival. You can crush almonds and lemon to make a mask-like paste. Also, walnut scrubs can make your scalp squeaky clean and well-nourished.
What do they do: Nuts are extremely high in fatty acids (that hydrate and heal your hair), vitamins B, B6 and E, and a lot of good protein.
3. We Need Seeds!
What to eat: Have a jar of mixed seeds always handy as a snack. You can throw in some chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, and flax. You can even put these in your breakfast smoothie bowl or mix them with oats and melted jaggery to enjoy some homemade granola bars.
What to apply: The best way to add seeds to your routine is to half crush them (don’t grind. Keep them chunky) and soak them in essential oils. These oils can be flower or nut-based. Apply to your hair as you usually apply your hair oil, either overnight or for a few hours before your shower.
What do they do: Other than being rich in protein, they also have magnificent quantities of zinc, vitamin E and omega 3 fatty acids— all hair-loving nutrients.
4. Leaves Of Life
What to eat: All things green including spinach, kale, asparagus, lettuce, Chinese cabbage (bok choy) and brussel sprouts. Salads are our go-to favorites with some fruits and lemon seasoning. But the classic palak tofu works too.
What to apply: Matcha and moringa leaves will truly nourish your tresses. Add to your daily routine some tea tree, curry leaves and lemon-based products to keep your scalp happy too. Neem is another great leaf for perfect hair.
What do they do: Leafy greens are bliss. They’re magically enriched with proteins, magnesium, zinc, iron, vitamin K and calcium. Best part? They are high in fibre too.
Nykaa recommends: Myra Veda Japanese Matcha Tea & Camellia Restorative Shampoo, VILVAH Moringa & Argan Oil Nourishing Hair Mask, Mamaearth For Dandruff & Itchy Scalp Tea Tree Hair Mask With Tea Tree, Argan & Lemon Oil
5. Hair Care Queens? Lentils and Beans!
What to eat: Your old-school ‘ghar ki daal’ will work fine! And you don’t have to stick to lentils or even green peas— add some kidney beans (rajma) and chickpeas (chhole) to the mix and you have yourself a wonder meal ready.
What to apply: Ground chickpea or ‘besan’ is one of the finest cleansing and exfoliating natural agents used in Ayurveda. Add some coconut oil or soy milk to create a paste and use it as a hair mask for healthy, naturally bouncy hair.
What do they do: Lentils and other legumes are bursting with proteins, zinc and biotin. A regular intake will undeniably strengthen and nourish your hair.