Hair care: The right foods, regular trims can help grow fab tresses

If your picture-perfect wedding day hair is longer than what you’re currently wearing, don’t worry. While growing out hair is a long and agonizing process, there are ways to smooth the transition and even make it go faster.

“There’s not much you can do about the ‘long’ element of the process, but you can eliminate the ‘agonizing’ element of the process,” said celebrity stylist Kristan Serafino. “Think of the journey to long hair as an imaginary, liberating experiment of hairstyles with zero downside — since every new hairstyle along the way is only a fleeting stop to your end goal of longer hair,” said the beauty blogger who writes SerafinoSays.com. “Who knows, maybe you’ll discover your next favorite hairstyle along the way. And if you reach an unruly stage of your growth, then have fun by adding embellished clips, combs, pins and other hair accessories to finish off your look.”

Q: Are there supplements or certain foods to give your hair a daily boost?

A: I don’t know of a way to super-boost hair growth, but diet will make a difference and has the added benefit of improving your body for your wedding day. A logical approach is to consider that your hair is made of protein, so it stands to reason that an increase in protein in your diet will have a positive effect on your hair growth and strength. Proteins are found in a range of foods such as chicken, turkey, eggs, beans, nuts and soy products. Additionally, increase your intake of vitamin C to build collagen, iron to enhance blood flow, and healthy fats such as omega-3 to help process the vitamins and minerals.

Q: How important are regular trims?

A: Hair grows on average ½ inch every month. So getting the occasional trim won’t significantly prolong you reaching your desired length. I recommend regular trims when your ends appear ragged or have difficultly holding the shape of a styling tool. This means your ends have become brittle or split, and there is no cure for a split end except to cut it out. Chemically processed hair will definitely dry and split, requiring regular trims to prevent the damage from encroaching further up the hair shaft.

Q: Do a good diet and sleep affect hair?

A: Yes and yes! A bad diet or extreme weight-loss diet can stress the body, which contributes to hair loss and weakness. As for sleep, you want to achieve quality of sleep, if you can’t have quantity. While there does not seem to be scientific evidence that points to lack of sleep damaging hair, a disruptive sleep is often caused by stress and anxiety, which can trigger physical stress that can lead to hair damage and loss.

Q: How about styling tools like hair dryers and irons? Is the heat bad for hair?

A: Setting a styling tool at the proper temperature is not bad for hair. Excessive heat and relentless application of a styling tool is bad for hair. Scientific research has proven that all types of hair become moldable at the same temperature, approximately 365 degrees. This is called the “glass transition” stage. The molecules that make up a hair strand absorb the heat from the styling tool and when it reaches 365 degrees, the hair strand can be shaped. When the hair strand cools it retains the new shape, similar to a glassblower heating, forming and then cooling the glass to return to its rigid shape. To put it simply, if the temperature of a styling tool less than 365 degrees, the hair will not hold a shape; more than 365 degrees is unnecessary and will burn or dry out the hair.

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