I was traveling back home with a friend of mine and we were having this conversation about skin’s health and how foods influence it, when my friend stated a valuable principle: “if it’s not healthy enough to eat it, don’t put it on your skin”. But what if we did the same with our hair care products? What if we created a hair beauty pantry and only included those products that are healthy enough to put inside our bodies as well?
I always say that health comes from the inside, and no hair care or skin care product can counteract the effects of a bad diet. So if your hair looks thin, dry, damaged, greasy, if it falls out easily, if your scalp it itchy and sensitive and you struggle with dandruff, you might want to check your diet and do some adjustments.
And you can start with tea, which is on the list of natural products that can be used for restoring hair’s beauty and health. Still, before listing the benefits of this tasty beverage for our hair, let’s take a look at hair’s composition and growth cycle.
Hair’s composition and growth cycle
The hair growth cycle follows three distinct – but interdependent – phases: the anagen stage, the catagen and the telogen phase. These phases occur simultaneously, but in different areas of your scalp, which means that some hair can be in the anagen phase, while another strand will be in the catagen stage.
85% of all hairs are in the first phase – anagen or growing stage – at one time. This phase can last for 2 to 6 years, most hairs growing 10 cm per year.
Once this first stage ends, hair enters the catagen phase, lasting for up to 2 weeks. During this phase the follicles shrink to 1/6 of their length, the lower part being destroyed. In the last phase – telogen or resting stage – hairs stop growing. This phase lasts for up to 6 weeks, and 10% of all hairs are in this stage at one time.
Moving to hair’s composition: just like skin, hair contains keratin, a protein which ensures the strength, flexibility and structure of hair through its rope-like filaments. Each hair follicle consists of a bulb, an inner root sheath and a shaft.
The shaft of each strand of hair is made of several overlying keratins, arranged in three layers:
- medulla, the innermost layer present only in large thick hairs
- cortex, the middle layer, providing strength, texture and color
- cuticle, the outermost layer, which is colorless, thin and protects the cortex
Shaped like a tiny onion, the hair bulb is responsible for continuously producing new hair cells. The melanocytes found inside the hair bulb give hair its color. As new hairs are produced, the old ones are pushed through the skin’s surface, so the hair which can be seen is, in fact, a string of dead keratins.
On average, an adult has 100,000-150,000 hairs, and the “normal” loss is up to 100 hairs a day. Yet, altered hormonal levels, an improper diet, genetics, stress, age, ailments and lots of other factors can interfere with hair’s growth and health, causing it to fall in larger amounts or to become greasier, drier or damaged.
Fortunately, tea has been found to benefit hair is several ways, from restoring its shine to stopping abnormal, massive hair loss. Moreover, certain types of tea have been found to speed up the growth of hair, so let’s move on to the 5 important benefits tea can provide to your hair.
5 benefits of tea for hair
For restoring hair’s health and beauty, tea can be used both internally and externally, after applying regular shampoo or conditioner, or instead of these products. Green tea, black tea, white tea and rooibos are all excellent for relieving the most common hair problems.
1. Hair growth
According to a study conducted by Korean scientists, a compound found in green tea, called EGGG, can stimulate the hair production by promoting the health and boosting the activity of dermal papillae. A powerful antioxidant, EGGG is also involved in fighting the signs of aging in skin, and seems to be effective in preventing the thinning of hair.
Another study, performed at the University of Maryland Medical Center, showed that green tea can increase the metabolism, and a higher metabolic rate leads to a faster hair growth. Also, green tea inhibits the production of DHT, a compound that promotes hair loss.
Daily scalp massages with freshly brewed tea can increase blood’s circulation to the scalp and stimulate hair’s growth by providing higher amounts of nutrients and oxygen.
2. Dandruff and scalp itchiness
Tea has powerful anti-inflammatory effects, and acts by soothing the scalp and preventing its irritation and inflammation. According to scientists, this is beneficial not only for preventing dandruff, but also for relieving the symptoms of psoriasis. Also, the antiseptic ingredients in tea remove the dead skin cells and impurities that may block hair follicles, preventing their clogging and allowing hairs to grow again.
3. Oil production
Compounds found in tea can balance the pH levels of the scalp, normalizing the oil production. This is beneficial for people with oily hair as well as for those with dry hair: for the former category, tea acts as an astringent, regulating the production of oil and preventing the accumulation of excess sebum on the scalp, while for the latter category of people, tea acts by nourishing and hydrating the hair, neutralizing dryness and preventing the formation of dandruff.
Tea is rich in polyphenols, vitamin C and E, which ensure a shiny and soft hair, and protect against the damage caused by UV radiation. Also, these ingredients are known to strengthen the hair and restore the health of damaged, dry hairs.
5. Split ends
Panthenol found in green tea is very efficient in preventing split ends, studies say. This ingredient, along with other antioxidants found in tea, help in strengthening hairs and prevent breakage. Green tea is a great source of panthenol, so if you’re struggling with split ends, this tea may help.
To take advantage of these tea benefits for hair, you can simply rinse out your hair with green tea, black tea, oolong or rooibos, after using regular shampoo – your hair will look shinier and softer. If you have dark hair, you can use black tea for restoring its luster and natural darkness, as besides coloring the grey hairs, black tea can also bring out the natural highlights of black and dark brown hair.
Rooibos tea is a great choice for women with red or light brown hair, and can be used for rinsing after using regular shampoo, or as leave-in product for a temporary red tone. White tea is rich in antioxidants that strengthen hairs, reduce falling and restore the scalp’s health. This tea protects against sun damage, restore hair’s shine and can be used as shampoo, conditioner or leave-in conditioner.
Other teas you can use for a healthier and more beautiful hair are:
- Chamomile tea is recommended for shinier hair, natural highlights and straighter hair;
- Peppermint tea is useful for reducing the production of sebum, calming the scalp, reducing dandruff;
- Sage tea is good for preventing grey hairs;
- Rosemary is great for strengthening the hair, boosting its growth and fighting hair loss.
And the list of tea benefits for hair can go on, but we’d like to hear from you as well: is tea part of your hair care routine?