What’s the deal with… chia seeds for hair growth?

If you’ve ever tried chia seeds, you probably won’t have thought much of them. They have a slightly nutty taste, a bit like a poppyseed when dry, and frogspawn-like when soaked (apologies to anyone who likes them, but this resemblance springs to mind every time we eat the stuff). They do, however, have a plethora of health benefits, which is why we’ve been reluctantly adding them to our porridge, yogurt and shakes of recent. But we’d been eating them without actually knowing of their full benefits- and it turns out, like many superfoods, that chia seeds are also brilliant for hair growth- and you don’t even have to eat them to see the benefits!

So, what can they do? Chia seeds are made up of about 23 percent protein, so whether you’re ingesting them or whipping up a simple hair mask from them (our preferred option), they work to give you a stronger cortex, which, in simple terms, means your hair will be less likely to break or form split ends. This means a healthy and regular absorption of protein from chia seeds should aid hair growth, strength and thickness.

Chia seeds are also loaded with all the essential amino acids, and contain antioxidants, vitamins, omega-3 oil, fiber and minerals, which combine to give your hair that envious Beyoncé glow. While the amino acids bind to damaged sections of the hair’s cuticle and form a protective layer, the antioxidants will neutralize free radicals to keep hair healthy and strong. Sounds like a good mix to us.

Let’s finish up with a rumour: apparently chia seeds can delay your hair from greying because of the copper they contain, which inhibits the production of melanin, which is known for bringing your hair back to its natural colour and delaying any greying. We have to say, we’re hesitant to believe that the aging process can be combatted by something as simple as a chia seed- we’ll believe that one when we see it.

That said, there are clearly shine and growth-related benefits to chia seeds that make them worth having in your cupboard for when you hair’s feeling in need of a pamper. If you don’t fancy eating them, chia seeds can easily be used to create a hair mask by simply mixing two teaspoons of chia seeds in a bowl and slowly adding water until the seeds absorb it and it becomes a paste. You should leave it for around 10 minutes so that it gets a gel-like consistency, and then you’re ready to add the next ingredients.

You’ll need milk for the mask, but not dairy- almond or coconut work best, as they contain unsaturated fat that’ll repair the dry hair shaft, moisturise hair and give it a healthy shine. If you want to go all-out, you could also add a teaspoon of lemon juice, which will help cleanse the scalp, remove dandruff and keep it from getting greasy.

From this point all you have to do is apply the mask from roots to tip, making sure to cover all the hair, and let it sit for 10 minutes before rinsing off with shampoo. Don’t worry about conditioner- the chia mask will be oily enough to leave your hair soft and shiny. If you repeat this once a week, as well as making sure to eat a vitamin-rich diet (we know, what dedication!), you should notice that your hair is softer, healthier, and growing at a faster rate.

Picture credit: Organic Facts

Laura Shallcross