Does Drinking Water Affect Your Hair?
If you thought the recommendation to drink your water (six to eight servings a day) was bogus – or impossible – you may want to reconsider. Turns out staying hydrated is the key to healthy, shiny hair – and a whole host of other benefits for your bod.
So how does drinking water help your hair grow? Read on to discover 10 reasons why drinking water is good for your hair, skin, and nails. Are you getting enough?
1. H2O for Major Growth
Sometimes it feels like it takes forever for hair to grow out – especially if you’re already experiencing thinning or breakage.
According to stylist Jeanie Syfu, drinking enough water can help you change course.
“It’s the oldest trick in the book, and truly the top trick to getting your hair to look its best,” Syfu told Self.
“When you don’t drink enough water, your hair and skin dry out, which can also slow down the process of new hair growth,” she added.
To help speed up the growth process, pay special attention to your diet, too. Protein, fatty acids, and vitamins all play a big role in hair growth.
2. Hydrated Hair is Strong Hair
If your hair is brittle from battling relaxers, coloring treatments, or other hydration-sapping styles, it’s time to drink up.
Getting enough H2O strengthens the cuticle of both your hair and nails, says dietitian Holley Grainger.
“Adding more water to your diet and making sure you stay hydrated is key to general body functions,” Grainger explained to Good Housekeeping.
And that includes helping circulate proteins to your hair and nails for stronger cuticles and follicles with staying power.
3. Helping Hand
You won’t exactly see overnight changes in your hair, skin, and nails just by drinking an extra glass of water.
According to dermatologist Katie Rodan, that’s because a glass of water has to make plenty of other stops before it delivers hydration to your skin.
“It goes through the intestines, gets absorbed into your bloodstream, and is filtered by kidneys. Then it hydrates cells,” Rodan told Real Simple.
Drinking water is a necessary part of this hydration process – it just takes a while to see results.
4. Stem Hair Loss
Stress, diet, and the genetic lottery are often the biggest factors when you’re facing hair loss. But dehydration can play its part, too.
“If your lackluster locks are accompanied by hot flashes, night sweats, and lack of energy, the common denominator is likely dehydration,” writes Jessica Migala at Prevention.
When your body’s running low on H2O, hair becomes weaker and more prone to breakage.
“Dehydrated hair is brittle,” Diana Bitner, a Michigan-based OBGYN, told Migala.
If any of this sounds familiar, it might be time to drink up.
5. Shine On
Water’s not just for inner beauty. Taking the right kind of shower also has a big impact on the health of your hair.
Want to add an extra sheen to your locks? Dial down the temperature on your morning shower just before you’re ready to step out.
“The chilly temp constricts the cuticle layer of your hair so it lies flatter; making strands smoother and more reflective,” reports Jennifer Goldstein at Health.
We’re not partial to cold showers, but we’d be willing to stand a quick plunge if it meant movie-star shiny hair!
6. Mind Your Minerals
How strong is your water? No, we’re not talking about shower pressure, here.
Knowing whether you have “hard” water (full of minerals that haven’t been filtered out) or “soft” can actually help with detangling your mane.
“Soft shower water leaves hair more manageable because there are few mineral salts (pesky molecules that can make strands rough and prone to tangles),” explains Goldstein.
Speed up the process of combing your curls by looking for a showerhead filter to rid your water of extra junk.
7. Get Curly With It
We know how girls with straight hair get curl envy. Turns out you can use water to your advantage to get wavy hair – without risking heat damage.
“Each of your strands is made up of hydrogen bonds that separate when hair is wet,” Jeni Thomas, a senior scientist for Pantene, told Health.
Take advantage of this process after your shower by setting curls while your hair is wet. When your hair dries – and the hydrogen bonds reform – voilà!
You should come out the other side with perfectly hydrated, curly hair.
8. Glow from Within
An endless parade of celebs claim they get their “inner glow” from drinking oodles of water (though we bet it might also have something to do with those expensive facials).
Still, staying hydrated can help your skin look younger and more vibrant, says dermatologist Rachel Nazarian.
“I’ve found that water makes a big difference in skin health,” Nazarian told Women’s Health. “Without adequate water intake, skin appears duller, and wrinkles and pores more prominent.”
Thinking about water as an insta-wrinkle zapper makes drinking eight glasses a day so much more appealing.
9. Get Rid of Zits
Maybe one of the saddest parts of getting older is realizing breakouts are still possible outside of your teen years. (Unfair!)
Drinking more water can actually help balance out your skin and stop breakouts in their tracks, says plastic surgeon Julius Few.
“It is critical to have a stable balance of water to oil on the surface of skin,” Few explained to Women’s Health.
“If the skin is too heavily covered in oil relative to water, this can lead to clogged pores with acne breakouts and blemishes.”
If you’re in need of a skin cure-all to tame your breakouts, upping your water intake is the perfect place to start. (We wouldn’t dare take away your chocolate.)
10. Look Beyond Water
When it comes to keeping skin and hair hydrated, water works wonders – but you need more than H2O.
Your diet is also a crucial component of building strong, healthy, and shiny hair, so plan on eating plenty of lean protein and fatty acids.
“Without enough protein, the texture of your hair can change,” nutritionist Lisa Drayer told Refinery29. “It can result in hair that’s dull, dry, thin, and brittle.”
Fatty acids, like those found in avocados, walnuts, and fish, will also help your strands stay strong and hydrated.
According to Drayer, “Omega-3 fatty acids are needed to build the cell membranes in the skin of your scalp and maintain the natural oil that keeps your scalp and hair from drying out.”
And while staying hydrated certainly helps your skin, you’ll still need a moisturizer to keep your skin’s natural oils replenished.
“A quarter-size dollop of lotion will do much more for your skin than drinking a quart of water,” Katie Rodan explained to Real Simple.
That’s because water takes a long time to cycle through your body before helping skin cells replenish their moisture content, says Rodan.
If you’re in need of an immediate dry skin pick-me-up, turn to a face cream with natural moisturizers like coconut oil and shea butter. Humectants like honey can also lock moisture in, so your skin has a chance to absorb it.
Most of us don’t drink nearly enough water during the day – and our hair, skin, and nails suffer for lack of it. (Not to mention our brains and major muscle groups!)
Not only will more H2O help you feel alert and ready to tackle the day, it can also serve as the cheapest, most effective weapon in your beauty routine.
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