How to ensure your hair is in optimum health for your wedding

28 May 2019

Anabel Kingsley - daughter of world renowned trichologist Philip Kingsley - shares her bridal hair secrets ahead of her own wedding in June 2019

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Anabel Kingsley is set to marry Constantin Moebs on 21st June 2019 at her family's country house near Henley in Buckinghamshire.

Anabel is a professional trichologist which centres around the scientific study of trichology and how lifestyle impacts on hair and scalp health. Anabel also continues the legacy of her late father - the Philip Kingsley brand of hair and scalp care products. 

Discussing her own hair health regime in the run up to her big day while advising other brides-to-be how they can promote good hair and scalp health, Anabel answers our questions. 

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What are your top products for bridal hair prep?

I am on a mission to grow my hair as long as possible for my wedding so that I can wear it in a romantic, intricate up-do. I want my stylist to have as much length and thickness to play with as possible. To achieve my longest, most luscious locks I am doing the following:

Weekly

I know that a key factor to achieving long hair is to minimise breakage. To strengthen my strands, I am giving myself once weekly at-home Philip Kingsley Elasticizer conditioning treatments. This is a pre-shampoo conditioner that my father originally formulated for Audrey Hepburn. I work it into damp hair and pop a shower cap on before I do an exercise video in my sitting room. The heat from exercise helps the product to penetrate, and it feels great as I am conditioning my body and hair at the same time.

Once weekly, in addition to my at-home conditioning treatment, I have an intensive Hair and Scalp Spa Treatment at our London Clinic, Mayfair. This involves one of our expert trichotherapists applying Elasticizer to strengthen my hair, and a targeted scalp mask to optimise hair growth and scalp health. They use steam, as well as Infra-Red lamps to encourage maximum absorption of the products. As an added bonus, treatments are super relaxing (you are given a wonderful head and neck massage), so it helps to take my mind away from the stress of work and wedding planning.

When I do heat-style, I make sure to use heat protective products to shield my strands from damage. 

Daily

Every day, with breakfast and lunch, I take our PK4 Soy Protein Boost nutritional supplement. Hair is made of protein, and this helps to provide my strands with an extra daily dose of its essential building blocks. I am also taking a daily Biotin supplement to encourage my hair and nails to grow stronger.

Every morning without fail I apply our Volumizing Tricho 7 Scalp Drops to the front, sides, top and crown of my scalp. These are stimulating and help to create the ideal scalp environment for healthy hair growth.

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How is hair health impacted by diet?

Eating well is one of the most important things you can do to encourage healthy hair growth. This is because hair is non-essential tissue, meaning that it is the first part of you to suffer from any dietary deficiency. In fact, a poor diet is one of the most common causes of hair loss.

What are the key foods to incorporate into your diet in the lead up to your wedding day and when should you make these changes?

I suggest embarking on a ‘hair growth diet’ at least six months before your big day...preferably as soon as you get engaged.

This basically means eating healthy, well balanced meals, not skipping meals and making sure that your diet includes all food groups and an array of vitamins and minerals. As hair is non-essential tissue, it is the first part of you your body diverts nutrients away from when your diet is lacking. In other words, pre-wedding crash diets or restrictive eating regimes could leave you losing more than inches off your waist – they can also cause hair loss. 

One of the most important nutrients for your hair is protein, as that is what your hair is made of. Add at least a palm-sized portion of protein to your breakfast and lunch. Great examples are eggs, shellfish, chicken, lean meat, oily fish such as salmon, quinoa, seitan and pulses.

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Complex carbohydrates are also important as they provide a slow and sustained release of energy. Hair cells are the second fastest growing cells your body makes, so eating carbs is essential in order to provide your strands with the energy they need to grow. Good examples of complex carbohydrates are sweet potatoes, white potatoes with skin-on, brown rice or pasta, wholewheat toast and porridge.

Iron and ferritin (stored iron) are also key to hair growth as they are needed by your body to produce the protein your hair is made of. They are also instrumental in helping to keep your strands in their anagen (growth) phase for the optimal length of time. Ferritin deficiency is one of the most common reasons why hair doesn’t grow past a certain length, so if you want long locks on your wedding day it is important you take steps to ensure your levels are healthy. The best way to boost your iron and ferritin levels is to eat foods rich in haem-iron, such as red meat. If you do not eat red meat and suspect you have an iron deficiency, take a daily iron supplement.

Hair-healthy breakfast examples:

  • Two poached eggs on wholewheat toast with smashed avocado and sliced tomatoes
  • Smoked salmon on a wholewheat bagel with cream cheese, tomato and onion
  • Quinoa porridge with toasted almonds, sliced bananas and fresh berries

Hair-healthy lunch examples:

  • Grilled shrimp and couscous salad with spinach and grilled peppers.
  • Wholewheat pasta with salmon (or chicken) and broccoli
  • Grilled Tofu salad bowl with brown rice, rocket, chopped beetroot, chickpeas and avocado.

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Which vitamins/minerals promote hair health?

Other than the above, vitamin D3, biotin, vitamin B12 and zinc are key to promoting hair growth. You can try to boost your levels with the following foods and supplements:

Zinc: Found most abundantly in shellfish, such as oysters, shrimp and crab. Zinc is also present in plant-based foods such as pulses. However, zinc is not as easily absorbed from pulses and they must be soaked thoroughly before eating. For a helping hand, take a supplement. 

Vitamin D3: Only 10% of our vitamin D can be obtained from our diet – the rest must be synthesised from sun exposure or a vitamin D3 supplement. Vitamin D deficiency is very common and often causes excessive hair shedding. 

Vitamin B12: The best sources are red meat, clams, sardines and trout. Unfortunately, vitamin B12 is only found in animal products, so if you are a vegan or vegetarian you will likely need to take a supplement. 

If you are a bride-to-be, it can be super helpful to have a blood test and hair and scalp health analysis before your wedding day. This way you can check what vitamins and minerals you may be deficient in or any hormone/thyroid imbalances and tweak your diet and nutritional supplement intake accordingly. Due to the hair growth cycle, this should preferably be carried out 12 months before your big day.

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Any other tips to ensure hair looks its best on the big day?

The day before your wedding day, give your strands an intensive moisturising treatment. Apply a pre-shampoo conditioning treatment to your mid-lengths and ends, leave for an hour and then shampoo twice and condition as usual. This will help ensure your hair is at its shiniest and most manageable.

Do not try any new products on the day itself that you are unfamiliar with. Start testing any new styling products, shampoos and conditioners a few months before your big day to ensure you know how they will work with your style.

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