How Your Health Affects Your Hair

Crystal Styles‘ passion for helping our community embrace healthy hair and overall wellness, drove her into the study of Trichology.  In 2016, Crystal received her certification in the field of Trichology, graduating as Valedictorian and Summa Cum Laude from the National Trichology Training Institute (NTTI) in Stockbridge, Ga.

Crystal is a certified hair coach by Dr. Alan Bauman of Bauman Medical Center in Boco Raton FL, and a Brand Ambassador for haircare lines like Aunt Jackie’s Curls and Coils, Originals by Africa’s Best and more.  She is an expert consumer advisor with features in publications such as Sophisticate’s Black Hair Magazine, Sophisticate’s Hairstyle Guide, S-Mag South Africa, and Black College Today Magazine.

She is the owner of CrystalKnowsBeauty.com and HALO Hair & Scalp Consultancy of Atlanta with a new Youtube channel CKB TV. As a former news reporter & anchor, with media experience launched from working at WSB-TV in Atlanta, Georgia USA and other news markets, Crystal is a phenomenal speaker, host, and spokesperson. Her passion includes being the co-founder of a community non-profit ProactiveChange.org.  She is also a former Advisory Board member for NTTI.

WHAT ARE THE TOP THREE THINGS BLACK WOMEN IN PARTICULAR CAN DO TO PRESERVE THE HEALTH OF THEIR HAIR?

A: Among the top 3 would be: #1) Minimize heat damage, #2) For ladies who are wearing relaxed hair, stop putting relaxer on your scalp (this is another detailed topic for a later discussion), and #3) Eat healthy; consume plenty of dark and colorful vegetables that are full of vitamins and minerals, along with great sources of protein rich foods.

WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON HAIR AND SCALP PROBLEMS YOU SEE?

\The most common hair and scalp problems, probably worldwide, are various forms of alopecia. Traction alopecia in the black community is very common due to tight braiding, wearing heavy braids, tight weaving and wearing wigs without protecting your edges. Male pattern and female pattern baldness are also quite common. Alopecia is a very broad term so I encourage you to get a consultation in order to pinpoint the true cause of your hair loss.

 HOW CAN YOU TELL IF A HAIR VITAMIN OR TOPICAL HAIR SOLUTION IS GOING TO BE BENEFICIAL FOR GROWTH?

You definitely want to read the label to make sure your hair vitamins include B-complex vitamins, zinc, protein, iron, vitamin D, C, and E to support hair growth and hair retention; folic acid is important to support healthy cell development.  For general maintenance products, look for ingredients like flaxseed oil, grapeseed & avocado oils, coconut oils. These among other ingredients help minimize breakage, and strengthen hair strands for continued growth.

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CAN YOU TELL ME EXACTLY WHAT TO BUY TO STOP MY HAIR FROM THINNING?

Unfortunately, there is no one size fits all when it comes to thinning hair.  I want to be clear that supporting hair growth (as we just discussed) and dealing with hair loss, are two totally different issues. Hair loss can be caused by lots of reasons including high blood pressure, hormonal issues, stress, nutritional deficiencies, medication, genetics, aggressive manipulation and list goes on, so be sure to get a consultation first to assess the root cause, and find the right solution for you.

WHY IS GRAY HAIR SO DRY AND STUBBORN?

Gray hair is dry and stubborn because the hair follicles have stopped excreting natural hair color. Melanin in our hair is what helps with strand flexibility, it gives the hair sheen and makes it easier to style. When the natural color is gone, you know it, because those gray hairs are not going to cooperate like the rest. They will need more attention including steam and deep conditioning treatments which will help soften the hair for better manageability.

WHAT’S YOUR RECOMMENDATION WHEN IT COMES TO HAIR COLOR?

I recommend that you have a professional cosmetologist apply your color, or at least someone who really knows what they’re doing. After all, it is a chemical, so you want to make sure the pH balance of your hair is reset properly. HOWEVER, if you prefer to be color-free and just wear your natural gray hair, I do have a tip to share: use only white or clear haircare products. Why? Because gray hair absorbs colorful dyes in products that can make your hair look dingy over time. I gave my mom the Coconut Crème collection by Originals by Africa’s Best. They are white in color, and her gray does not have the dingy look.

CAN THE LACK OF CERTAIN VITAMINS AND MINERALS CAUSE MY HAIR TO FALL OUT?

Indeed. Most people are not aware that low vitamin D and/or low iron, for instance, can cause your hair to fall out. When I speak to people dealing with hair loss, one of the main questions I ask is if they know what their vitamin and mineral levels are? People will say their doctor recommended for them to take supplements or eat foods rich in vitamin D and iron, but for whatever reason, they ignore the advice, not really understanding the association between hair loss and nutritional deficiencies.

WHAT SHOULD WE AVOID IN OUR DIETS TO HELP SUPPORT HEALTHY HAIR, SCALP AND SKIN?  

Do your best to greatly minimize the consumption of foods high in cholesterol, sodium, saturated fats and refined sugars…you know, all of the junk food that we love so much. I never tell people to go cold turkey, to throw out all of the bad foods in your pantry at once, but I do encourage you to start replacing bad foods with nutritional choices, one at a time.  Before you know it, you’re eating healthy and looking younger.

DO YOU RECOMMEND ANY NATURAL REMEDIES FOR THINNING HAIR  

I’m always pushing the InsideOut way of thinking when it comes to combatting thinning hair. Eating natural ingredients that are good for your hair, and using hair products with the same natural ingredients that you consume in food form is like a double attack on thinning hair. One of my go-to super foods is flaxseed. It’s an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. And it is really good in helping minimize dry scalp, eczema and helps with hair elasticity to minimize breakage.

You can sprinkle cold-pressed milled flaxseed over any meal or blend it in your favorite morning smoothies. And, I also use the Flaxseed Recipes hair products by the Aunt Jackie’s Curls and Coils brand to help support the same benefits for my hair topically. There are lots of natural remedies and treatments being used for hair growth, like rice water rinsing to strengthen hair strands, people are making flaxseed solutions at home as well.

CAN DAMAGE FROM BRAIDS AND WEAVES BE REVERSED?

That depends if the condition is not too far gone. Meaning, if you still have hair follicles when you decide to stop the tight braiding and tight weaving, then there may be a fighting chance to regrow hair in those affected areas on the scalp. Once scarring alopecia occurs, meaning the follicles are permanently closed, you will need to look at different alternatives for hair replacement.

HOW CAN SOMEONE FIND YOU TO GET MORE INFORMATION?

If you would like to schedule a consultation with me, go to CrystalKnowsBeauty.com, and Click on the HALO button. For speaking engagements, same website, CrystalKnowsBeauty.com, click on the Contact tab to make your request.  You can also follow me @CrystalKnowsBeauty on Instagram & Facebook. I’ll have some local workshops coming soon, so look out for details.

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