Let’s face it: find­ing hair and skin prod­ucts to bring out our inner beau­ty and  keep us look­ing forever young can get expen­sive. Between the BB, CC, and ZZ Creams out there, and a nev­er end­ing selec­tion of nat­u­ral hair prod­ucts mak­ing all sorts of claims, get­ting exact­ly what you need can be con­fus­ing and lead to extreme pro­duct junkie-ism (don’t I know it).

Well, what if I told you that you could get your hair and skin in tip-top shape by tak­ing a trip into your kitchen? No, you’re not reach­ing for the same old eggs, banana, avo­ca­dos, yogurt, and hon­ey. This time around, we’re going to explore 8 foods that you prob­a­bly didn’t expect to do more than taste good. FYI, you can load up on all the­se foods dur­ing meals (although I wouldn’t rec­om­mend it for cof­fee and choco­late), and reap the same ben­e­fits (and more) for your hair, skin, and body!

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Cof­fee

Regard­less of how you feel about cof­fee, there is one thing about it that you can’t deny: the caf­feine con­tent. When tak­en inter­nal­ly via your favorite lat­te, espres­so, or plain cup of joe, caf­feine stim­u­lates body and brain func­tion, caus­ing you to move a mile a min­ute. Much in that same way, cof­fee stim­u­lates skin and hair fol­li­cles. For the face and body, cof­fee helps ener­gize and exfo­li­ate (cof­fee grounds) skin, and relieves under-eye puffi­ness. It also can help improve the appear­ance of cel­lulite when used over time. As far as hair goes, cof­fee can help stim­u­late cir­cu­la­tion on the scalp, encour­ag­ing healthy hair growth — espe­cial­ly for those suf­fer­ing hair loss. It also improves shine and depth of col­or.

For a DIY cof­fee fix for skin, try mix­ing fresh cof­fee grounds with your favorite oil of choice (I rec­om­mend an Extra Vir­gin Olive Oil and Jojoba Oil mix) and sug­ar. This scrub can be used on the face and body to exfo­li­ate skin and help you reap all the ben­e­fits list­ed above. To get the caf­feine going on your hair, brew a strong pot, cool, and pour into a spray bot­tle. You can aim the noz­zle at your scalp for a mas­sage, or use in the show­er as a hair rin­se.

If you’re inter­est­ed in try­ing out some great caf­feinat­ed prod­ucts, try Hair­itage Hydration’s Jar of Joe, and The Pomade Shop’s Café Au Nat­u­ral Cof­fee Sham­poo and Con­di­tion­er.

Okra

I’m sure your first reac­tion to this veg­etable was either “ooh!” or “eew!”. Okra is one of those defin­i­tive things that you either love or hate. With a crispy, slight­ly fuzzy exte­ri­or and a slimy, beady-filled inte­ri­or, you can’t sit on the fence about this one. I hap­pen to love okra as a food, but now even more as a cos­met­ic pow­er­house! Okra is rich in vit­a­mins A, C, and E,  antiox­i­dant vit­a­mins that fight free rad­i­cals and pro­mote heal­ing. Vit­a­m­in A is known to soothe irri­tat­ed scalps, and help remove fine lines in the skin. Vit­a­m­in E also pro­motes UV pro­tec­tion It also con­tains folate and biot­in, both essen­tial to healthy hair growth and skin regen­er­a­tion.

You can use one bunch of okra and whip up your own hair con­di­tion­er and facial masque. Boil about 2 cups of chopped okra in about 2 cups of water for 20 min­utes. Remove the okra (still in the pot) from the heat, and allow it to steep for about 10 min­utes. Pour the entire con­tents into an air­tight jar, seal, and allow to steep overnight. In the morn­ing, you will have a jar of slimy stuff — pour the slime into a sep­a­rate con­tain­er. You can use the slime as-is for a con­di­tion­er, or use it as a part of a mix for anoth­er DIY project. With the left­over okra pods, throw them in the blender with a 1/4 cup of water (and some oth­er good­ies if you wish), and whip them into a mask that can be left on your face for 15–20 min­utes.

If the above sounds like too much work, try Shes­cen­tit Okra Hair Repair Recon­struc­tor.

Car­rots

This is a tough one for me to swal­low — I can’t stand car­rots. But for my hair…I will tol­er­ate them (don’t judge me). Car­rots are ridicu­lous­ly high in Vit­a­m­in A — with 1 car­rot pro­vid­ing 200% of the dai­ly rec­om­mend­ed val­ue. As we learned with okra, Vit­a­m­in A is a valu­able antiox­i­dant that fight dam­age caused by free rad­i­cals, pro­motes anti-aging of hair and skin.

For super soft hair and skin, whip up a batch of boiled car­rots, hon­ey, and olive oil (make sure the car­rots are blend­ed WELL). This mask will give you soft and shiny hair, and glow­ing, tight­ened skin.

If you’re not inter­est­ed in cook­ing car­rots for any­thing oth­er than din­ner, try AfroVeda’s Car­rot Seed Clar­i­fy­ing Sham­poo Bar or Kyra’s Shea Med­leys Strength + Emol­lient But­ter Cream.

Toma­toes

Although visu­al­ly unas­sum­ing, toma­toes are a nutri­tion­al pow­er­house. Toma­toes are an amaz­ing source of Vit­a­m­in A, Vit­a­m­in K, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, mag­ne­sium, phos­pho­rus, iron, sul­fur, and more. It has tons of antiox­i­dant, detox­i­fi­ca­tion, sooth­ing, and reju­ve­na­tion prop­er­ties for hair and skin. The vit­a­mins and min­er­als in toma­toes help even skin tone, helps heal and pre­vent acne, shrinks enlarged pores, and reg­u­lates sebum pro­duc­tion — which is espe­cial­ly help­ful for those with oily skin. In the hair, toma­toes are known to help with the same sebum reg­u­la­tion, sooth­ing and cor­rect­ing dry itchy scalp con­di­tions, and increas­ing shine and elas­tic­i­ty in dam­aged, dull hair.

For an easy DIY mask that can be used on hair or skin, grab a toma­to and half an avo­cado and blend well with a few table­spoons of olive, sweet almond, or jojoba oil. Because toma­to is acidic and can be dry­ing, adding more oil(s) can help pre­vent dry­ness and enhance soft­ness.

Not feel­ing like mak­ing the mix? Try the Yes to Toma­toes line of skin­care prod­ucts, and the Yes to Toma­toes Volu­miz­ing Con­di­tion­er.

Cucum­bers

I promise, we’re not mak­ing a sal­ad here. Besides mak­ing excel­lent pick­les and puffy-eye treat­ments, cucum­bers are rich in sil­i­ca, Vit­a­mins A and C, potas­si­um, and more. Aside from pack­ing a pow­er­ful antiox­i­dant punch, sil­i­ca-rich cucum­bers increase firm­ness of skin, elas­tic­i­ty of hair and skin, and reduce inflam­ma­tion. Cucum­bers are also sul­fur rich, which is essen­tial for hair growth. Sul­fur is a build­ing block of hair, and the sul­fur from cucum­bers can stim­u­late increased healthy hair growth.

For a DIY mask that is sure to soft­en and strength­en hair, blend 1/2 a cucum­ber into a paste (in a blender is rec­om­mend­ed). Add in a few table­spoons of your favorite oils (olive oil, apri­cot seed oil, or sweet almond oil are my per­son­al picks), 1/4 cup of coconut milk, and 1/4 a cup of your favorite con­di­tion­er (some­thing like Trader Joe’s Nour­ish Spa is ide­al). Turn this recipe into a cool face mask by sub­sti­tut­ing the con­di­tion­er with 1/4 cup of oats blend­ed into a pow­der and mixed in.

If you’re more into pur­chas­ing some­thing with cucum­ber, the Yes to Cucum­bers line is a great place to start for skin and hair care. Hair One Cucum­ber Aloe Cleans­ing Con­di­tion­er is also anoth­er great option.

molasses

Molasses

Black­strap molasses in all of its dark, thick, sticky, and bit­ter glo­ry is anoth­er nutri­tion­al pow­er­house that ben­e­fits both skin and hair. It is packed full of vit­a­mins and min­er­als that lends itself to healthy body, hair, and skin. Packed with iron, cal­ci­um, man­gane­se, cop­per, mag­ne­sium, or potas­si­um, black­strap molasses pro­motes skin reju­ve­na­tion and hair growth. It is espe­cial­ly nour­ish­ing and con­di­tion­ing for dry, dam­aged, or over-processed hair, improv­ing shine, strength, and elas­tic­i­ty.

For acne prone, dry, or rough skin, dilute 1 tea­spoon of unsul­phured black­strap molasses with 2 tea­spoons of your favorite oil (jojoba or olive oil are rec­om­mend­ed). For an added boost, you can add a tea­spoon of apple cider vine­gar. You can use the same recipe as the base for a hair mask, or just throw a few table­spoons of black­strap molasses into your favorite con­di­tion­er to reap the ben­e­fits.

If you can’t see your­self buy­ing a bot­tle of molasses, give My Hon­ey Child’s Molasses Hydrat­ing Deep Con­di­tion­er a try.

Pump­kin

This one holds a spe­cial place in my heart. When fall rolls around, I’m #AllPump­kin­Ev­ery­thing. Seri­ous­ly, one trip to Trader Joe’s and I go nuts. Luck­i­ly for me, not only does pump­kin make for some deli­cious food cre­ations, it hosts a num­ber of healthy hair and skin ben­e­fits as well. Pump­kins, like car­rots are packed with beta carotene which not only gives it an orange hue, but nat­u­ral­ly pro­vides the body with tons of free rad­i­cal-fight­ing Vit­a­m­in A. Pump­kin enzymes are also full of zinc, and Vit­a­mins E and C — mak­ing the fall sta­ple heal­ing, sooth­ing, and hydrat­ing, among oth­er things. Pump­kin can help reverse dam­age to skin, reduce lines, and help provide a youth­ful glow. For the hair, pump­kin is mois­tur­iz­ing, sooth­ing, shine-enhanc­ing, and elas­tic­i­ty improv­ing.

Treat your­self to a DIY pump­kin deep con­di­tion­er with half a can of cooked or pureed pump­kin (baby food pump­kin is the eas­i­est to work with), 1/4 cup of plain greek yogurt, and 2 table­spoons of hon­ey. Get pump­kin on your face by swap­ping out the greek yogurt for a few table­spoons of your favorite oil.

If you don’t want fresh pump­kin for any­thing but pie, pick up a bot­tle of Darcy’s Botan­i­cals Pump­kin Seed Curl Mois­tur­iz­ing Con­di­tion­er.

Choco­late

For as long as I can remem­ber, I’ve loved choco­late. If I could eat choco­late every day, I would. As it turns out, I can get my cocoa fix with­out sab­o­tag­ing my work­outs — because choco­late is great for the hair!  Choco­late is antiox­i­dant rich, which com­bats free-rad­i­cals (those pesky lit­tle things that can make our hair and skin look aged). Youth­ful hair has more shine, body, strength, and elas­tic­i­ty — mak­ing it less prone to break­age and dam­age. Cocoa but­ter is a pow­er­ful emol­lient and soft­en­ing agent. Not only does it pos­sess amaz­ing heal­ing and sooth­ing prop­er­ties for the skin and scalp, it soft­ens hair and pro­motes shine and elasticity.Chocolate has fla­vanols, which are proven UV pro­tec­tants. Nat­u­ral sun­block that smells heav­en­ly? Yes, please!

If you want to whip up some­thing choco­laty for your hair or skin, try a cocoa but­ter hot oil treat­ment mix of 2 parts cocoa but­ter and 1 part coconut oil. You can also get in the kitchen with 6-8oz of plain greek yogurt, 2 table­spoons of pure cocoa pow­der, 3 table­spoons of your favorite oil(s), and 2 table­spoons of hon­ey. Blend to an icing-like con­sis­ten­cy, and apply to hair as either a pre-poo or deep con­di­tion­ing treat­ment. Skip the greek yogurt and apply it to your face as a mask. Of course, you can always take the easy road and just add a few table­spoons of pure cocoa pow­der to your favorite con­di­tion­er or creamy face wash.

Of all the food ingre­di­ents, choco­late is prob­a­bly the most pop­u­lar. Check out the­se amaz­ing choco­laty prod­ucts if DIY doesn’t work for you: Pura Body Nat­u­rals Choco­late Hair Smooth­ie, All Things O’ Nat­u­ral Nat­ty Cupuacu & Rhas­soul Deep Con­di­tion­er, Camille Rose Nat­u­rals Algae Renew Deep Con­di­tion­er, Pur­gasm Shop Wild Cher­ry Treat­ment Hair Truf­fles, Qhemet Bio­log­ics Cocoa Tree Detan­gling Ghee, and Soul­tan­i­cals Knot Sauce Coil Detan­gler.

What are some of your favorite food items for hair and skin health?

Christina Patrice

Born, raised, and liv­ing in Los Ange­les, Christi­na is BGLH’s res­i­dent tran­si­tion­ing expert and pro­duct junkie. In addi­tion to lov­ing all things hair, she is a fit­ness novice and advo­cate of wear­ing san­dals year-round. For more infor­ma­tion on tran­si­tion­ing, nat­u­ral hair, and her own hair jour­ney, vis­it maneobjective.com. Or, if you like pic­tures fol­low Christi­na on Insta­gram @maneobjective.

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19 Comments on "8 Foods for Healthy Hair and Beautiful Skin"

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la*belle

I real­ly enjoyed this arti­cle, and I can total­ly under­stand how you can “force” your­self to eat some­thing for the sake of your hair ;) Ingest­ing molasses, though… even though it may mean health­ier hair. ugh.

boo boo child

will defo try the cof­fee rin­se!

NaturalV

I real­ly enjoyed this post, now about the DIY okra con­di­tion­er any ideas on how it can be pre­served.

the mane captain

choco­late? who would have thought. Thanks for the post. I’ve been mean­ing to use okra as a hair gel for a while, but haven’t got­ten around to it. It’s pump­kin sea­son, may be i’ll whip up a pump­kin pie one of the­se days

**Join oth­er toron­to nat­u­ral­is­tas on nov 16th. vis­it themanecaptain.blogspot.ca for more info.**

Karen
Hel­lo there! I got my hair straight­ened with a press­ing comb, not my choice, and then it was curled with a curling iron, a week ago. Three days after that, I washed my hair and it was so com­plete­ly straight I couldn’t believe it. No more lit­tle shrunk­en afro :( I’ve been deep con­di­tion­ing every few days, pro­tein and mois­ture DC-ing and I have my amla pow­der left to use to see if it can encour­age some curls which might not hap­pen. I’m going to try grow­ing out my dam­age instead of cut­ting off all of my hair. It’s very dam­aged all… Read more »
Valerie Signature Salon

mix hibis­cus with amla pow­der will start to bring bck your nat­u­ral curl pat­tern. Plus strength­en your roots. sham­poo your hair with pure aloe vera gel blend in a blender. strain if need­ed. watch out for the pulp.liquify your gel.

Nkem

Wow this is real­ly educative.I am actu­al­ly eat­ing a bar of Choco­late now.Hmmmm, so that means that am eat­ing one of the 8 foods for healthy hair.Am so hap­py right now.

shantel
Iva

I love every­thing about this arti­cle. The writ­ing style, the great con­tent. Real­ly well done Christi­na Patrice! Glad to see I am not the only okra lover in the world! I will def­i­nite­ly be try­ing the car­rot and molasses tips (but prob­a­bly not togeth­er)!

Dabney

BUT REMEMBER! Cof­fee stunts growth. So do the tea and cof­fee rins­es once every oth­er mon­th.

Amor

But if I’m through grow­ing and already short..

Srí Jackson

Does any type of fresh ground cof­fee do? I love cer­tain fra­grances of cof­fee and I won­der does that mat­ter if I choose a hazel­nut or not? Sil­ly as it may seem 2 ask, but hey; any sug­ges­tions?

Peggy

Can I mix the okra, toma­toes, and car­rots as one mix­ture? Or do I need to per­form each mix­ture seper­at­ley. How long can I pre­serve the mix­ture

Amber

Thank god for Darcy’s Botan­i­cal, Ani­ta Grant, Shes­cen­tit and the rest. I ain’t got time for mix­ing and alla dat! lol

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Evie@Defense Soap

Excel­lent.….. I read your blog and I like your post, good infor­ma­tion about skin and hair care I used cucum­ber ton­er few mon­th back I have dark cir­cles on my eyes and my friend she sug­gest­ed me a cucum­ber ton­er and its real­ly work on skin and cucum­ber juice also good for your skin and thank you so much such good infor­ma­tion. I found a site http://www.defensesoap.com/good skin care tips.

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