Just when you thought there couldn’t pos­si­bly be anoth­er mir­a­cle ingre­di­ent on the mar­ket.… here comes quinoa. Before your eyes glaze over and you skip to the next arti­cle, let me shed a lit­tle light on how this super seed can take your reg­i­men and hair care to the next lev­el.

What is Quinoa (keen-wah)?

There is a com­mon mis­con­cep­tion that quinoa is a grain. Although it can replace grains like rice in meals, in truth, it is an herba­ceous seed native to Cen­tral and South Amer­i­ca. It has been tra­di­tion­al­ly used for soups, mak­ing beer and ground as meals for por­ridges and cakes. In recent years, it has made its resur­gence in health-con­scious cir­cles as a nutri­ent-dense super­food.

Quinoa is incred­i­bly pro­tein dense, and is a good source of cal­ci­um, fiber, phos­pho­rous, mag­ne­sium, iron and amino acids. It also con­tains pow­er­ful antiox­i­dant com­pounds such as polyphe­nols and quercetin that help com­bat oxida­tive stress and improve heart health and meta­bol­ic func­tions. It is also gluten-free.

What Does This Mean for My Hair?

The avail­abil­i­ty of quinoa presents an awe­some oppor­tu­ni­ty for nat­u­ral hair care, espe­cial­ly when it comes to pro­tein treat­ments. Don’t run off to Whole Foods to buy ingre­di­ents for a DIY Quinoa Con­di­tion­er just yet! As JC explains here, most pro­teins must be hydrolyzed first (i.e. made the appro­pri­ate size) to be of any ben­e­fit to the hair.

Because it is a com­plete pro­tein and con­tains all of the essen­tial 8 amino acids, hydrolyzed quinoa has an enhanced abil­i­ty to assist in the repair, pro­tec­tion and con­di­tion­ing of hair. Hair treat­ed with hydrolyzed quinoa looks and feels smoother after one use, retains mois­ture bet­ter, is stronger, shows less signs of dam­age and has bet­ter pro­tect­ed cuti­cles. Hydrolyzed quinoa is also able to pen­e­trate the hair, strength­en­ing it from the cor­tex and along the sur­face. Stud­ies show uti­liz­ing hydrolyzed quinoa improved hair health and strength after one use, but increase sub­stan­tial­ly after 5 uses of prod­ucts with viable amounts of the super­food.

Hydrolyzed quinoa also ben­e­fits the hair in the fol­low­ing areas:

  • detan­gling
  • improved shine
  • ease of wet and dry comb­ing
  • soft­en­ing
  • bind­ing mois­ture to the hair
  • sooth­ing irri­tat­ed scalp

 What Prod­ucts Can I Use?

Luck­i­ly, get­ting your quinoa fix isn’t impos­si­ble. Although many prod­ucts are still using wheat, soy and oat pro­teins, there are a few who are hop­ping on the quinoa train. Be sure to check out:

Do you use any prod­ucts that con­tain quinoa? Share!

For more tran­si­tion­ing and nat­u­ral hair tips from Christi­na, check out her blog, The Mane Objec­tive. You can also find her on YouTube, Insta­gram and Face­book.

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.