When clients ask about a diet for shiny hair, Bethesda health
counselor Chris Weintrob recommends foods rich in biotin, a form of
vitamin B (found in egg yolks, almonds, and Swiss chard); silica, a trace
mineral associated with healthy hair (in leeks, garbanzo beans,
strawberries, and cucumbers); and omega-3 fatty acids, which prevent dry
scalp and dull hair (in walnuts, ground flaxseed, chia seeds, and fatty
fish such as salmon).
Take a Pill
B-complex vitamins like biotin can be an antidote to lackluster
hair, as can iron supplements, says DC dermatologist Tina Alster.
Sometimes there’s an underlying cause such as anemia, so if your hair is
lifeless and you’re losing strands, it’s best to see a doctor. Pregnancy
vitamins, which contain biotin and iron, have gotten buzz as shiny-hair
promoters, but pregnant women have another thing going, says
Alster—estrogen, which makes hair gleam.
More often than not, dull hair needs deep conditioning, says
Tina Alster, who advises investing in a good conditioner such as
Kérastase. Even better—a leave-in conditioning mask: “You want to
moisturize. Light will be reflected and you’ll end up with a lustrous
sheen.” She also advocates a hat to protect hair from ultraviolet
light—the sun is a real shine-zapper.
A clear, semi-permanent glaze can seal the hair cuticle and add
shine in about 20 minutes, says Kerry Durbin, head colorist at DC’s
Immortal Beloved. Or you can opt for a glaze with a bit of color to add
depth as well as a boost of shine between trips to the colorist. Redheads,
blonds, and those coloring gray strands see the most benefit. Glazes last
four to six weeks.
Straight hair reflects light more easily, one reason why salon
services such as Brazilian Keratin Treatment and Japanese straightening
deliver hair with sheen. But there are other routes. Karina Costantino of
Salon Daniel swears by the Thermafuse F450 Amino Fusion Smoothing
Treatment, which defrizzes, smooths, and adds shine. It lasts three to
four months, is formaldehyde-free, and starts at $350 at Salon
For a quick fix, shine sprays and serums work wonders. Kerry
Durbin suggests using them on the lower half of your strands to avoid a
greasy scalp. She’s partial to Oribe Supershine Moisturizing Cream ($49 at
bluemercury.com) and John Frieda Frizz-Ease serum ($8.99 at
drugstore.com). For a natural approach, Chris Weintrob suggests the same
coconut oil used in cooking: “Rub some on your hands and run it over your