What foods for beautiful hair?

Hello friends! Today we meet to answer a question that often comes to us: What foods should you choose to have beautiful hair ? On the internet, you can find everything and its opposite. This is why Mr. BARBIER decided to go fishing for information and investigate for you ;)

Here is already a small list to attach to the fridge, to remember the main foods.

Hair benefits

  • Salmon : proteins, Omega-3, B12, Iron
  • Green vegetables (spinach, broccoli) : Vitamins A and C, Calcium and Iron
  • Lentils and beans : Protein, Iron, Zinc, Biotin
  • Dried fruits and nuts : Zinc, Selenium, Omega 3
  • Poultry : Protein and Iron
  • Eggs : Proteins, Biotin, Vitamin B12
  • Oysters : Zinc
  • Carrots : Vitamin A

But what impact do these foods actually have on the quality of your mane? Know above all that this is a very complex subject, and that we are far from having elucidated all the mysteries. Here are the answers we currently have, by nutrient category.

The proteins

Monsieur BARBIER - Food blog articles - Proteins

In a balanced diet, proteins should represent 15% of total energy intake . (45-50% for carbohydrates, and 35-40% for lipids).

Foods rich in protein: they are found everywhere in life , but it is in animal proteins that we find the essential amino acids . Dear vegans, be careful!

Hair is essentially made up of proteins. This is the basic material. The most represented is keratin . It is therefore obvious that if you suffer from a protein deficiency, your hair will have difficulty growing and it will look sad. However, be careful not to overdo it with protein, which in excess can pose a danger to your kidney ! Especially since, normally, in France, the average protein intake per person exceeds the recommended nutritional intake. So unless you are following a drastic diet, no problem, a priori, on that side.


No RNP* defined to date.
Foods rich in taurine: fish, meat, algae.

Taurine is an amino acid (a molecule used to make proteins and peptides), which has shown particularly encouraging results on the survival of the hair follicle, in vitro , that is to say, in the test tube. It remains to be tested on humans in real conditions, but we have already observed a protective effect with respect to a growth factor, TGF-ß1, which in the absence of taurine, tends to twist and then inactivate the hair follicle, as you can see in the photos below.

Monsieur BARBIER - Food blog article - Taurine


Monsieur BARBIER - Food blog article - Vitamins

Ah! What a big and wonderful family that is that of vitamins. These molecules are essential to life , but our body does not know how to make them, and depends on an external supply . Special case: vitamin K, which is made by our gut bacteria, but it has no use for your hair, so we won't talk about it. Let's see the ones that interest us in a hair context.

Vitamin A

RNP* = 750 µg/d for men, 650 µg/d for women.
Foods rich in vitamin A: Offal, cold meats, butter, cheese, carrots, sweet potatoes, melon.

Vitamin A is primarily used for eyesight , since it is a derivative of this vitamin which captures photons at eye level. A fascinating story that I will tell you in another article, if you are interested. As far as we are concerned, vitamin A is involved in the production of sebum . And you know that sebum is very good, as long as you have neither too much nor too little . Its function is to nourish and protect the scalp . Finally, vitamin A is also a good antioxidant.


No RNP* defined to date.
Foods rich in biotin: Yeast, liver, egg yolk, mushrooms, beans, lentils.

Biotin is the nickname for vitamin B8 , but it is also called vitamin H (who knows…). Biotin deficiency is quite rare, because it is produced by digestive bacteria . Unless you suffer from a significant imbalance in the intestinal flora, you are therefore, a priori, not concerned. If, however, this were the case, you would indeed lose your hair, and/or be a victim of trichorrhexis nodosa, an extremely rare disease with a genetic component, which weakens the hair fiber in certain very specific places (nodosa = knots). But in this regard, go play the lottery instead, you have a better chance of winning the jackpot than of catching it. As for the possible beneficial effects of biotin supplementation, nothing concrete has yet been demonstrated.

Vitamin B12

RNP* = 4 µg/day
Foods rich in vitamin B12: Offal, meat, fish, cheese, poultry. NO B12 IN PLANTS!

Present in many metabolic phenomena, this vitamin indirectly prevents hair loss and helps maintain its color . This could be due to the fact that it is involved in the synthesis of red blood cells, which provide the oxygen necessary for the life of the follicle cells, as well as all the other cells of the body. In short, B12 is not a special hair vitamin, it is an essential vitamin for your entire body, including your hair. And that's why, moreover, if one day you are truly deficient in vitamin B12, be assured of one thing: your hair will be the least of your worries ;)

Also note that, overall, the B vitamins are known to be rather beneficial to your hair health : B5 (present in FULL CARE shampoo in the form of a pro-vitamin: it will be transformed into a vitamin later) gives strength , flexibility and shine to hair. Vitamin B6 , for its part, helps prevent the appearance of dandruff . It is found in particular in eggs, liver and cereals.

Vitamin C

RNP* = 110 mg/d
Foods rich in vitamin C: Blackcurrants, citrus fruits, parsley, red pepper.

One of the roles of vitamin C is to ensure the synthesis of collagen worthy of the name. Collagen, in addition to participating in the good structure of the dermis , plays a protective role at the level of the hair follicle , allowing the latter to exercise its functions in good conditions, and for longer. Vitamin C is also a very good antioxidant , which is why it is present in Monsieur BARBIER's PREPA-SHAVE pre-shave lotion .

Did you know ? Vitamin C is also called ascorbic acid. This name comes from the fact that a vitamin C deficiency causes a disease well known to sailors who no longer have a fruit on the boat: scurvy. This is what happens when you are no longer able to produce proper collagen, and it’s not a pretty sight… I’ll leave you to have the pleasure of searching “scurvy” on Google ;)

Vitamin D

RNP* = 15 µg/d
Foods rich in vitamin D: Cod liver oil and fatty fish.

In reality, vitamin D is not found in food like that. There are precursors there, which will be transformed into vitamin D in the body, provided you are exposed to the sun ! To date, vitamin D has not shown any particular effects on hair quality . It does, however, have some utility in the management of a particular disease called telogen effluvium . It is, roughly speaking , intense hair loss, often the result of severe malnutrition.

Otherwise, you already know that vitamin D plays a very important role in bone metabolism. We all know from the Yoplait ad that “ vitamin D helps fix calcium in bones ”. In reality, it's more complicated than that, but that's not the point. Ultimately, for those who want to shine in society, vitamin D deficiency leads to a disease called osteomalacia, which literally means “soft bone disease”. It is also called the student's disease. Well yes, by dint of locking himself up to revise, he doesn't expose himself to the sun, and therefore no vitamin D.

Vitamin E

RNP* = 10.5 mg/d for men and 9.9 mg/d for women
Foods rich in vitamin E: Oil, margarine, vegetables, fruits.

Vitamin E is also an antioxidant , therefore very beneficial to the entire body, especially with regard to immunity . Capillary speaking, it protects the scalp and bulbs from oxidative stress , involved in hair loss.

Trace elements

Monsieur BARBIER - Food blog article - trace elements

They are called that because they are necessary for life but in very small quantities , below 1ppm, that is to say 1 mg/Kg of body weight (oligo = very small, nothing to do with a traditional dish of Aubrac). At high doses, they can be very toxic . So beware of excess!


No RNP* defined to date, but AS* = 70 µg/d
Foods rich in selenium: Fish (monkfish +++), whole wheat pasta, chickpeas, lentils.

Selenium is also an antioxidant . A selenium deficiency is quite rare, and depends mainly on the content in the soil. Such a deficiency mainly presents muscular and cardiac symptoms, but sometimes capillary depigmentation is observed . Normally you have enough selenium in the body. Its sufficient intake is very low. In addition, too high a concentration of Selenium can be dangerous, and cases of poisoning with food supplements are not that rare. So my advice, leave your selenium level alone, eat dried fruit as an aperitif, and everything will be fine. In any case, in general, we rarely lack trace elements.


RNP* = 1.3 mg/d
Foods rich in copper: Liver, brewer's yeast, cocoa, dried fruits.

Copper is involved in many biological mechanisms. From the production of red blood cells to the formation of cartilage , including immunity, even the production of melanin , we can say that we find it everywhere! Furthermore, via a complex reaction which will not be detailed here, copper actively participates in the resistance of the keratin fiber , the main constituent of hair. So copper is good!


RNP* = 9.4 to 14 mg/day
Foods rich in zinc: Seafood, organ meats, meat and cheese.

Zinc is involved at many levels in the functioning of the body. Its recommended intake is quite high. Fortunately, once again, a balanced diet is enough to ensure this daily intake. However, zinc deficiencies are more common than other trace elements, especially in developing countries or among vegans . It generally results in thin and brittle hair , sometimes depigmented . That said, once again, this will not be your priority in the event of a real zinc deficiency...

Zinc is also a good antimicrobial agent , which is why we put it in our PREPA-SHAVE pre-shave lotion ;)

Culture point: Zinc is involved in numerous enzymatic reactions in the body. An enzymatic reaction is a chemical reaction that takes place in the presence of an enzyme. An enzyme is a molecule which will not be transformed, but which will ensure that the reaction takes place more quickly. Most of the chemical reactions necessary for life are enzymatic reactions, because it has been calculated that without enzymes, these same reactions could last for several HUNDREDS of years each, if not longer. If we consider that several hundred reactions are put into play simply to lift a finger, without enzymes, this action which seems trivial to us could require several thousand years. Incredible right?


RNP* = 950 mg/day
Foods rich in calcium: dairy products, legumes, nuts, cereals, certain waters.

We are not going to present calcium, you already know it well enough. However, be aware that part of the body's calcium stimulates certain cellular mediators which act on the phospholipids of the membranes, notably those of the hair follicle cells, thus promoting growth . A calcium deficiency can lead to a slight loss of hair, but as you can imagine, it is mainly your bones that will make you feel the urgency of such a situation.


RNP* = 11 mg/d

Foods rich in iron: Black pudding, clams, lentils, split peas.

And no, spinach is not that high in iron. Popeye lied to us! (plus, it doesn't make you more muscular... just wrong Popeye!)

Iron is what is used to make hemoglobin , a molecule found in red blood cells. When blood passes through the lungs, hemoglobin binds the oxygen it finds there each time you breathe in. It takes it with it into the general circulation, and releases it to the organs and tissues, to make them “breathe”. So there is a lot of iron in your blood, and that's why it has that particular metallic taste. Yum…

As for the effects of iron on hair, there are none, at least not directly. It turns out that an iron deficiency means less oxygen available to the entire body, this is called iron deficiency anemia (martial = iron, and yes, martial arts comes from there). However, a suffocated hair follicle , like any other organ, cannot do its job well. The hair already present falls out (which is normal), but does not grow back ... Fortunately, iron supplementation is enough to restore balance in strength. Iron deficiency is especially observed in pregnant women, because they must take iron for two! This can lead to a form of anemia called anemia of pregnancy. Gravidique means “which relates to pregnancy”, not to be confused with extremely serious.

Fatty acids

Fatty acids are in fact all fatty substances. Yes, chemically, all fatty substances are acids.

Monsieur BARBIER - Food blog article - Fatty acids


No RNP* defined to date.
Foods rich in omega-3: Oily fish (salmon +++), seafood, eggs, soybean oil, avocado, lettuce.

Omega-3s are so-called unsaturated acids. They are part of the essential fatty acids , which are so called because the body absolutely needs them to live , and cannot produce them on its own . It therefore depends on an external contribution only. Omega-3s have many benefits. They notably regulate inflammatory reactions, reduce the risk of heart problems, and participate in the body's lipid balance. Studies show that certain omega-3s, such as DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) present in quantity in mackerel oil, promote hair growth by stimulating the anagen phase .

As a reminder, in the hair cycle, the anagen phase is the growth phase . Then comes the catagen phase , during which the hair no longer grows , but remains attached. Finally, the last phase is the telogen phase , during which the hair falls out . We then start again with an anagen phase, if all goes well, since it is a cycle. Fun fact: the duration of the anagen phase varies from one individual to another. So if we all stop cutting our hair, after a while, it will reach a maximum length, which will not be the same for everyone.



Monsieur BARBIER - Food blog article - Brewer's yeast

Brewer's yeast is a single-celled fungus that develops during the brewing of malt, and which, through fermentation, produces this delicious beer that you sip oklm on the terrace. However, it turns out that this yeast is a good source of B group vitamins such as biotin , or even folic acid , a vitamin which helps systems with rapid cellular metabolism, such as hair growth . If your hair is a little brittle, a little brewer's yeast treatment can help ;)


Beautiful hair is hair that grows on a healthy body , and therefore, a body that follows a balanced diet . This is the NUMBER ONE secret of beauty, and health, of course!

Monsieur BARBIER - Food blog article - Conclusion

We hope you liked this article. Continue to share your questions with us, we will do our best to shed light on your needs as accurately as possible! In the meantime, take care of yourself and your hair, and eat a balanced diet ;)

Matthew LAFONT
Pharmacist specializing in cosmetology



Average nutritional requirement: this is the real need of an organism, as an individual, with regard to the external supply of a particular nutrient. The BNM is based solely on scientific studies on the functioning of the human body. In this article, only the BNMs officially established by the WHO are discussed.


Population nutritional reference. This is the new name for the recommended nutritional intake. This is the recommended intake per nutrient to cover the needs of 97.5% of the population. The RNP is based on scientific, but also demographic and statistical studies. It is often compared to the BNM (average nutritional requirement) which is the individual need of an organism for a particular nutrient. The BNM is only evaluated on scientific studies, on the functioning of the human body, and does not take into account the population approach. By definition, the RNP is much superior to the BNM...sometimes too much...but that is another debate that we will not address here. In this article, only the RNPs officially defined by ANSES (National Agency for Health, Food and Work Safety) are discussed.


Sufficient intake. This is an intake that has been deemed sufficient and beneficial for a person with an optimal nutritional status. Little used in current practice.


Fascinating article on food and hair in general, from the Society of Trichology (which is not the art of knitting, but the science of hair).

Hair and Nutrition - Department of Dermatology at the University of Boston Medicine

Updating the ANSES PNNS (National Nutrition Health Plan) benchmarks, and nutritional references.

Nutrition and hair: deficiencies and supplements - Trichomed clinic for hair medicine and hair transplantation, Berlin.

Review: The role of vitamins and minerals in hair loss.

Protective effects of Taurine on the human hair follicle in vitro - International journal of cosmetic science. The photos are striking!

Review: Use of Biotin against hair loss - Faculty of Medicine of the University of Louisville, and the University of Osteopathy of Philadelphia, USA.

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