Vegan Beauty Inside Out: How a plant-based diet reflects on your hair, skin and nails

Radiant skin, lustrous hair and strong nails are often indicators of your overall health and wellbeing. But have you ever considered how deeply your dietary choices impact your appearance? It’s not just skincare routines or hair treatments that determine how you look; it’s what you fuel your body with.

Your diet plays a pivotal role in the health and vitality of your hair, skin and nails


What’s the connection between diet and beauty?

The age-old saying, “You are what you eat,” may sound clichéd, but it holds more truth than you might realise. Your diet, the foods you choose to consume daily, plays a pivotal role in determining the health and vitality of your hair, skin and nails. Many dermatologists and nutritionists agree that beauty genuinely begins on the inside.

So, before you invest heavily in external treatments and cosmetics:

  • Understand the science: Nutrients from the foods you eat provide the building blocks for the cells in your hair, skin and nails.
  • Recognise the impact: A deficiency or an excess of certain nutrients can manifest externally, often showing up as brittle nails, lacklustre hair or problematic skin.

Food is more than mere sustenance; it’s the very foundation of your beauty.

  • Nutrients: Every bite you take delivers specific nutrients to your body. These nutrients play a vital role in cell regeneration, hydration and overall vitality.
  • Toxins: Conversely, consuming processed foods or those with artificial additives might introduce toxins, which could reflect negatively on your skin and hair.
  • Hydration: Drinking ample water and consuming hydrating foods keeps your skin plump and your hair shiny.

Why might a plant-based diet influence your appearance?

A plant-based diet is packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals

A plant-based diet is packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that your hair, skin and nails will thank you for. The beauty benefits of veganism aren’t just anecdotal; they’re backed by science.

While you may have chosen a vegan lifestyle to support animal welfare or reduce your carbon footprint, the beauty benefits are a delightful bonus.

Your skin is the largest organ of your body and plays a crucial role in protecting you. Feed it right, and it rewards you with a radiant glow. By embracing a diet that nourishes you from the inside out, you’re investing in your long-term radiance. Discover how your dietary choices can be your most powerful beauty tool.

  • Antioxidant powerhouse: Plant-based foods, especially brightly coloured fruits and vegetables, are loaded with antioxidants. These little wonders combat oxidative stress and free radicals, known culprits for premature ageing and skin dullness.
  • Natural hydration: Many plant foods have a high water content. Think about juicy fruits like watermelon or hydrating veggies like cucumber. Regular consumption of these can aid in maintaining your skin’s hydration levels.
  • Vitamin and mineral boost: Leafy greens, nuts, seeds and fruits are packed with vitamins like A, C and E, and minerals like zinc and selenium. These are the building blocks of healthy hair, skin and nails. For example, vitamin C aids collagen production, while vitamin E protects skin cells.
  • Healthy fats: Avocado, flaxseeds and walnuts, for instance, contain essential fatty acids which keep your skin moisturised and your hair strong.

The science behind vegan beauty

What are antioxidants and why are they essential for radiant skin?

Antioxidants are your skin’s best friends. They combat free radicals – unstable molecules that can damage your skin cells, leading to premature ageing and dullness. Vegan foods, especially berries, green tea and dark leafy greens, are power-packed with these wonder molecules. Regularly consuming these can:

  • Reduce wrinkles: By preventing collagen breakdown.
  • Enhance skin brightness: By promoting healthy cell growth.
  • Guard against sun damage: Offering an additional layer of protection against harmful UV rays.

Incorporate antioxidant-rich foods into your daily routine and over time, you’ll notice the subtle yet impactful difference they make.

How does hydration play a role in your skin’s elasticity and glow?

You’re probably familiar with the recommendation to drink eight 250ml glasses of water a day. But did you know that hydration from food counts too? Cucumbers, strawberries and zucchinis are composed of over 90% water. Embrace the hydrating foods in your vegan diet to support that fresh-faced glow.

  • Plumps up the skin: Reducing the appearance of fine lines.
  • Enhances elasticity: Ensuring your skin remains supple and bouncy.
  • Promotes detoxification: Leading to clearer skin by flushing out toxins.

How do vegan foods support your hair?

Plant-based sources of protein can help your hair grow strong and healthy

There’s a world of foods out there brimming with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, and many of these nutrients are the unsung heroes behind lustrous locks.

Your hair primarily consists of a protein called keratin. And while meat-eaters often rely on animal sources for their protein intake, as a vegan, you have a vast array of plant-based sources at your fingertips. Foods like lentils, chickpeas and quinoa are protein powerhouses. When you consume adequate protein from these sources, you’re providing your hair with the building blocks it needs to grow strong and healthy.

Furthermore, vegan diets are often rich in vitamins and minerals essential for hair health.

  • Vitamin E: Found abundantly in almonds, spinach and avocados, this vitamin promotes scalp circulation, ensuring your hair follicles get the nutrients they need.
  • Iron: Spinach, lentils and tofu are excellent vegan sources. Iron is crucial for delivering oxygen to hair follicles, promoting growth.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids: While often associated with fish, flaxseeds and walnuts offer a fantastic vegan source, ensuring hair remains hydrated and less prone to breakage.

Which specific nutrients should you focus on for lustrous, thick hair, and which vegan foods are they abundant in?

Hair supplements like Together Beautiful, DR.VEGAN Hair Saviour or New Nordic Hair Gro boast about certain ingredients. Many of these ingredients, like biotin and zinc, are vital nutrients that support hair health from within.

  • Biotin: This B vitamin is a star player when it comes to hair health. Often found in oats, almonds and bananas, biotin is known to strengthen hair and reduce breakage.
  • Zinc: Critical for hair tissue growth and repair, foods like pumpkin seeds, chickpeas and cashews are excellent vegan sources.
  • Silica: Found in cucumbers, bell peppers and strawberries, this mineral strengthens hair and prevents thinning.

Can a vegan diet contribute to hair thinning or loss?

Transitioning to a vegan diet can feel like navigating uncharted waters. You might have heard whispers about hair thinning or even hair loss. But let’s set the record straight.

Firstly, any drastic change in diet can lead to temporary hair shedding. It’s not exclusive to veganism.

Secondly, a well-balanced vegan diet can provide all the nutrients your hair craves. Problems might arise if you’re not consuming a diverse range of foods or if you’re missing out on key nutrients. So, always ensure you’re eating a varied diet and consider supplements from trusted vegan-friendly brands like DR.VEGAN, TERRANOVA or Vegums if you’re concerned about any deficiencies.

What role do minerals play in nail health, and where can you source them in a vegan diet?

Minerals play a pivotal role in healthy, strong, shiny nails

Nails, like every other part of your body, rely heavily on the right nutrition to maintain their health and vigour. Minerals, in particular, play a pivotal role in ensuring your nails remain strong, shiny and free from issues like brittleness and ridges.

  • Zinc: A vital mineral for cell division and protein synthesis, both of which are essential for nail growth. Great vegan sources include legumes, nuts, and whole grains.
  • Iron: Low levels can cause your nails to become thin, brittle, and pale. Vegan sources are abundant; think of foods like lentils, chickpeas, quinoa, and spinach.
  • Magnesium: Helps in the formation of nails and deals with those pesky vertical ridges some of you might notice. Get your dose from leafy greens, bananas, and avocados.

Understanding where to source these minerals in a vegan diet ensures you’re not only making conscious, ethical food choices but also investing in the long-term health of your nails.

How does a well-balanced vegan diet prevent brittle nails?

It’s disheartening to see a nail chip or break just when you feel they’ve reached the perfect length. A well-balanced vegan diet could be your answer to preventing these woes. When you nourish your body with plant-based foods, you’re directly feeding your nails too.

  • Biotin-rich foods: Whole grains, nuts (especially almonds) and seeds are biotin powerhouses. Biotin helps improve the keratin infrastructure, a fundamental protein that makes up your nails.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids: While typically associated with fish, you can source them from flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts. Omega-3 fatty acids can prevent dry and brittle nails, ensuring they remain moisturised and less prone to breakage.
  • Protein intake: A vegan diet isn’t short on protein. Lentils, beans, tofu and tempeh are just a few protein-packed options that support robust nail growth.

Transitioning to a well-rounded vegan diet can offer you a holistic approach to health, with benefits that reflect right at your fingertips.

Are there specific plant-based foods or supplements especially beneficial for nail strength?

If you’re looking for an extra boost or facing persistent nail issues, turning to specific plant-based foods and supplements might be the solution.

  • Horsetail extract: Known for its silica content, it’s believed to strengthen nails. You can take it as a supplement or use it in herbal teas.
  • Spirulina: This blue-green algae is not only protein-rich but also contains minerals essential for nail health.
  • Nettle tea: Rich in silica and sulphur, this tea can aid in the growth of healthy, strong nails.

Remember, while incorporating these into your diet, it’s essential to maintain a balance. No single food or supplement is a magic bullet. The key lies in a diverse diet, filled with an array of nutrient-rich plant-based foods.

How else can adopting a vegan lifestyle positively impact your beauty routine?

Adopting a vegan lifestyle can uplift your beauty routine in a variety of ways.

  • Cruelty-free commitment: One of the most notable impacts of choosing vegan beauty products is the commitment to cruelty-free practices. This means that not only are you refraining from using products derived from animals, but you’re also ensuring that no animals were harmed or tested on during the production process. Your conscience can rest easy knowing your beauty routine aligns with ethical practices.
  • Naturally nourishing ingredients: Vegan beauty products often emphasise natural ingredients. Imagine the benefits of applying the goodness of aloe vera, chamomile, or rosehip oil directly to your skin. These ingredients, in their purest form, can offer hydration, soothe inflammation, and provide essential vitamins and antioxidants.
  • Fewer harmful additives: Traditional beauty products can sometimes be laden with chemicals and synthetic additives. However, vegan products lean towards simplicity and purity, reducing your skin’s exposure to potential irritants.

How does the overall philosophy of veganism complement a beauty regime?

Transitioning seamlessly from your diet to your beauty routine, the philosophy of veganism holds the pillar of natural living at its core. Here’s how this belief complements your beauty routine:

  • Mindful consumption: Embracing veganism makes you more conscious of what goes into your body and onto your skin. This mindfulness ensures you’re choosing products that nourish and rejuvenate rather than harm.
  • Environmental impact: By using vegan beauty products, you’re supporting industries that have a smaller carbon footprint. This means your beauty routine is not only benefiting you but also the planet!
  • Holistic health: Natural living isn’t just about what you consume but also about creating an environment that promotes overall wellbeing. Veganism often intersects with practices like yoga, meditation, and mindfulness – all of which play a pivotal role in achieving radiant skin from the inside out.

What vegan beauty products or DIY vegan beauty treatments are worth trying?

The vegan beauty sphere is brimming with products and DIY treatments that can elevate your beauty game. Here are just a few of our favourites.

Our vegan beauty must-haves

  • UpCircle Organic Face Serum with Coffee + Rosehip Oil: The best-selling serum is infused with coffee oil made with repurposed coffee. Highly nourishing, this serum is 100% oil-based – perfect for an extra layer of protection after moisturising.
  • Evolve Nourishing Hair Elixir:  Infused with organic Moroccan argan oil, baobab oil and Tahitian monoi, Evolve’s Nourishing Hair Elixir is a winning formula for controlling frizz and taming fly-away hair and will leave your hair incredibly soft, light and moisturised.
  • Dr Hauschka Organic Neem Nail & Cuticle Oil: With organic neem leaf to protect soft and brittle nails and chamomile to soothe and soften cuticles, this vegan-friendly oil fortifies and strengthens your nails, keeping your cuticles soft and preventing cracks. Your nails will feel instantly nourished from the first application.

DIY vegan beauty treatments

Try a simple DIY avocado face mask for a moisturising treat
  • Avocado face mask: Mash a ripe avocado, mix in a teaspoon of organic coconut oil and apply it to your face for a moisturising treat.
  • Oatmeal scrub: Combine ground oatmeal with almond milk and gently scrub your face to exfoliate and refresh.
  • Cucumber eye pads: Sliced cucumbers aren’t just for salads! Place them on your eyes for an instant soothing effect and to combat puffiness.

Are there any challenges or deficiencies that you should be aware of when following a vegan diet?

Like any diet, it’s essential to be well-informed when it comes to veganism. If you’re not careful, certain nutritional deficiencies could potentially affect your skin, hair, and nails. Here are some of the most common challenges:

  • Vitamin B12: Naturally found in animal products, a deficiency can lead to skin problems and hair loss.
  • Iron: While plant-based sources are abundant, the type of iron in plants (non-heme) is not as easily absorbed as the iron from animal sources (heme). A deficiency might lead to pale skin and brittle nails.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids: Often associated with fish, these are crucial for skin health and overall anti-inflammation.

How can you mitigate these challenges to ensure radiant skin, hair, and nails?

You’re committed to a vegan lifestyle, and that’s commendable. The good news? You can still get all the nutrients you need with a little planning:

  • For vitamin B12: Look into fortified foods like plant-based milks or cereals. Alternatively, consider a vegan-friendly B12 supplement.
  • For iron: Increase your intake of vegan sources like lentils, chickpeas, quinoa and spinach. Pairing these with vitamin C-rich foods can boost absorption.
  • For omega-3s: Flaxseeds, walnuts and chia seeds are your friends. There are also algae-based supplements that can ensure you’re getting enough of this essential fat.

What are the overarching benefits of a vegan diet for your inner health and outer beauty?

Switching to a vegan diet isn’t just a trend; it’s backed by an array of benefits. Here’s what you can look forward to:

  • Radiant skin: Foods rich in antioxidants, like berries and leafy greens, combat free radicals that can cause premature ageing.
  • Lustrous hair: Nutrients such as biotin, found in avocados and almonds, promote hair strength and shine.
  • Strong nails: Magnesium-rich foods like bananas ensure your nails remain sturdy and healthy.
  • Inner health: Beyond beauty, you’re also reducing risks of chronic diseases, supporting better digestion, and likely experiencing enhanced energy levels.
  • Eco-conscious living: Remember, you’re also making an environmental statement with reduced carbon footprint and less strain on global resources.

How should you prepare for your vegan journey?

Inspiration is the first step, but action truly brings about change. If you’re ready to embrace veganism for enhanced beauty, here’s what you can do:

  • Research and plan: Look into vegan recipes, blogs and forums. There are numerous resources online that can help you in this journey.
  • Smart shopping: Aim for whole foods and minimise processed vegan products. Consider beauty products from natural beauty brands like Beauty Kitchen, Faith in Nature and UpCircle.
  • Daily nutrition checks: Ensure you’re consuming a varied range of plant-based foods. Incorporate nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, and grains to ensure you’re getting all the vital nutrients for your beauty needs.
  • Stay hydrated: Don’t underestimate the power of water. Aim for at least two litres a day. It’s not just good for your skin but for your overall wellbeing.
  • Consider supplements: If you’re worried about any nutrient gaps, consider supplements. Brands like DR.VEGAN, TERRANOVA and Together Health offer quality vegan supplements to support your beauty and health.
  • Join a community: Whether online or offline, finding like-minded individuals can be encouraging. You can share tips, recipes and product recommendations.
  • Stay updated: The vegan world is dynamic with continuous research and new products. Stay informed to make the most of your vegan journey.
  • Embrace the journey: Transitioning can have its challenges, but remember the bigger picture. The benefits, both for you and the planet, are immense.

The benefits of veganism extend beyond just physical appearance. By making informed choices and being consistent, you’re not only paving the way for radiant skin, shiny hair and strong nails but also contributing to a healthier body and a better world. Remember, every meal is a choice, and every choice has an impact. Make yours count.

Best of luck, and here’s to a more radiant you!

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