People worldwide love quinoa for its nutritional value for the body, but did you know that it’s also an excellent ingredient for hair? This powerhouse of nutrients contains all 9 essential amino acids that strengthen the hair follicles and repair the strands.
Studies have shown that quinoa acts as a natural humectant and protects the scalp and hair from pollution and dust. It is rich in calcium, iron, phosphorous, and other minerals that aid hair growth.
What Is Quinoa?
Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa) is a grain-like, stress-tolerant food crop that is full of nutritional and medicinal value and was used by Andean indigenous cultures for thousands of years.
Due to its high nutritional value, quinoa is considered a star ingredient by health enthusiasts. It is replete with micronutrients, macronutrients, and valuable digestible proteins.
Quinoa is also abundant in protein. (1) It helps in making the hair strong and healthy by locking in and conserving moisture in the hair and scalp and transporting nutrients and oxygen to the cells in the scalp. In addition, it protects and conditions the hair.
Quinoa grains are gluten-free and rich in nutrients; (2) thus, they can be used in various food products.
Depending upon where it is grown, the color of the seeds also varies, such as black, yellow, red, green, orange, and purple. (3)
How Is Quinoa Good for Hair?
Due to the availability of bioactive proteins and 9 essential amino acids in quinoa, it nourishes the hair and reduces hair fall significantly. It not only softens your hair, but it also makes it silky and shiny, thus helping revitalize and hydrate the hair.
Because it contains saponins, quinoa is also used as a mild detergent or cleansing agent in hair care preparations. (2)
Quinoa assists in hair growth because is packed with vitamin B3 compounds. It also increases hair bounce and strength, prevents split ends, and thus reduces hair fall and breakage. Additionally, quinoa can accelerate hair growth by strengthening the hair follicles due to its abundance of protein that assists in healthy hair growth. (1)
Benefits of Using Quinoa on Hair
Here are some benefits of quinoa for hair:
1. Promotes hair growth
Quinoa is one of the richest sources of proteins (4) among other grains, which help protect and nourish your hair follicles. The nutrients in quinoa act as a natural coating and protect the hair from damage, thus aiding in hair growth due to its higher protein content.
Moreover, quinoa contains the amino acid tyrosine, which gives pigmentation and color to the hair and skin. It helps in the repigmentation and maintenance of the original color of your hair.
2. Conditions the hair
Quinoa contains essential fatty acids such as linoleic acid, which help to reduce water loss, thus making your hair smooth and silky.
Since hydrolyzed quinoa protein is minute in size, it can easily penetrate low-porosity hair to provide much-needed moisture underneath the cuticle far better than thick, sticky oils and butters that usually cause buildup on low-porosity hair.
It also functions well for high-porosity hair that loses its moisture frequently as it forms a film that coats the hair, efficiently trapping moisture in it and letting it out slowly.
3. Strengthens the hair follicles
The protein composition of quinoa helps in fortifying the hair follicles. Quinoa’s 9 essential amino acids act as natural straighteners and hair conditioners for the hair strands. It also helps in repairing damaged hair and stimulating new hair growth.
4. Fights dandruff
Quinoa contains vitamin E, which nourishes the scalp, combats dandruff, and is a good hair tonic. (5) Vitamin E also helps in reducing hair breakage due to tangling.
The availability of a few essential minerals in quinoa (calcium, iron, phosphorous) helps in retaining moisture on the scalp and preventing dandruff.
5. Treats frizz and split ends
When your hair lacks protein, the cuticle bonds disintegrate and break, and the hair breaks and splits. The protein content in quinoa (1) can fill in the gaps of the cuticles in your hair and keep them sealed, thus repairing broken hair and split ends.
Small studies on quinoa protein have shown that it can penetrate the inner layers of the hair cortex, thus reducing the porosity and increasing the elasticity of the hair strands.
How to Use Quinoa Water for Hair Growth
1. Quinoa hair cleanser
You can use quinoa water as a hair rinse.
How to use:
- Soak 2 tablespoons of quinoa seeds in 5 tablespoons of water overnight.
- Drain the water and add a few drops of rosemary essential oil to prevent a foul odor.
- Rinse and cleanse your hair with the resultant fermented water and leave it on for 15 minutes.
- Rewash your hair with tap water and allow your hair to air-dry.
- Repeat the process twice a month. Avoid overusing quinoa water on your hair.
2. Quinoa water + glycerin hair-conditioning scalp mask
Quinoa water and glycerin form a wonderful mixture that helps to nourish your hair incredibly.
How to use:
- Add 4 tablespoons of quinoa water to a bowl, add 1 tablespoon of glycerin, and stir well.
- Apply this as a hair mask and leave it on for 30 minutes.
- Wash it off with tap water.
- Use this mask once or twice a month.
3. Quinoa water and rice water straightening mask
Rice water and quinoa have benefits for the hair. Rice water is the starchy water left over after boiling rice or leaving it to soak overnight. It helps to soften and smoothen the hair and make it grow faster. Rice contains 75%–80% starch and some vitamins and minerals. (6)
How to use:
- Add equal parts of rice water and quinoa water in a bowl.
- Apply the mixture to your hair and scalp and massage well.
- Cover your hair with a shower cap and leave it on for 15–20 minutes.
- Wash it off with tap water.
4. Quinoa water + aloe vera gel treatment for scalp infections and hair damage
Aloe vera is abundant in vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids. Its anti-inflammatory properties make it effective against itchiness, dry scalp, and irritation of the scalp. (7)
Quinoa water will help treat hair frizz and split ends when combined with aloe vera.
How to use:
- Mix 1 tablespoon of aloe vera gel and 2 tablespoons of quinoa water.
- Apply this mixture to your hair and scalp.
Quinoa Water Vs. Rice Water
- Quinoa has more protein (1) than rice water and thus helps in hair growth. (8) It contains all 9 essential amino acids your body needs to function well, and you can reap their benefits either by consuming or applying them externally on your hair.
- Quinoa and rice are both gluten-free, making them suitable for those with gluten intolerance or allergies.
- Quinoa water is great at treating most hair damage problems due to its higher protein and vitamin E content than rice water. (6)
Although some studies have shown that quinoa water is effective for reducing hair fall and increasing growth, more studies still need to be done on the effects of applying quinoa water directly to the hair.
General Queries Related to Quinoa
Are there any side effects of eating quinoa?
Quinoa is primarily safe for gluten-intolerant people, although some may experience allergic reactions such as rashes, cramps, and loose motions. So, it’s better to consult a doctor before consuming or applying quinoa, especially during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Clean the quinoa well before eating or applying it to make it more digestible. Its high protein content can be the reason behind bloating in some individuals. (9)
What is hydrolyzed quinoa for hair?
To use quinoa in hair care, it must be hydrolyzed so that its molecules are small enough to enter the hair cuticle layer. Hydrolysis happens through acid, water, fermentation, and a few components.
The microbes break down the proteins to release the lactic acid from quinoa, which offers hydrating benefits to the hair.
Quinoa can be your best friend when it comes to your hair. It’s best for treating dry, frizzy, and dull hair. It also protects and conditions the hair.
The vitamin B3 compounds in quinoa assist in hair growth. Quinoa also augments hair bounciness and strength, prevents split ends, and consequently reduces hair fall and breakage. Add it to your meals and hair care routine and see the difference it makes to your hair.
- Graf BL, Rojas-Silva P, Rojo LE, Delatorre-Herrera J, Baldeón ME, Raskin I. Innovations in health value and functional food development of quinoa (chenopodium quinoa willd.). Comprehensive reviews in food science and food safety. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4957693/. Published July 2015.
- Quinoa a potential ingredient in cosmetics: A review – IJSDR. https://www.ijsdr.org/papers/IJSDR1905079.pdf.
- L CIEN Journal of Nutrition & Food Sciences … – longdom. https://www.longdom.org/open-access-pdfs/quinoa-chenopodium-quinoa-willd-from-nutritional-value-to-potential-health-benefits-an-integrative-review-2155-9600-1000497.pdf.
- (PDF) the revival of Quinoa: A crop for health – researchgate. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/314202816/.
- Home | Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. https://www.fao.org/3/aq287e/aq287e.pdf.
- © 2021 JETIR June 2021, volume 8, issue 6 use of Rice water (Oryza … https://www.jetir.org/papers/JETIR2106426.pdf.
- Kumar KPS, Bhowmik D, Chiranjib, Biswajit. Aloe vera: A potential herb and its medicinal importance. Journal of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Research. https://www.jocpr.com/articles/aloe-vera–a-potential-herb-and-its-medicinal-importance-12.html. Published January 30, 2010.
- Guo EL, Katta R. Diet and hair loss: Effects of nutrient deficiency and supplement use. Dermatology practical & conceptual. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5315033/. Published January 31, 2017.
- Quinoa: A review on nutritional analysis and its viability as a staple … https://www.researchgate.net/publication/351978932/.