Quinoa Is a Superfood for Your Hair, Too

The grain works wonders on dry, damaged hair.

Quinoa Isn't Just for Eating
Photo: Getty Images

The benefits of quinoa don't stop at eating the superfood. The delicious, nutritious grain can also work wonders for your hair when incorporated into your haircare routine via products infused with the ingredient.

Since quinoa is a complete protein, it contains all of the essential amino acids. Our hair is made up of keratin (a protein) quinoa can further strengthen it, among a laundry list of benefits.

"Quinoa is a power food. Similarly, it is a power haircare ingredient," says Dr. Karan Lal, a board-certified dermatologist in New Jersey. "Hydrolyzed quinoa and its extracts are high in antioxidants which help fight free radical damage. It is also rich in many amino acids which help hydrate your hair and even retain your hair dye longer."

In addition, the grain is rich in vitamin B3, which can help improve scalp circulation, which in turn can promote optimal conditions for growth.

Ahead, a complete lowdown on using quinoa in your haircare routine, including who should use it, how to use it, and more.

How Does Quinoa Work to Benefit the Hair?

"Hair is made up of 95% protein, specifically keratin. Protein's main function is to provide shine, strength, and structure to the hair strands," says Dr. Gaby Longsworth, CEO & Founder of Absolutely Everything Curly, Ph.D. Scientist, and Certified Hair Practitioner.

The amino acids in quinoa seed extract can benefit the hair because amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Dr. Longsworth says to think of them as Lego pieces in a lego sculpture. "Amino acids are small enough to penetrate the hair strands to add strength, as well as repair surface damage and split ends by attaching themselves to the outer layer of the hair," she explains. "Smaller proteins can help lock in moisture and seal the cuticle for hair smoothness and elasticity."

When quinoa seed extract is hydrolyzed (hydrolyzed quinoa protein), the proteins are broken down even smaller, which can make them effective at repairing the surface damage of the hair.

What Hair Types Should Include Quinoa in their Haircare Routine?

The good news is that quinoa is safe for all hair types and shouldn't cause any adverse effects unless you have an allergy. Just keep in mind the super grain is most beneficial for damaged or weakened hair.

"While amino acids are beneficial for all hair types and concerns, quinoa seed extract works best for damaged and weak hair that is prone to breakage," says Dr. Longsworth. "This is because healthy hair can easily experience protein overload."

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How Should You Use Quinoa Products in Your Haircare Routine?

Dr. Lal says that if you're using a quinoa-infused shampoo and/or conditioner it's safe for daily use, or however often you wash your hair.

As for intensive treatments, Dr. Longsworth suggests using a deep conditioner once a week or every other week. "Low porosity hair should use a heat cap or steamer when deep conditioning to get the product in while high porosity hair does not need heat per se," she adds.

Other effective options include leave-in conditioners and protein-rich gels or mousses.

The Best Haircare Products with Quinoa

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Innersense Hydrating Hair Mask

Quinoa Haircare Products

Revive dry, dull hair with Innersense's deeply hydrating mask. The rich treatment is a blend of repairing and strengthening quinoa and flax seed, plus moisturizing shea butter, and both monoi and coconut oils.

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Briogeo Curl Charisma Rice Amino + Quinoa Frizz Control Gel

Quinoa Haircare Products

This gel gives curls hold and definition without a crunchy texture or flaky residue. With rice amino acid, quinoa, and tomato fruit extract, curls stay soft, shiny, and smooth.

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Lenonor Greyl Shampooing Reviviscence

Quinoa Haircare Products

This shampoo revives dry, brittle hair damaged from color and chemical treatments. The fresh apple and pear scent of quince will make you look forward to wash-day.

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Aveeno Blackberry Quinoa Protein Blend Sulfate-Free Conditioner

Quinoa Hair Products

Aveeno's conditioner keeps hair color looking salon-fresh between appointments. The nourishing formula includes oats and quinoa extra to prevent fading.

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Aluram Leave In Conditioner

Quinoa Hair Products

A true multitasking haircare product, Aluram's Leave-In Conditioner restores dry, weakened hair while simultaneously getting rid of tangles.

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