Go ahead and eat your way gorgeous: Healthy hair and clear skin start with how you nourish yourself on the inside. "I often tell my patients to change their eating habits before I prescribe other treatments," says Alan M. Dattner, M.D., a holistic dermatologist in New York.
See which foods are best for you, then take your looks up a notch with a new crop of beauty products that are made from the best hair and skin foods. "Food-based ingredients are powerful anti-agers," says Howard Murad, M.D., author of The Water Secret. "They’re often gentler than chemical ingredients." So indulge! Fill your beauty—and grocery—cart with these fresh picks today.
Healthy Hair and Good Skin Food #1: Apples
One a day may keep the doctor—and age spots—away. Rich in fiber and low in calories, apples contain quercetin, a free-radical fighter that helps even your skin tone and brighten your complexion. "It works by protecting skin cells from oxidation, preventing pigment changes," says Murad.
Best beauty products with apple:
Garnier Nutritioniste Moisture Rescue Fresh Cleansing Foam ($7) and Origins Brighter By Nature SPF 35 Skin Tone Correcting Moisturizer ($43). Some beauty products, like StriVectin-SD Intensive Concentrate for Stretch Marks & Wrinkles ($135), even use Swiss apple stem cells to repair DNA damage and improve skin’s texture and tone.
Healthy Hair and Good Skin Food #2: Brown Rice
Nutritionists sing this whole grain's praises because of its disease-fighting nutrients (vitamin E and fiber), but for beauty experts, brown rice gets props for its hydrating powers. "A humectant, it attracts moisture to your skin," says Murad, "swelling dehydrated cells and making you look younger."
Best beauty products with brown rice: One brown rice beauty product, Payot Design Lift Regard Triple Performance Eye Cream, ($59) plumps and smoothes crow's feet. "It's also an excellent exfoliant," says Henriksen. "Scrubs with brown rice remove dead cells without stripping skin of its natural oils." Try MD Skincare Antioxidant Enzyme Buff ($29), a body slougher that leaves skin feeling silky.
Healthy Hair and Good Skin Food #3: Ginger
Many of us sip ginger ale to calm an upset stomach but beauty companies use ginger for its hydrating and mild antibacterial properties. "Ginger's been shown to increase blood flow," says Ole Henriksen, an aesthetician who whips up food-based skin treatments at his spa in Los Angeles. "Improved circulation helps skin hold onto moisture and stave off wrinkles," says Murad.
Best beauty products with ginger:
Murad Refreshing Cleanser ($30) contains moisturizing Hawaiian white ginger. Carol's Daughter Lemon Ginger Mint Manicure ($14) is infused with ginger to condition cuticles and prevent infection.
Healthy Hair and Good Skin Food #4: Rosemary
The fragrant herb that transforms chicken dishes can do the same thing for your hair and skin. "Rosemary is an anti-inflammatory that constricts blood vessels, reducing redness and swelling," says Murad.
Best beauty products with rosemary:
Used in Aveda Botanical Kinetics Hydrating Lotion ($32), it helps to soothe dry, irritated skin. The ingredient is also in cleansers, such as Aveeno Positively Nourishing Energizing Body Wash ($7) because constricting capillaries slows sebum production, which can curb breakouts. In hair products like Victoria's Secret So Sexy Curl Shape & Define Curl Cream ($14), rosemary fends off the UV-rays that cause color fading.
Healthy Hair and Good Skin Food #5: Acai
This small, tart Brazilian berry (pronounced ah-sigh-ee) packs a cancer-fighting punch because it's chock-full of antioxidants. Fans call it the "youth berry" because it helps reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles by restoring collagen and elastin production, says Michael H. Gold, M.D., a dermatologist in Nashville, Tennessee. "This results in smoother, tighter, younger-looking skin."
Best beauty products with acai:
Look for the berry in beauty products Éminence Organic Skin Care Firm Skin Açai Masque ($54) and Clinique Vitamin C Lip Smoothie Antioxidant Lip Colour ($18), which gives your pout a subtle berry hue while helping to prevent lip lines. Açai can also protect your tresses from color fading and brassiness. The antioxidants in Herbal Essences Color Me Happy 2 in 1 Shampoo and Conditioner ($5) coat the hair shaft, creating a shield against sun and oxidative damage.
Healthy Hair and Good Skin Food #6: Beets
This root veggie is more than a colorful side dish; beets are loaded with zinc and vitamin C—nutrients that boost the immune system and the production of skin-firming tissues collagen and elastin.
Best beauty products with beets:
Organic Skin Care Blackthorn Toner ($54) combines beet-derived vitamin C with soothing blackthorn berries, making it effective for tightening pores and softening fine lines for those with easily-irritated skin. Beets also lend their skin-smoothing effects to scrubs like O!Sentials Pomegranate Sorbet Body Scrub ($23), pictured here. In Burt's Bees Super Shiny Grapefruit and Sugar Beet Shampoo ($8; at drugstores), the veggie's extracts repair damaged hair.
Healthy Hair and Good Skin Food #7: Yogurt
Turns out this protein-and calcium-filled breakfast staple is good for the skin as well as the stomach. "Yogurt contains lactic acid, which gently sloughs away dead cells, encouraging collagen and elastin production," says Murad. Lactic acid is also moisturizing, making it perfect for sensitive skin that can't tolerate more aggressive beauty products.
Healthy Hair and Good Skin Food #8: Coconut
Many hand soaps, facial cleansers and shampoos are swapping in gentle coconut-derived sudsing agents instead of harsher ones like sodium laurel sulfate. "They break down dirt and oils, but won't strip hair color or skin moisture," says Vermén M. Verallo-Rowell, M.D., author of RX: Coconuts! (The Perfect Health Nut).
Best beauty products with coconut:
Try Malie Organics Coconut Vanilla Body Wash ($28). "Coconut oil is easily absorbed by skin cells because it mimics the fatty acids found in the natural oils of your body," she says. "Yet coconut oil won't clog pores the way some synthetic hydrators can." Two beauty products to check out are J.R. Watkins Naturals Shea Butter Body Cream ($10), and L'Oréal Professionel Masque Cacao ($33), a hair treatment with coconut oil that will nourish your locks without weighing them down.
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