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Mom may have encouraged you to eat your carrots for better eyesight, but the orange veggie as a beauty booster, too. Vitamin- and nutrient-rich carrots deliver major benefits not just for your health, but also for your hair. Juicing carrots gives you a tasty drink to work into a natural regimen to restore dry hair that needs some TLC.
Not Your Average Orange Juice
Carrots have a stellar reputation, and it's well-deserved. Carrots dish out one of the highest natural doses of beta carotene you can get your hands on. Your body turns beta carotene into vitamin A, a critical nutrient for replenishing the cells in your skin and hair; healthy new cells are essential for combating dry locks. You can get your daily dose of beta carotene from chomping down on raw carrots, but your body can use only about 3 percent of their vitamin goodness. If you opt for juicing carrots instead, your body works much more efficiently, utilizing closer to 40 percent of that hair-nourishing nutrient blend.
To Drink or Rinse?
Once you have some freshly juiced carrots, you need to decide: Do you drink it, or do you go the more topical route with a hair rinse? Before your hold your head over the sink, remember that in order for beta carotene to help out your hair, it has to be converted usable vitamin A -- and that won't happen on your scalp. Downing carrot juice won't deliver instant results, but there is no scientific evidence that using carrot juice as a rinse gives you the same nourishing benefits as drinking it. That's not to say there's no benefit to a carrot rinse -- carrot juice is a super-cheap all-natural alternative to red hair dye. But if your goal is combating dry hair, you need your body to convert that beta carotene into usable vitamin A.
Fresh is best, so if you have a juicer or high-powered blender and sieve, you can avoid any of the unwanted ingredients and calories added to bottled carrot juice. You'll get about 1 cup of carrot juice from eight large carrots with a juicer. If you don't have a blender or juicer, get savvy over the stove. Boiling releases some of the carotene, so cook your eight chopped carrots in 2 cups of water, and cool the reserved water once it turns orange; for an even bigger carotene boost, mash the carrots through a sieve and add the juice to the carrot water before drinking. Mixing in other juiced foods rich in vitamin E and biotin -- such as kiwi, mango, spinach, currants and apples -- also supports your efforts to nourish your hair from the inside.
One large glass of carrot juice a day is plenty to deliver all the beta carotene your hair needs to work out its dry issues. Ingesting too much of the orange stuff can cause carotenosis, an overdose of carotene that leads to an icky orange tint in your skin and eyes. Some manufacturers advertise shampoos and conditioners made with carrot juice or extract as effective for treating dryness because of the natural beta carotene, but there's no research as of 2011 to prove that these topical applications have any impact on the texture or health of your hair. Any benefit you see from carrot-based conditioners is likely due to other ingredients such as oils.