Why Quinoa Belongs in Your Hair - Wellnesse

Why Quinoa Belongs in Your Hair

Quinoa packs immense benefits and is loaded with antioxidants. But don't be mistaken: although it is a highly praised food source, there's more to the story.

Quinoa has a long history as a dietary staple in pre-Columbian Inca civilizations, and it’s recently become a popular superfood in Western cultures as well. However, its superfood status isn’t just limited to diet - quinoa has also proven to provide an abundance of benefits for hair health.

So without further ado, let’s get into it!

Experience all quinoa’s benefits for yourself in our Restoring Shampoo and Conditioner!


Quinoa (Not a Grain): Safety and Ancient Benefits

This superfood’s rich history began thousands of years ago. Originally grown in South America, quinoa is a dry-harvest crop that grows between three and nine feet tall. It sprouts in many colors (green, yellow, red, black, and even purple), and the Incas revered it as sacred. When the Spanish invaded the Incas, the crop was almost destroyed for good.

But this seed made a revival around the 1970s. Since then, studies have shown a link between the nutrients in quinoa and reducing hair loss.

And yes, it’s a seed.

Despite common misconceptions, quinoa is not a grain, but a seed classified as part of the ‘goosefoot’ family (annual herbaceous flowering plants). Why does this matter?

This distinction is important because it means that quinoa is gluten-free. So, assuming no cross-contamination has taken place, its topical application is safe even for those who have gluten allergies.

While rich in fiber and minerals (iron, manganese, phosphorus, copper, calcium, magnesium, zinc), the hair benefits have more to do with its unique amino acid profile (the protein building blocks).


How Quinoa Works in Hair

Quinoa contains its own full set of essential amino acids. It is one of few complete proteins from plants and is packed with benefits for hair and skin.

It aids in hair growth, helps repair damage (like split ends), and is gentle on color-treated hair. However, it’s important to note that these benefits can’t be obtained from raw quinoa or quinoa products straight off the grocery store shelf. In order to utilize quinoa as a hair superfood, it has to be hydrolyzed.


What does Hydrolyzed Mean?

Put simply, to hydrolyze something is to break it down with water. The water breaks into two parts (hydroxide and hydrogen), each of which are charged differently (one negatively and the other positively).

When hydrolysis occurs, the fully built proteins break down into their individual amino acid parts. Once the process is complete, what remains is a unique profile of individual amino acids ready to get to work. This team of potent ‘building blocks’ penetrates the hair more deeply than other plant proteins.

Hydrolysis and the materials it produces are the key to quinoa’s effectiveness.


Repairing and Bolstering Hair 

The amino acids don’t only penetrate the hair; they also leave behind a film that serves as a protective barrier.

Since hair is composed of protein (keratin), coating the hair shaft with protein is a natural way to bolster its defenses. Although many protein treatments can dry out the hair, hydrolyzed quinoa strengthens the hair shaft while increasing elasticity and moisture retention. Sufficient moisture is one of the key factors in defending against hair loss, helping repair damaged hair, promoting new growth, and restoring overall hair health.

While rehydrating and laying the foundation for beautiful, healthy hair, quinoa also protects the hair against cracking and breaking from potentially damaging factors like heat and excessive sun exposure.

That means the film also serves as a treatment to protect against future damage.

But this barrier isn't only an external asset. It also works on repairing hair internally, reversing shaft damage, meaning that quinoa literally works on the hair from the inside out.


Volume and Detangling 

Between hair strength, color retention, hydration, and shine, quinoa proves itself on the haircare battleground. But we aren’t done talking it up just yet.

Quinoa adds extra volume to the hair in two different ways. First, and most obviously, it boosts hair growth, improving volume naturally over time. Still, waiting weeks and weeks for your hair to thicken naturally can be frustrating.

Fortunately, the protective coating also helps to make the hair thicker (by literally adding another ‘layer’). So, with hydrolyzed quinoa, you get a volume treatment now and still more natural volume later.

For that reason, combined with the moisture retention benefits, quinoa is effective for smoothing tangly, hard to manage hair. The sleek, protective film helps the hair shaft respond better to combing and brushing. Hydrolyzed quinoa’s smoothing benefits make it a valuable tool even in ‘extreme’ haircare situations, like detangling dreadlocks.


A Few Occupational Hazards

For those in places like Florida, where you can stand outside and receive incredible amounts of sunlight in a relatively short period of time, your hair is at a much higher risk of damage. While that nutrient absorption is absolutely amazing, without proper protection, the hair can become burnt out, tangled, and knotted (hello, rat’s nest).

High winds are another particularly tricky weather condition to be aware of. Regardless of where you are, intense or constant winds can quickly contribute to dryness and tangling. Remember, the drier the hair is, the more fragile it becomes, increasing the risk of breakage when you’re detangling.

And we won’t even get into the humidity-induced frizz.

The point is that weather alone can cause an array of issues to hair health, and what we do to our hair is yet another factor.

Coloring treatments, hair styling tools that burn the hair into shape, aerosol sprays (that damage the hair follicles and thin out hair)...all of these weaken the integrity and health of the hair.

Hydrolyzed quinoa combats all these issues directly. It reverses dryness (no matter the cause), repairs existing damage, and protects against future damage. It strengthens the hair shaft, moisturizes, and delivers the nutrients the hair needs to thrive.

And to sweeten things further, we paired our hydrolyzed quinoa with other powerful, natural ingredients to take the hair benefits to a whole new level.


How We Utilize This Superfood

In our Restoring Shampoo and Conditioner, you'll reap the benefits of hydrolyzed quinoa combined with:

  • Avocado butter: to reduce inflammation and moisturize the hair
  • Coconut oil: to repair both scalp and hair damage
  • Nettle: to restore shine, promote growth, increase volume, and halt breakage
  • Safflower: to detangle and boost shine, softness, and hydration

We paired hydrolyzed quinoa with all our favorite, all-natural superfoods to bring you products that support your healthiest, happiest hair.

Check out our full haircare line for even more products formulated to help your hair look, feel, and be its absolute best. Get ready to have more amazing hair days!



1. Neve, H.J., Bhatti, W.A., Soulsby, C. et al. Reversal of Hair Loss following Vertical Gastroplasty when Treated with Zinc Sulphate. OBES SURG 6, 63–65 (1996). https://doi.org/10.1381/096089296765557295

2. Wells, Katie. (2020, July 30). 11 Natural Remedies to Stop Thinning Hair. Wellness Mama. Retrieved From https://wellnessmama.com/429411/thinning-hair/ 

3. 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.) Compr Rev Food Sci Food Saf. 2015;14(4):431–445. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7466520/