It’s a nagging fear every time we look at the drain after we shower. “Am I losing my hair??” All women lose hair at a different rate, and regrow it in the vast majority of cases. Don’t worry! Losing a few strands each day is normal and healthy. It is a sign that your hair follicles are functioning properly.

Unfortunately, sometimes these follicles are slow to begin regrowing strands of hair. Other times, the hair that they produce is thin and brittle. There are lot of reasons this can happen, from toxic chemicals in hair care products, to overly harsh treatments like flat ironing, all the way to nutrition and hormone balance.

Here’s some great tips to help boost your hair care skills and overall nutrition that will guard against hair loss:

Pump Up the Protein

The first way you can help stop hair loss before it starts is to make sure you’re eating enough protein. Hair is made primarily of protein, and your body has an easier time producing hair when the proteins it needs come easily, from your diet. Animal sources are great, though if you choose a plant based diet you also have many options. You should have a palm-sized portion of a protein-based food at each meal.

Treat Your Hair Gently

The next thing you can do is to be gentle with your hair. Once hair is grown from your head, it’s very hard to repair any damage, so it’s easy to see when hair has been over-processed. Tools like curling irons and flat irons, and even blow dryers, can damage the hair strands from the heat, making hair prone to breakage. If done near the scalp, hair follicles can be damaged, leading to slow growth, and even fewer follicles that produce hair. Combing and brushing harshly, as well as when hair is wet, can pull hair from the scalp, creating even more hair loss.

Maximize Nutrition

One of the best things you can do is to make sure that you get all the vitamins and minerals you need so your hair can grow more quickly. Good nutrition will help hair to be strong, thick, shiny, and beautiful. Since great hair starts on the inside, it makes sense to treat your body right as the first step to gorgeous hair. To make sure your hair grows as thickly as possible, focus on getting enough iron, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin D, and biotin. These are the most essential nutrients to have great hair, and getting too little of any of them can lead to hair thinning.

Of these, biotin has recently been identified in the hair care community as a miracle worker in helping women keep their hair. Even better, it helps keep it looking youthful and vigorous throughout their lives. A daily supplement that provides at least 5000mcg of biotin is a great start.