Simple hair care know-how

August 22, 2008

Believe me or not, my hair is 38″ long, black and straight. Well, I don’t give the credit to any beauty products. It is so because I owe my hair to my genes in combination with the hair care  my loving mother gave me from childhood.

I was pampered with herbal oils and medications since I was born. My maternal grandmother who learned Ayurveda ardently and my paternal grandfather who believed in Ashtanga Hridaya played a major role in this affair. When I traveled to Maharashtra, people asked me for hair care tips. I did not know what to tell them until I learned about my own hair oil which my mother would bring me religiously in tight bottles.

The most common hair problems are hair loss and dandruff. Hair oils do not help in all conditions. The hair problems are also related to your health, life style, diet, climatic conditions and so on. Vitamin deficiencies  poor health or illnesses, overweight, strenuous life situations, not taking proper and regular baths, regular use of products like hair sprays, not giving proper internal and external nourishment- all contribute to different hair problems like graying and thinning of hair, split ends and what not.

Ayurveda links all health conditions to the Tridosha system. It maintains that a person with Vata constitution will have dark, dry and frizzy hair. He or she easily gets split ends and dandruff. Pitta people will have oily, light brown, blonde or red hair prone to premature graying. Hair will be thick, wavy and shiny for kapha people. Oiling your hair is an age-old traditional practice in India. There are dissensions with regard to whether you should oil your hair when you have dandruff. However, at home we make oil with ground curry leaves (some use neem too) for dandruff. It has a strong smell but works well. You can use and experiment with oils like coconut oil, almond oil and olive oil which are good for both skin and hair.

Some hair care tips:

  1. If you have hair problems forget the hair oils available in the supermarkets. Make some at home or get it from a pharmacy. A good and simple hair oil you can make at home may have ingredients like hibiscus flowers, gooseberry, henna leaves, neem, with one or two Indian gall nuts or ink nuts (kadukka) and a few grains of black pepper.
  2. Hot oil treatment is something you can try at home and by yourself. Take your favorite oil in a small bowl. Take a bigger bowl with a little hot water, keep the small bowl inside it and swirl. Massage your scalp and the hair ends with the warm oil. Leave on for an hour and wash away with a mild shampoo. Use conditioner for dry hair with split ends.
  3. Do not be harsh to your hair. Be gentle even when you dry it or brush it.
  4. Keep your hair tangle free.
  5. You can even use a few drops of Vitamin E oil as it can work well for your scalp. Use henna for grey hair instead of hair dyes.
  6. Do henna at home so you know what you need to mix. It can be prepared with fenugreek powder, amla powder, egg, curd or honey, tea for color and/or lime juice. Pour a spoon of oil into the henna mix if you have dry hair. Do not use henna if you have dry, damaged hair.
  7. Castor oil can help hair grow thick and strong. It can be used on your eye brows to enhance thickness and growth.
  8. Don’t skip head baths. And don’t keep a very oily head. It captures more dirt and dust.
  9. If you do not mind slippery bathrooms, apply a paste of fenugreek powder on hair one hour before bath.
  10. Regularly trim your split ends. A 2-inch cut will do. And regularly oil your hair ends.
  11. Change your pillow cases regularly if you have dandruff. White flaky scalp need not be dandruff. It can be psoriasis or just dry flaky skin owing to weather.
  12. Have a healthy diet
  13. Deal with Stress

Last not the least, do not worry if your hair is not thick by nature. All you need is healthy hair.

-Aparna K V

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