Ayurvedic hair care rituals


Hair comes in many different lengths, styles, colors, textures. Everyone falls prey to at least one hair problem at some point in life no matter the type of hair you have, like grey hair, hair fall, dryness, baldness, dandruff, etc,. 

hair fall treatment
Photo by Yoann Boyer on Unsplash

Hair loss is a common and ever increasing problem in cosmetics as well as primary healthcare practice. It is a universal problem, having affected both sexes of all races to different extents for as long as mankind has existed. Know more about hair fall issues and causes here.

Although there are many things to blame for hair loss - like the pollution, food, and stress, the primary reason is we are burying our ancient knowledge and practices. The precious knowledge that was shared from generation to generation to nourish and tend the hair is being ignored and abandoned. And the result is hair loss, itchy scalp, splits, loss of shine and limp hair.

So what do you do to get back the hair that our previous generations had? The solution is really simple. Do what your grandparents and great-grandparents did. Practice traditional hair care rituals to enhance and maintain the natural beauty of your hair. Let's go through some of those practices

1. Oil massage - weekly twice or thrice.

Nourishing your hair with oil is like keeping your body healthy and nourished with food. You should feed your hair with oil every now and then to make sure it stays healthy, thick and lustrous.

Here are some of the benefits of hair oiling:

  1. Adds nutrients and vitamins to the scalp and hair follicles.
  2. Strengthens hair follicles to promote hair growth and lustrous hair.
  3. Reduces frizz in the hair.
  4. Nourishes hair roots and keeps hair soft and hydrated.
  5. Medicated oil targets specific scalp and skin issues.
  6. Massaging your scalp helps relieve stress and also enhances blood circulation to your follicles. 

How to apply oil?

  • Warm the oil (pour approximately ¼ cup into a small bowl and place it above hot water) Test the temperature by putting a drop on your inner wrist, oil should be comfortably warm and not hot.
  • Sit or stand comfortably in a warm room.
  • Apply oil first to the crown of your head and work slowly out from there in circular strokes - spend a couple of minutes massaging your entire scalp.
  • Sit with the oil for 15 - 30 minutes if possible so that the oil can absorb and penetrate into the deeper layers of the scalp.

Hair oil selection

Selection of hair oil is depending upon what kind of hair you have. According to your Ayurvedic constitution, 

  • People with thin, prone to split-ends and frizzy hair are Vata-dominant: Castor oil, Sesame oil or herbal oil based on sesame oil can be very nourishing for the hair and helps reduce stiffness in the scalp.
  • Those with fine hair prone to thinning (hair loss) or premature greying have Pitta-dominant hair: Coconut oil or coconut oil based herbal oil is the ideal choice due to coconut’s pitta-pacifying properties.
  • Those with thick or oily hair have Kapha-dominant hair: Sesame oil or sesame oil based herbal oil are your best bet.

Some Ayurvedic oil

  • Hair oil for dandruff - Dhurthurapathradi kera, Ayyapalakera taila.
  • Oil for hair fall - Fenugreek oil: prepared out of  25 gm of fenugreek paste, 100 ml coconut oil and 400 ml of water. This oil also helps to promote hair growth.
  • For hair fall due to scalp infections - Triphaladi kera is helpful.

 

2. Hair cleansing

After applying your oil, wash it off with herbal shampoo or herbal hair cleanser like moong dal flour / chickpea flour or herbal shampoo prepared out of hibiscus flower/leaves or shikakai.

How to prepare organic shampoo at home?

Thali is a herbal hair cleanser instead of chemical shampoos which also helps for long black shiny hair.

Herbal Thali (kerala traditional hair cleanser)

  • Hibiscus Leaves: 6 to 8
  • Tulsi leaves: 3 to 4
  • Hibiscus flowers: 2
  • Green gram flour (green whole moong dal flour): 3 tbsp
  • Water: 1 cup

How to make it

Pluck hibiscus leaves, tulsi leaves and hibiscus flowers fresh from the plants. Add green gram flour and grind it into a paste with water. Once the liquid starts to froth, the shampoo is ready. Filter this mixture using a cloth and take only the juicy part.

Nowadays hibiscus thali powder is easily available in the market to buy if you can’t get fresh items.

How to use it

Rinse hair and apply the natural shampoo, lather well just like you use normal shampoos. Be gentle, leave for five minutes and wash with water. Pat gently with a towel. Once your hair is dry, comb gently. Regular use results in shiny black hair. Optimum results when used for a minimum of once a week.

Ensure that the shampoo is fresh and do not refrigerate. Best results happen with immediate application after preparation.

Other hair cleansers:

Reetha, Shikakai and Amla (Soap nut+Soap pod+Indian gooseberry)

Boil Reetha, Shikakai, and Amla peel separately for 10-15 minutes. Squeeze the ingredients, strain the juices into a clean bottle and let it cool down to room temperature. Use this liquid as a natural shampoo regularly.

  •  Try using normal or cold water to rinse your hair and make sure that you clean it thoroughly.

 

3. Conditioning With Herbal Hair Masks - Monthly twice

  • Take equal amounts of dried powders of Tulasi, Brahmi, Guava leaves, Amla powder and Mehandi. Mix it with 1 tablespoon aloe vera pulp and one egg white, apply this mixture on scalp and hair and leave it for one hour and wash after that.
  • Mix ¼ cup of natural Aloe vera gel and ¼ cup of any carrier oil of your choice. Coconut oil, Almond oil or Argan oil can be the best in combination with Aloe vera. Now, apply this mix throughout your scalp and hair. Leave it for about 20-30 minutes before washing it off with herbal cleaners.
  • Another method of hair conditioning is, take henna and one teaspoonful of castor oil or olive oil, mix these with lukewarm milk, make a paste and apply it on hair. After 20 minutes wash it, wrap a towel drenched with hot water around your head to blot out the oil and moisture.
  • Coconut milk application. Apply Coconut milk on the scalp and hair and leave it for 15 minutes after that wash it with herbal shampoo or thali.

Drying Hair :- Rubbing of hair after washing leads to split end. Tugging wet hair pulls it out. Therefore natural drying is always preferred. In the ancient times, they used to dry their wet hair using the sambrani fumes, after a bath. It would scent the hair and also prevent scalp infections.

 

4. Hair drying in Ayurvedic/traditional way - Dhoopana

The aromatization is done using medicinal ingredients like eagle wood, Indian bdellium, costus, cuscus grass, frankincense and sandalwood. The ingredients are taken in equal measure and crushed into small pieces. Then they are put in the embers of a burnt coconut shell or live coal kept in a small hand held earthen vessel to get a fragrant smoke. After letting the hair fall loose, the smoke is allowed to waft up through the locks of hair. One has to keep the vessel containing red hot coals, emitting smoke at a safe distance from the hair, while doing this.

  • Frankincense , Neem leaves, Camphor, and black pepper also can be used as a dhoopa powder.
  • Ashwagandha churna (available in Ayurvedic shops)also can be used for preparing dhoopa. 

Benefits of dhoopana - Helps to prevent all types of infections on scalp including dandruff, black piedra. 

 

5. Daily routine for healthy hair

Get Active and Get Abundant Hair

When we sweat from our scalp, it helps in opening the clogged pores, and this gives room for new growth to come up easily. Moreover, exercise increases blood circulation throughout your body, including the scalp. Increased blood circulation allows for more nutrients to reach the follicles, which is important to maintain healthy growth.

Trim your hair every 2-3 months

Broken hair with split ends gives a thin and rough look to your hair tips. You can avoid this by getting rid of split ends through regular trimming. Ensure you eliminate your split ends by trimming your hair every 8-12 weeks.

Comb Hair gently twice

Combing is one of the effective ways to enhance blood circulation on your scalp. It helps in detangling your hair and spreading your scalp’s natural oils evenly over your hair strands. But, vigorous combing can damage your hair by stretching it and this may lead to hair breakage and split ends. Also, wash your comb regularly to avoid dirt accumulation and do not share your comb with others.

Eat the right diet with hair-growth enriching foods

 Make sure your foods include essential nutrients for hair growth like Vitamins A, B, C, D, E and K, and minerals such as iron, zinc, etc. along with protein.

Use cold water for washing hair.

Rinsing with hot water results in taking away essential oils and moisture from your hair. This can leave your scalp dehydrated and hair frizzy and static. Cold water seals the moisture in the hair, which leaves the scalp hydrated.


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