Ayurvedic Hair Care
No matter what type of hair nature blessed you with, there are things you can do to keep it healthy, lustrous, looking its best. Here are some tips for a healthy head of hair from the tradition of ayurveda, the 5,000-year old system of holistic healing that originated in India:
- Like everything else about true, lasting beauty, healthy hair begins within your body. Start with your diet. Include lots of green leafy vegetables and sweet juicy fruits. Dairy products such as milk and fresh yogurt will also help. Fresh coconut is also considered excellent "hair food" -- sprinkle grated coconut over salads, diced fresh fruit, or rice.
- Cut down on refined, processed and canned foods. Ayurveda considers foods with artificial preservatives and chemical additives stripped of their inherent "intelligence" and therefore not helpful in supplying nutrition to your body and mind. Ice-cold beverages also hamper the process of digestion and assimilation of nutrients.
- Cooking with certain spices adds flavor to your food and provides nourishment for your hair. Cumin, turmeric and black pepper are some "hair-friendly" spices. Add a healthy pinch of each to single-portion soups and stews as they are cooking. SautÃ© 1/8 -1/4 teaspoon each of the three spices in a teaspoon of ghee (clarified butter) or olive oil and add to cooked veggies. Roasted ground cumin and ground black pepper can be sprinkled over fresh yogurt.
- Stress can be seriously injurious to long-term health and color of hair. Try and manage your time and tasks to minimize time-related pressures. Practice relaxation techniques such as meditation. Seek out tranquil sights in nature to help restore balance to your mind. Relaxing or uplifting music can be therapeutic. Get adequate, good quality sleep to help the natural process of rejuvenation.
- Ayurvedic herbs that help hair health include Eclipta alba and Gotu Kola. Eclipta alba is called "Bhringaraj" -- literally, king of tresses. It nourishes the hair and helps resistance to stress as well. Brahmi, sometimes called Gotu Kola, also helps balance the mind and nourishes the hair and scalp. Since Ayurveda considers the health, color and luster of hair so dependent on overall mind/body health, synergistic Ayurvedic herbal preparations for hair can also include herbs such as Country Mallow, which is supposed to strengthen the physiology, and Winter Cherry, which aids resistance to stress.
- Stay away from harsh chemical topical products that can damage hair over time. Look for gentle, natural cleansers and conditioners, especially if you wash your hair more than three times a week. Shampoos and conditioners that contain nourishing botanicals are even better. Read labels carefully -- sometimes, products that say "herbal" or "natural" can include no-no chemicals.
- A warm oil scalp massage two or three times a week will help stimulate and moisturize the scalp. You can use good quality coconut, almond or olive oil. Ayurvedic hair oils also contain some of the herbs mentioned earlier. Apply some mildly warmed oil to your hair and gently massage into your scalp evenly with your fingertips. Leave on overnight if you can, if not, leave on for at least an hour or two, then get it out by shampooing your hair. The scalp massage helps you relax and aids sound sleep as well.
- Never attack wet hair with a brush, no matter how rushed for time you are. Tangles in wet hair are best removed with a wide-toothed comb. Use a wooden comb if you can find one; it won't generate static electricity. Excessive blow-drying can damage hair in the long-term, making it brittle and causing split ends. If you can, let your hair dry naturally, then brush into place.
- Last, but not least, brushing your hair regularly to stimulate the scalp will keep it looking healthy and lustrous. Brush each night in all directions in turn -- left to right, right to left, front to back and back to front. Use smooth long strokes from scalp to hairtips.
Your hair can indeed be your crowning glory if you treat it right!
Other Useful Tips:
Beer Is good for the hair-----True
Pale ale makes an excellent setting lotion. Apply it to the hair before putting in rollers or blow drying.
Brushing hair 100 times at night makes it shine-----True
Thorough brushing stimulates the oil glands in the scalp and makes the hair shinier than normal. However, too much brushing can split and thin the hair.
Baldness is a sign of virility-----False
Baldness may be partly caused by the male sex hormone testosterone circulation in the body. It can therefore be regarded as a sign of virility by those who wish to do so. But men with full heads of hair can be just as virile as those who are bald.
Hair can turn white overnight-----False
Because of the slow growth of hair----about 13mm a month----it is impossible for anyone to go white overnight from shock or grief.
Singeing the hair makes it grow-----False
Visible hair is made up of dead cells and singeing only causes split ends. Live hair is under the skin and is unaffected by singeing.
Hair continues to grow after death-----False
The shrinkage of skin surrounding the hair follicles might reveal a further 1.5mm or so of hair after death, but hair growth----like nail growth----ends once the body stops functioning.
How to achieve and maintain a healthy head of handsome hair.
Three main things are needed for a good-looking head of hair----good health, the right attention to cleanliness, and caution when using cosmetic treatments.
Hair growth depends on an adequate diet. A widespread diet problem which causes loss of hair is iron deficiency Anemia. The cause is too little iron in blood, brought on by a diet containing too little meat, eggs, cereals or peas and beans. Fresh fruits and vegetables are also needed to provide vitamin C, which enables the body to absorb iron.
Cutting the hair
Although cutting the hair is not essential to its well-being, it is easier to keep the scalp clean if the hair is kept reasonably short. Regular cutting does not make the hair grow strong or faster.
How hair can be damaged
Although scalp hair is hardy, and can withstand a lot of abuse, it can be damaged by too much or inexpertly applied perming, dyeing, bleaching and massage. The amount of beautying the hair can take varies from person to person. Occasionally the scalp is allergic to the dye and becomes inflamed and swollen. To prevent this occurring, the dye should be tested by applying it to a small area on the arm. If a patch of inflammation has developed, the dye must not be used on the hair.
Most people who bleach their hair do so with hydrogen peroxide. If the peroxide is repeatedly applied, it may make the hair brittle. If this happens the hair may turn rough, develop split ends, or become thinned or shortened.
The hair's colour is determined by the proportion of two pigments----one brown-black, the other red-yellow---which are deposited in the hair shafts. Greying hair is part of the natural ageing process, in which less and less pigment is laid down in the shafts. Grey hair usually first appear on the temples and then spread over the scalp. The age at which greyness begins and its extent depends upon heredity.
Ailments that can affect your hair
The hair can be affected by a number of ailments----some of which may require professional treatment.
Women may lose hair several weeks after childbirth, or after giving up contraceptive pill. Many women going through menopause find that their hair becomes much thinner---and stays that way.