We live in a stress-filled world which can lead to many hair issues, and unfortunately, the numerous hair styling options available to us further harm our hair. As a result of our lifestyle and product choices, hair thinning, breakage, and scalp inflammation are becoming common concerns.
So, how do we maintain our hair health?
No matter your hair type, knowing how to care for your hair and scalp is the first step toward achieving healthy hair. The oldest traditional medicinal system of Ayurveda offers a holistic approach that focuses on prevention rather than curative care for your hair health.
Let's begin with finding out more about the Ayurvedic approach to hair care.
Ayurvedic Perspective on hair care
For hair care, Ayurveda takes a different approach. It believes in providing quality nutrition to the follicles through herbal oils with hair-boosting properties and a nutritious diet that supports hair health from within the body.
Ayurveda also emphasizes that a stress-free lifestyle is vital for our overall wellness and our hair. Therefore, maintaining a healthy scalp care routine and a healthy diet, and a stress-free lifestyle is necessary for hair health.
Healthy Ayurveda types as per your Prakriti
In Ayurvedic science, the human body comprises of three doshas - Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. The dominant dosha of your body determines the characteristic features referred to as Prakriti.
According to the Prakriti, each human has a unique constitution of hair. Some have dry hair, some curly hair, and so on.
Here is a quick guide for identifying your hair type as per Ayurveda.
Vata Hair Type
Vata hair type individuals usually have dry, coarse, and straight thin hair with high porosity. The imbalance in Vata dosha causes hair to become excessively dry, flaky, and frizzy. This kind of hair type is also susceptible to split ends and is more affected by weather conditions, which causes frizziness.
Pitta Hair Type
Pitta hair type person has straight and sleek hair. However, despite their lustrous hair, they are more prone to premature greying.
Kapha Hair Type
Kapha hair type has strong, thicker & lustrous hair. Hair is primarily smooth, shiny, and well-nourished.
Understanding your hair type helps you find the best product for your hair regime.
Before we jump over to find the right hair products, we must understand some of the most common factors that lead to hair problems.
Common causes of hair problems and how to manage them
The Ayurvedic approach to haircare is maintaining a balance with proper scalp care and a nutritious diet. According to Ayurveda, hair issues arise due to imbalances in our bodies. So first, it is necessary to find the root cause of your problems and make the required lifestyle changes.
Stress: Stress is a natural lifestyle evil and a root cause of many health issues. It is one of the single critical factors causing hair problems. Your first step toward a healthier hair regimen is to keep yourself calm and stress-free by exercising, meditation, and performing daily breathing exercises.
Irregular sleep cycle: This is another important factor leading to hair loss. If you have an irregular sleep cycle, you need to fix it now. Regular sleep helps you in relaxing your body as well as your mind.
Unhealthy eating habits: Unhealthy diet habits like eating too little or too much can significantly affect your health. In addition, irregular eating patterns negatively affect your digestive system, leading to problems with hair growth.
Genetics: Genetics also plays an essential role in our hair. Preventative care should be considered if hair thinning or loss runs in the family rather than waiting for the first signs of hair thinning.
Excessive use of chemicals: Bleaching or using excess chemicals may cause your hair to break. We strongly recommend using a gentle sulfate-free shampoo and avoiding excessing alcohol-based styling products.
Ayurveda - A holistic approach to haircare
The ayurvedic hair regimen gives your hair a healthy, lustrous look and makes hair strong.
We recommend adapting following Ayurvedic practices for your hair regimens in your daily life for healthy hair:
Oiling your hair and performing a scalp massage (Shiro-Abhyanga)
Shiro abhyanga is a massage for your scalp and hair with Ayurvedic oil infused with herbs such as Rosemary, Bhringraj, Amla, Hibiscus, etc.
Shiro Abhyanga helps hair growth, moisturizes the scalp, relaxes the mind, and reduces the premature greying and hair fall.
How to perform Shiro-Abhyanga or Scalp Massage
● Apply an ayurvedic oil directly to your entire scalp.
● Using your fingers, massage your scalp gently, applying backward pressure.
● Next, use your palm and closed fist for relaxing strokes all over the head.
● Leave the oil for 3 hours or preferably overnight before washing out with a gentle shampoo.
Use a hair mask- Shiro Lepa
Hair masks, or 'Shiro Lepa,' are Ayurveda's best treatments for deep nourishing the hair. Ayurvedic Shiro Lepa has long been known to reduce hair fall and nourish the hair.
An Ayurveda herbal powder like Amla, Reetha, Yasthimadhu, etc., is mixed with herbal oils to make a semi-solid paste called "Lepa." Lepa is then applied to the hair strands from the tip to its roots.
How to use
● To make an ayurvedic hair mask, take an herbal powder such as Amla, Bhringraj, or Shikakai.
● Add Aloe-Vera gel or juice to this powder and preferred booster oil like Rosemary, Hibiscus, or Marshmallow Root Oil.
● Next, make a semi-thick paste and apply this paste to your hair from roots to tip.
● Leave it for 30 minutes and rinse with lukewarm water.
● Use a hair mask once a week or clean hair for better results.
Nourish your hair with your diet
Ayurveda gives a lot of importance to the diet. It is recommended to consume fruits and vegetables as per your regional and seasonal availability. You must eat them fresh and avoid processed foods and sugars.
Additionally, several nutrient-rich foods are beneficial for hair health. Adding these to your diet will improve your body's nutritional content and hair.
Here are some foods that are good for your hair:
● Organic and fresh dairy products like unfermented cheese, non-homogenized whole milk, and greek yogurt are good for your hair.
● Carrots and beets are good sources of minerals that help in repairing your lifeless hairs. They can also reduce the chances of hair fall.
● Greens like spinach and collards are loaded with folate, iron, and vitamin C. These nutrients are best to promote hair growth and reduce hair fall.
● Sesame seeds and sunflower seeds are good sources of nutrients like zinc, selenium, and Vitamin E, which help in reducing hair fall and promote new hair growth.
● Coconut and ghee make your hair grow thicker as they improve blood circulation with their amino acids, minerals, and vitamins.
● Agni-kindling spices such as black pepper, cumin, and turmeric are the best antioxidants that may improve your hair growth and makes them strong.
Changing your lifestyle
Considering the fast-paced, high-stress culture we live in, you must take ample rest to boost nourishment to various body tissues.
Meditation: Meditation is most beneficial early in the morning, but any time of day is just fine. Only 10–15 minutes of meditation can bring a massive difference to your lifestyle.
Exercises: Yoga, pranayama (breathing exercises), or aerobic exercises are good for your health. At least 150 minutes of moderate-intense exercise a week can contribute to healthy living.
What will you get by adopting an Ayurveda hair care regime?
Haircare is not just about using products on your hair. It's also about understanding your hair and the way it works. You will get the best results for your hair by adopting the Ayurveda haircare regime, including following a proper diet, healthy products, Shiro-abhyanga (massage therapy for your hair), and Shiro-Lepa (hair mask).
Here are some benefits of the Ayurveda hair care regime:
Prevents hair loss: Following a proper ayurvedic hair regimen can help prevent premature hair loss and promote strong and healthy hair.
Reduces dryness: It also reduces dryness from the scalp and helps in keeping your scalp more nourished and moisturized.
Promotes hair growth: A well-nourished hair regimen encourages hair growth. It stimulates blood circulation to your scalp making hair strong and helping hair to grow faster.
A few other essential tips to include in your hair regimen
● Cut your hair every 8-12 weeks to prevent split ends. Split ends give your tips a thin and rough appearance. By trimming your split ends regularly, you can avoid this.
● Using harsh chemicals in hair products can change your hair's pH. Instead, consider switching to natural and gentle products for hair and scalp.
● Ayurveda suggests brushing your hair daily with a toothed comb to increase circulation at the roots and maintain healthy hair overall.
● Regular hair washing with Ayurvedic shampoos will help cleanse your scalp of excess dirt, oil, and debris, which can clog the scalp follicles and enhances hair growth.
To summarize, an Ayurvedic hair regimen offers complete hair care. In addition, performing weekly scalp oiling practices and maintaining a balanced lifestyle and a nutritious diet help prevent many hair concerns.