Thick, long, lustrous hair has always been considered a beauty asset. Yet, we see so much hair damage today, mainly due to the use of chemicals for styling, dyeing and colouring. Damaged hair is weak and tends to break off, or falls easily. It may also be rough and lack shine. Actually, the hair is like a delicate fabric, so we have to learn to treat it that way.
Strong, healthy hair is not really difficult to achieve. What one needs is an awareness of the kind of treatment it deserves, so that we can protect it and restore its beauty. In terms of nourishment, the first thing to remember is that the body must be in a state of good health. The diet and good blood circulation are extremely vital for healthy hair. It also needs external nourishment, in terms of regular hair care. Hair grows in phases and each hair has a life cycle. When one hair ends its life cycle and falls off, a new hair replaces it. Of course, the replacement depends on various factors like age, hormonal changes and general health.
The diet is extremely important for healthy hair growth, because the hair is actually fed by the nutrients in our blood stream. The daily diet should include fresh fruits, raw salads, sprouts, leafy green vegetables. Proteins can be obtained from beans, peas, dals, fish, lean meat, eggs, paneer and curd. Sprouted grains and cereals are of great benefit to the hair, as they contain amino acids. Along with a nutritious diet, daily exercise, relaxation, adequate sleep and a healthy lifestyle are required for healthy hair growth. Also, if you have a medical condition, take your doctor’s advice before making changes in your diet.
The application of oil with a light massage helps to stimulate blood circulation to the follicles. Coconut oil is said to promote hair growth. Warm the oil before application. Gentle tapping movements should be followed all over the head, to stimulate circulation. With your fingers, rub oil all over the scalp, but not vigorously. Using your fingertips, try to move the skin of the scalp gently.
You can also make your own hair oil. Take 10 to 15 gms of dry amla and one teaspoon fenugreek (methi) seeds. Grind both amla and methi seeds coarsely. Add them to 100 ml pure coconut oil. Put all the ingredients in an airtight glass jar. Keep in the sun daily for 15 days. Shake to stir the ingredients. Then strain the oil through a clean muslin cloth and keep in a bottle. This oil benefits all hair types.
The frequency of shampoo should be according to hair type. Generally speaking, wash three times a week for oily hair and twice a week for dry hair. Use a mild herbal shampoo and apply less. Rinse the hair thoroughly with water. After washing the hair, do not rub with a towel. Allow the towel to soak up moisture and wrap it around the head for a few minutes. Avoid brushing wet hair. Use a wide-toothed comb. Avoid regular use of hair dryers and allow your hair to dry naturally as much as possible.
You can also make your own hair washing preparation. Take one handful each of dried reetha, shikakai and amla. Add them to one litre of water and allow them to soak overnight. Next day, simmer the herbs with the water on a low fire, till water reduces to half. Allow the mixture to cool and strain it through a clean cloth. Use the liquid to wash your hair. Keep your home-made hair cleanser in the refrigerator for further use. Make small quantities at a time.
Remember that a healthy body and healthy scalp grow strong hair.