Ayurveda for excellent hair
Healthy hair and radiant skin are the hallmarks for perfect beauty. I remember the knee length hair of my mother. Such long and healthy hair were not uncommon a few decades back. Today such hair will make everyone’s eyes pop! The way to long and healthy hair goes back to mother nature. Ayurveda, the ancient traditional medicine, contains the secret to beautiful hair.
The first step for Ayurveda treatment is to stop the disease-causing factors (nidana privarjanama – removal of the cause). Let us look at some of the severely debilitating factors for naturally healthy hair growth.
Shampoo or chemical cocktail!
There is a major flaw in the hair care approach today. It is the outside-in approach of haircare that is ruining the natural beauty of the hair. We try different external remedies for hair. We drown our hair in a cocktail of chemicals in the form of different shampoos, conditioners, gels, lotions, etc.
These so-called “hair-care products” are nothing but a flood of toxin for our hair. The chemicals contained in shampoos are:
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
The chemical that creates lather in a shampoo. But this chemical is known to break down proteins, and our hair is nothing but proteins. It also extracts the natural moisture cover from the hair and the scalp, thus leaving it vulnerable to all kinds of infections and irritation. It brings absolutely no benefit to the hair, only tears it apart after a long term use. Are we willing to take this risk only for soapy bubbles!
These are preservatives that are used to prevent any microbial growth in shampoos and cosmetics. They have terrible resemblance to human female hormones estrogen. It can create hormonal chaos in the body and lead to many hormonal disorders like breast cancer in female and breast enlargement in males. Here we are talking something much more serious than just hair fall or hair thinning. This chemical is life threatening! Anyone for this shampoo?
A shampoo thickener, does not add any nutrition to the hair as advertised by most companies, This secret chemical takes away all natural oil from our hair making them dull and dry over a period of time.
One of the many irritants that your shampoo has, no matter which one you choose. This chemical can seriously affect the natural keratin in your hair. It can cause serious scalp inflammation and itchiness, leading to faster hair loss.
A chemical used as a car anti-freeze is used to prevent shampoos from freezing as they are transported from one point to the other, esp in cold climate. Hence, shampoo has more chemicals that can help its manufacturers to generate more profit than benefit the end-user. Whether these chemicals are good for you or not, nobody cares. So now it is time to care yourself for what goes into your hair and whatnot.
We have salt not only in the toothpaste but also in the shampoo and all other hair products. But no company advertises that because it is not good for hair. According to Ayurveda, excessive salt intake causes baldness, early graying and hair thinning. And here we are putting salt directly on our head! The ad should be showing “guaranteed hair fall, up to the extent of baldness very soon!”
Wine is traditionally used to wash and bring luster to the hair. But some strong synthetic alcohols used to preserve the shampoos can be very harmful to hair. Alcohol is an acidic substance and pouring a harsh acid on your hair is going to do nothing but to burn your hair right away. This substance is the culprit behind the frizzy and thinning hair.
Besides, fragrance and colors used in shampoo can contain heavy metals and other cancer-causing chemicals. Artificial colors used in shampoos are derived from petroleum and coal tar and can be highly carcinogenic.
The other hazardous chemicals found in shampoos much longer Quaternium-15, formaldehyde, Imidazolidinyl Urea (imagine putting urea in your hair for better hair growth), Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Triclosan, Retinyl Palmitate, etc.
All of these chemicals have a severely degenerative effect on hair growth. These chemicals might lead to temporary shine and free-flowing hair, but they cause great harm to the hair in the long term. The result is hair loss, dandruff, scalp skin disorders, baldness and so on.
After reading this, it would be amply clear to everyone why this generation does not have the kind of hair that our grannies had!
Therefore the first step towards growing a dense mass of healthy and lustrous hair is to abandon all these toxic products. We get fooled into believing that these unnatural products can bring great looks and health to our hair in a short span. In short, all the shampoos and other hair products are like the wolf in the story of the red riding hood. They gain your trust and confidence; strip you of your hard-earned money and the hair as well.
Real Hair Care Tips
There are 2 fields of any disease according to Ayurveda – the mind and the body. In the case of hair, the mind is the more powerful factor.
Mind your hair
Healthy hair is an incidental result of healthy food, lifestyle and peaceful state of mind. If someone were to ask me, an Ayurveda physician the best remedy for great hair, I would say there is one ultimate remedy – a peaceful and happy mind. With a peaceful mind, your hair will remain long, dark and shiny till the time you get to play with your grandchildren. If you do not have a peaceful mind, no remedy will have a permanent effect, no matter how effective it might be otherwise.
Therefore, meditation/ religious faith is one single factor that can turn all other factors in your favor. If you have a peaceful mind, your hair will survive the bad climate, less amount of food, rugged lifestyle and everything else. It is important to understand that a peaceful mind is different from a happy mind. You are tempted to eat junk food and might feel happy after eating it. But, this is a temporary pleasure and cannot be equated with a feeling of contentment.
Meditation will not only give you healthy hair, but it will also bestow you with overall great health, strength, stamina, great focus, patience, and flexibility in life. It is a complete cure for every problem of life. A must try for sincere hair patrons!
Yoga and pranayama also have a great effect on hair health. The bottom line is – whatever keeps your mind peaceful, is good for your hair!
Protect your hair
First thing first, The first treatment in Ayurveda is the elimination of the factors that cause Hair problems. Following are some of the lifestyle factors that can cause severe and long term damage to the hair. These factors impair the digestion leading to accumulation of toxins in the body. These toxins get excreted via the hair. Thus bad, thin and malnourished hair is the result there is a simple sutra that you can follow as the first step towards beautiful hair.
Avoid the following
Mahatapa, The stress, anxiety, negativity – Stress and related negative emotions can severely damage the hair.
Ama, undigested food-based toxins – Eat only when you are hungry; exercise regularly to maintain proper digestion.
Vegavidharan- Your habitual suppression of natural urges) – It leads to vitiation of vata and rapid hair fall.
Raja, The dust – Dust gets deposited on the scalp and blocks the glands in the scalp skin. Thus the nutrition and protection of the outer layer are hindered.
Dhoom, The smoke – The heat and soot from smoke have a similar effect as dust on the hair.
Aatap, The excess heat & harsh sunlight – excess heat can damage the hair follicles and lead to early graying. From here comes the adage – “Dhoop me baal safed karna” (to whiten the hair in sunlight), and you don’t want that!
Hima, The cold – excess exposure to cold can constrict the blood vessels in the scalp and prevent adequate blood supply to the hair follicles.
Sheetambusevan, The the use of cold water – cold water is extremely hazardous, especially for the vata and kapha prakrati. However, room temperature water in summer, spring and rainy season do not come under this definition.
Prakvata, The facing headwinds – We all love free-flowing hair, but I would suggest that you don’t let your hair flow. Wind can make hair and scalp extremely dry and lead to rapid hair fall. Well tied hair (in a bun or braid) is safe from the wind. Also, if you can cover your head when outside, God will bless you with beautiful locks.
Divaswap, Day sleep – This factor vitiates Kapha dosha and creates obstructions in the hair metabolism channels.
Prajagran, The lack of sleep – It leads to vata vitiation and thus rapid hair fall. It can even lead to baldness in the long run.
Madya, Intoxication – excessive use of alcohol vitiates pitta and leads to inflammation in the hair follicles.
few causes that affect hair health:
- Complications to other diseases
These factors can be controlled only when the primary disorder is corrected.
Nourish your hair
Let’s balance our mind and look at the second factor important for perfect hair health – the food. Food is real medicine according to Ayurveda. If you have good food, you will never need any medicine. And if you have the wrong food, no medication will be able to cure you. Hair comes at the end of the metabolic priorities. Therefore it is crucial that we consume enough nutrition so that it reaches the end of the metabolic chain – to the hair.
But there is a much important factor than the diet. Digestion is the ultimate deciding factor whether we will have enough nutrition absorbed in our body or not. If we have a weak or vitiated digestive system, then we might not be able to digest no matter how much nutrition we consume. It is important to have easily digestible, less oily, less spicy food daily. According to Acharya Charak, you must consume rice, moong dal, rock salt, jowar, milk, ghee, and honey daily.
Lifestyle for Different Hair Types:
General Lifestyle for the perfect hair Here are some guidelines that apply to all prakrati or type of people and an universal must for good hair
- Have good food on time, Regular meals help the body in better maintenance and planning.
- Avoid mid-meal snacks. Mid-meal snacks tax the digestive system and retard the overall digestive capacity.
- Avoid drinking a large amount of water immediately before, during or immediately after a meal. This water consumption decreases the optimal temperature for digestion and dilutes the digestive enzyme. It diminishes the overall quality of digestion.
- Avoid sleeping immediately after a meal. Walk up to 100 steps after dinner. This walking is a traditional practice called shatpavli. It helps to accelerate the rate of digestion at night time.
- Avoid late night dinners altogether. If you are hungry, go for a glass of milk.
- Exercise daily to ensure better blood supply to your brain and your hair.
- Practice weekly Champi (head massage) and let the oil stay overnight for best results.
Vata – Hair Food and Lifestyle
Vata is the dosha responsible for most hair problems like hair fall (khalitya), dry scalp, dandruff (darunak), baldness (Indralupta), etc. Therefore, Ayurveda recommends that you must avoid vata vitiating food, especially in the rainy season. Rainy season affects maximum hair fall for most of the people. You might attribute this hair fall to the rainwater or the changing climate. But the real culprit behind this sudden hair fall is the consumption of green vegetables.
According to Ayurveda, rain is the time for cyclic natural vata vitiatio n, and green vegetables are a natural vitiating agent for vata. Thus eating green vegetables in rainy season is the deadly combination that can lead to rapid hair fall. Vata people should undergo panchkarma (basti) treatment before the beginning of this season to avoid all the problems by natural vata vitiation.
Besides, vata prakrati people should avoid frequent consumption of vata causing vegetables like brinjal, green peas, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, lettuce except in the winter season
Vata Hair and Care
Vataprakrati people should use warm temperament hair oils for head massage.
Castor oil and almond oil are the best for Vata Prakrati people. These oils are warm in temperament and have a natural hydrating effect on the dry and cold vata scalp.
Ideally, these oils should be warmed to a comfortable temperature and applied at night. The night is a good time as the oil can sit overnight and have better absorption in the scalp skin. Vata scalp is the most prone to dandruff.
Recently i discovered Sukeshant Anti Dandruff Ayurvedic Hair Oil, one of the best remedies for dandruff. The word Sukeshant means “the one having beautiful locks.” This oil nourish not only vata prakrati hair but all types of hair.
Avoid washing the hair with chemical based shampoos after the head massage. In the morning, you can try washing hair with chemical-free hydrating herbal shampoo for dry hair. Vata hair has a tendency to get frizzy and tangled very easily. condition your hair with Chemical free Gentle Conditioner for dry hair which can help you prevent the damage by reducing the fizziness of the hair.
Nourishing conditioner for dry hair is especially suitable for excessively dry hair. The moisturizing effect of aloe vera, neuroprotective effect of Jatamansi and nutrition by Geranium is one of the most desirable combinations for dry vata hair. If you have too much dandruff, try using Soothing Anti Dandruff Conditioner for scalp irritation and infection in the dry vata skin. The excellent combination of tea tree oil, neem, Sweet Almond, Jojoba, Babassu and Shea can prevent all kinds of skin infections, itching, and irritation of a vata skin.
Pitta Prakrati hair care
Hair of pitta prakrati people are prone to early greying (palitya), and a low rate of growth. Vitiated pitta dosha can cause scalp inflammation. Excess heat of pitta can burn the hair follicle and cause slow hair growth. Coolness inducing and moist food is the best remedy for healthy hair in pitta people.
Pitta Hair Food and Lifestyle
Pitta prakrati people should avoid excess sunlight, heat, and humidity if possible. To keep their head and hair safe from vitiation of pitta, they should consume cooling beverages like coconut water, coriander squash, Brahmi sherbet, etc.
Pitta prakrati people must take special care of their skin and hair during the early winter (Sharad) season. Sharad is the time when a natural rhythmic imbalance of pitta occurs. At this time pitta prakrati people can face rapid whitening of hair, skin inflammation, hyperacidity, and other pitta related problems.
Ideally, pitta prakrati people should undergo a regular detox or panchakarma before this period of the year. Pitta Prakriti people must avoid oily, hot, and spicy food. They should try to consume more of cooling and pitta pacifying food like ghee, milk, turmeric, mulethi (Liquorice), Elaichi (green cardamom), moong dal (green gram), rice. They should avoid consuming excess lemon, tamarind, vinegar, soya sauce, red chili, garam masala, sour curd, etc. In short, they should avoid excessive sour and bitter food. Sweet and coolness inducing food are the best for them.
Pitta hair care
Pitta prakrati people must avoid hot water or steam treatment for their hair. Virgin coconut oil is one of the best choices for pitta prakrati hair. Coconut cools and purifies the blood supply to the brain. It naturally nourishes the scalp and the hair follicles.
A combination of sesame, Vetiver (khus) roots and Bringaraj is the choicest solution for premature hair greying and scalp irritation (KeshinThailam Hair Growth Oil). Sesame cools off the pitta scalp and removes irritation if any. Vetiver (khus) is known for its cooling and blood purifying properties, essential for pitta prakrati people. Bringaraj is a natural hair colourant. It also helps to enhance the hair density.
Some pitta people might be prone to baldness due to a combined effect of vata and pitta, and excessive anger (a characteristic of pitta prakrati people). Pushtikar Hair Oil for Hair Loss might be a great help to prevent the early onset of baldness. Hibiscus Brahmi mask is an excellent remedy for hot-headed pitta prakrati people. Brahmi helps to cool the scalp skin, relax scalp nerves and nourish the hair.
Do not warm any oil before use on the head. It is crucial that the oil for head massage of pitta prakrati people should be used at room temperature unless advised by an Ayurveda physician.
Kapha Prakrati : Food and Lifestyle
Kapha prakrati people are blessed with the best quality of hair among all other prakrati people. They naturally have soft, smooth, lustrous and thick hair. However, they have a sluggish metabolism. Their digestion can be prolonged and can lead to toxin accumulation in the body. Besides, the slow blood supply to the head can lead to bad hair health, hair fall and other problems.
It is vital that kapha prakrati people should eat light and hot meals. They should not eat after the sunset avoid ice-cream, cold drinks, sweets, sour & salty foods. Must include more digestive herbs like ginger, garlic, clove, black cardamom, garam masala, bay leafs.
Vasant (spring) is the phase of natural cyclic vitiation of Kapha in the human body. Kaphaprakrati people should try to observe fast during this time. According to Hindu tradition, Chaitra Nav-Ratri fasting is a very healthy ritual for all kapha prakrati people. They can also go for panchkarma before this season begins.
Kapha hair care
Kaphaprakrati people can benefit a lot from hot oil head massage, as it helps to stimulate the nerves and blood supply in the scalp. Castor oil is the best for all kapha prakrati hair. It has a sharp and powerful action that helps to stimulate the sluggish metabolism of kapha prakrati.
Sweet almond oil is the right choice for Kapha hair facing hair thinning or numbness in the scalp. Sukeshant Anti Dandruff Ayurvedic Hair Oil is the most appropriate choice for dandruff or scalp irritation in kapha prakrati skin. Kapha skin is prone to skin infections due to the low rate of metabolism. The low dose of Dhatura can invigorate nerve ending in the scalp. Durva and Daru haridhra are excellent blood purifiers. Guduchi helps to fight skin infections like a fungal infection, eczema, etc.
Purifying Herbal Shampoo For All Hair is an excellent choice for kapha prakrati hair. It contains a combination of Yashti Madhu, lavender, and Brahmi. These herbs stimulate the nerves of the scalp. Aloe vera extract in the shampoo helps to cleanse the excess mucus in the Kapha scalp.
Restorative Herbal Anti Dandruff Shampoo is another right choice for Kapha hair. Tea tree extract, with antiseptic properties of neem, neuroprotective action of Brahmi and declogging effect of aloe vera forms a perfect combination for the Kapha hair.
Marma massage with Omved Hair oils can lead to incredible results, especially for the kapha prakarti people.
Note: Always rinse your hair properly and towel dry your wet hair and use toothed comb instead of blower or hot dry.