Lovely, shining, thick healthy hair is one of the greatest beauty assets. Hair is most definitely the body’s barometer, indicating good health or lack of it. The health of one’s hair is indicated by a healthy scalp. There are many reasons for a scalp not being healthy, some of them being inadequate blood supply or even due to hormonal problems. A high protein-enriched diet will always keep your hair healthy and strong. Vitamin B Complex is important for hair health. Iron is also very important for healthy lustrous hair.
Shahnaz Hussain, the renowned Indian entrepreneur, well-known for her herbal and Ayurvedic hair and skin care products offers the following tips:
Dry hair: 1. Heat oil and apply on the hair and scalp. Then dip a towel in hot water, squeeze out the water and wrap the hot towel around the head, like a turban. Keep it on for three to four minutes. Repeat the hot towel wrap five times. This helps the hair absorb the oil better. 2. Apply mayonnaise and massage it lightly into the hair. Keep it on for half an hour and then shampoo. This helps to nourish, soften and condition the hair.
Dry and damaged hair: Add one teaspoon of castor oil to one tablespoon of pure coconut oil. Massage it into the scalp and hair. Comb the hair to make sure it has been properly distributed. Follow with the hot towel wrap procedure, three to four times. This also prevents split-ends.
Oily hair and Dandruff: Apply apple cider vinegar to the scalp. Leave it on for half an hour and rinse off with plain water.
Neem hair rinse for dandruff: Take two handfuls of neem leaves and add to one liter of water. Simmer over a low fire for one hour, with the lid on. Leave it overnight. Next morning, strain and use the water as a last rinse. You can also make a paste of the leaves and apply on the scalp, washing off after half an hour.
Fenugreek (Methi) seeds for dandruff: Grind one tablespoon of methi seeds coarsely. Soak in four cups of water overnight. Next morning, strain and use the water as a last rinse.
Egg shampoo: Adding egg to the shampoo helps to add body to the hair. Take one egg, one teaspoon olive oil, one teaspoon lemon juice, two teaspoons of a mild shampoo and half a cup of water. Mix all the ingredients together. Use immediately to wash the hair. Any leftover mixture can be kept in the refrigerator, but should be used within two days.
Natural hair care
Dr. Apoorva Shah is India’s first certified trichologist and has won many awards worldwide for his contribution in this field. He explains: Hair is composed of the same tough protein substance that forms the outer layer of our skin and nails called Keratin. It is a tough material, making a single hair strand support a load of 100 grams! So it is not easy to pull out someone’s hair from their head. But living in a surrounding where environmental pollution, stress and disease are seen in abundance, hair gets abused easily. Also, improper care, bad cuts and inadequate vitamin and protein intake can make us lose hair and hair strands go dry and frizzy.
Ultra violet light from the sun bleaches the hair, thus protein of the hair breaks down and becomes weak, and it also dries hair strands by breaking up links between the amino acid groups. Hair is mostly protein so we need to eat a protein-rich diet with foods such as fish, soya, cottage cheese and pulses. Beta-carotene found in orange and yellow fruits and vegetables, and vitamins B1, B6, B12, A and C all contribute to the overall health of your hair.
Tips for proper hair care:
1. Never brush or comb wet hair.
2. Use fingers to de-tangle.
3. Overnight oil application can be useful as a nourishing conditioner once a week.
4. Use a protein-based conditioner after you shampoo.
5. Choose mild shampoos. Apply conditioner from ears to ends—never on the scalp. A conditioner coats each hair strand, protecting the cuticle which is responsible for shine in the hair and helps to de-tangle the hair easily.
6. On your non-shampoo days, for dry hair, you can apply just the conditioner and rinse with warm water.
7. Normally, one can shampoo every two to three days with a mild nourishing shampoo using water at room temperature. Use fingertips to massage scalp.
8. After wash, let your hair dry naturally. You can apply leave-in conditioner before blow-drying (always use the hair dryer in cold mode).
9. When drying your hair, wrap your head with a towel in a turban-like style. Leave it for five to seven minutes, and then gently blot dry.
Did you know?
1. Dandruff, boils, or itching on the scalp signifies a disease or infection and should be shown to a skin expert. To try a home remedy for dandruff, use the juice of a raw tomato and apply for fifteen to thirty minutes on the scalp before a hair wash.
2. A good herbal conditioner can be made by mixing yogurt with a few drops of glycerin. Massage on scalp and hair for ten minutes before hair wash.
3. An easy tip for sweaty and limp hair is to use leftover beer as a conditioning rinse on the hair during wash.
Iron, proteins and minerals are absolutely essential for good hair. One should always have a diet which is rich in milk and milk products, chickpeas, soybean and cottage cheese. Consuming more than 2.5 to 3 liters of water a day helps in hydration and adding a glass of tender coconut water can be a good help as it is rich in minerals. Inclusion of iron-rich food in diet like dates, jaggery, beetroot and figs is good for hair. Eating a lot of green leafy vegetables, papayas, tomatoes and pears, give you all the vitamins and minerals needed for hair nourishment. Apart from these basic things, certain foods like red meat, red wine, urad dal should be avoided as they are known to boost the male hormone DHT, which is the main causative reason for male pattern thinning. Drinking two to three cups of green tea is beneficial as it is a good DHT blocker. Sometimes, despite a good, nutritious diet there is malabsorption due to GI disturbances and constipation. So your diet must be rich in fiber so that your bowels are well-regulated. Most importantly, apart from the hair regimen mentioned above, sound mental health is essential. In today’s stressful life, many atopic and autoimmune disorders are becoming common. Of course one cannot avoid stress completely, but one can always follow good de-stressing activities to take away or nullify the ill-effects of stress. Yoga, meditation and Pranayama help rejuvenate us, externally and internally.