In India, under the Ayurvedic system, the application of oil is an integral part of hair treatments. Oiling of the hair not only provides nourishment, but is the best way to deal with dryness. It is also an excellent pre-shampoo treatment and helps the natural distribution of oils along the hair. The scalp is actually rich in oil-producing glands, but stress, pollution, dandruff, harsh shampoos and other factors can cause the pores to become blocked. This is common during the teen years when oil gland activity increases. If pore-clogging continues, the hair becomes dry. Blood circulation to the scalp is also hampered and dandruff may also occur.
The application of oil with a light massage helps to soften the texture of the hair and also stimulates blood circulation to the follicles. The hair is actually fed by the nutrients in the bloodstream. So good blood circulation to the follicles is necessary for healthy hair growth. Oil massages also help to keep the scalp healthy, nourish the hair and improve the look of dry hair.
Different oils have different qualities
Coconut oil is probably the most popular oil for hair in India. It is said to strengthen the hair and make it thick and shiny. Hot oil therapy with coconut oil is said to restore health to damaged hair and prevent split ends. Heat coconut oil and apply it on the scalp. Then do a hot towel wrap.
Sesame seed (til) oil is light, free of odour and is easily absorbed by the skin. Ayurveda advocates it as the most balanced oil. It is rich in nutrients and has healing properties too.
Olive oil helps to restore the normal acid-alkaline balance of the scalp. It is useful for oily hair with dandruff.
Almond oil is said to be very nourishing for dry hair. It is reported to be soothing, healing, lubricating, softening, revitalizing and nourishing.
Castor oil is used mainly for hair conditions such as dry, brittle and damaged hair. A heavy and sticky oil, it should not be applied on oily hair. If the hair has suffered damage and excessive dryness due to colouring, straightening, perming or sun-exposure, mix one part of castor oil with two parts coconut oil. Heat and apply. Remember to apply to the ends of your hair, too. Keep the oil on overnight and wash your hair the next day using a mild herbal shampoo. Avoid very hot water.
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Shahnaz Husain is a pioneer and leader of the herbal beauty care movement based on Ayurveda. As CMD of the Shahnaz Husain Group of Companies, she heads the largest organization of its kind in the world with a global network of salons, spas and beauty training academies.