- Head Massage
Unlike many people think, head massage is not unpolished or rustic. Head massage is one of the most important ritual for healthy hair and scalp. It improves blood circulation and drains away toxins from the scalp. You can head massage without using any oil, but I prefer to do it with oil. The best oils for hair loss are coconut, sunflower, olive, ghee, flaxseed, evening primrose, avocado and castor (diluted with another oil).
How to do? Apply oil (of your choice) evenly on the scalp and massage gently with the pads of your fingers. Finish by running fingers through your hair. It shouldn’t take more than 10 to 15 minutes. Leave on for an hour before washing, or you can also keep it overnight for better conditioning. For healthier and stronger, head massage at least once a week.
- Use an Herbal Rinse
Packed with plant nutrients, an herbal hair rinse is the perfect way to nourish and condition your hair. After shampooing, I usually follow-up with an herbal infusion. My favorite is reetha-shikakai rinse. But you can create your own depending on your hair’s need. You can choose one or more of the following hair nourishing herbs: chamomile, amla, shikakai, hibiscus, rosemary, marigold, lavender, fenugreek (methi), lemon, orange, amla, sage, reetha, horsetail, nettle and mint.
- Stay away from conditioners
I don’t use conditioner after shampooing. Applying a conditioner means injecting more chemicals into your scalp and hair. And more chemicals mean more damage to your hair. Instead I use a leave-in conditioner. You don’t need any fancy brands. Oils or plant butters make an excellent leave-in conditioners. Best oils to use – coconut, almond, olive, and jojoba oil; and best butters that work are – shea, kokum, or aloe butter.
To use: Take a little amount (not more than a pea size) of oil or butter and rub it between your palms and apply to damp or dry hair (avoiding the roots) and leave in. This will smooth down frizz and flyaways, and leave your hair looking shiny and smooth.
- Use a wide tooth wood comb
Fine comb can hurt the delicate new growth and also cause abrasions on your scalp. Where as wide tooth wood comb are more gentle (compared to the plastic ones) on your hair and scalp. Wide tooth comb also provide massaging effect and help distribute sebum (natural oil) from the scalp to hair.
So If you want healthy mane, then discard the fine/sharp tooth plastic comb and replace it with a wide tooth wood comb. And well-done if you have already done it
- Fingernails rubbing
Rubbing your fingernails briskly against each other, for about 10 minutes ever day, stimulates hair growth and makes your hair healthy and strong. This is an ancient technique and works similar to reflexology – through energy channels. The positive results are supported by many anecdotal claims, and there are many proponents and followers of this ancient practice. Some have even claimed hair re-growth on bald areas. More on how to do it and science behind this ancient technique:
- Hair Affirmations
Every time I lose hair -while oiling or combing- I affirm that a new and healthy hair will grow in its place. Hair affirmation is a powerful tool that helps you worry less and care better for your hair. You can create your own affirmation and visualize yourself receiving it. Some examples of hair affirmations are: my hair is healthy and growing fast, my hair cells are strong and rejuvenating, I take good care of my hair. You can remind yourself to say these affirmations whenever you are combing your hair or stroking it or massaging it. Send it love and speak with love and care. And please Refrain from saying anything harsh to your hair, even if you may be tempted to do so.
- Eat Flax seeds (Also called Alsi, Jawas, Linseeds)
A daily dose of flax seeds will keep you and your hair vibrant and beautiful. Flax seeds are loaded with omega-3, copper, selenium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, B vitamins, and amino acids – these nutrients are important for healthy hair growth and strength.
How to eat? Sprinkle some ground flax seed on your salads, or make flax seed chutney, which you can add to your sandwiches, stuffed bread (paratha), etc. You can also add them to your smoothies, or when making bread/naan/rotis. Or simply eat a spoonful as a snack.
Exercise is another important key to healthy hair. When you exercise you sweat and that unclogs the hair follicles – that gets clogged by dead skin and grease – giving enough space for the new hair to grow. Exercising also increases blood flow to your scalp. The increased blood flow brings with it more nutrients and more oxygen, and thereby promoting healthy hair growth.
So if you desire thick beautiful hair go for a walk, dance, cycle, play, run, do yoga, cardio or whatever you enjoy. Get up and get moving!
- Avoid tight styles
Tight ponytails, or braids, or any other tight styles put strain on your hair roots, and can lead to hair loss. If you wear tight styles every day, hair may stop growing permanently from areas it is pulled most from, causing a bald patch. Once in a while is fine, but wearing tight styles every day is a big no no. For daily wear opt for loose updos, ponytails or braids to keep hair under control, but without any damage.
In Indian cultures, amla or Indian gooseberry is considered as hair tonic. Amla is an antioxidant having high content of vitamin C, minerals, amino acids, flavonoid and tannins. Eating fresh or dried amla is purported to stop hair loss, reverse graying, and promote stronger and healthier growth. Due to its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effects, applying raw amla juice or amla powder or amla oil on to your scalp will help with dandruff and soothe irritated scalp.
Ways to use: Amla juice with coconut oil or amla oil for a head massage. You can also use amla powder in a hair pack. But the most effective option is to eat fresh or dried amla every day. I have another good option – I take 1tsp amla powder with a glass of water every morning – It’s one of the best detox drink you can find.
- Henna to dye my grey hair
After the colour tragedy I stay far away from synthetic hair colors. I probably have 10 to 15 gray hair and I use henna to cover my greys. Surprisingly the number of white hair have also reduced in the last couple of years (I can’t point to one single thing that I do/did, perhaps little of everything has helped).
Why you should avoid dyes: Synthetic hair dyes contain harsh chemicals such as ammonia, hydrogen peroxide, p-phenylenediamine, which can cause hair damage, brittleness and scalp irritation. Repeated exposure can also harm the hair follicles, potentially resulting in thinning and hair loss. Plant based dyes such as henna can produce gorgeous hair colors ranging from red to dark brown.
- Lentils and beans are my friends
I am a 95% vegetarian and occasionally eat some meat. So I get my quota of protein and iron from super healthy and super yummy lentil (dals) and beans, which I mostly sprout.
As we know hair is mainly composed of proteins, and lack of protein will slow the hair growth, and can even cause hair loss. Iron is another important nutrient for healthy hair growth. It transports oxygen to our cells, which also includes hair cells. And too little oxygen affects the hair growth. So make sure that you’re eating enough protein and iron in your diet.
- And not to forget fresh veggies and fruits: Your hair needs a regular supply of vitamins and minerals – such as vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E, iron, calcium, biotin, zinc – to grow healthy and strong. Fruits and vegetables like orange, banana, berries, kiwi, apple, apricot, green leafy vegetables, cauliflower, carrot, pumpkin, and melon must be eaten in sufficient amounts as they provide the necessary nutrients that are required for the healthy hair growth.
- Herbal oils
Herbal hair oils have been an integral part of hair care in Indian traditions. Oil infused with herbs such as amla, brahmi, bhringraj, hibiscus, marigold, rosemary, lavender contain tons of polyphenols, antioxidants, phytosterols, fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals that penetrate the scalp and promote hair growth. These oils also offer anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and anti-reddening properties that help to keep the scalp healthy and dandruff free.
- Stay happy
Have you ever experienced your hair falling off like autumn leaves or turning grey overnight. Well, I have. I was doing all the right things like eating healthy, exercising, but all of a sudden I had a deluge of hair fall.
And the reason was excess worry or stress. Stress affects all of our body, and our hair is no exception. Never-ending stress can cause a disproportionate number of hair to go into resting phase at the same time. And this leads to large clumps of hair coming out all at once.
The good news is that stress related hair loss is usually temporary, as long as the stress event is temporary
What to do: For healthy locks find time to relax. Engage yourself in stress-busting activities like yoga, walking in nature, gardening, meditation. You can also talk to a friend, family or seek professional support.
- Stay away from heat appliances, chemical treatment like perming and straightening
I have straight hair, but I always wished that my hair was curly. Perhaps, it’s a human psychic to want what we don’t have. I considered perming many times, but never really did it. And thank goodness I didn’t. I have used steam roller, heat tong and blow dryer few times. But whenever I used them, I felt these hot appliances did more harm than good, so I have stopped using them -for good.
Chemical treatments, use of heat appliances and vigorous styling can actually affect the hair root and damage your hair, causing hair loss which would not have occurred otherwise. So stay away from them as far as possible.
- Read the labels of the hair products
Harsh shampoos have caused me a lot of trouble – itchy and flaky scalp, rough dry hair, and related hair loss. Shampoos, conditioners, and hair styling products may contain harsh chemicals such as propylene glycol, isopropyl alcohol, phthalates, artificial colour, artificial fragrance (also known as “parfum”), parabens, etc. These synthetic chemicals can cause allergic reaction, skin irritation, itchy scalp and even hair loss.