Back to Basics Hair Care: Experts Stress On These Practices for Healthy Hair
Strong, lustrous hair is every person’s goal and keeping your scalp and hair healthy is not tough; just follow these expert advice.
Good looking hair has more to do with its health than styling. When you have healthy locks, you can get away with any style – in fact even the simplest cut looks good. Keeping your hair in top shape is not really that tough. We got hair and beauty experts to talk about the best practices to keep your hair healthy and looking lustrous through thick or thin. Dr Apratim Goel, Cosmetic Dermatologist, Skin & Haircare Expert, Cutis Clinic Mumbai and Dr Taruna Yadav, Senior Ayurveda Expert at Forest Essentials share their advice on how you can change your hair health and transform your tresses into something glorious.
Signs of healthy hair
“Hair is one of the important factors for self-esteem, confidence, and identity for many people. It is considered a sign of youth and beauty. Having healthy scalp and hair is important to prevent many scalp and hair conditions and can also prevent various kinds of hair loss. Hair can be straight, wavy, or curly. Black, brown, or blonde, but certain factors that indicate healthy hair are common for all hair types. Healthy hair is shiny and smooth, has good elasticity, minimum breakage, low daily shedding and detangles easily,” says Dr Goel.
Now, hair can be healthy only if your scalp is healthy. Healthy scalp is one that is free of any itching, flaking, redness, flakiness, acne, cysts or excessive hair loss. A healthy scalp means that you don’t have issues like dandruff, psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis etc.
According to Dr Yadav, when your hair has a natural bounce and shine, and it doesn’t feel dry, rough or lusterless, it is considered healthy. “Healthy hair will also not likely contain tangles or frizz, and your fingers should be able to run smoothly through your locks. Hair elasticity may also be a measure of your hair strength. Having healthy hair and scalp means that you are generally free from any kind of dandruff, dry flakes or scalp infection. Ayurveda suggests healthy hair is thick, smooth, lustrous, well-hydrated, straight, and strong which grows naturally,” she adds.
Healthy hair habits
If you wish for healthy hair, start by being healthy from within. Various internal factors like diet, stress, immunity have a direct association to having good hair. So, start by focusing on your diet. A nutrient dense diet helps keep the hair shiny and strong. “The key nutrients needed for good hair are iron and protein. Do a blood test to check if you are anaemic. Add lots of leafy vegetables to your diet. Foods that are rich in protein are eggs, soyabean, spinach, fish, avocadoes etc.” says Dr Goel. Sudden, drastic diets used to reduce weight can lead to hair loss, so make sure to take supplements while you are on a change in your diet plan.
Stress is one of the biggest culprits that hurts your hair health. A stressful body and mind make the body divert the nutrients from hair to body. So, manage your stress. “If the body is going through a sudden stressful event like losing a dear one or going through a disease like a severe infection, or undergoing a surgery, sudden hair loss occurs – this is called telogen effluvium. However, once the stress passes, hair grows back and resumes normal hair growth,” explains Dr Goel. Meditation, yoga, exercise are some ways of reducing mental stress. Try improving your lifestyle by practicing good sleeping habits, improving water intake and giving up smoking to ensure that your stressed tresses get restored.
Besides internal factors, some bad habits that we do on a regular basis also affect the health of hair. So, here’s what you can do:
Secret behind lustrous hair from Ayurveda
“Having a regular hair care ritual that includes a routine hair wash with natural hair cleansers is of utmost importance to strip off all the dirt and grime. Conditioning helps in retaining the moisture in your hair to smoothen out any frizz. It is also vital for you to follow weekly deep conditioning treatments like oiling and hair masking as per your hair type,” advises Dr Yadav.
Ayurvedic hair care always starts with oiling, as Ayurveda considers the scalp as the home of some important energy-relieving points called ‘Marmas’. “Oiling the scalp and hair with dosha specific oils promotes the healthy strong and lustrous hair, with the nourishing, root strengthening properties of herbs, and it also acts as a rejuvenation tool to balance any aggravated doshas through marmas,” she explains. ‘Shiro lepa’ in Ayurvedic terminology is one of the extremely beneficial therapies to nourish and deeply condition your scalp and hair. Ayurveda suggests the application of hair masks once in a week or fortnight to protect, repair and nourish your hair.
Here are some of Dr Yadav’s remedies for keeping hair healthy in a clean, natural way:
DIY hair oil for a healthy hair : Take 1 tbsp pure Almond Oil, 1 tbsp Virgin Coconut oil, and 1 tbsp Castor Oil. Heat the oil mix and add 1 tsp fenugreek seeds and few curry leaves. And apply the herb-infused oil on the hair and scalp 2-3 times a week.
Hot towel treatment, which comprises wrapping a hot towel around your head post oiling for 20-30 minutes, helps facilitate the deeper absorption of nutrients. Do it once a fortnight.
Using natural hair cleansers such as reetha (soapnut) and Shikakai to wash the hair. You can boil the 2 tbsp powder of soap nuts and Shikakai in half a liter water and leave it overnight. Strain the mixture in the morning and use this to wash the hair once or twice a week.
Weekly masking with mix of ingredients such as banana or avocado pulp, fenugreek seeds paste and yogurt.