Hair is the most important aspect of Indian beauty. Everybody loves thick hair, irrespective of gender. A person’s luscious, beautiful mane is the first noticeable part of his/her look.
“Life isn’t perfect, but your hair can be.”
As you must be aware, the 5,000-year-old Indian alternative medicine of Ayurveda has gained traction at an exponential rate with the global modern wellness movement. Western Medicine is also taking a lesson or two from this ancient Indian science. Don’t be surprised if an American or British doctor asks you to practice yoga, along with taking your pills. In tandem with Ayurveda, the sacred above-neck ritual of hair oiling have also gained popularity. The hair oil treatment, typically practiced before bed at night or before taking a shower, consists of utilizing the regenerative powers of natural oils. The treatment involves working the oil into the hair and scalp for nourishment and moisture.
Jenny Bailey, an intrepid reporter with the Allure, discovered the millennia-old beauty secret of hair oils and fell in love with it. She even dedicated an entire piece, titled ‘I Just Fell in Love With the Indian Hair-Oiling Technique’ after she returned from her Jaipur visit. She is one among many who tapped into the benefits of natural oils like, coconut hair oil, amla hair oil and jasmine hair oil to get beautiful, luscious hair.
Also, hair oiling in India goes beyond strengthening and nourishing one’s hair. It is a tradition that has been passed down from generation to generation. The tradition has helped grandmothers bond with their grandchildren. Almost every Indian child fondly remembers haircare with ancient fables from their grandmothers and later on, their mothers. However, somewhere along the line, hair oils lost their importance as people started using serums and other such haircare products available in the market.
Luckily, the tradition of hair oiling is coming back and in a big way. The main problem that people had with oiling their hair is that oiled hair attracts dirt and pollution. But, there’s a simple solution to that. You can oil your hair before going to bed and wash the oil with your regular shampoo before stepping out. That’s something you can do regularly. But, with the COVID-19 lockdown, you can oil your hair every night and even in the morning. Since you are staying home and nobody knows when you can finally step out, utilize this time to make your hair stronger, shinier and healthier.
What are the positive effects of oiling your hair?
- Hair gets strengthened – Regularly oiling your hair results in a multi-dimensional effect. It starts with enhanced tensile strength of your hair, reduction of frizziness, prevention of unnecessary breakage, and your hair becoming free of split-ends and smooth.
- Hair gets protection against the scorching heat of the sun – India is a country where half of the region experiences scorching heat during the summer months. The excessive heat can potentially damage hair. But, hair oiling can create a tiny protective layer and prevent hair from getting damaged by heat. Not just the sun, but hair oil can protect your hair shaft and not cause any damage if you are someone who often blow-dry and use other hair appliances on a regular basis. If you blow-dry your hair frequently, it can make your hair highly fragile and brittle, but oiling your hair weekly can condition your hair.
- Oiling helps to hydrate the hair – The oils that are rich in fatty acids and vitamin E, such as olive oil and castor oil, create a physical barrier around the cells of the hair and prevents moisture loss. This ensures that hair does not look dry and dull. Also, hydrated hair does not start splitting from the ends.
What are the popular oils used in Indian hair oiling treatment?
Today, you will find hair oils like, hibiscus oil or Moroccan oil. But, these were not the oils that grandmothers used in India. There are primarily four types of hair oils that were used in India and they’re still used.
- Coconut hair oil – Coconut hair oil is the number one oil and the most in demand among other hair oils. This oil helps to hydrate and nourish hair, keep dandruff and itchy scalp at bay. You can apply this oil before shampoo or before going to bed. You can even apply coconut oil after shampoo and use it as a moisturizer. This oil is perfect for summer as it helps in keeping the head cool. Moreover, coconut oil is perfect for all types of hair and in dealing with a wide range of hair problems.
- Amla hair oil – Amla hair oil is highly in demand among the urban market. This oil helps with hair growth and gets rid of grey hair. It strengthens the scalp and reduces hair loss. It also helps in treating or preventing scalp and hair infections like, lice infections.
- Almond hair oil – This hair oil is extracted after pressing the seeds of the almond tree. This is an organic oil with all the essential nutrients that hair needs to be healthy and shiny. Frequently applying this oil can help you get rid of dry scalp conditions and make your hair stronger.
Some other hair oils that are popular include argan oil, olive oil and Bhringraj hair oil.
Is there a right way of oiling your hair?
Yes, there is. Beyond the hair oil itself, the technique matters a lot. When applying hair oil, make sure to massage it gently onto your scalp and hair. This will promote blood circulation and help nutrients to get absorbed by the scalp.
Hair oiling tips for you:
- Do not comb your hair right after you have oiled your hair as this can lead to breakage of hair.
- Do not allow hair oil to sit on your head for more than 8 hours. If you are applying it before going to bed, wake up and wash the oil using your shampoo.
- You don’t need to use too much hair oil, hoping that the results will speed up. The main thing is to take a few drops and massage it into your scalp.
- Don’t tie your hair extremely tightly after you have oiled your hair as that can result in hair loss.
Hair oiling might be new to you, but its benefits have already been proven thanks to centuries of use. So, make sure to include hair oiling as a part of your haircare regime, irrespective of where you are.