I don’t like having to fuss with my hair — it’s usually last on my list of priorities on a busy morning. But, that doesn’t mean that I don’t want my hair to be healthy. Great hair isn’t just a sign of beauty — it is an indicator of how things are going on the inside. In Ayurveda, your lovely locks are actually a sign of good bone health, as well as good metabolism.
So what can you do from the inside and out to rejuvenate your hair? Here are five great tips:
1. Massage your hair and scalp with oil.
Massaging your hair and scalp with oil not only nourishes the cells and rejuvenates dry hair, but it also stimulates circulation, promoting hair growth. Slightly warm the oil if you’d like, and put it in a small bowl. Start at the top of your head, parting the hair and applying the oil. Continue this process until you've covered the whole head and the length of the hair in oil. Then take a few minutes to massage your scalp using your fingertips in small circular motions. Leave the oil in for 30 minutes (or overnight, if you desire), and wash it out in the shower. Apply shampoo to your scalp and hair BEFORE getting wet in the shower to remove the oil sufficiently. You can use this treatment once a week for shiny, soft hair.
2. Apply Amalaki paste to your hair and scalp.
Amalaki is used traditionally to keep the hair’s natural color and to keep it from falling out, especially as we age. An easy treatment is to make an Amalaki paste, a paste of medium thickness works well and can be applied with a brush or the hands just as we did with the oil in #1. If you find this method difficult, you can make a thinner paste and put it in a squeeze bottle, then apply to sections of the scalp. Once you've applied it to the scalp, also apply it to the remaining hair. Cover with a shower cap to prevent making a mess, and let sit for about 30 minutes. Then rinse with lukewarm water.
If you want a more conditioning treatment, try this same Amalaki powder mixed with plain yogurt, and then wash with a gentle shampoo
3. Avoid heat to your head.
This includes in the shower and with appliances. Extremely hot water will leave your hair dehydrated and brittle. Out of the shower, minimize the use of heating appliances such as blow dryers and hair irons.
While heat is not recommended, gently combing or brushing your hair daily in different directions is recommended to stimulate circulation at the root of the hair.
4. Eat foods that contribute to healthy hair.
In Ayurveda, as hair is considered a by-product of the formation of bone tissue, the foods that nourish healthy bones will also nourish healthy hair.
Try fresh dairy products such as organic, non-homogenized milk, fresh unfermented cheese (like paneer), and fresh non-sour yogurt. Coconut is also recommended, as is coconut water, to keep the hair growing strong and healthy. As for vegetables, load up on your fresh greens, such as kale and spinach, as well as some white daikon radish. Round out your diet with healthy oils, fats, and proteins from foods such as clarified butter, walnuts and sesame seeds.
Hydration is key, so drink plenty of water to keep the cells happy and functioning optimally.
In general, if you're really focusing on your hair’s health, avoid spicy, sour, excessively salty, and fermented foods.
5. Take Ayurvedic herbs that support the health of your hair.
Taking herbs supports your healthy dietary habits and gives your hair a strong boost. Four of the top herbs that support thick, lustrous, and shiny with natural color are Bhringraj, which is known as the “king of the hair;” Amalaki; Brahmi (or Gotu Kola); and hibiscus flower. You can take these herbs as a tea, steeping the powder in hot water for 5-10 minutes, or you can take them in tablet form.
And if you aren’t having regular bowel movements, you aren’t cleansing the toxins from your system. For occasional constipation, try Triphala, the Ayurvedic rejuvenator that is known to cleanse the tissues and provide antioxidants and nourishment.
So if you're looking for a great way to support your hair, to promote your natural thickness, color, and shine, start with any one of these Ayurvedic tips, and keep adding as you are able. You’ll find the wisdom of these ancient techniques is just what you need!