Hair is 97 percent protein and three percent moisture. The average person has 100,000 hairs on the scalp, which grow at the rate of .37 millimetres per day and shed at the rate of 50-100 per day The factors that affect hair growth and hair loss include age, health, diet, hormones, seasonal changes and climate. Trauma, stress and anxiety also affect growth because they reduce the blood and oxygen supply to the scalp, which is essential to healthy hair.
Weekly scalp massage is, therefore, one of the most beneficial treatments for maintaining beautiful hair and alleviating or reducing the symptoms of common hair problems such as male pattern baldness, alopecia (hair loss), alopecia areata (bald patches), dandruff, psoriasis and premature greying. Scalp massage not only increases the oxygen supply to the brain, it also improves circulation of the life-giving sap, cerebrospinal fluid, which stimulates brain development, relaxes the nerves and muscles, reduces fatigue and loosens the scalp. For dry and sensitive skin, the added essential oils also penetrate the roots to strengthen the hair and alleviate dryness.
• Make a strong herbal decoction :
For dry skin : Lavender or geranium
For sensitive skin : Chamomile
For oily skin : Sage, bay leaf or rosemary
• Make a shampoo using 8 parts herbal decoction (above) + 1 part liquid olive soap, infusion of dried olives.
• Shampoo as usual. If desired, rinse with colour enhancer. Then massage scalp with 2 drops lavender or rosemary essential oil before drying for added shine. Follow shampoo with a hair rinse made of the juice of V2 lemon + 1 cup water.
Ayurvedic hair treatments, including hair cleansers, use only herbal powders, herbal essences and oils. As you will see, the “shampoos” — both wet and dry — do not produce any lather when you use them because, unlike branded shampoos, they contain no sodium, or aluminium lauryl phosphate or other such agents that destroy hair protein and stop the natural oils. Herbal cleansers wash away the dirt without washing away the natural moisture, so you do not need conditioner to undo the damage of a “squeaky clean” shampoo. The dry shampoo is a good alternative when you are sick or do not have time to wash and dry. It is also good for dull or oily hair. For weekly conditioning treatments, use the scalp massage and hair “mask”.
• Mix equal parts ground cornmeal + ground almonds + orris root.
• Massage a small handful on dry scalp, then brush off.
The Weekly Conditioning Hair Mask
• Make a paste with 1 tsp each triphala, neem, sandalwood and licorice powders + 10 tsp water.
• Apply paste to dry scalp, leave on for Vz hour, and rinse thoroughly with warm lemon water.
Natural Hair Colour Enhancers
After shampooing, rinse with :
For black hair : Decoction of sage; rosemary or black walnut.
For red or copper hair: Henna paste or a pinch of saffron diluted in water.
For blonde hair : Decoction of chamomile flowers.
For dark brown hair : Decoction of walnut.
For golden-toned hair : Decoction of mullein.
Do’s and Don’ts of Hair Care
• Do massage scalp lightly in the morning or evening with a few drops of lavender or rosemary oil, then brush hair 50 times in a downward direction from scalp to ends.
• Do wear a hat or other head protection in sunlight.
• Do keep all hair implements clean.
• Do avoid using chemical sprays, colouring agents, perms and drying shampoos.
• Do avoid tight slides, clips or hair bands, and never wear them to sleep.
• Don’t use very hot or very cold water to wash hair.
• Don’t use detergent shampoos or blow dry every day, especially if your scalp is dry.
• Don’t use metal brushes or combs.