For lustrous mane

Essential oils can do wonders to your hair  

HAIR IS everyone's crowning glory and taking care of it is as important as taking care of your skin. An effective hair-care discipline (like the skin) involves cleansing, toning and conditioning.

Cleansing is the foremost routine in daily hair care. The purpose of cleansing is to wash away excess oil and clear the hair follicle of the debris of un-exfoliated dead cells. Proper cleansing encourages healthy hair growth.

After cleansing, the scalp and the hair need toning and this can be done by massaging the head. This helps in stimulating and increasing the blood circulation required for healthy growth of hair.

The most important part of hair care is conditioning. Hair usually bears the onslaught of harsh shampoos which strip it of its moisture and oil. Sun and application of chemicals such as perm lotions make the hair dry and straw-like. A conditioning routine restores and corrects imbalances.

Aroma oils

In this article we will discover how aroma oils (essential oils) can be used effectively in your hair care routine. Some of the benefits of essential oils in hair care are:

1. They have antibacterial properties which remove unwanted bacteria and fungus from the scalp.

2. They stimulate hair follicles which provide the stimulus for hair growth.

3. They help to provide normal balance to scalp and hair.

Effective recipes

There are some very simple and effective recipes using aroma oils that work wonders for your hair. Try the following:

1. Cleanser

Add a few drops of patchouli essential oil to your regular shampoo. This keeps your hair and scalp absolutely clean.

2. Hair oil

Mix together

One table spoon coconut oil

One table spoon castor oil

One table spoon sesame (til) oil

Two drops of rosemary essential oil

You can use this oil twice a week. Massage it into your hair for a few minutes. Then wrap the head in a warm towel to help the oil penetrate. Leave it on for an hour and then use a gentle shampoo.

3. Toning lotion

Mix 1 tablespoon of malt vinegar in a glass of water, add three drops of patchouli oil. Dab one tablespoon of it on your scalp and massage twice a week with your fingertips and leave the lotion on for an hour. Rinse with cool water.

For some hair problems

Dandruff is the No.1 problem that a lot of us face at some time or the other. To have a few white flakes is normal - as it is simply the sloughing off of matured skin cells and waste materials through the pores of the scalp. It is only when it becomes excessive that it becomes a problem.

Two forms of dandruff:

There are two forms of dandruff — oily and dry.

Dry dandruff appears as loose while flakes and the scalp itches a great deal. Oily dandruff is sticky and yellow in colour and makes the scalp smell. Oily dandruff is due to an excessively oily skin and scalp.

The basic causes of dandruff are emotional tension, stress, hormonal disturbances, infection due to diseases, injury to the scalp, unwise or excessive use of hair cosmetics and dry weather. Dandruff is more common during the adolescent years as during this period there is excessive secretion of androgen hormones which cause sebum and oily skin.

How to get rid of dandruff

1. The first golden rule to get rid of dandruff is to keep the hair and scalp clean. Use a herbal shampoo preferably. If you must, use an anti-dandruff shampoo, use it with caution. Do not use it everyday and alternate with a mild herbal shampoo.

2. Massage and daily brushing are extremely helpful in treating dandruff. They increase blood circulation in the scalp, promote the distribution of oil and dislodge the dead skin cells sticking to the scalp. If you have dry dandruff, use a natural oil like Coconut oil to massage your scalp, especially before washing your hair.

Home made treatments

For oily dandruff

1. Mix rose water, two drops of lemon essential oil with equal quantity of malt vinegar (brown vinegar). Massage the lotion in the scalp at night and leave it on. Use as a nightly massage. Shampoo with a mild shampoo in the morning.

2. A quick-fix remedy when you are short of time. To a mug of water add 2 tablespoons of malt vinegar and 2 drops of rosemary essential oil. After shampooing, rinse the hair with the above mixture. This vinegar rinse is an excellent remedy for oily dandruff and leaves your hair smooth and shiny.

For dry dandruff

Massage your scalp with the following - 1 tsp of coconut oil and one tsp of til oil and two drops of cedarwood essential oil. Leave it on for about half an hour and then shampoo. Follow this routine at least twice a week especially in winter.

Role of diet

Last but not the least diet plays an important role in dandruff prevention. Include the following foods in your diet:

1. Green leafy vegetables, yellow, red and orange coloured vegetables.

2. 1 citrus fruit like orange, sweet lime.

3. Whole cereals instead of refined flour like maida/noodles, etc.

4. Plenty of proteins food e.g., milk, paneer, fish and chicken.

Avoid the following:

1. Red meat and polyunsaturated fats eg. pure ghee and butter.

2. nuts and dried fruits.

3. Deep fried food like puri, vada, etc.

4. Chocolates and heavy desserts.

Queries answered

Anupama from Nandanam wants to know as to what you mean by carrier oils and which are the carrier oils one should use.

Carrier oils are natural oils which are used to dilute essential oils to the desired level of strength.

The choice of the carrier oil depends on their price and the benefit you need to include.

For instance, if you need for skin nourishing - avocado, wheat germ and hazel nut oils are very good as they are rich in vitamins and have higher skin penetration.

Sweet almond oil is good for general use.

If cost is a factor, you can use soya or sunflower oils too.