In India, oiling the hair is an intrinsic part of the hair care routine. Generally, people wash their hair after oiling. It keeps your hair hydrated, strengthens them, boosts growth, and keeps them lustrous and shiny. Ayurveda says that the benefits of hair oiling extend beyond hair and is beneficial for the nervous system and sense organs as well. However, technique plays an important role here. If you do not use the correct technique, it can impact your hair. Knowing what oil suits you is also important. Hence, to understand these better, Onlymyhealth spoke to Dr. Amrutha Nambiar, Ayurvedic Doctor, Panchakarma & Nadi Pariksha Expert at the Art of Living's Sri Sri Tattva Panchakarma.
Benefits Of Hair Oiling
According to Dr. Nambiar, the benefits of hair oiling extend from hair and skin to even the nervous system and the body’s vital organs. The benefits of hair oiling can be divided into these five categories:
Haircare Benefits Of Hair Oiling
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- Is good for the hair texture
- It improves luster
- It nourishes the scalp and hair root and results in naturally thick, condensed black hair.
- If you oil your hair regularly, it prevents premature greying and baldness.
As the head is a part of the nervous system, hair oiling is like ‘Marma’, said Dr. Nambiar. ‘Marma’ is the traditional Ayurvedic massage technique that is believed to help sustain the flow of energy throughout the body, the doctor explained. Hence, hair oiling can be beneficial when suffering from a headache or ailments affecting the upper back, neck, and shoulders.
Dr. Nambiar says that hair oiling stimulates and improves the functions of the sense organs, such as eyes and ears, and can improve speech clarity. (sic)
It is something we all might have experienced. Hair oiling is a relaxing experience. Hence, it can be an excellent stress-relieving technique.
Hair is fine. But do you know hair oil is beneficial for the skin as well? As per the Ayurveda doctor, hair oiling can bring a glow to your face as it improves the skin, complexion, and texture.
Best & Worst Hair Oils
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In Ayurveda, different medicated oils are used for different purposes. According to this ancient medicine system, hair oil must induce a cooling effect. However, while applying, it should be warm. Hence, it is generally advised to slightly warm the oil before applying. Here are the hair oils that Dr. Nambiar recommends:
- Coconut oil
- Sesame oil
- Castor oil
You can also make these herbal by adding some herbs to them, such as tulsi (holy basil), aloe vera, Bhrami, and Bhringaraja.
Anyone with even a faint knowledge of Ayurveda might know that there are three ‘doshas’ (elements) in it: Vata, pitta, and Kapha. Dr. Nambiar recommends different hair oil for people with different kinds of doshas.
- Vata Prakruti Person: Use sesame or castor oil. Add a blend of Bhrami and Bhringaraja for good results.
- Pitta Prakruti Person: You need cool things. Hence, make a blend with sesame oil, aloe vera, and Yashthimadhu.
- Kapha Prakruti Person: Use deodar oil, recommends Dr. Nambiar.
Ayurveda recommends specific oils for specific problems, such as:
- For Dandruff: Durdurapathradi Keram oil
- For Scalp-Related Issues: Chemparathyadi keram
- For Cooling Effect: Blends of coconut oil
- For Memory-Related Issues: Brahmi tailam
- For Sleep-Related Issues: Himasagara tailam
- For Hair Growth: Neelibhringadi tailam
There is no specific oil that one must use. However, ensure it is warm and not hot. Also, choose the oil or its blend as per your ‘prakruti’ for better benefits.
Hair Oiling: What Is The Correct Way?
So, as you saw that hair oiling has multiple benefits. However, to reap these, the technique is also important. Ayurveda says that you must do ‘Shiro Abhyanga’. It means you should massage your hair along with your neck, head, and shoulders with a good quality Ayurvedic oil. Again, the oil must be selected as per your ‘prakruti’. Here is the technique that Dr. Nambiar recommends:
- Take the Ayurvedic oil or blend as per your ‘prakruti’ and warm it a bit.
- Apply it to your head and scalp properly.
- Gently massage your head well with circular motions and strokes. Do not forget to massage your forehead.
- Apply some hair behind your ears and neck and massage these areas well, along with your scalp.
- Leave it for ten to fifteen minutes.
Dr. Nambiar recommends against leaving the oil in your hair overnight. “Ideally, 7-10 minutes are enough,” she said. In some cases, you can leave it for 40 minutes, but not more than that. After that, wash your hair with some natural powders like soap nuts, shikakai, or green gram, says the Ayurvedic doctor.
You can also use a mild shampoo for the same. If you suffer from any hair or scalp-related problems, use a cleanser as recommended by your dermatologist. Dr. Nambiar recommends avoiding ‘abhyanga’ after bath. As already stated, it refers to massaging the body with warm oil.
Oils & Blends You Can Make At Home
Hair fall is a common problem many of us face. Although some amount of hair fall is normal, it can be a cause of concern if it happens excessively. In case the problem aggravates, you must see a doctor. However, if you have decided to go the Ayurvedic way, here is a herbal oil concoction you can try:
For this one, you’ll need:
- A mixture of castor and coconut oil
- Aloe vera
- Methi dana (fenugreek seeds)
- Hibiscus flower
Take 100 ml of coconut oil and add a handful of curry leaves to it. Add three tablespoons of aloe vera, half a teaspoon of fenugreek, and three red hibiscus flowers. Add 10-20 ml of castor oil. This concoction can help you with hair growth, as per Dr. Nambiar.
Hence, as you saw, there are myriad benefits of hair oiling. There are several hair oil options available that you can choose from based on your element. You can also make herbal oils based on the ailment you want relief from. Also, the right technique of oiling is important that should extend from your hair to your neck, shoulders, and ears. Also, you can try a hair oil concoction for hair growth. However, make sure you aren’t allergic to any of the ingredients and consult your doctor before trying anything new.
(With inputs from Dr. Amrutha Nambiar, Ayurvedic Doctor, Panchakarma & Nadi Pariksha Expert at the Art of Living's Sri Sri Tattva Panchakarma)
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