5 Tips for hair care during the rainy season
According to Ayurveda, each of us is born with a certain prakruti (prakriti) or individual characteristics which is determined by a combination of the three doshas--Vata, Pitta, Kapha--or the three elements of the energy governing all our bodily functions. The combination, balance and proportion of these doshas define the physical and mental characteristics of each one of us. Consequently, any disease or disorder in the body is attributed to an imbalance between the doshas.
For example, people with a strong kapha constitution have very long, strong and dark (black) oily hair. Those with a strong pitta constitution do not have very thick hair, but often thin, brownish hair. And strong vata constitution types are characterised by dry, rough, thin, fragile hair.
During the monsoon season, the cool and humid weather conditions slow down the movement of air (vayu) which results in accumulation of vata. The digestive fire (agni) also slows down leading to aggravation of pitta and kapha. This results in a tridoshic imbalance which leads to various skin and hair issues. Increased vata accumulation leads to increased frizziness and likelihood of hair splitting. Increased pitta leads to hair loss and premature greying. A kapha imbalance can lead to sluggishness, dandruff and poor scalp hygiene. Unfortunately, it's not a simple guess as to which one it's going to be. With all these things out of balance, the hair troubles are not unidimensional, but often a combination of multiple things.
Now that you know why you're having a hard time keeping a healthy mane on your head, it's time to arm yourself with the best hair care tips and tricks to fight back common hair problems like dandruff, split ends, hair loss, itchy scalp and frizzy hair. Follow these tips diligently to regain your beautiful hair and keep them that way no matter what the season.
1. Oleation or Oiling (Shiro-abhyanga)
Why - Dry hair absorbs the salt and moisture of a humid environment, which makes its outer layer swell leading to that frizzy appearance. So, it is best to keep your hair well moisturized in order to keep it tame and enhance its texture and shine even in the rainy season.
What - Ayurveda recommends a regular Shiro abhyanga or head massage with herbal oils as a treatment for all hair or scalp issues. The choice of oils and herbs changes based on the problem. Oiling your hair regularly with a suitable herb-enriched oil not only conditions your scalp and hair but also nourishes the roots for healthy hair growth, boosts blood circulation, invigorates and strengthens the hair follicles, all while de-stressing you after a hard day at work. A warm oil massage also takes care of dandruff by moisturizing your dry scalp, and consequently, prevents acne caused by dandruff during the rainy season.
We recommend a shiro-abhyanga with Parama Naturals' herb-enriched all-purpose natural hair oil-cum-serum for healthy hair. This oil is a balanced blend of the purest and best of natural, time-proven oils and herbs that your hair needs on a regular basis, as a preventive and a therapeutic. Cold-pressed oils of Coconut, Castor, Sesame and Onion Seeds deeply nutrify your scalp. Herbs like Brahmi, Bhringaraj, Rosemary, Curry leaves, Fenugreek (Methi), Amla (Indian gooseberry) and Hibiscus reduce hair fall, encourage hair growth and improve the texture of your hair. With anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and healing properties, Turmeric and Neem oil protect your scalp from infections, which are common during the humid season.
How - For maximum benefits of the oil, warm the oil a little. Then apply on the scalp at least an hour before you wash your hair. Leaving it overnight before a hair wash is better. Leaving it on the roots on a regular basis, even after a hair wash, as a leave-in serum and conditioner is the best, because it prevents the hair roots (follicles) from drying, which is one of the main causes of hair fall. It also helps in detangling, conditioning and managing frizzy hair. This can be used on a daily basis as part of your self-care routine too. Keeping the scalp regularly oiled, even with just a few drops of this oil, keeps it conditioned and protected from the vagaries of the season. Remember not to massage vigorously to avoid hair breakage or hair fall.
Ideally, people with a dry itchy scalp should use it at least thrice a week and leave it overnight to let your scalp and hair roots soak it all up. People with an oily scalp are also recommended to use can massage it in an hour or two before a head wash at least two times a week.
2. Cleansing with mild conditioning
Why - The importance of keeping your scalp clean cannot be emphasized enough. Rain water is acidic and can disturb the pH of your scalp making it greasy and prone to infections. It is therefore mandatory to immediately wash your hair if you've been caught in a downpour and wet your head. Otherwise, keep your hair and scalp clean by washing thoroughly twice a week.
What - Shampoos and cleansers with harsh chemicals like sulfates and parabens damage your hair and only aggravate your woes. Therefore, it is best to opt for natural, chemical-free cleansers to keep your hair clear of any dirt, grease, dandruff or microbes. You can choose an Ayurvedic, herbal shampoo or make one of your own just like your mother and grandmother did--with natural, Ayurvedic herbs like Reetha (Indian Soapnut or soapberry), Shikakai (Acacia concinna) and Amla (Indian gooseberry).
Herbal powders are the best. But with people being accustomed to the lather, one can use the next best option--a solid shampoo or a shampoo bar. To make life simpler without compromising on the quality of ingredients of your hair cleanser, we recommend using the Parama Naturals' Charcoal-Kokum Butter Shampoo bar instead of your regular shampoo. This shampoo bar hydrates and cleanses the scalp and hair without depleting the natural oils, and gives your hair a natural shine. Antioxidant-rich Rosemary and Turmeric and nutrient-rich cold-pressed oils of Coconut, Sesame, Castor, Kokum butter in the shampoo bar make the scalp healthy while activated charcoal cleanses it. pH-balanced and hypoallergenic, our handmade shampoo bar contains no artificial colours and fragrances and is suitable for all hair types.
How - Wet the hair with lukewarm water. AVOID very hot water because it can cause hair problems and affect the eyes too. Apply the shampoo bar / hair soap on the scalp and on the shaft of the hair. Use finger-tips in circular motions on the scalp to cleanse properly and build lather. Rinse hair thoroughly to ensure that no traces of the soap are left. Take half a capful of apple cider vinegar or any other naturally generated vinegar like rice vinegar or sugarcane vinegar or juice of half a lemon. Dilute it in half a mug of warm water. Rinse the scalp and hair with this mixture. This acts as a natural conditioner for the hair shafts and also helps to maintain the pH balance of the scalp thereby preventing and controlling dandruff. Rinse again with plain water. Dry. Apply a few drops of Parama Naturals Nourishing hair oil cum serum in the roots as a leave-in serum for detangling and conditioning the hair. If one has frizzy hair, a little oil can or the Parama Naturals' Multipurpose butter can be applied on the hair shafts for conditioning, smoothening and frizz control.
Important Tip: Washing your hair with your head bent down can make the dandruff flowing from your scalp on to your forehead and face thus leading to acne. So remember to wash or rinse your face once you're done with the head wash.
3. Deep Conditioning
Why - For intense hydration and nourishment of your hair, especially for coloured hair or hair which is dry, frizzy or damaged. Hair masks deeply condition your hair and help tackle dull, frizzy hair, itchy scalp, bacterial and fungal infections besides restoring the pH balance of the scalp. These masks can protect and repair damaged and frizzy hair and make them more manageable.
What - Once or twice a week, indulge in a relaxing spa-like session at home with DIY hair masks (shiro-lepa). Look no further than your kitchen pantry or garden for hair-repairing natural ingredients like curd (yoghurt), Curry leaves, crushed Methi or Fenugreek seeds, Amla powder, Castor oil, eggs, Hibiscus leaves powder, Aloe vera gel and Neem leaves. Whisk all or a few of them together to create a nourishing and deep conditioning hair mask.
How - Apply the hair mask on the hair and scalp for 30 minutes to an hour before washing it off. Another option is to soak cotton swabs in Parama Naturals' Nourishing Hair Oil and keep it on the head. This should be done for at least an hour before you wash your hair. Leaving it overnight before a hair wash is better.
Another good option for men and women is to apply a few drops of the hair oil in the roots, as explained above, and then apply the Multipurpose Butter by Parama Naturals on the hair shaft. This hydrating, non-greasy, quick absorbing all-in-one-oil-butter formulation with enriching cold-pressed oils and Malabar kokum butter is perfect for frizzy hair and beards, too, and it provides post-wash deep conditioning on the go, i.e., one does not need to wait to wash off.
4. Keep it Dry
Why - Keeping the hair wet or moist for too long can lead to an itchy scalp and higher chances of catching a cold.
What - Whether you've washed your hair or have been caught unawares in the rain, make sure to dry your hair as soon as possible and keep them that way.
How - Preferably, use a soft T-shirt instead of a rough towel to absorb the excess water and then let your hair loose to air-dry naturally. If it is too humid and air-drying takes too long, use a hair-dryer on the 'cool' or lowest heat level setting. Avoid hair damage by shunning hair-styling tools as far as possible, monsoon or not.
Never comb, brush or tie wet hair. Wet hair is weak and prone to breakage. Use your fingers or a wide-toothed comb to detangle your hair strands gently, going up from the tips towards the roots instead of the other way round.
Brush dry hair twice a day to remove dead skin cells and improve blood circulation.
Important Tip: Keep your dry hair tied back and away from your face as far as possible to prevent acne due to dandruff.
5. Feed your Hair well
Why - Even if you follow all the tips given above and more for nourishing your hair outside in, your efforts will be futile unless you are healthy on the inside. That is because the health of your hair is dependent on your overall health.
What - A balanced, stress-free lifestyle, with good sleep needs to be coupled with a nutritious and appropriate diet for healthy hair growth.
How - Drink the daily recommended amount of water (7-8 glasses) everyday to keep your body hydrated. Choose fresh and home-cooked meals with fresh fruits and vegetables over eating out. Include a variety of whole foods like fruit, salads, nuts, fish, eggs, milk and seeds for a well-rounded diet. Minimize sugar, junk food, raw salads (during monsoons) and other processed foods. Some super foods recommended by Ayurveda like Moringa, Curry leaves, Coconut, Amla (Indian gooseberry), Methi (Fenugreek) etc. can be added daily to your diet to prevent hair loss and encourage growth.
In conclusion, adopting these habits will not only give you great results with your hair but also reflect in a glowing skin and fitter and stronger body. So include these simple and natural hair care tips in your daily routine and flaunt beautiful hair this rainy season.