Tresses through the Ages

A comprehensive understanding of what makes one’s hair condition deteriorate and what are the main sources of nourishment and beauty for one’s prized tresses.
By Dibarah Mahboob

In the Indian sub-continent, we have been taking special care of our hair and skin for centuries. Hair is an all-important aspect of physical beauty, so much so that cultures formulate entire literary genres around the appearance of it. In recent years, pollution, chemicals, unhealthy food intake, and stress is causing hair loss problems of various intensities among most people—if not everyone. Since rich, lustrous hair boosts self-esteem and confidence, contributing to a younger, more beautiful look, it is an important part of our self-image. Losing it can create fear and distress. But there are ways to tackle modern problems in less-than modern ways. We revisit some ancient practices which had been passed down through generations, such as the use of Ayurveda in South Asian cultures.

Ayurveda and hair loss
For thousands of years, the wisdom of Ayurvedic practitioners have resulted in the perfect Ayurveda solution. Herbal products are the best options for hair and skin as it is also incidentally the safest.

From an Ayurvedic perspective, hair is rich in the stories it can tell about a person and their skin. According to the principles of Ayurvedic medicine, there are three main “Doshas” (“kapha”, “pitta”, “vata”), which in Ayurveda refer to one’s unique physical and mental constitution, which influence one’s personal well-being. According to Ayurveda, the main reason for hair loss is an excess or deficiency of each person’s doshas. Aside from lifestyle changes such as diet and improving sleep and gut health, treating vata, kapha, and pitta imbalances through herbs and massaging of scalp with oil is said to increase feelings of calmness. Moreover, massaging the scalp with herbal oil improves sleep and alleviate stress, which in turn helps improve health and hair quality. Ayurveda excels because it has a rich tradition of applying oils to the body, which lends well to hair care. Oils are easily absorbed into the scalp and massaged directly onto the hair. Oils are also used to pacify doshic imbalances or activate agni—especially when using warm oil.

Applying Ayurvedic wisdom in modern times
In ancient times, herbs used to be mixed together and boiled on stove-top and then sun-dried in order to procure oils. This method allows vitamin D to seep in. Also, this allows the herbal extracts to retain its beneficial properties. The longer these extracts are allowed to stay in the oil, the better the mixture is for hair. These days, modern herbal hair oils are packaged so that they are marketable and easy to move around or travel with. Herbs are used for marketing because it is user-friendly and looks exciting. But it’s necessary for the herbs to be a bit outward. Once boiling and sun-drying process is done over a period of time, it’s best to start usage. Some material components possess properties that possess preservatives themselves and don’t require additional chemical preservatives. There are certain herbs that can remain in oil over years and years continually. That’s why it’s necessary for the extracts to be visible. Extracts resting at the bottom of a container with oil is actually. In that case, one should simply shake the container before massaging the oil into the hair. Whatever enters the hair follicles will strengthen the roots and make the hair shaft healthy.

Second, healthy hair also depends on healthy bones. This is because hair and nails are by-products of the process of transformation from food to bones. Vitamin E extracted from Almond oil is really beneficial for healthy bones and thus hair. This makes the hair silky and shiny, and reduces hair fall. It also encourages hair growth. Regular massage also cures and prevents dandruff—a leading cause of reduction in hair health.

Finding the right oil for hair
To summarize, since ancient years, herbal extracts are to be stored in transparent containers in order for the properties to retain and multiply all its benefits. Thus our team searched for a 100% herbal hair oil which embodies all the above-mentioned principles.
The only herbal hair oil available in commercial stores across the country that matched all the Ayurveda principles of herbal oil production and marketing is Kumarika Hair Oil. It contains Coconut Oil, Aloe Vera, Gotukola (Centella Asiatica), Mukunuwenna (Altemanthera Sessilis), Amla, Vetiver Root mixed together with the roots left in the oil of each of its containers. It has a light fragrance, rather than an overpowering chemical scent and has a light-feel to it.

Coconut oil’s moisturizing and nourishing properties are well-known across the region, but amla also strengthens the scalp and hair, reduces premature pigment loss from hair, or greying. It also stimulates hair growth, reduces hair loss, prevents or treats dandruff and dry scalp, prevents or treats parasitic hair and scalp infections, like lice infections. Aloe vera on the other hand, contains something called proteolytic enzymes which repairs dead skin cells on the scalp. It also acts as a great conditioner and leaves your hair all smooth and shiny. It promotes hair growth, prevents itching on the scalp, reduces dandruff and conditions your hair

Kumarika also contains another special herb that was used in ancient times for it’s many benefits is Gotukola. While not as popular as some other plants, this perennial herbaceous creeper is more known as Centella and grows in tropical, wet areas. It increases oxygenation to different parts of the body, strengthens the walls of blood vessels and capillaries and stimulates the flow of blood. Sometimes hair loss is a result of malnourished cells or hair follicles, and Gotukola plays a hefty role in strengthening the hair follicles due to nourishment of the scalp through the strengthening of the blood vessels. This also helps in getting proper blood circulation to the scalp to feed and nourish those starving hair follicles. Oxygen and other nutrients can find their way to the scalp and hair follicles. This helps in not only preventing hair loss but encouraging hair regrowth.

Mukunuwenna and vetiver roots are also medicinal plants. Vetiver roots possess anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties help with scalp inflammation and scalp ailments like eczema, psoriasis, and even dandruff, and its soothing and calming properties it calms irritated and inflamed scalps. Here is a scalp massage oil and a hair rinse that will be beneficial for your hair and scalp.

The unique combination of natural and herbal extracts of Brahmi, Amla, Aloe Vera, Coconut, Mukunuwenna, and Vetiver – contained in Kumarika Hair Oil provides additional nourishment to help control hair fall. Makes hair lively and lustrous. When used regularly it replaces the natural oils that the hair loses on a regular basis and strengthens each strand. Most consumers—if not all—have sworn that it has reduced hair loss and dandruff within as little as 3 weeks of usage in the right way.

How to care for hair properly with the right oil
We recommend regular oil massage with a 100% herbal oil. Kumarika is the best recommendation for that purpose. Oil massage should be done thrice a week. And if possible, a hot towel should be wrapped around head for twenty minutes so that the herbs penetrate the hair shaft to the roots. After that, shampoo properly. Always oil your hair before shampooing. This way, hair will retain moisture. It’s not suggested to shampoo without an oil massage, because this could make hair rough and dry over time.
As the Kumarika hair oil evidently contains the herbal roots and extracts within its transparent container, it must be noted that it should be shaken before use for best results.

Regular oil massages should be done to enliven the hair follicles. Because hair is essentially a dead root, and it rests upon the scalp. That’s why scalp cares through massage and nutrients of herbs, and keeping it clean, is important for reducing hair loss and keeping it beautiful and lively.