Do you often fantasize sporting long locks that are as smooth as feathers? Relatably so, we all dream of having soft, silky and smooth hair. But, do you know what it takes your favorite celebs to achieve that hair texture with no trace of frizz?
While most people take the support of chemical treatments, the good news is that Ayurveda has natural remedies to smoothen your hair! “Smooth hair is the culmination of a well-hydrated hair shaft with unbroken cuticle integrity,” says Dr. Zeel Gandhi, Chief Ayurvedic Doctor at Vedix.
Here, we take you through different Ayurvedic ways of hair smoothening along with chemical treatments and its associated risks, to help you make the ideal choice for your hair.
- What Is Hair Smoothening?
- Types Of Hair Smoothening + Which One Is Good For Your Hair?
- Science Behind Smooth Hair
- How To Smoothen Your Hair Naturally Through Ayurveda?
- Chemical Ways Of Hair Smoothening
- Tips To Maintain Your Smoothened Hair
- Can I Apply Oil After Hair Smoothening?
- Hair Smoothening While Breastfeeding - Is It Safe?
- Risks & Side Effects Of Hair Smoothening
What Is Hair Smoothening?
The process of enhancing the structure of your hair by removing dryness and frizz to impart a fine smoothness to your strands is known as hair smoothening. It makes your hair easily manageable in any environmental condition.
Types Of Hair Smoothening + Which One Is Good For Your Hair?
In general, there are two types of hair smoothening treatments:
1. Ayurvedic Or Natural Smoothening
This involves treating your hair with powerful Ayurvedic herbs and natural ingredients to gradually revamp your hair structure and achieve smooth and shiny texture. These methods not just focus on hair smoothening, but the medicinal herbs aid in providing holistic hair health by healing various scalp and hair-related problems.
You may not see instant results in Ayurvedic or natural hair smoothening treatments. But, it is a highly efficient way to treat your hair without unwanted side effects in the long run.
2. Chemical Smoothening
This involves treating your hair with chemicals like alkalines, formaldehyde, etc. Chemical treatments bring instant smoothness to your hair that may last for 3-12 months depending on your post-treatment hair care regimen.
However, chemical smoothening treatments come with their own set of side effects as the overuse of harmful chemicals weaken your hair follicles, which may eventually lead to hair breakage and hair fall.
Before exploring some of the extremely effective Ayurvedic hair smoothening procedures, let’s find out what your hair needs exactly to attain a smooth texture and shiny look.
Science Behind Smooth Hair
Your body needs essential nutrients like protein and vitamins, which it breaks down to synthesize keratin, the fibrous protein in your hair strands. In other words, Keratin is what gives structure to your hair.
Lack of adequate keratin (protein) and moisture in your hair strands is what leads to the rupture of cuticle layers, causing dry, frizzy and broken hair. In Ayurvedic terms, it is the consequence of the elevation of Vata dosha in your body.
“Ayurvedic herbs boost your follicles and cuticle integrity from inside to grow healthy, soft and lustrous hair naturally. Whereas in chemical hair smoothening, your hair is glazed with keratin externally, which is later sealed using heat,’’ says Dr. Zeel.
The cross-sectional shapes of hair strands are different for hair with different textures. Straight hair usually has a circular cross-section, whereas curly hair has an oval cross-section.
How To Smoothen Your Hair Naturally Through Ayurveda?
Dr. Zeel explains, “Besides topical treatments, you need to include a diet which is rich in protein, vitamin-A and biotin to promote keratin production from inside for healthy and silky hair growth while keeping your dosha levels in balance.” Here are some topical home remedies:
1. Hot Oil Treatment
In Ayurveda, the equilibrium of tridoshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha is what keeps your hair in a healthy state.
"To balance aggravated Vata levels, which dehydrate your scalp and hair, Ayurveda suggests herbs that work on ‘Udaka Vaha Srotas’ (channels which regulate water metabolism). These help in retaining smooth and shiny texture to your hair," says Dr. Zeel.
Hot oil treatment with herbs that work on Udaka Vaha Srotas is one of the prominent Ayurvedic practices that help you smoothen your hair texture. Some of the Ayurvedic herbs classified to act on Udaka Vaha Srotas are:
- Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera)
- Bhringraj (Eclipta Prostrata)
- Brahmi (Bacopa Monnieri)
- Daruharidra (Berberis Aristata)
- Dudhi (Euphorbia Hirta)
- Gokshura (Tribulus Terrestris)
- Gulab-Pushpa (Rose-Petals)
- Kapur Kachri (Hedychium Spicatum)
- Kumari (Aloe Vera)
- Manjishtha (Rubia Cordifolia)
- Mendi (Henna)
- Musta (Cyperus rotundus or Nutgrass)
- Nimbu Ras (Citrus Limon)
- Shatavari (Asparagus Racemosus)
2. Heat the oil until it becomes warm.
3. Now, apply the oil generously across your scalp area.
4. Massage your scalp in circular motions for about 15-20 minutes.
5. Now, take some oil and apply it to the hair shaft thoroughly by giving a light massage.
6. After 20-30 minutes, wrap your scalp and hair together using a thick cotton cloth that is soaked in hot water. Ensure you squeeze out the water from the cloth before wrapping. This maximizes the absorption of oil into the cuticle layers.
7. Leave it for another 20 minutes and then wash your hair with an Ayurvedic shampoo.
Vedix Tip: Treat your hair with hot oils at least once in a week for faster results. You can also use coconut oil, almond oil, jojoba oil, olive oil, thyme oil, lavender oil or rosemary oil (in combinations if possible) for hot oil treatment to promote healthy hair growth with a smooth texture.
2. Hair Rinse With Smoothening Herbs
A. Hibiscus Rinse
Soak a few hibiscus leaves and flowers in water for some time and blend them in a grinder. Rinse your hair with this hibiscus solution and leave it for about 10-15 minutes before washing it off with water. Do it once in a week to obtain a super soft and silky hair.
B. Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse
Add 2 tsp of apple cider vinegar into 2 cups of water. Rinse your hair with this solution once or twice in a month for healthy hair with no frizz.
C. Aloe Vera Rinse
Add 2 tsp of natural aloe vera gel into 2 cups of water and blend it nicely to form a consistent solution. Rinse your hair with this solution once a week to keep your hair smooth and shiny. Aloe vera also treats your scalp for dandruff efficiently.
D. Coconut Water Rinse
Mix 4 tsp of coconut water, 2 tsp of jojoba oil, and 2 tsp of aloe vera gel in a spray bottle and shake it well to combine the ingredients thoroughly. After having a hair wash with an Ayurvedic shampoo, spritz the solution into your hair to keep your hair well hydrated and damage-free.
Also, coconut water is rich in vitamins, minerals and amino acids that boost your follicle nourishment, aiding in the adequate synthesis of keratin.
3. Hair Smoothening Packs
A. Banana-Avocado Mask
Mix the pulps of 1 Banana and 1 Avocado. Add 1 tsp of wheat germ oil and 1 tsp of rose oil into the mixture and blend it into a fine paste. Apply the paste to your hair by taking small portions at a time. Leave it for about 30-45 minutes before washing it off using an Ayurvedic shampoo.
Banana  has amino acids that help your hair restore the protein. You can apply this mask once a week.
B. Rice Mask
Blend 1 cup of cooked rice, 2 tsp of aloe vera gel, 2 tsp of cornstarch and 2 tsp of olive oil into a fine paste. Apply this mask to your hair strands. Leave it for about 20-30 minutes before rinsing off thoroughly with water.
Rice is also a rich source of protein for your hair and this mask leaves your hair well conditioned with a smooth texture.
C. Amla Mask (Indian Gooseberry)
Mix dry amla powder and coconut oil into a thick paste. Apply this mix from your hair roots to tips and wash it off after 10-15 minutes.
Amla has properties to nurture Udaka Vaha srotas that seals the moisture in your hair strands and brings a natural softness and shine.
D. Yogurt-Egg Mask
Add 2 tsp of yogurt into 1 egg white and blend it well. Apply this mixture into your hair and wash it off after 45 minutes using an Ayurvedic shampoo. Apply this mask once in a week for the best results.
Both egg  and yogurt are full of proteins that give your hair an exceptionally soft texture. It is one of the excellent natural alternatives for keratin treatment.
Important Note: Avoid this hair mask if you have an oily scalp.
E. Coconut Milk-Hibiscus Mask
Mix coconut milk and dry hibiscus powder to form a fine paste. You can also add some honey and aloe vera gel into the mixture. Apply this mask to your hair. Leave it for about 30-40 minutes before rinsing it off using an Ayurvedic shampoo.
Coconut milk that is rich in protein and amino acids, also works on Udaka Vaha Srotas according to Ayurveda. This is one of the best hair masks to prevent hair breakage and split ends.
Chemical Ways Of Hair Smoothening
1. Brazilian Blowout
In Brazilian Blowout treatment , your hair strands are applied with a formaldehyde solution. The formaldehyde disrupts the alignment of keratin filaments in your hair by breaking down the hydrogen bonds in the keratin molecules.
2. Keratin Treatment
In this, Keratin solution with formaldehyde is applied to your hair strands. The keratin protein attaches itself to the cuticle and fills in the missing gaps in the sub-cuticle layers. Then, heat from flat iron is applied to seal the Keratin into the cuticle.
This is useful if you have extremely thin and dry hair with split ends. There are also few formaldehyde-free keratin treatments available in hair clinics or salons today.
3. Thermal Hair Reconditioning
This is also called a 'Japanese straightening technique' which involves treating hair with a glycolic acid derivative. However, tven in thermal hair reconditioning , the solution disrupts the hydrogen bonds in Keratin molecules, restructuring your hair into straight strands.
Along with flat-ironing, a neutralizer is applied to your strands that seal the Keratin and straighten the structure of your hair permanently.
Most of the chemical hair smoothening treatments come with their own risks. They need to be performed in salons, while you should be very cautious in choosing a well-experienced professional for your hair smoothening treatments.
Tips To Maintain Your Smoothened Hair
- Use a shampoo that does not contain sulfates and parabens.
- Avoid tight ponytails as it may give stress to your hair strands.
- Massage your scalp and hair regularly with Ayurvedic oils based on your dosha levels. It keeps your hair nourished and restores its natural keratin.
- Avoid excessive heat styling, as it may damage your hair stands to cause extreme dehydration.
- Prefer cold water during your hair wash as it helps you reduce frizziness in hair.
- Always pat-dry your hair or leave it for air drying.
- Over combing and brushing may cause too much friction leading to frizzy hair. Restrict combing to once or twice in a day using a wide-toothed wooden comb. Also, never comb or brush your hair when it is wet.
- Ensure your sleeping position does not add pressure to your hair roots or make it crinkled. The best way is to spread your hair evenly over a satin pillow when you lie on your back. This is an essential measure which you need to take for at least 3-4 days after you have taken a chemical hair smoothening treatment.
- If you are doing chemical hair smoothening, make sure you go for it not more than 3 times in a year. Treating your hair with chemicals excessively may make it brittle and more susceptible to breakage.
Can I Apply Oil After Hair Smoothening?
You can start applying oil to your hair 10-12 days after chemical hair smoothening treatments. Massage your scalp and hair with warm oil and leave it overnight. Then, wash your hair with an Ayurvedic cleanser the following morning.
Hair Smoothening While Breastfeeding - Is It Safe?
There is no scientific evidence that says chemicals used in hair treatments get passed through breastfeeding to babies. At the same time, no evidence concludes it does not either. Therefore, it is better to wait until the breast-feeding phase ends and then go for chemical hair smoothening treatments to avoid any sort of unknown risks.
Otherwise, you can go for Ayurvedic herbal treatments which have exceptional and natural smoothening potential at any time.
Risks & Side Effects Of Hair Smoothening
Scientific researchers claim that formaldehyde , which is an active compound in chemical hair smoothening treatments is a carcinogen. And, it is predominantly linked to nasal and blood cancers.
Formaldehyde, a colorless gas with a strong odor, is released into the air during hair smoothening treatment. You may inhale the released gas or it may also get absorbed into your skin, triggering side effects as below:
- Scalp irritation with burns and blisters
- Hair loss
- Hair breakage or damage
- Itching and burning eyes
- Nose and throat irritation
- Chest tightness
- Skin rash
You need to consult your doctor and stylist to understand if the chemicals used for hair smoothening are suitable for you before you go for the hair smoothening treatments.
The Last Word
You may spend big bucks on special treatments for your hair to achieve your desirable smoothening effect. But, ensure that it does not cost your health. Healthy hair that is smooth and soft is all yours when you avoid chemical treatments or strike a balance between your chemical and natural hair treatments. In fact, Ayurvedic herbs help you attain long-lasting hair and scalp health, besides adding super soft texture to your hair naturally while keeping your doshas in balance.
At Vedix, we evaluate your aggravated doshas and customize a holistic hair care regimen that your hair needs.Know Your Dosha Now
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