Do you often find your hair fall off in clumps when you comb? You must have never imagined that how you use your shampoo and conditioner could impact your hair health, right? Instead, you often ended up working against your hair health by making some common shampooing and conditioning mistakes.
“In Ayurveda, Dinacharya Adhyaya ( a healthy day’s routine) details the ways to keep our hair and scalp clean and conditioned with natural herbs, which not only liberate your hair from chemical damage , but also makes it stronger by deep nourishing,’’ says Dr. Zeel Gandhi, chief Ayurvedic doctor at Vedix.
Here comes our invaluable Ayurvedic guidance to shampooing and conditioning your hair the right way to keep your hair healthy and strong.
What Is The Purpose Of Shampoo And Conditioner?
Shampoo serves the purpose of removing the accumulated dirt and unwanted excessive oil from your scalp and hair fibers. Regular shampooing unclogs the hair follicles and promotes the hassle-free absorption of nutrients, thus, boosting stronger hair growth.
On the other hand, a conditioner, which adds smooth and glossy texture to your hair, is generally applied to the shaft portion of the hair only as its thick consistency may clog the scalp pores. Conditioner imparts anti-static properties  to your hair and protects it from breakage.
Where Do Shampooing And Conditioning Fundamentally Go Wrong?
Firstly, when you wash your hair with chemical-based shampoos, compounds like sulfates and alcohol present in them strip off the natural oil from your scalp. This results in your scalp follicles losing its natural moisture and protection layer, eventually leading to the weakening of hair roots and hair fall.
Secondly, after shampooing, hair conditioners with essential fatty acids add moisture and a protective layer to the shaft portion of your hair. But they do not address the dryness on your scalp. Moreover, conditioners may weigh down your hair until your next hair wash. This puts a slight pulling force on your follicles, weakening its grip to hold your hair strands.
This is where the Ayurvedic tradition of reverse hair wash, i.e conditioning your hair before your hair cleansing can become your benefactor. Let’s see how it is done.
The word Shampoo is derived from the Hindi word Champo, which actually means a massage. It was introduced to westerners by Sheikh Din Muhammad, a Bengali surgeon and entrepreneur. He opened a bathhouse in the English countryside where medicated vapor massages were offered and he named the process ‘Shampooing’ (mimic to Champu).
Ayurvedic Way To Condition And Shampoo Your Hair
1. Understand Your Hair Type
In Ayurveda, the physiology of every individual is made of the three energetic forces of nature: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. While all the three doshas are found in everyone, they are present in different proportions, which form the unique Prakriti of each individual.
When a dosha is in high proportion in an individual, it plays a dominant role in regulating the activities of their body and mind. Sometimes, there could be two dominant doshas in a person and very rarely, you can find people whose all three doshas are in equal proportion.
The dominant share of dosha levels in your body plays a critical role in determining the physical characteristics of your hair.
- If you have Vata dosha dominant Prakriti, you tend to have thin and dry hair with coarse texture.
- If you have Pitta dosha in dominance, you are more likely to have straight and soft hair with medium thickness.
- If you have Kapha dosha dominant Prakriti, you may have curly hair with thick volume.
Knowing the status of your dosha levels and hair type is essential in Ayurvedic hair care as it comes with balanced herbal formulations that are specific to each hair type while keeping your dosha levels in balance.
2. Condition Your Hair Naturally With Ayurvedic Oils And Hair Masks
In Ayurveda, various herbal oils and hair masks are used for nourishing, strengthening, and conditioning your hair. “Ancient Ayurvedic texts suggest oiling the hair first and then washing it off with natural surfactants. Conditioning post shampoo is a novel approach to hair wash and proposed by cultures who refrain from oiling their hair prior to wash,’’ says Dr. Zeel.
Choose Ayurvedic hair oils that contain herbs specific to dealing with your hair problems. For example, if you have Vata-pitta hair type, your Ayurvedic hair oil may include herbs like Gunja, Nimba, Yashtimadhu, Amalaki, Shatavari, Kamala, Bhringraj, etc. that brings your dosha levels to a balanced state while conditioning your scalp and hair.
You can also use generic oils like coconut oil, sesame oil, argan oil, etc., which act as best conditioning and nourishing agents for your scalp and hair.
Massage your scalp and hair with your chosen oil for 15 – 20 minutes the night before you plan your hair wash. Massaging your scalp boosts blood circulation and relieves you from stress. Also, leaving oil on your hair and scalp overnight allows your hair tissues to absorb the Kesha dravyas into the deeper layers.
Alternative Conditioning Treatments
Even hair masks work well for deep conditioning your scalp and hair. Here are some of the natural ingredients you can use at home as hair masks.
- Aloe Vera
Also, there are a variety of dry herbal powders available in the market, which you can pick based on your hair type. You can mix water into these powders and prepare a paste. Apply the paste throughout your scalp and hair. Let it sit for about 20 – 30 minutes before your hair wash.
For best results, you can use both Ayurvedic hair oils and hair masks to condition your hair as an alternative routine.
3. Shampoo Your Hair With Ayurvedic Herbs
Choose your Ayurvedic herbal shampoo with ingredients that are most suitable for your hair type based on your dosha levels. Here are some of the Ayurvedic herbs  that work best as your hair cleansing agents in general:
- Shikakai (Soap pod) 
- Reetha (Soap Nut)
- Amalaki (Indian Gooseberry)
- Methi (Fenugreek)
- Nimba (Nee)
- Japa (Hibiscus)
- Kumari (Aloe Vera)
Wet your hair with lukewarm or room-temperature water and apply the Ayurvedic herbal shampoo thoroughly across your scalp.
It is not recommended to use very hot water on your scalp as its natural and essential oils can be stripped in the process.
Now massage your scalp at the roots in a circular motion by applying gentle pressure for about 2-3 minutes. Work the shampoo throughout the length of your hair.
Wash off the shampoo completely from your hair using lukewarm water. Stroke your hair downwards with hands to drain out the water and leave your hair for air drying.
When the hair dries out, use a wide-toothed wooden comb to detangle your hair gently.
What Happens When You Condition Your Hair Before Shampooing?
The Ayurvedic technique of conditioning hair with herbal formulations seals the natural moisture of your scalp, besides providing excellent nourishment to it. While kasha dravyas in Ayurvedic oils sink into your scalp layers, the medicinal herbal solutions treat different hair problems like premature greying, dandruff, etc. caused by your aggravated doshas.
Later, washing your hair with Ayurvedic herbal shampoos revitalizes your scalp and hair by cleansing all the dirt along with surface grease, while also keeping the oil levels in the right balance.
By switching up the order of shampooing and conditioning, your locks won’t be left weighed down with heavy oils as you shampoo your hair the next day. However, it is not advised to follow this reverse hair washing process with any random shampoo and conditioner available in the market.
If the instructions found on the back of your products say to shampoo first and apply conditioner next, then the combination is specifically formulated to work better that way.
At Vedix, we customized Ayurvedic hair care kits containing hair oil, shampoo, and serum for you based on your evaluated dosha profile. The herbal formulations in these products are intended for reverse hair washing.
How Often Should You Wash Your Hair?
Generally, individuals with Kapha hair type need more frequent hair wash as they are more prone to the production of excessive sebum that also binds more dirt and dandruff on the scalp. Pitta hair type individuals can wash their hair with a moderate frequency like 3-4 times a week. And, Vata hair type individuals should wash their hair with lesser frequency as they are more prone to scalp dryness.
However, when you use the right Ayurvedic oils and shampoos that are well formulated with ingredients based on your dosha levels, washing your hair 2-3 times a week should show the best results.
Please consult your Ayurvedic doctor before administering any of the herbal formulations and practices mentioned above in this article.
The Last Word
Although the Ayurvedic procedure of conditioning and shampooing is a bit time consuming than the general method of hair wash, you may find it highly beneficial and sustainable to keep your scalp and hair healthy and strong.
While traditional Ayurvedic reverse hair cleansing counteracts the limitations of generic shampooing and conditioning practices, it induces natural hair growth with no side effects  of chemicals.Know Your Dosha Now