Healthy and nourished hair has deep roots and longer growth cycles. The natural oils in your scalp keep up your cuticle health, avoid split ends, prevent frizzy hair and dandruff.
Just like all other good things in life, maintaining healthy hair needs a comprehensive approach according to Ayurveda. Your hair is sensitive to seasons, environmental stresses, emotional health, hormones, sleep cycles and food.
In short, your hair is an extension of all the attention, love and care you shower on your amazing self. So, let's find out what Ayurveda says about taking care of your hair to maintain strong roots.
What Causes Weak Hair Roots (Follicles)?
1. Lack Of Nutrients (Vata)
A diet lacking in nutrients for hair will eventually weaken the roots. Iron, calcium, zinc, Vitamin D and fundamental hair proteins are important. If you skip foods containing these essential nutrients, your hair can become dry and lustreless. Good hydration also reflects good hair. (1)
2. Occlusion Of Blood Supply To The Follicles (Kapha)
A high amount of circulating cholesterol, hormonal imbalances and sugar imbalances causes lack of nutrition to reach the roots, in spite of consuming a balanced healthy meal. This may cause oiliness with dandruff (seborrheic dermatitis). (2)
3. Inflammation (Pitta)
Overuse of chemicals, heat treatments, prolonged exposure to pollution and sun in conjunction with a high acid diet (too much spice, salt and sour foods) will make your roots weak. This can trigger pain in hair roots and dandruff. (3)
What Are The Signs Of Weak Hair?
1. Low tensile strength: When hair shafts break easily on being pulled.
2. Dry, lacklustre and getting tangled easily are a sure sign of weak hair.
3. Hair fall that is more than normal (more than 100 strands per day).
4. Hair that splits on growing.
How Can You Strengthen Your Hair Roots?
According to ancient Ayurveda, the journey to strong hair requires both internal and external fixes. Solely taking care of your hair externally with oils or only eating nutritious food may not help.
Here are the internal fixes:
1. Eat For Your Hair
A diet that is high in proteins will go a long way in maintaining a lush mane. Iron rich fruits like pomegranate, amla, dried figs, dates and leafy vegetables are pamper foods for your hair.
Don’t forget to include a daily dose of healthy nuts like walnuts and almonds in your diet. Finish your bowl of dal with ghee and be generous on buttermilk and other probiotics. (1)
2. Avoid Unhealthy Fats
According to Ayurveda, hair follicles get occluded by circulating kapha and the nutrients don’t reach the follicles, making them weak. Foods high in refined oils,Plam oil, fried foods, high starch and sugary foods all weaken the hair roots. (2)
3. Inflammation Inducing Diet
Extremely spicy and sour foods weaken the hair roots. Go easy on pickles. Refrain from adding extra salt. Salt not only weakens your roots, it causes premature greying. Smoking and alcohol may trigger inflammation too. (3)
These are the external fixes:
1. Regular Oiling With Ayurvedic Oils
Herbal oils, especially customised to balance your vata, pitta and kapha will detox your roots, deeply nourish them and help them adapt to the stress.
Night time oiling is best suited for most. Just apply and sleep, and let it work its magic. (4)
2. Detoxify Your Hair Roots With Masks (Weekly Once)
Detoxifying hair masks act as stimulants for hair roots and expel out their toxins. They also promote blood supply to the follicle to initiate a proper flow of nutrients to the roots.
3. Nourish The Roots
Some DIY hair masks made with the right ingredients can help nourish and strengthen your roots. These can be used as often as desired.
Detox Recipes For Strong Hair
1. Triphala Hair Mask
- Triphala (fine powder) 1 Tsp
- Apple Cider Vinegar 2 Tbsp
- Honey 2 Tbsp
Mix and apply on your scalp, close to your roots. Wash after half an hour.
Triphala helps to detox your pores, ensuring proper hair growth. Triphala is also one of the drugs of choice to promote hair growth (5)
2. Onion Hair Mask
- Onion juice 4 Tbsp
- Black pepper 1 Pinch
- Honey 4 Tbsp
Crush and squeeze onions to extract the juice. Mix and apply on your scalp evenly. Keep it on for half an hour and wash it off.
Onion stimulates circulation, and aids hair growth. (6)
3. Cinnamon Hair Mask
- Cinnamon ¼ Tsp
- Honey 2 Tbsp
- Aloe vera (fresh/gel) 4 Tbsp
Mix all the ingredients and apply on the scalp. Let it sit on your scalp for about half an hour and then wash it off. (7)
Nourishing DIYs For Strong Hair
1. Mango Seed Hair Mask
- Mango seed (crushed) 4 Tbsp
- Amla Powder 2 Tbsp
- Water To make paste
Break open the mango kernels to extract the seed. Crush these to make a paste with water in a blender, and add amla powder. Make sure it's a fine paste, lest it might be difficult to wash them off the scalp.
Mango seed is dominant in kashaya rasa and prevents inflammation. Amla manages pitta and hence, when used in conjunction with this, it is a very popular medicine in Ayurveda to strengthen the hair roots. (8)
2. Hibiscus Hair Mask
- Hibiscus flowers 4 Tbsp
- Hibiscus leaves 4 Tbsp
- Amla powder 2 Tbsp
- Aloe gel 2 Tbsp
Crush the flowers and leaves to make a fine paste. Add the amla powder and aloe gel to this.
Hibiscus leaves and flowers have hair restorative properties. They also add lustre and prevent greying of hair. Amla acts as an anti-inflammatory and an adaptogen for hair. (9)
3. Methi Hair Mask
- Finely powdered methi 1 Tbsp
- Curry leaf juice 2 Tsp
- Curds 4Tbsp
Soak the Methi powder in curd overnight in a copper vessel. If you do not have a copper vessel at hand, a steel vessel will do just fine.
Press out fresh juice from crushed curry leaves and add to the presoaked mixture. Apply and let it sit for about half an hour to one hour. Wash it off.
Try this recipe on all your hair wash days and see the magic methi wields in your hair. (10)
4. Coconut Mask
- Coconut milk 1 cup
Apply coconut milk with a ball of cotton gently close to your roots. After covering the scalp, with your fingers, slowly soak the strands too.
Coconut milk has excellent restorative properties. It fixes the damaged scalp and hair strands. Can be used as often as required. (11)
Foods For Strengthening Hair Roots
Amla(12) is a superfood for your hair. Rich in hair micronutrients, it detoxifies your hair roots and is the best antioxidant that prevents greying and weak hair.
2) Coconut Oil/Flesh:
Coconut is a keshya dravya and deeply nourishes the hair. It is rich in proteins, and alleviates inflammation when used internally or externally. Coconut oil soaks deep in the hair medulla and imparts tensile strength.
Almonds, when consumed regularly, reduce inflammation, provide hair proteins and stimulate healthy hair growth.
Walnuts are nature’s omega capsules. They are rich in Vitamin E and hence work positively on lush hair growth.
Buttermilk helps regulate digestion, which is the mother of all nutritional assimilation physiologies in the body.
It stimulates the liver and hence, has a positive effect on the hormones. Buttermilk also stimulates calcium absorption, which is vital for hair growth.
6) Green gram (Moong):
Moong helps you get rid of the blood circulating with cholesterol in your follicles, which usually affects hair growth and also triggers greying. They are high in antioxidants, thus preventing age-related hair damage.
These are rich in micronutrients and alleviate inflammations. Hence, they are excellent for hair health.
And all other edible green leaves are an important source of folate, iron and other micronutrients. They should be a part of regular meal plans.
9) Licorice (Mulethi powder):
Mulethi is a wonder herb when it comes to managing stress, balancing all the three doshas and preventing acidification of the body.
Acids leach calcium and weaken the hair. Mulethi helps maintain a healthy acid balance in the body.
10) Fenugreek seeds (Methi):
One compound in methi’s nutrition arsenal is phyto-Oestrogens. This helps regulate hair growth cycles, making them longer and thicker.
What To Avoid To Maintain Hair Strength?
- Too much washing
- Heat-styling tools
- Over styling
- Unhealthy food habits
- Dehydrating - not drinking enough water
- Not sleeping enough
- Irregular meals that trigger hyperacidity
The Last Word
Ayurveda recommends plenty of TLC for your hair. When you choose Ayurvedic therapies for your hair problems, they work deep inside your body to fix the issue. Balancing hormones, management of your cholesterol levels and replenishing micronutrient deficiencies are addressed for the organism as a whole, not just for your hair. Reduction in stress and its effects are just the few side benefits Ayurveda therapies exert.
Know your Ayurvedic Prakriti, to know exactly what your body needs.Know Your Dosha Now