Are dryness, frizz and split ends turning out to be your never-ending hair woes? Steaming your hair once a week can put an end to many such hair problems.
Hair steaming is a treatment often recommended by haircare professionals for its immense benefits. The infusion of moisture into the hair shaft is an excellent way to revive dry, damaged tresses. Scroll down to know the process of hair steaming and its amazing benefits.
“Snehana (oiling) and Swedana (steaming) are age-old ayurvedic techniques to soften hair. It makes the active components of the herbs penetrate deeper. The oiling and steaming combination helps detoxify the scalp, increase blood flow and stimulate healthy hair growth.”
What Is Hair Steaming?
Hair steaming is an essential hair care treatment that allows your tresses to absorb the goodness of essential oils and conditioner better. The procedure of hair steaming involves exposing your hair to warm steam that helps raise your cuticle layer (the outermost protective layer made up of overlapping cells)  and open the hair shaft. This in turn, allows for better hydration and penetration of topical hair products.
A. What Is The Purpose Of Steaming Hair?
Topically applied hair treatments are best absorbed when your hair is moist. The moist heat from the steamer helps swell up individual hair strands and allows moisture and treatment to enter the depths of your hair fiber. This leaves your hair feeling soft and smooth for a long time. The purpose of hair steaming is not just limited to better product absorption. It also keeps your scalp healthy and your hair roots nourished, thus promoting hair growth.
Is Steaming Good For Your Hair?
Steaming is undoubtedly beneficial with a plethora of hair benefits. Constant exposure to harmful UV rays of the sun, dust, pollution, heat styling and harsh products rob your hair of its essential moisture and shine. When hydrating products applied to your hair are coupled with hair steaming, it enhances the overall effect of the treatment. This helps your hair rapidly regain its health and shine.
Though the term ‘hair steaming’ has been recently coined, the practise of applying warm steam to nourish hair and skin was prevalent even during ancient times.
Benefits Of Steaming Your Hair
1. Better Nutrition Absorption
Your hair is made up of three layers. The outermost layer is the cuticle, and has the appearance of fish scales. It is made up of cells that overlap each other and protect the inner layers from environmental damage. It also seals in essential moisture that keeps your hair healthy.
During hair steaming, warmth and moisture swells up the hair shaft and slightly raises the cuticle layer. This allows haircare products to penetrate deep into your hair strands giving them a boost of health.
2. Prevents Dry Hair Issues
Hair that lacks moisture is more susceptible to damage from the elements. Dryness raises the cuticle layer allowing essential moisture to escape from your hair fiber. This makes your hair prone to damage from friction, increases chances of split ends, breakage, eventually leading to hair loss.
Hair steaming infuses the hair shaft with optimum moisture which seals the cuticle layer. A cuticle layer that lays flat, emits light, giving your hair its much desired shine.
3. Removes Dead Skin Cells
Steaming hair keeps your scalp clean and healthy. The warm steam helps loosen dirt, grime and dead skin cells on the scalp. So shampooing after hair steaming enhances the cleansing process. A mild, herbal shampoo is best for hair that has been steamed. Steaming is also known to control dandruff by preventing dry scalp and removing dead skin cells.
4. Prevents Product Build-Up
Hair gels, sprays, serums and other leave-in hair products build up with frequent use making your hair look limp. Harmful chemicals such as silicone, present in most conditioners, also layer up on the hair shaft. Such build-ups prevent nourishing oils and masks from entering your hair and scalp, cutting off nutrition supply.
Steaming detoxifies your hair and scalp. Steaming hair after oiling, followed by a gentle cleansing shampoo is a proven method for removing product build-ups.
5. Improves Blood Circulation
Your hair derives its nutrition and oxygen from blood vessels present at the base of the hair follicle. The warmth from the steam causes vasodilation and increases blood flow to the hair roots. This enhances nutrition supply, prevents premature greying, promotes hair growth and keeps your hair follicles from drying.
6. Promotes Secretion Of Natural Oils
Sebaceous glands that open into the hair follicle, produce sebum and keep your hair nourished. This natural oil forms a protective layer over your hair shaft protecting it from environmental and heat damages. The warm humid environment created by the hair steamer enhances sebum secretion  on the scalp which prevents dryness and gives your hair its natural shine.
7. Great For Curls
Steaming hair is a favourite treatment for those with curls. According to curl experts, steaming curly hair can reduce shrinkage over time. Most curly and kinky hair tends to have low porosity. This means that hair cannot absorb moisture easily, leaving it dry and brittle.
Warmth from the steamer gently opens up the cuticle layer, gradually allowing moisture to enter the hair shaft. This also helps curly hair absorb hair care products better. Hair steaming after oiling or after treatment, keeps your tresses soft, moisturized and frizz-free.
8. Improves Hair Elasticity
Steaming hair improves hair elasticity and prevents breakage. Hair that has optimum moisture sealed within it, can be easily styled without the fear of damage.
How Do You Steam Your Hair Properly?
1. Hooded/ Capped/ Handheld Steamer
- For pre-shampoo steaming, massage a good herbal oil onto your scalp and through the length of your hair. If you are steaming after shampoo, apply a good hair mask.
- Make sure all your hair fits inside the steamer for hooded and cap styled steamers. For long hair, secure it in a bun. If you are using a handheld steamer, you can keep moving and focusing on the dry areas.
- It is advisable to adjust the hair steamer to a low heat mode.
- Let your hair soak up the moisture for a good 15 to 20 minutes. If your hair feels too dry or damaged, you may extend it to 30 minutes.
- Once done, rinse off the oil or hair mask with cold water to seal your cuticles.
- Let your hair dry naturally.
2. DIY Warm Towel Wrap
If you don’t have a hair steamer, fret not. Follow the below mentioned steps for a DIY hair steaming treatment at home and get salon like results.
- Grab a nice, cotton or bamboo bathing towel.
- For pre-shampoo steaming, oil your hair and detangle it. For better absorption of treatment after shampoo, start with damp, detangled hair.
- Secure your hair with a shower cap.
- Now soak the towel in hot water or microwave (preferably 1-2 minutes) a damp towel till it reaches a convenient temperature. Squeeze out excess water.
- Make sure the towel heat is bearable.
- Wrap this moist warm towel over the shower cap.
- Now cover your entire head with a plastic bag. Leave on for a minimum period of 30 minutes. Let the steam gradually pamper your tresses.
Vedix Tip: Before steaming, massage your hair with coconut hair oil containing bhringraj, amla, japa and methi to prevent dryness, hairfall and dandruff.
What To Use To Steam Hair?
A variety of hair steaming equipment is available in the market. We advise you to choose the one that suits your needs and fits your budget.
1. Hooded Steamer
Hooded steamers are the ones often seen at salons. These require space and probably a little more maintenance. Being expensive, these steamers come with temperature and time controls. They emit evenly dispersed warm steam and give you a great hair steaming experience.
2. Tabletop Steamer
More convenient and apt for home use, tabletop steamers come with a decently large hood to fit your entire head. They can also be used for steaming long hair.
3. Hand Held Steamer
Hand held steamers are fairly easy to use and look like blow dryers. You will need to fill yours with distilled water before plugging it in.
4. Capped Steamer
Capped steamers are great for a quick pre-wash hair steaming process. These are lightweight and easy to use. Just plug it in and put it on your head.
5. DIY Towel Wrap
You can simply use a warm moist towel wrap to steam your hair at home, if you don’t have a steamer.
Hair Steaming Dos & Don'ts
1. Oil or apply a hair treatment before steaming your hair. This enhances moisture and product absorption into the hair shaft and scalp.
2. Use a headband to prevent dripping during the hair steaming process.
3. Understand your hair needs and steam your hair as often as required, preferably once a week.
4. Rinse with cold water after steaming hair to lock in the moisture.
1. Don’t cover your hair or use a shower cap during the hair steaming session, except while using the DIY towel wrap.
2. Don’t use hot water to rinse or heat to dry your hair after steaming.
3. Don’t steam your hair too frequently. Excess moisture in your hair can make it look limp.
“Ayurveda believes you should never steam your hair without pretreatment with oil or mask, as it may loosen the roots”
Frequently Asked Questions On Hair Steaming
1. When Should You Steam Your Hair?
A. Hair steaming can be done after an oiling session and before shampoo for better absorption of nutrients. After steaming, rinse with a mild shampoo and towel dry your hair.
B. Hair steaming is also done on clean hair after shampooing. Apply a deep conditioning hair mask and let the steam work its way into the hair fiber infusing it with moisture and nutrition.
2. How Long Should You Steam Your Hair For?
Keep your hair steaming sessions limited to 10 to 20 minutes. For very rough, dry hair 30 minutes is good enough. Overdoing may result in limp, damage-prone hair.
3. How Often Should You Steam Your Hair?
Steaming your hair once a week is recommended for most hair types. If your hair is healthy you can repeat the process once every month.
The Last Word
According to the ancient science of Ayurveda, amongst the 3 doshas (bodily humours) that govern our body functions, vata dosha vitiation can lead to dry, frizzy, and breakage prone hair. Warm steam can help balance vata dosha on your scalp and reduce chances of dryness and hair loss.
Using a herbal hair oil or a herbal hair pack before steaming further enhances its benefits. However, overdoing it may aggravate kapha dosha leading to limp hair, dandruff and hair loss. So get your doshas checked, follow an Ayurvedic hair care routine and steam as per your hair needs.Know Your Dosha Now
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