| Priyanka Chopra has a beautiful, well nourished head of hair
A constantly healthy and beautiful head of hair requires a regimen of ongoing care and attention. Indians by and large have the best hair in the world. Some attribute the wellness of hair to diet, some to lifestyle, and some to the painstaking care with which a loved one, be it mother, grandmother, or sometimes a maid, would regularly apply oil infused with natural herbs. Little wonder too, then, that most natural hair wigs are made from Indian hair!
Oiling the hair has traditionally been about nourishing the scalp with select herb-infused oils, soothing the nerves with a relaxing massage that releases stress that has accumulated in the tissues and muscles, and nurturing the soul. This half-an-hour or one-hour bonding session of massage and scalp nourishment started out as a system of healing in Ayurveda over a thousand years ago. Now, with Brand Ayurveda going global, a massage which is known internationally as The Indian Head Massage is being practised the world over, and I even had one in, of all places, the UK.
A home-grown, less intense version of the Indian Head Massage can leave, with the right oil and proper addressing of the pressure points, a bounce (post shampoo, of course) not only in the hair, but in your step too, given that all of the aches and pains on the stress-bearing areas of the neck and upper back have been carefully massaged away!
And the question of the week is...
I want to know if oiling is good for my hair or not. People keep advising me to go for hair spas and some insist I use oil. What is the difference between the two and which should I use'
Both are good for your hair and, if done with specific massage techniques, good for your general well-being too! Many are choosing spas over oil massages purely because their time schedules donít allow for the long-drawn-out procedure an oil massage can turn into. The products used for hair spas are also more easily rinsed off, being moisture-based and having exotically-scented aromas that arenít as overwhelming and lingering as the smells of some oils like coconut and mustard oil.
However, if you can get in an oil massage once a week, by all means do so. Just be careful you donít use too much shampoo to wash it off, as this then undoes what you were trying to do in the first place, namely replace lost moisture and condition.
Here is, I hope, all the know-how you will need!
Choosing the right oil
If the scalp feels dry, tight and cool and your hair is frizzy and thin with a tendency to split ends, use sesame or almond oil.
If your scalp feels hot and your hair is greying prematurely, or thinning fast, coconut oil is the ideal choice.
If your scalp is greasy or itchy and the hair is thick, or wavy and greasy, sesame or olive oil is suitable.
Massaging the scalp
Warm three tbsp of oil and place in a bowl. Make sure the oil is not too hot or you might scald your scalp.
Parting the hair, using the tips of your fingers apply the oil section by section to different parts of your scalp. Make sure to apply some oil along the lengths of your hair.
Then, using the pads of your fingers, work the oil into your scalp, using gentle rotating movements. Slow, purposeful movements are relaxing while steady but energetic movements help scalp stimulation. (Do not over-stimulate where there is severe hair fall as this will weaken the hold of roots.)
Give the stress-laden areas of the neck, shoulders and upper back a rub down too and watch your well--meter soar! Donít forget the areas down the sides and back of your neck, and over your ears.
Leave the oil on the scalp for at least 30 minutes.
For a more thorough penetration of the nutrients in the oil, dip a towel in hot water, wring it out, let cool slightly, then wrap it around your head after your massage.
The oil can be left on overnight. Shampoo out with a gentle, natural shampoo; do not rub the scalp harshly.
This is primarily a salon treatment. Target treatments are available for hair that has dandruff, or is either falling, thinning, dry/brittle, oily, severely damaged or normal. Each line of treatment has a corresponding shampoo, massage product and suitable finish product.
An analysis of the scalp and hair condition is made by the hair specialist.
The appropriate line of product is selected.
The hair is shampooed.
The product is systematically worked along the lengths and ends of the hair.
A 15-minute massage of the scalp is conducted.
A steamer with ionization is used ó this leaves the hair soft and lustrous and the scalp clean and fresh.
The product is rinsed off.
At this point, the hair-loss lotion/protein fix/conditioner, if need be, is applied.
Another option is to work with a combination of both systems ó spas one month and oiling the next and you can optimise the results of both by using the techniques of the Indian Head Massage. Oh, and do remember to get someone else to do it on you!
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