Ayurveda suggests that there is a strong connection between the mind and body and that only by being in touch with both can we achieve optimal health and wellness. Included in health and wellness is how we care for our hair. Ayurveda offers ideas and regimens that can help your scalp and encourage the growth of your hair.
What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is a holistic approach to medicine. If you aren’t familiar with holistic medicine, it encompasses the entire body (“whole body”) rather than addressing just a few symptoms that may be present at the time.
For instance, instead of looking to get rid of a cough and a runny nose, a holistic practitioner will want to look at your overall health, including diet and nutrition, and look at ways to improve your health and get to the root of the problem. Ayurveda follows the constitutional model of holistic medicine, according to the Ayruvedic Foundations. This means that everything suggested in ayurveda is specific to the individual based on assessment, observation and conversation with the individual.
How Ayurveda Affects Your Hair
Hair is just one aspect of your body, but ayurvedic medicine suggests that caring for your head and scalp can benefit not only your hair but also the rest of your body. It also suggests that you take care of your hair now (rather than wait until you have problems with it) for lifelong benefits.
An ayurvedic hair regimen involves massaging warm oils into your scalp. You can add a number of herbs to the oil, but be sure to choose herbs that are “hair-friendly” or you could end up with a ratty, dry mess. Jo Somebody, a user on CurlTalk, says, “Simplicity is best when first starting."
While you may read about several different herbal concoctions being added to oils for ayurveda, you need to choose oils that will work best for your hair type.
A good, simple first-time ayurvedic treatment is Kalpi tone. This comes in a box and is a mixture of some of the common herbs people use for ayurveda. It’s great for beginners because you don’t have to come up with your own supplies of different herbs and don’t have to wonder if you have the right amounts of each. The instructions on the box tell you to mix this powder with water, and then apply to your hair.
However, some of our CurlTalk Curlies have shared their own experiences, which include adding a touch of honey to the mixture or adding a smidgen of their favorite moisturizing conditioner. Sasha-Shae Shaw from Afrouniquely gives a great pictorial on applying Kalpi tone, including her before and after pictures.
Alternatively, you could mix your own selection of ayurvedic hair care herbs, such as reetha powder, amla, shikakai, and neem, into warm oil and then massage the oil into your scalp. This regimen will work to prevent dry scalp and flaking without dandruff-free shampoos (which can actually worsen dandruff issues). You can also mix henna powder in with the oil, though several curlies report difficulties getting the henna powder out of twists.