Hair fall, dandruff, brittle hair, greying hair or thinning hair are problems that have become absolutely common these days. In today’s age we barely come across anyone from the fairer sex having a long, thick and lustrous mane as our older generations (mothers and grandmothers) had.
Even men suffer from disorders like a receding hairline and bald patches in their adolescent years, itself. Surprisingly, our elders had those lovely locks in spite of using absolutely simple hair products; sometimes even normal soap to wash their hair. But in spite of using scores of branded hair products we nonetheless have dull, scanty and thinning hair.
Yet, do we bother to get to the root of the problem? No. Instead, we look for simple solutions like maintaining a short crop, adding hair extensions, wearing wigs or furthermore opt for surgeries like hair transplantation.
There are loads of articles in magazines and on the internet speaking about hair care, hair products and solutions to hair issues. But instead of solving any disorder they leave us even more confused. You have to understand that once your hair is badly ruined, the damage cannot be undone. It is advisable that you take care of it now so that it could be saved from further harm.
Some pointers to undo the damage done to your hair:
1. Hair Oils: No matter how fast the new generation is, always oil your hair at least once a week. If possible leave it overnight. Else, apply oil and steam hair before shampooing using the hot towel technique.
Use an oil that suits your hair and not if it suits your friend (certain hair oils have ingredients that aggravate dandruff) or if it is widely advertised. You could even make herbal infused hair oil at home instead of purchasing it from stores. An oil massage increases blood circulation thus nourishing your scalp and hair.
2. Be Natural: Do not experiment with chemicals and gadgets to alter the texture or the colour of hair. They make your hair dry and brittle, leading to scanty and thinning hair and cause premature greying.
Send the dyes, straighteners, curlers, blow driers etc. on a small vacation at least till the damage is undone. Love your hair the way it is by accepting it in its natural form (unless you want to cover greys). You could still opt for organic colours!
3. Avoid stress and irritation: Be in control of your life. If possible, steer clear of people with whom your vibes do not match. Else, limit your relation with that person. Anger and irritation cause stress which aggravates hair problems like dandruff, hair fall and greying.
Any form of meditation and pleasant gatherings with close pals helps you to relax. Learn to wisely balance your work and personal life. Always develop hobbies since it diverts your mind from your worries and has a calming effect on you.
4. Incorporate good eating habits: Consume a wholesome diet, i.e. include all types of foods in your meals. Thus you’ll get your protein, zinc, calcium etc. through your food and will not have to depend on supplements for them.
Dark green vegetables give iron and calcium, nuts are a good source of zinc, and dairy products of calcium. Beans, lentil, chicken and eggs give you protein. Also consume lesser junk foods and processed foods and say no-no to crash diets.
5. Hormonal problems: They can also cause hair disorders like severe hair fall. They need to be treated from the root.
6. Hair Conditioning: Natural oils present in the hair are lost due to shampooing. This disturbs the outer layer of the hair (the cuticle), makes it messy and turns your hair rough and unmanageable.
Conditioning replaces those natural oils of the hair with artificial oils (present in the conditioner) making the cuticle smooth and neat. This makes hair manageable and even repairs damage caused due to pollution and chemical exposure.
Therefore, conditioning is important for healthy hair. But preferably use natural, organic or herbal conditioners. It would be even better to prepare conditioners at home. A commercially purchased conditioner is bound to cause damage to your hair in the long run.
7. Hairstyles: Tight bands and hair pins cause breakage and thinning of hair. Also avoid trying too many hairstyles and always tying your hair in a tight bun.
8. Haircut: A regular haircut, about every two months is essential to get rid of split ends. Lesser split ends cause lesser hair fall.
9. Herbal water: Prepare herbal water if you can. It is a mixture of herbs boiled in water which is mixed with the shampoo. It tries to counteract the ill effects of the chemicals in the shampoo and the herbs also benefit your hair.
10. Make your own shampoo:
Usually when we notice hair products like shampoos, conditioners or oils from stores we get fascinated if their labels mention Aloe Vera (or any such herb) as an ingredient and we get hooked on to purchasing it. But the fact is that normally there is hardly any Aloe Vera in it.
The supposed herbal shampoos are generally made up of 90 % chemicals. There is a huge market out there churning out practically the same product with the difference being in colour, aroma and packaging. Thinking up a new USP and variations in advertising lead us to falsely believe that what we are using for our hair is something extraordinary.
It is doubtful that those popular models and pageants endorsing various hair products in commercials actually use the same brands for their hair. They are paid a large sum to speak a few appreciative words and sway their lustrous hair (set by expert hair dressers) in front of the camera. In reality, they too depend on organic and home-made products.
Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) which is a strong foaming agent (chemically known as a surfactant) is responsible for giving lather to products like shampoos, face washes, detergents etc. It is not only harmful to the environment but studies have proven that it can cause skin problems, male infertility and is also carcinogenic. There is a misconception that products that give lather are high-quality. The fact is you can clean with little lather too. Foam or bubbles are visually very appealing, but in actuality too much lather is not required to clean either your hair or your clothes.
“Attractive packaging and marketing gimmicks are misleading, since people are not aware of the technical language written on the packs. If your raw material is ready in front of you can prepare a shampoo in 10 minutes, flat. Also there is lesser investment for pure ingredients”, says Ms. Hasan who teaches shampoo making since the past 15 yrs. She opines that you are paying a high amount for such trash. When you make your shampoos and conditioners yourself you know what has gone into the product. You can add aroma oils and natural ingredients which will give you an absolutely pure product.
If you expose your hair to fewer chemicals they will be healthy and beautiful. That is the foremost reason to why our elders had such good hair. Ms. Hasan also provides with raw material in small quantities for making hair products and other cosmetics.