Updated: Feb 17
This blog is inspired by a conversation with a dear patient during a consultation.
Whatever maybe the health issue, my consultation always first delves into understanding the lifestyle habits, daily routine, body and mind care rituals, exercise and food choices and various other aspects to get a brief insight into the person and their personality.
As an answer to one of such questions, she replied that she does not apply oil on her hair/scalp because she has oily hair and does not see the necessity of a hair oil.
At that moment, it struck me that oiling the head (hair and scalp) has unfortunately become a cosmetic procedure. Ayurveda speaks of oiling the head as a healthcare habit.
Application of oil on the head protects one from headache, hair loss and greying of hair. It strengthens the skull bones, brightens/nourishes the sense organs and ensures sound sleep and cheerfulness.
By understanding this explanation from Acharya Charaka, we can understand that an ayurvedic hair oil is much more than a hair smoothening or a conditioning agent. Healthy and beautiful hair is a happy by-product of the hair oil regimen.
Today’s lifestyle is replete with overuse of senses.
We are constantly watching the bright screens on our devices, multi-tasking, commuting long hours, eating at irregular hours, consuming stimulants like coffee-tea and other energy drinks, eating refined foods and one can go on. The point I am trying to make is that all these aggravate both the Vatha and Pitta doshas.
We may have experienced this imbalance of doshas in the form of headaches, drying/burning of eyes, fogginess of the mind, fatigue, disturbed and restless sleep, anger, frequent cold/allergies etc.
Adding a hair oil to your regimen, say at least twice a week, can make a marked difference in how you feel generally and of course, will improve your hair health. Another doubt, I often hear is that oiling the head can cause cold/headache etc. In that case, the following has to be kept in mind
The oil need not be soaked on the head overnight. You start by applying 20 minutes before bath.
Warm the oil before applying. Do not warm directly on flame. Can be warmed by keeping the cup with oil on hot water.
Why an Ayurvedic oil instead of plain oil?
A good Ayurvedic oil is herb infused, does not contain any added colour, preservative, perfume and additive like liquid paraffin. The herbs are added into the oil and boiled according to the ‘Taila paka’ method, which makes the oil lighter for the scalp to absorb and the herbs impart their goodness into the body. The Ayurvedic oil also helps to cool the eyes by releasing the excess pitta accumulation. (Eye is considered as one of the Pitta sthana/seat)
How to choose the best oil for you?
This can be an elaborate process which may need a study of one’s prakriti/constitution and current health problems. However, some broad recommendations could be as below.
For people with dandruff issues- Dhurdhurapatradi kera tailam will be useful
For people with rough/curly hair prone to entanglement: Chemparuthyadi kera tailam
And remember, if you have not oiled your head regularly for many years, this will be a learning curve. Persist, for the benefits will far outweigh the inconvenience of developing a new habit.