Is your hair feeling limp and listless? According to Ayurveda, the health of every hair on your head reflects the health of your body as a whole—and both depend on good nutrition, a balanced lifestyle, and proper care. Beyond those factors, there are many other things that can dictate your hair’s look and feel, ranging from your dosha type (mind-body constitution) and age to your hormonal fluctuations, stress, pollution, the weather, and the prescription medications you’re taking.
Ayurveda is all about your uniqueness and celebrates all different kinds of hair, from thick and lustrous, gray and thin, to fine and silky. Whatever your natural hair type, these simple Ayurvedic solutions will keep your locks looking their best.
1. Feed Your Hair with a Healthy Diet
As with so many things in Ayurveda, food and digestion are the priority! Lank, lifeless hair may be the result of poor nutrition and/or absorption. Your hair and nails are the byproducts of your bone metabolism, and so it can be helpful to follow a diet that nourishes your bone tissue. Also, because healthy bone tissues depend on healthy fat tissue, it’s good to have a diet that helps purify your fat tissue. Here are some guidelines:
Ayurvedic vaidyas recommend cooked greens and bitter, leafy, green vegetables as especially good for hair, though as always, favor foods that taste good and are seasonally appropriate and balancing to your dominant dosha type.
Incorporate some of these “hair food” superstars into your diet: fresh coconut, almonds, pumpkin seeds, and walnuts.
Favor healthy fats like olive oil or ghee, and avoid foods that are difficult to digest, like refined sugars, ice-cold drinks and foods, leftovers, packaged foods, and deep-fried foods.
Spices are very important in promoting the digestion and assimilation of nutrients, which ultimately supports your hair. Season your veggies with a spice mix that tastes great (naturally dosha-balancing) and consider playing with a mix of equal parts of fenugreek, cumin, turmeric, and coriander sautéed in ghee or olive oil to help purify fat tissue, strengthen bone tissue, and aid in nutrient absorption. Our vpk spice mixtures—Organic Vata Churna, Organic Pitta Churna, and Organic Kapha Churna—make it easy to add these spices to your diet while balancing your doshas.
2. Favor Natural Hair Care Products
Unfortunately, many shampoos, conditioners, and hair-care products contain chemicals like sodium lauryl sulfate, DEA, and/or propylene glycol, which can damage your hair and strip its natural luster over time. Read shampoo labels carefully and, whenever possible, look for more gentle, herbal formulas; they might not have the same rich lather or fragrance, but they’re healthier for your hair. It also helps to wash your hair with chlorine-free water (many hardware stores sell shower heads that can filter out the chlorine from your water).
3. Massage Your Scalp with Warm Oil
Massaging your scalp with warm oil stimulates and moisturizes your scalp, both of which can promote hair growth. Try warming one to two tablespoons of Moisturizing, Soothing, or Stimulating Herbal Massage Oil or our premium Youthful Skin Massage Oils for Men and Women. If you can, leave the oil on overnight (be sure to wrap your head in a towel to protect clothing and linens), or at least for an hour or two before shampooing. Doing so will nourish your hair, relax your mind and body, and promote sound sleep. If your hair tends to be dry, try to massage your head at least once or twice a week.
Brushing your hair also helps to stimulate the hair follicles. Brush your hair in all directions in the following order: left to right, right to left, front to back and back to front. When you brush, use smooth, long strokes starting at the scalp and continuing to the ends of your hair. Use a wooden comb so as to avoid static electricity.
Dandruff? Mix any of the base oils mentioned above with a few drops of lemon juice or neem oil and massage into your scalp. Let sit for a half hour before washing. Dandruff can also be a sign of poor digestion, so tending to your underlying diet and strength of digestion can naturally resolve dandruff.
4. Strengthen Your Locks with Supplements
According to Ayurveda, the health, color, and luster of your hair begins in the liver. If your liver is weak, ama (toxins) can circulate in the blood and accumulate in your scalp and hair follicles. Give your liver and digestive system a little boost with Herbal Di-Gest, Liver Balance, and Organic Digest Tone (Triphala Plus). These traditional formulas help to improve digestion and the screening of toxins by the liver, as well as the elimination of those toxins through the bowel. Here are a few more recommendations:
Healthy Hair & Nails contains keyshya herbs (those which are extremely beneficial for the hair) including eclipta, Indian tinospora and phyllanthus.
Calcium Support supports the metabolism of bone tissue and helps eliminate ama.
For general immunity and support of the mind and body, Amrit Kalash is rich in natural antioxidants, vitamins, beta carotene, and other nutrients your body needs to feel and look great.
5. Keep Stress in Check
Excess stress can aggravate Prana Vata in the mind, which can disrupt the hair-building process and accelerate premature graying. Stay on top of stress levels with these easy Ayurvedic measures!
Exercise regularly with Yoga Asanas (yoga postures) to help keep stress levels in check and to balance fat metabolism.
Nourish your mind and Prana Vata with the herbal supplement Worry Free. Blissful Sleep can help you fall asleep faster and Deep Rest can help you stay asleep at night.
Never underestimate the power of routine. Follow a daily Ayurvedic dinacharya.
Any stress reduction activities or techniques that you practice will be beneficial. For instance, the Transcendental Meditation technique provides deep rest, stress release, builds natural resistance to stress and has been shown to reverse the damage caused by stress.