your crowning glory can be a bane sometimes, especially when it starts thinning. Spotting wispy strands and seeing clutches of tangled hair in brushes can give us sleepless nights. Experts say relentless hair fall can indeed be extremely distressing for us and can have a grave psychological impact on our overall well-being. “Shedding hair can be one of the major reasons for dwindling self-confidence. Our current hectic lifestyle, pollution, and adulterated hair care products are primarily to blame,” says skin and hair expert Amit Sarda, managing director, Soulflower, a natural and Ayurvedic skin and hair care brand.
While the market is indeed awash with hair fall control products, not all can guarantee foolproof protection against hair loss. Besides, experts say, one should be wary of harmful chemicals in such products that can further damage our hair. “It is vital to get rid of those chemical-leached hair products,” says Sarda.
So what can be a safe alternative to chemical-laden anti-hair fall products? Well, one can certainly rely on Ayurveda to fight against hair loss. The world’s oldest medical system offers a plethora of healing remedies and also prescribes a lifestyle and health routine to control hair fall. Basically, Ayurveda’s aim is to not only cure ailments, but also prevent illnesses.
All about the doshas
But before we talk about remedies, we need to understand the basic Ayurvedic system. According to Ayurveda, everything in the universe is made up of the five elements – air, fire, water, earth and ether – and the three doshas, namely vata, pitta, and kapha. Ayurvedic experts say that we can achieve sparkling health by balancing these within our body. Doshas apparently govern everything about us, from hair colour to body type to the kind of illnesses we can get afflicted with. Generally, we have one or two dominant doshas.
To put it simply, vata relates to air, pitta to fire and kapha to water. Vata’s role is believed to be confined to our nervous system, pitta is responsible for digestion and metabolism while kapha lubrication of joints, strengthening of immunity and protection of body tissues. Aggravation of any of these doshas, for whatever reason, can lead to various kinds of diseases. Hair fall, experts say, is attributed to the exacerbation of the pitta dosha.
Taking our pulse is the key to finding out about our dosha. For people with pitta dosha, the pulse can be quite erratic.
Ayurveda-prescribed lifestyle routines
There can be various reasons for hair fall. These include weight loss, abysmal iron levels, irregular diet, stress and thyroid and hormonal imbalances, according to experts. A well-functioning body system is needed to control hair fall. In other words, the very root cause of hair loss needs to be tackled first – we need to cleanse our system from within to balance the doshas. And this is where Ayurvedic rituals can be of great help.
Ayurveda is not just about taking herbal medicine; it’s also about following a strict lifestyle regimen. Experts say that following Ayurvedic concepts such as Dinacharya and Ritucharya can go a long way in ensuring a host of health benefits. The basic idea behind these principles in Ayurvedic medicine is to prevent diseases by making lifestyle changes in accordance with cycles of Nature. Dinacharya involves organizing daily activities around two cycles of change that occur every day. Dinacharya routine includes waking up early, hygiene, exercise, meals, relaxation, sleeping and so on. Ritucharya involves lifestyle regimen to be followed each season.
Ayurvedacharya Dr. CM Pradyumna, who’s associated with a luxury wellness centre in Kolkata, says, “Ayurveda is a way of life. Preventive healthcare techniques of Dinacharya and Ritucharya (the Vedic daily and seasonal regimens), if inculcated in one’s life, can ensure health and longevity. And they can also ensure fantastic hair and skin. These aspects of Dinacharya and Ritucharya are very exhaustive initially, but if followed, they become an effortless part of your daily life. An energetic lifestyle and a stress-free mind can be the result of adopting these regimens.”
He recommends getting up very early (close to sunrise), ensuring bodily hygiene followed by drinking water stored in a copper vessel. Yoga and pranayama or other forms of exercise are a must. Add to it meals that include a lot of seasonal vegetables and fruits.
Ayurvedic remedies to hair fall
According to Sarda, amla is a natural immunity booster and also the most preferred ingredient for maintaining hair health. “It contains oodles of essential fatty acids, which strengthen hair follicles, giving your hair strength and luster,” he says. “The surplus of Vitamin C helps to halt premature greying. Its high iron, potent antioxidants, gallic acid and carotene content improve blood circulation around the scalp which stimulates hair growth and also provides relief to dry itchy scalp by reducing dandruff.”
There can a simple home remedy for hair fall using amla.
1. Mix lime juice and amla powder to make a paste.
2. Massage it into your scalp and hair.
3. Use a shower cap to cover your head so that the paste doesn’t dry out.
4. Keep it for an hour and then rinse it off with normal water.
Bhringraj is a time-tested natural ingredient that has become essential in hair care regimens being prescribed these days. You’d often find beauty therapists advising you to massage your scalp with bhringraj oil regularly as it can encourage faster hair growth. Essentially, bhringraj is an herb that grows best in moist areas.
Although various natural cosmetic brands are coming up with their own versions of Bhringraj oil, you can make it on your own at home.
1. Get a few bhringraj leaves, dry them in the sun for a couple of days.
2. Put the leaves into a jar of coconut oil.
3. Leave the container out in the sun for another two days.
4. Wait for the oil colour changes to light green.
5. Massage it on scalp and ideally, keep it overnight.
Remember those days when our grandmothers used to prescribe shikakai for hair care? Thanks to its fantastic hair cleansing properties, it’s often considered a natural alternative to shampoo. Experts say shikakai is rich in antioxidants and vitamins A, C, K, and D, which can keep hair nourished.
Here’s a simple way of using shikakai for hair growth:
1. Make shikakai powder at home by drying the pods in the sun for a few days and then grinding it in a mixer.
2. Take about 2 tablespoons of this powder and add it to a jar of coconut oil.
3. Store the container in a cool, dark place for about 15 days.
4. Shake before use. Use this to massage your scalp at least twice a week
Reetha or soapnuts is another ingredient that has been used for hair care for centuries. Reetha is a saponin that is responsible for keeping your hair healthy.
You can prepare your own reetha shampoo at home:
1. Take several pieces of soapnuts and shikakai points.
2. Boil them in 500 liters of water.
3. Leave the mixture overnight for cooling.
4. Strain the mixture and use it as a shampoo.
According to Sarda, medium chain fatty acids, lauric and capric acid in coconuts offer rich antimicrobial and antifungal properties which are primarily required to prevent free radicals that act as a barrier against hair growth. Apart from coconut, coconut milk is also good for hair growth.
Make the milk at home:
1. Grate coconut and simmer the grated pieces in a pan for about five minutes.
2. Strain and cool.
3. Add one tablespoon each of crushed black pepper and methi to it.
4. Apply to scalp and hair.
5. After 30 minutes, rinse with a shampoo.
Aloe Vera is also a potent tool for curbing hair loss. Believe it or not, Aloe Vera can also cure a lot of scalp problems. This is because aloe vera is said to contain proteolytic enzymes which can repair damaged cells and improve follicle health. Moreover, aloe vera has anti-inflammatory properties that can shoo away scalp irritation. Plus it has antifungal properties that can work against dandruff.
1. Take the Aloe Vera stalk and extract the pulp.
2. Apply the pulp to your hair and scalp and leave it for about an hour.
3. Rinse with normal water.
4. Do this three to four times a week for better hair growth.
Fenugreek or methi seeds are a popular option as well. Promoting hair growth is certainly among the myriad benefits of methi. Among other things, methi repairs hair follicles and helps in hair re-growth.
Here’s how you can make a natural home remedy at home:
1. Soak methi seeds overnight in water.
2. Grind to a fine paste and apply to hair and scalp.
3. Leave the paste on your head for about half an hour.
4. Rinse it with normal water.
5. Do it thrice a week to control hair fall.
Another fantastic natural ingredient that can check hair fall if used systematically. It is rich in antifungal properties. “Jojoba is rich in Vitamin E, Omega 6 and 9 fatty acids, and a saturated fatty acid that battles free radicals which have adverse effects on our hair,” says Sarda. “Its efficacy is proven with its applications in various ancient folk medicines throughout the world. Unclogging hair follicle is also one of the Jojoba hair oil properties.”
Here’s how you can add jojoba to your hair care routine:
1. Get jojoba oil from any reputed natural hair care brand.
2. Heat it in a clean pot.
3. Apply to hair, work down to tips.
4. Leave for about 30 minutes.
There’s no end to the wonders yoghurt can do. It’s packed with Vitamin B5 and Vitamin D that are known to promote hair follicle health.
Here’s an anti-hair fall yoghurt remedy:
1. Mix 2 tablespoons of yoghurt with 1 tablespoon of honey and lemon.
2. With a brush, apply this on the scalp and hair roots.
3. Leave it for 30 minutes.
4. Rinse in normal water
5. Apply once a week
Finally, you can always depend on the cure-all ingredient neem. Traditionally, it has also been feted for its role in containing hair loss, thanks to its anti-microbial properties. Neem leaves can stimulate hair growth.
How to make anti-hair fall neem mask at home:
1. Grind neem leaves into a coarse paste.
2. Add a little bit of warm water.
3. Apply on hair.
4. Wrap your hair in a towel and wait for an hour or so
Natural oils for hair fall
You can buy these hair fall controlling natural oils from any good brand. These can be a wonderful solution for hair fall:
It might sound new to you, but the fact is rosemary oil is beneficial for hair and can check shedding. “The potency of Carnosol (an anti-inflammatory agent) helps in balancing hormones, raising follicle growth thereby promoting hair growth,” says Sarda.
Linalool and Linalyl Acetate present in Lavender are to be attributed to its follicle deepening properties. “Then there is the thermal layer thickening within hair roots that help in strengthening roots and stimulating follicles,” says Sarda. So go for lavender oil as well.
Juniper oil can provide an all-natural cure for hair loss since it has got astringent qualities. “This particular oil will strengthen the roots while increasing hair growth. Using juniper oil on the scalp works well for avoiding acne breakouts within the scalp,” says Sarda. “The antiseptic property of the essential oil prevents the development of the acne-causing bacteria on the scalp. By cleansing the scalp, it helps prevent impurities from accumulating within the hair follicles.”
Castor oil is an unsung hero in hair care. Traditionally, castor oil has been used for hair loss for years, but the spotlight is hardly on the hair care benefits of this oil. “Being rich in proteins, minerals and vitamin E, castor works as a magic potion for your hair. Castor has ricinoleic acid and Omega 6 essential fatty acids, which accelerate blood circulation to the scalp, thereby increasing hair growth,” says Sarda. “Castor oil also tackles split ends in such a way that the oil penetrates deep into the scalp and helps smoothen rough hair cuticles.”
But if even after going for such remedies, hair fall persists, do consult a doctor or a trichologist.