This may not be something you partake in regularly but maintaining a healthy scalp is actually a very positive thing for helping to achieve thick, glossy hair. If you suffer with dandruff or itchy, flaky scalps this process also helps to remove any unwanted debris. Similarly, if you suffer from dank, lifeless or even oily hair then a good scalp scrub could be just the ticket to find the balance you need.
In accordance with Ayurvedic tradition, head massages with oils and scrubs are commonplace and part of a personal hygiene routine. Mothers would massage their daughters scalps thoroughly and regularly to ensure that their hair would grow through thick and shining; which is considered to be an important part of personal presentation. The theory behind the Indian Head Massage is valid as stimulation to the scalp, alongside natural oils, encourages blood flow to the area and therefore the follicles.
If you refer to the idea of how we treat our skin all over our bodies, we tend to moisturise when it feels dry, as well as exfoliate to remove any dead cells and unclog the pores. In a nutshell, we tend to our skin. Well, newsflash! Our scalp is also made of skin! Obviously, due to most people’s being covered with hair, it doesn’t allow, or shout out for, as much attention as an obvious dry, scaly leg or oily T-zone, but it is skin nonetheless and has the power to alter the appearance of our head of hair.
If your hair is relatively thick you may opt for a granule-type scrub that can infiltrate the scalp and remove any unwanted build up, alternatively you may opt for a more oil-based one if you have dry, flaky skin. The list below will give you a guideline as to what to try for a variety of skin and hair types, but also take into account if you happen to regularly use products on your hair as this creates further build up. Also consider whether you shampoo once a week or every day for example; you know how your hair and scalp feel so make your judgement as to what to use based on your own needs and preferences.
FOR DRY SCALP / HAIR:
COCONUT: This is a straight-on-the-head type of treatment whereby no other ingredients are required. Ensure that you have a good quality, organic, extra-virgin coconut oil, and take around a tablespoon (vary the amount depending on how much hair you have) of melted oil and massage into the scalp in sections. Once you have covered your entire scalp wrap in a towel or shower cap and leave for at least ten minutes, rinse and wash with mild shampoo. The benefits of coconut oil are impressive; as well as having antibacterial, anti fungal and anti-inflammatory properties, it will help to moisturise your scalp and hair and even help to treat dermatitis and other skin conditions.
TEA TREE: Another trusty source with antiseptic, anti fungal and antibiotic properties, the oil from the tea tree can help to relieve dry skin conditions such as dandruff or an itchy, flaky scalp. You can either add some of the oil to your regular shampoo so long as it is a mild, herbal one or to another oil such as the aforementioned coconut oil which will simply combine the benefits of the two.
ALMOND & SESAME: Good quality sesame oil combined with almond oil will provide you with a perfect blend of natural lubricant for a dry, flaky scalp. Massage deeply into the skin and use a warm towel to wrap the hair in allowing the oils to seep in and take effect. Wash off with a mild herbal shampoo and leave to dry naturally.
BAKING SODA & OLIVE OIL: To really scrub the scalp and remove any excess debris you’ll need something with some grit. Literally. So the combination (equal amounts) of baking soda and its anti fungal, antibacterial properties alongside the moisturising natural qualities of a good extra-virgin olive oil, will provide an excellent exfoliant for a dry scalp as well as helping to remove the dandruff. Simply massage the mixture directly into your scalp and allow to rest for at least five minutes before you rinse, shampoo and condition. You may need to rinse more than usual to be sure to get all the dead skin out.
APPLE CIDER VINEGAR: Is there anything this isn’t good for? Antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties of the wonder vinegar will help to exfoliate, soothe, treat and protect a dry scalp. Add one tablespoon to two tablespoons of warm water and apply to the scalp. Massage in for five minutes and wash with a mild shampoo. Condition if necessary.
ALOE VERA: If you happen to have the plant within your grasp then fresh from the ground is the best way, but 100% aloe vera gels are just as effective. Strip a leaf of its skin and blend the flesh or take a tablespoon of gel and massage gently into the scalp. The anti-inflammatory properties can help with a dry scalp as well as reduce any skin irritation you may be experiencing. On top of this, the aloe itself is an excellent moisturiser. Leave for ten minutes on the scalp and rinse well. Check the texture of your hair afterwards and shampoo and condition if needed.
BANANA: If you have never tried this then this is a must! Mashed bananas directly applied to the scalp can restore moisture and their antimicrobial properties will help to reduce the symptoms of dry skin. Combine the same amount of mashed banana with your selected carrier oil and apply. Leave for at least ten minutes before rinsing (thoroughly) and washing as usual. The smoother the better as you don’t want to get lumps stuck in your hair!
EGG & YOGHURT: Not the most delightful sounding concoction on the list but there are plenty of positives to opting for this combination. Natural yoghurt (three tablespoons) combined with one (thoroughly) beaten egg will provide you with a soothing, moisturising, scalp protecting formula which will actually also serve as an exfoliant. The protein from the egg and the nourishing properties of the yoghurt blend well to make a winning recipe for a healthy scalp and hair. Apply to the scalp and massage, leave for at least ten minutes and rinse very well with cool water – you don’t want to heat either ingredient or you may end up with scrambled hair!
FOR OILY SCALP / HAIR:
ALOE VERA: As one of the most versatile plants on the planet when it comes to herbal treatments the aloe plant can also be used, in combination with other ingredients, for reducing oils. Combine 1 tbsp of aloe gel with 3 tbsp lemon juice and a cup of mild shampoo. Wash with this mixture twice per week and note the difference in the texture of your hair and scalp.
BLACK TEA: A super-simple and highly effective scalp treatment. Make a large cup of black tea (no milk or sugar!) and allow to cool enough to be able to apply to your hair. Remove the tea bags or leaves and use the steeped liquid to coat dry hair and scalp for at least 20 minutes. Wrap with a towel, or preferably a shower cap to avoid it soaking up the moisture. Rinse with warm water.
LEMON JUICE: Simply mixed with water, lemon juice is great for the scalp and hair and can help to significantly reduce grease. Apply it directly to the scalp and massage all the way to the ends of the hair and allow to sit for at least ten minutes. Rinse with cool water. Add an egg for added protein, shine and nourishment.
AND NOW FOR SOMETHING SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT:
The following ‘recipes’ call for slightly rarer ingredients that you may not have lying around in your home, however they are attainable and do wonders for the scalp and hair so we decided to include them!
FOR DRY SCALP / HAIR
TRIPHALA MASK: Triphala is a herbal preparation used in Ayurvedic medicine. It is a combination of three native Indian plants: the Indian gooseberry, black myrobalan and belleric myrobalan – hence the name ‘tri’phala. The combination provides a remedy which is used for many medicinal purposes as well as to support the healing of skin.
Combine a whole mashed avocado with two teaspoons of honey, two teaspoons of Triphala powder and two beaten eggs. Mix all the ingredients well so they form a paste and apply to the scalp and hair thoroughly. Wrap the hair for up to an hour and then rinse and wash with a mild shampoo.
FULLER’S EARTH: Similar to clay Fuller’s Earth, also known as multani mitti (mud from Multan) is a composition of mainly aluminium magnesium silicate. The English name is derived from being once used by fullers to remove the dirt and oils from wool before use. Its primary use is to absorb oils and impurities in substances and is often used in skincare to unclog pores and even the complexion, leaving the skin soft and cleansed.
Combine two tablespoons with water until you achieve a loose paste and apply to the scalp, massage thoroughly and rinse with cool water approx. twenty minutes later.
Online diploma courses in Indian Head Massage and Holistic Skincare Products
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