Hair & the Dhatus
According to Ayurveda, the state of our hair has more to do with what we put in our body than what sort of products we put on our hair. In Ayurveda, hair is considered a waste product of asthi dhatu or the bone tissue system. Asthi dhatu determines the health of our hair. Thusly, our hair health begins inside our body. Balanced asthi dhatu means we will have shiny, lustrous, healthy hair. However, if ashti dhatu is increased or is in a state of asthi vruddhi, it can lead to excessive hair growth. While conversely decreased asthi dhatu or asthi kshaya, can lead to hair loss. Our hair can also alert us to changes in our health.
Hair & the Dosha
Our hair texture, color, coarseness and thickness is determined by our praktruti and can change or be affected by our vikruti. Our prakruti is our unique combination of the three dosha that determines our Ayurvedic constitution and creates tendencies that influence how we experience life. Our vikruti is our current state of balance or imbalance and often reflects our individual dis-ease proclivities.
Vata hair tends to be curly, kinky, frizzy, and is often dry and coarse. The color is usually dark with a black or brown tinge. The hair texture is brittle and the hair can be easily knotted. The hair is often dull with split ends and the scalp can have dandruff. The hair thickness is thin. Vata body hair is scarce or overabundant and is usually dark, coarse and curly, or very fine.
Pitta hair tends to be straight, oily, with a tendency towards prematurely greying and hairlines that recede. The color usually has a reddish tinge but can also be blond(e) or light colored. The hair texture gets oily quickly especially in hot weather. Hot weather also dulls the hair. The hair thickness is fine and silky. Pitta body hair is light and fine.
Kapha hair tends to be wavy, slightly oily and plentiful. Kapha people generally have strong, thick and lustrous hair. Hair color is either dark or light. Kapha body hair is moderate in amount but heavy in texture.
Shiro Abhyanga - Ayurvedic Scalp Massage
One of the most important aspects of Ayurvedic hair care is the scalp massage or shiro abhyanga. Abhyanga is such an important part of the Ayurvedic daily routine or Dinacharya and shiro abhyanga is just as important. In fact, oiling the head is listed as a separate stanza in the Charaka Samhita:
“One who smears his head with unctuous substance does not suffer from headache, alopecia, greying of hair, nor do his hairs fall. By applying oil on head regularly, strength of skull-parts increases particularly hairs become firm-rooted, long and black; sense organs become cheerful; and the face with pleasant glow along with sound sleep and happiness.” (Chakara Samhita V. 81-83)
Pratima Raichur, Ayurvedic skin and hair care expert, also states that scalp massage “increases the oxygen supply to the brain, it improves circulation of the life-giving sap, cerebrospinal fluid, which stimulates brain development, relaxes the nerves and muscles, reduces fatigue, and loosens the scalp.”
Schedule an Ayurvedic Consultation with us to determine the best Ayurvedic hair oil for your unique constitution and imbalances. In fact, you can make your own Ayurvedic hair oil with our guidance by scheduling an Ayurvedic Wellness Coaching program. However, if you want general recommendations, vata and kapha people should use a sesame based brahmi oil and pitta people should use a coconut based brahmi oil. Both are available from Banyan Botanicals, along with their Healthy Hair Oil pictured above.
Ayurvedic Hair Care
Other aspects of Ayurvedic hair care include:
Wear a hat or head covering in the sun to avoid drying the hair and overheating the head, especially aggravating for pitta-predominant people
Keep hair brushes and combs clean and free of debris
Avoid tight hair ties and barrettes and never wear them at bedtime
Don’t use chemicals, artificial colorants and other toxic hair care products
Wash hair in warm water, not too hot or too cold
Blow dry hair infrequently, especially if hair is dry
Avoid detergent or harsh soap shampoos, especially if hair is dry; examples include sodium lauryl sulphate and ammonium lauryl sulphate
Brushes and combs should be natural bristled, avoid metal and plastic
Eating a balanced diet rich in protein, minerals, and vitamins such as iron, sulphur, zinc, B complex, vitamin C, and essential fatty acids