Friday, 26 August 2011

Hair raising myths

There is a whole zillion dollar market out there devoted to the simple act of 'washing one's hair'. Earlier people just used soap to wash hair.Infact i used to use Swastik shikai soap till i was 17 .My hair was fine  and routine was simple- oil your hair overnight and wash with soap the next day. On sundays or when i felt like it i used to soak shikakai and aritha pods overnight and wash my hair with that. When i started college , i heard about shampoos and then since shampoos offered great convenience we shifted to Nyle except of course Mom.

Shampoos are surfactant and detergent based. The ones which are marketed as organic,natural and other such bullshit have many chemicals that we don't know as yet. Most of the ones which are natural are just simply 'castile soap' based with lot of essential oils and some plant extracts thrown in.
The job of the shampoo or soap is to clean one's hair- that's it. Hair shaft is dead and is made up of keratin[a protein]. Its physical and chemical damage to the hair  - like combing through wet hair,coloring,stripping hair of its natural colour etc  which decreases the quality of hair.

Myths floated around by hair oil ,shampoo and conditioner selling companies:

1. Oiling hair is for stimulation of scalp and to moisturize it. I have grown up using plain coconut oil.Its great and when i want extra pampering or when i am bored of coconut oil, i use sesame oil. Don't expect oil to reduce hairfall,turn your hair black ,remove dandruff even if claims are made on the bottle.Herbs which stimulate the scalp are rosemary and brahmi.Homemade brahmi oil will de-stress you when you massage your scalp with it.And that de-stressing will ensure less hair fall.

2.Hairfall is because of many reasons. In women,too much worry and shock, after long illness,too much junk diet and no fruits and vegetables,antibiotics and steroids usage...and the list is endless. From outside, the worst foes of hair are- too much styling products, too much of chemical treatments.

3.The quality of your hair is genetic - how thick or wavy ,curly ,straight,fine limp hair or gorgeous thick mane. You can only improve upon the appearance with hair appropriate styling.Learn to be happy with whatever you have.

4. Shampoos contain SLES and its brother family of surfactants  wash off the dirt and the natural oils. That's why your hair feels rough and dry after the wash.  Conditioners were invented to hide the dryness shampoos cause . They stick to hair shaft as a covering till the next wash.No amount of vitamins in shampoo do any good because its immediately washed away. In conditioners a few chemicals like silicones do protect the hair from environmental damage. Most recently i heard how silicones are bad. Silicones just coat your hair and reflect light making them appear shiny.Silicones are the stuff you pay for in a styling serum.
In fact,since hair is dead all the vitamins in the conditioner is not going to do any good.

5. Your water supply may be harming your hair. Hard water does not allow even normal clothes washing detergent to remove stains from clothes. Either you require more detergent or more scrubbing and soaking.The same thing is for your hair.Hard water really messes up with your hair and makes it dry and rough when you wash with shampoo.
I've heard oiling and then shampooing controls dryness. Adding vinegar /lemon juice post rinse helps a lot in hard and not so hard water.

6. Wash your hair less if its dry and more if it turns oily in a day or two. Use any cheap well formulated shampoo for the hair type.Expensive shampoos unfortunately are not better.When choosing a shampoo, read the ingredient list and don't get swayed by the mention of aloe vera,chamomiles or any such plant components or vitamins.

7. Paraben free: If you are allergic to parabens only then go paraben free otherwise if paraben is not used as preservative then something else has been used...something that you don't know of because hype is not created around it as yet. Believe me, we ingest knowingly and unknowingly so many carcinogens in form of vegetables and fruits laden with pesticides, the grains and dals which are grown on chemical fertilizers that a paraben containing shampoo is relatively harmless. If you want to blow your money do so on organic vegetables and dals, rice and milk not on some organic shampoo !

8. Your hair and skin is dependent on your diet. Period!


  1. I read each and every point carefully. Now it just struck my mind that I have not used oil i my hair for quite a long time. I used to do it on every Saturday and washed my hair on Sunday, then continued watching Chandrakanta while my mum helped detangle my hair. Good old days!!

  2. Very nice article.. I was blessed with long black straight hair which I spoiled with my own hands.. I am into all herbal porducts now and oil my hair religiously before shampooing.. I use hair mask once a week atleast..

    Do check out my blog as well.. I am inspired to upload my hair oil ( I should call it a potion)!!!


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