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How Ayurvedic Products Increased My Hair’s Moisture, Strength and Length

Avatar • Dec 29, 2014

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Over the past five years, it has become increasingly common for companies to market the benefits of ayurvedic hair care products. Products ranging from natural hair moisturizers to chemical relaxers have stressed the benefits of ayurveda for hair. But ayurveda isn’t just about growing hair, it’s a 5,000 year old Hindu Indian philosophy of mind and body health.  The beauty and vitality of hair is not merely an end in and of itself, according to ayurveda practitioners, but rather an outward reflection of inner health. With this background in mind, it’s no surprise that hair practices historically used by women of South Asian descent have become the latest rage among beauty manufacturers. I have used a number of ayurvedic methods to strengthen my hair and have found that the perceived benefits vary from person to person. Hopefully, my experiences can help you to decide whether or not one or more of these products are worth a try.

My Favorite Ayurvedic Oils

My first experience with ayurvedic hair care was in 2009. I purchased a bottle of amla hair oil and assumed that I would likely only use it once. Why was I so quick to write it off? Well, the first ingredient was mineral oil (cue foreboding music) and I had come to see mineral oil as the antithesis of moisture and hair health. To my pleasant surprise my assumption about amla oil was incorrect. It benefited my hair in three key ways: It added slip, which made my hair easier to detangle, shine and a rich, dark hue to my dark brown hair.

If you aren’t interested in the color change that amla oil can impart, there are amla “light” products that also include the gooseberry found in the original amla oil.  The only drawback with amla oil, in my experience, is that it has a slightly rancid smell. Therefore, I only used it as a pre-shampoo treatment to facilitate detangling and conditioning. I never apply it during styling, preferring instead to use other oils. One such oil, is Vatika oil, another ayurvedic product. The primary oil in Vatika is coconut oil, which helped to impart shine to my braid outs and twist outs. Because coconut tends to harden, even at room temperature, I found that placing the bottle in a container of hot water for 2–3 minutes helped to melt the oil and prepare it for use.

Super Powders

I’ll be honest: If you don’t like mixing things, possible messiness or earthy smells, you may not be interested in incorporating powders in your regimen. However, I will say this: ayurvedic powder treatments have left my hair feeling stronger than any product I have used in the ten years I’ve been natural. I don’t say that lightly, either. The first time I used an ayurveda powder I chose henna. I wasn’t interested in the possible change of color that henna can impart so I ordered cassia, a type of henna that imparts conditioning properties but leaves the hair with a gloss, rather than a change in color.  What initially concerned me about cassia was the looser and heavier texture of my hair after washing out the product. But my hair was significantly easier to detangle my hair. The change in my hair texture was temporary, but my strands remained stronger and less prone to breakage. I must add that some women report that henna loosened their curl pattern permanently.

Because of this, I only used henna treatments occasionally, each time noticing no permanent change in my hair texture or curl pattern. I have also found that when in a rush or just plain lazy adding 2–3 table spoons of henna to cheap deep conditioners (think of those conditioners in jars for $3-$5 at the beauty supply store) and applying it to my hair, served to impart conditioning qualities, though not as dramatic as using the powder and water mixture typically recommended.

If you find that one of the reasons you struggle to retain length is due to the fragility of your hair strands or hair breakage you experience during detangling, consider one of these methods. As with other hair products, I recommend only applying the product, especially powders, to a small section of your hair to test any adverse reactions.

 

Have you benefited from ayurvedic hair care treatments? If so, which ones? If not, what concerns do you have about using ayurvedic treatments?

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Cosita
Cosita
5 years ago

I have been using a partly ayurvedic regimen for years. Definitely part of the reason my hair is healthy. don’t do much mixing anymore because I have discovered companies that sell ayu poo bars, oils, deep conditioners.The only drawback is some thinhs like shikakai can be drying so be sure to do hot oil beforehand. Henna makes my hair a little hard but dc restores the softness..

Kari
Kari
5 years ago
Reply to  Cosita

What specific products do you use and from what site do you order from? Thanking you in advance for your time and response!

Cosita
Cosita
5 years ago
Reply to  Kari

Are you more interested in powders? First see if you have a local Indian store. Much cheaper no shipping. Henna Sooq is a good company. I actually like buying spritzes, poo bars, dcs with the ayuvedic stuff infused into it rather than do all that mixing. Bobeum sells some. Good prices too.

Kari
Kari
5 years ago
Reply to  Cosita

Yes, I have an Indian grocery store across from my favorite mall. I will check Henna Sooq for their recommendations on what types of powders to use. I have some “wisdom (grey) strands” and I’m not wanting to cover them. I am solely interested in hair retention and health. I really do not want to mix, but if I must, so be it. I am like you in buying spritzes, bars, etc.

Cosita
Cosita
5 years ago
Reply to  Kari

You might try cassia aka neutral henna. Doesn’t deposit color. Make sure you either dc after or mix it with conditioner like Nikki does her henna gloss.

Kari
Kari
5 years ago
Reply to  Cosita

Thank you, Cosita, for your knowledge and responses! 🙂

Mary
Mary
5 years ago

Hey, Geniece. I’m the person who tracked you down to find out what was going on with your hair. I have found your journey inspirational. Thanks for continuing to share your insights. On the topic of the article, I’ve used henna off and on for years. I love the results but hate the mess. I just broke down and bought a better quality henna and some amla. I’m hoping the two do good things for my hair.

monniej
monniej
5 years ago

i am totally immersed in ayurvedic hair treatments! henna, shikakai, amla, rose, and neem herbs and oils have all found their way into my daily regimen and my hair is so much better for it!

Lénora
Lénora
5 years ago

I love using henna, my mom used it on her hair when i was growing up so I figured I should do it too. I have been using henna for the past 3 years now. They told me I should do it every 6 months but now I read lot of articles that suggest once a month so I’ll think about it.
I do it for the color benefit and the strengh, don’t see the loosen of pattern so I am really happy

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