Naturally beautiful hair with Ayurveda
Women in particular want to have strong, thick, healthy and shiny hair, but the topic of hair health is just as relevant for men. Beautiful, shiny hair is not only attractive; it also reflects good health, helps to create a positive mood and encourages us to behave more confidently.
Our hair is exposed to a whole host of challenges during our lifetime, from sun and seawater to hormonal changes and stress. You can contribute a lot to beautiful, sleek hair with the right care and dosha balance.
We’ll reveal the most effective Ayurveda tips for wonderfully healthy hair, hair growth and care and protection against hair loss, and we’ll also show you in detail how to perform a soothing and effective ayurvedic head massage on yourself.
You will be surprised to learn which cycle the ayurvedic texts recommend for hair cutting, which hair qualities are attributed to different dosha types, what your individual hair care routine should look like and how you can promote healthy hair as effectively as possible. It is a simple fact that hair grows best when it is healthy and well looked after.
“Healthy and shiny hair is an expression of good health.“
Dr. Richa Shrivastava
What does your hair have to do with your Ayurveda type?
The colour and structure of our hair are largely determined by the doshas and our Ayurveda type. If the hair has a tendency towards dryness, it has more of a Vata quality. Our hair therefore indicates our ayurvedic constitution. Flaming red hair points to a fiery Pitta type, for example.
If you want to bring out the full beauty of your hair and would like it to remain beautiful and shiny for as long as possible, it is worth tailoring your hair care routine to your dosha type and the related needs of your hair.
Vata type – the hair needs special protection and care
Vata types tend to have fine, dry and sometimes even brittle hair which often is wavy or curly. The hair and scalp of Vata types, which also tends to be dry, need to be cleansed particularly gently and also need extra protective, nourishing care.
Pitta type – flaming red to blond hair
Pitta types often have fine, thin blond or reddish hair. The distinctive Pitta dosha can cause the hair colour to change early, turning grey and falling out at a relatively young age. The scalp of Pitta types, like the rest of their skin, tends to have good circulation.
Kapha type – the perfect basis for a flowing mane
Kapha types usually have full, strong hair. Their scalp and hair can be rather oily.
Hair cutting – frequency is key
Ayurveda recommends cutting your hair every 15 days. This may initially seem very labour intensive, but it pays off! And not only for hygienic reasons, which Ayurveda refers to in its ancient texts. Trimming the very tips of the hair is enough to prevent split ends, frizz, etc. Reward is healthier, stronger hair! If you don’t want to go to the hairdresser’s every 15 days, why not have a go at it yourself if you feel comfortable doing so. There are plenty of good instructional videos and tips available on the Internet to help you get started with minimal basic equipment. All you need is a little courage!
Head massage with oil – pampering routine for hair & mind
In Ayurveda, regular scalp massages with oil are an integral part of every hair care routine. Massages have real benefits for the scalp and are a wonderful recipe for well-groomed, shiny and resilient hair.
Why not give it a try? You will notice that the massage benefits not only your scalp but the entire head and nervous system. It stimulates circulation in the scalp and has a cleansing, nourishing effect. The massage leaves you with a sense of inner peace and deep relaxation and creates a wonderful feeling of well-being.
The right oil for every hair and dosha type
Natural herbal oils with ripened sesame oil as their base oil are ideal for scalp massages. The ayurvedic quality of sesame oil is known as Keshya; in simple terms, it means that sesame oil improves the health of the hair.
Cure your own sesame oil
Sesame oil is said to be “ripened” when it has been briefly heated to around 100 °C. You can easily cure your own sesame oil with a simple trick using our cold-pressed Organic Sesame Oil:
- Heat the sesame oil in a pot to medium heat.
- As it heats up, gently slide a few drops of water into the oil using a teaspoon. The water will sink to the bottom of the oil and settle on the base of the pan.
- When the required temperature is reached and the curing process is complete, a bubble will form in the water, rise to the top and then burst on the surface.
Once it has cooled down, store the ripened sesame oil at room temperature and away from sunlight.
We offer special ayurvedic Hair Oils, which are designed to align perfectly with the needs of each individual hair / dosha type so that your hair can receive the optimal care. Each oil (Vata, Pitta or Kapha) contains a unique mixture of selected herbs and other plant components that have a balancing effect on the dominant dosha and support the natural function of the scalp.
How to do an ayurvedic head massage
- Sit in a comfortable position and pour a small amount of massage oil into the palm of one hand. Apply the oil with the fingers of the other hand to the centre of your head and slowly spread it outwards to the entire scalp, using the palm of your hand.
Then place the thumbs on the temples.
- Now apply a little pressure to this area and release again. The fingers should be spread slightly as they are when you wash your hair. The pressure applied should be firm but not too hard.
- Now move to your forehead and massage the scalp around the hairline, using the same technique. Once again, alternate between pressing with a certain intensity, releasing, pressing and releasing… Repeat the press-release movement five times in total.
- Move the hands further upwards and carefully massage the scalp bit by bit, moving over the sides, top and back of the head. Keep massaging the scalp, alternating between applying and releasing pressure.
- Move the hands up towards the centre of the head and massage the scalp again, using the fingertips. Move from here to the back of the head and continue massaging this area in the same way.
- Continue to apply pressure, moving downwards from the centre of the hairline. Keep moving the fingers downwards in the same position while the thumbs on each side support your massage.
Once you’ve reached the back of the head, move towards the front again and start again from that position. The hands should be positioned slightly further apart than the first time. The distance between the fingers and the centre of your head should be around 2.5 cm greater on both sides than the first time so that the hands are placed nearly at the side of the head. Now repeat the process, alternating between pressing and releasing the hands as described above.
Depending on your Ayurveda type and how much time you have, you might begin by massaging your head for five minutes. If you have more time, you can extend your head and scalp pampering routine to seven minutes. Whilst longer, more intensive massages suit Kapha types, for example, they are not suitable for Pitta types and could quickly cause their scalp to turn red.
Before starting your head massage, we recommend that you watch our video on ayurvedic hair care in which Dr. Sharma shows you step to step how to perform a head massage.
Even deeper relaxation
Once you have experience doing head massages, you can further deepen your relaxation by following three simple tricks:
- Synchronise the massage with your breath: you may choose to breathe out through the nose as you apply pressure and breathe in as your release. This should not feel forced, however. Otherwise, simply continue breathing normally as you perform the massage.
- During the massage, gently pull on the hair from time to time.
- Clench your fists and carefully press down on the scalp (see fig.)
Do you feel a difference? You will feel calmer and more relaxed after the message and your head and scalp will feel fresh and alive.
Enjoy some relaxation after the head massage
To make sure that the nourishing oil can gently penetrate the scalp, it should remain on the head for around half an hour before it is washed out. Ayurveda recommends relaxing during this time and avoiding sudden temperature fluctuations. Depending on your dosha type, you might loosely cover your head with a beanie, a cap or another kind of covering whist the oil produces its nourishing effects to optimise the relaxing experience.
“One who applies sesame oil on his head regularly does not suffer from headache, baldness, graying of hair or hair fall. The health of his hair and scalp is specially enhanced; his hair becomes black, long and deep-rooted. Applying sesame oil on head induces sound sleep and happiness.”
Charaka Samhita, Sutra 5, 81-83
Gentle cleansing – the right shampoo for every hair / dosha type
Gentle cleansing with the most natural products possible is essential for maintaining healthy, shiny hair. Natural cosmetic products such as the authentic Maharishi Ayurveda dosha shampoos deliberately avoid mineral oils, parabens and silicone that build up on the hair over time. Mild plant-based surfactants clean the hair gently without causing it to dry out the way artificial foaming agents do. Our shampoos are also suitable for frequent hair washing. Wheat proteins make the hair easier to comb and smooth damaged, dull hair.
Enjoy the wonderful, natural fragrances of the natural aroma oils in our BDIH/COSMOS NATURAL certified shampoos.
Finish off by rinsing the hair thoroughly with lukewarm water and gently drying.
Care from the inside – beauty nutrition for gorgeous, healthy hair
Like our bones and teeth, our hair is associated with the Asthi dhatu in Ayurveda. Food and herbs that strengthen our Asthi dhatu are therefore naturally beneficial for our hair. A balanced Asthi dhatu forms the optimal basis for healthy hair growth and beautiful, shiny hair.
Ayurveda recommends different types of food and herbs that can be used to improve your Asthi dhatu and therefore directly target the health of your hair and scalp. The most important thing for beautiful, healthy hair is to eat sufficient healthy proteins. Pulses, such as dal made from mung beans., are an excellent source of protein for vegetarians. Dal contains a large amount of protein, is easy to digest and extremely nourishing. Preparation tips and tasty recipes can be found on our Website.
Many types of berries, including blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and cranberries are real superfoods for the hair and skin thanks to their high Vitamin C content and antioxidants.
Foods that contain a good amount of zinc are also ideal for healthy, beautiful hair as zinc supports the skin, hair and nails in equal measure. Nuts, pulses, grains and sesame seeds are all good sources of zinc.
Foods that Ayurveda considers beneficial for the hair include:
- sweet potatoes, which should be included on the menu from time to time,
- nuts, in particular almonds.
Another Ayurvedic “secret recipe” for beautiful, healthy hair are herbs that nourish the Asthi Dhatu and hair. Fenugreek, Amalaki and Guduchi are considered to be beneficial for hair growth. Guduchi reduces Pitta and Vata. In Ayurveda, these two doshas are associated with hair loss and greying. A herb that is believed to be particularly effective in promoting hair health is „Eclipta alba“ (Bhringraj). We therefore use it in our shampoos and hair oils. Eclipta alba is also recommended for premature greying and has the added benefit of strengthening the hair.
Traditional ayurvedic herbal recipes such as the ones used to make our Rasayana for hair and nails are perfectly tailored to meet the physiological needs for hair growth.
Thank you to our experts Dr. Richa Shrivastava and Vaidya Dr. Rajat Sharma for your expert support!
Dr. Richa Shrivastava
is a well-known researcher. She studied and wrote her dissertation at India’s leading Ayurveda Medical College. She has a Master of Science degree in the field of medicinal plant research.
At the renowned Maharishi Ayurveda Products Research Center in India, Dr. Shrivastava heads a group of experienced scientists and specialists, who work in the areas of product development and standardisation. Dr. Shrivastava oversees the renowned research programme and teaches in the fields of Ayurveda and Ayurvedic plants. Her special interests include quality control and identifying the appropriate herbs.
Vaidya Dr. Rajat Sharma
studied Ayurveda and medicine at Panjab University and belongs to a 4th generation traditional Vaidya family. He is comprehensively trained in pulse diagnosis and has been practicing Maharishi Ayurveda for the past 12 years.
Dr. Sharma has also pursued studies in diet, nutrition, health education, naturopathy, yoga, medical astrology and Panchakarma. In addition, he has explored the health effects of climate change at Harvard University.
When Dr. Sharma assesses his patients, he evaluates very thoroughly their medical history, evaluates the pulse (nadi) and the patients’ health parameters – all from an ayurvedic perspective. He helps by educating them about diet, lifestyle, customized ayurvedic herbs, Panchakarma and yoga therapy. His key area of interest lies in the management of gut health, which according to Ayurveda is the basis for most health-related issues. His wish is to see everyone live in "perfect health".