Nourishment for Hair

Shahnaz Husain
Healthy hair is not really difficult to achieve. What one needs is awareness of the kind of treatment it requires, according to individual type and characteristics. In terms of nourishment, the first thing to remember is that the body must be in a state of good health. A diet that is low in nutritional value, lack of sleep, a sedentary lifestyle, stress and illness, will all be reflected by the hair. Hair is fed by the blood flowing to the follicles, which means that diet and good blood circulation are extremely vital to healthy hair.
The hair also needs external nourishment. In this respect natural ingredients are ideal and some of these are easily available at home, like yoghurt, lemon juice, honey, vegetable oils and so on. The nature and texture of the hair will determine the products that should be used. For instance, greasy hair would benefit by lemon juice and egg white. Both help to cleanse and cut down on oiliness. Honey can be diluted with water and used as a hair rinse, for dry hair.
The application of oils also provides nourishment to the hair. The oil should be warmed and massaged gently into the scalp, at bedtime, using the fingers to actually move the scalp. This helps to stimulate blood circulation. Pure coconut oil or olive oil can be used. Herbalised hair oils containing ingredients like amla, bael, brahmi, arnica, hibiscus, are also available. Dry, rough, brittle hair also improves with regular oil applications. Leave the oil on overnight. If there is dandruff, apply the juice of a lemon about half-an-hour before your shampoo.
Many kitchen ingredients are wonderful hair cleansers, like egg white, lemon juice, yoghurt. Any of these can be applied on the hair for half-an-hour, before shampoo. They not only cleanse the hair, but also help to maintain the normal balances. They also have therapeutic values, nourishing the hair, keeping it healthy and conditioned.
When you select a shampoo, keep your individual needs in mind. Henna-based shampoos are good for oily hair, while amla shampoos benefit dry hair. Many herbal shampoos contain arnica, which helps to restore health to damaged hair. After washing, let your hair dry naturally as far as possible. Excessive heat from dryers can really weaken the hair. If you must use a dryer, hold it ten inches away from the hair and stop when the hair is still slightly damp.
Here are some tips on hair care:
* If you have oily hair, do not brush your hair too much. It only increases the production of more oil. The old adage of brushing the hair 100 times does not hold good any more.
* If you have dry hair, avoid applying shampoo twice when you wash your hair.
* Avoid rubbing the hair vigorously while drying it. It can cause knots and also hair breakage.
* Remove metal necklaces and chains while using a hair dryer, as they conduct heat rapidly.
* Wash your combs and brushes in hot soapy water once a week.
* Daily shampoo is not harmful, provided you use a mild shampoo. Use very little shampoo and rinse the hair thoroughly with water.
* For dry hair, massage warm almond oil on the scalp. Wrap your head in a hot moist towel for half an hour. Do this once a week.
* Never brush your hair when it is wet. Use a comb. Wet hair is less elastic.
* For dry unmanageable hair in winter, apply a rich conditioner after the shampoo.
* Always test permanent dyes and hair colourants on a small area of the skin for 24 hours before applying them.


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