That is probably why there is so much attention paid to styling, setting, colouring and everything else that can be done to hair. But the thing to remember is that while it is awesome to have hair that looks awesome, it is more awesome to have hair that is also healthy. And the first rule of healthy hair is Less Chemicals.
Everything that comes packaged in a bottle and has been churned out of a factory is probably laced with chemicals that will do more damage than good for the hair. Right from shampoos and conditioners to hair colours and sprays--everything has been made with chemicals.
That is not to say that we must shun all products entirely. It is the dictum of the age we live in that we must pick the lesser evil, for evil it all is! So, pick carefully.
A mild shampoo is always best. Shikakai (Acacia concinna) and amla (Embilica officinalis) make the best shampoo and conditioner combination, but the paucity of time in our world dictates that we pick a shampoo and most dermatologists recommend a mild shampoo and conditioner.
When it comes to style, everything in moderation is the one rule to follow. Hair sprays and hair colour can cause immense damage as they weaken the hair and leave it more prone to breakage and fall. Hair colours always contain some dyeing agents and in spite of the moisturisers they claim to have, they can leave hair very dry and very brittle. Here again, natural is the way to go. Henna is one of those traditional colouring agents which can do wonders for the hair. It not only gives colour, but is also a good conditioner of the hair.
Hair sprays too damage the external structure of hair. Doctors recommend that hair sprays should be washed off as soon as possible. Dermatologists also warn against the daily use of styling products. Use sparingly and only when absolutely necessary, they advise. Another piece of advice comes straight from the Grandma School of Hair Health - oil your hair before you shampoo. It replenishes the natural moisture and minimises the ill effects of harsh chemicals.
Ayurveda practitioners insist that the way your hair looks has more to do with what you eat that what you apply on it externally. 'You won't have to use products to make it "look" shiny, if your hair is shiny naturally', is their argument. They recommend dark leafy greens, beets, summer squashes, broccoli, carrots, and fresh green herbs such as cilantro, mint and basil as excellent choices for a rich supply of nutrients to your hair.
They also recommend the addition of what one practitioner called "hair-friendly spices" such as cumin and turmeric to vegetable dishes. "Spices," he told us, "not only offer their own healing wisdom; but also help transport the nutrients from other foods you ingest to the cells and tissues of the body."
Have a great hair day!
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