We help you tackle the most common hair woes with products, home remedies and in-salon treatments so that your tresses looking gorgeous all year round. By Priya Chaphekar
Who doesn’t love a dramatic hair makeover? Bring on the flattering highlights and the blowdried waves. But the real deal is what you’re stuck with when the compliments fade away. The red crop turns into a dry, messy mass. The waves are gone at the first rinse. Just when you thought you’d managed to tame those curls with a smoothening treatment, you begin to lose the volume. What was once a cascade of brown turns into a colourless trickle. Hair issues are not life-altering but they can dampen your spirits every time you look in the mirror. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. With a few tweaks in your hair care regimen, you can increase your chances of having a good hair day, every day.
Life in the urban jungle is hard on your hair. When it frizzes up, we try to tame it with chemical
treatments, heat styling and a shelf full of hairstyling products and that makes the situation worse. Frizz results from dehydration of the hair. A decrease in moisture levels leads to dull, damaged tresses. It’s important to seal the cuticles of your hair with a regular hair oil massage. “Drinking at least two to three litres of water every day and including foods rich in vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids such as almonds, walnuts and flax seeds in your diet will help”, says Dr Snehal Sriram, consultant dermatologist and medical director, Trica Hair Clinic, Mumbai. Avoid very hot showers and heat styling and use shampoos with mild surfactants. These days a lot of salons have a range of hydrating spa therapies. You could either take your pick from those, or whip up a home-made mask with honey, yoghurt, banana and avocado.
Hair loss happens all the time—during your morning shower, while brushing and during a blow-dry. Losing 50 to 100 strands a day is normal. But excessive and sudden hair loss is worrying and scary. Now, what could possibly be making your hair fall? These are the usual suspects: stress, genetics, hormonal imbalance and nutritional defi ciencies. Get to the root by consulting a trichologist. In the meanwhile, be gentle. “When washing your hair, don’t rub vigorously, or scrub, or pull hair as it may lead to hair fall,” says Dr Akshay Batra, managing director of Dr Batra’s Group of Companies that specialises in treating hair problems. Rinse well and carefully. Avoid hot showers as thay can leave your scalp dry and fl aky and your hair brittle. Also, excessive washing leads to depletion of natural hair oils. While you could always opt for specially designed hair fall treatments at a neighbourhood spa, you must cure the problem from within by taking time out to relax and eat right. Natural remedies to treat hair fall include rubbing garlic, onion or ginger juice or even green tea on your scalp and massaging it with essential oils such as almond or sesame once in a week. Rich in vitamin E, coconut milk will not only nourish your hair, but also act as a natural conditioner.
“While our genes do play a major role, there are many other factors such as hormonal imbalance, low thyroid levels and nutritional defi ciencies that trigger hair thinning”, says Dr Sriram. These cause degenerative changes, and make the hair follicle (or root) age prematurely. Switch to chemical-free hair products. Use a sulphate-free shampoo and look for a conditioner that doesn’t contain silicones as these tend to weigh down the hair and require sulfate shampoos to rinse out. Avoid using heat styling tools and keep your natural hair texture till the volume is restored. Massaging your scalp regularly with cold-pressed castor oil and a paste made from soaked, ground fenugreek seeds are other, more natural routes to a thicker mane.
Cold weather can make your scalp flaky. Dandruff has two primary causes—a dry scalp or a skin condition called seborrheic dermatitis. It could also be caused by other reasons such as eczema, psoriasis, or malassezia, the overgrowth of a yeast-like fungus. Using a good antimicrobial shampoo thrice a week will help. “Massage the shampoo into the scalp, leave it on for five to 10 minutes and rinse it off,” says Dr Sriram. Avoid heavy conditioners. Instead, pick one with volatile natural oils like mint and rosemary. The trick is to achieve the right balance, so your scalp is hydrated but not oily. Include more zinc in your diet with whole grain cereals and sprouts, and add essential fatty acids through almonds,walnuts and flax seeds. Massaging apple cider vinegar onto the scalp for five minutes will remove the dead cells that clog follicles and cause dandruff. “If you have dandruff or a greasy scalp use a mild anti-dandruff shampoo, enriched with the homoeopathic formulation Thuja Occidentalis, a natural anti-bacterial,” says Dr Batra. Massage your scalp with warm olive oil to keep scalp problems at bay.
Split ends occur when hair follicles become dry, brittle, and lose their protective outer layer. This can be due to excessive use of heat styling tools, chemical treatments and environmental conditions. “A good way to get rid of split ends is to trim your hair regularly (every 8 to 12 weeks) while ensuring your hairdresser uses shears,” says Dr Sriram. Skip the hard bristle brush and instead use a wooden wide-toothed comb. If you are stepping out with wet hair, keep it covered with a scarf. Deep-conditioning treatments at the salon will help restore moisture and soften the split ends while adding shine.
It’s not permanent but you want your hair colour to stay vibrant and shiny at least for a few weeks. To get there, start with choosing your hair colour wisely. Blonde and brunette hues stand the test of time better than red shades. Wait for a couple of days before you wash your hair to allow the colour molecules to set in. Stick to a shampoo formulated for colour-treated hair as coloured tresses need special care. Before you hit the beach or jump into the pool, use a good leave-in conditioner with high SPF value of at least 35+ to prevent it from soaking up the chlorine. “Hair colour fading happens with the use of wrong hair colour developers,” says Rohan Mascarenhas, senior stylist, Savio John Pereira Salon, Mumbai. Sometimes, when the hair is extremely porous in nature, porosity balancers need to be added to the hair colour to prevent the colour from fading away. These days, there are special colours available in the market for a 10-minute root touch-up as well.
“Excess sebum production tends to make the scalp greasy,” says Dr Sriram. Genetically, you might have bigger oil glands or perhaps they have enlarged thanks to hormonal changes. It could also be due to the use of heavy conditioners, which make the scalp sticky. Using too much shampoo or a harsh shampoo (especially after oiling the hair) may cause a dry scalp. This in turn may stimulate the glands to produce more oil to compensate. An oily scalp requires conditioners infused with volatile oils such as rosemary and mint. If your scalp is too greasy, shampoo regularly and cut out saturated fats from your diet. Avoid rubbing or scratching your scalp excessively as it may stimulate sebaceous glands to produce excess oil. Home remedies packed with aloe vera, egg yolk and witch hazel oil are good ways to clean a greasy scalp.
You flaunt those tumbling, flowing curls when you step out of the salon. But by the time you get home, all you see is a mess of limp locks.“Temporary limpness of hair means that your hair is bogged down by oil or moisture,” says Dr Sriram. This may happen due to hair product buildup or humidity. Chemical treatments such as straightening can also make the hair limp. Lasting limpness indicates that your hair is not healthy, or it has started thinning or ageing. If you want your hair to have lots of body, make sure you don’t overwash. Switch up your parting every morning to naturally lift the roots and scrunch the ends as much as you can to take attention away from your roots.