Amla, Bhringaraj, Brahmi, Cassia, Fenugreek, Henna, Shikakai and more. These natural healing herbs are beneficial for helping to strengthen and grow your hair. Now, before we go on I want to clarify something about Ayurveda. It’s a traditional Hindu medicine native to the Indian subcontinent.
Being that I’m a Christian, I don’t subscribe to the traditions of Hinduism that lead people to believe in things like Doshas and human beings being made up of Air, Space, Fire, Water, Earth and the Soul. I wholeheartedly believe in God, the Creator. We are made in His image: Spirit, Body and Soul. I just wanted to clear that up so that there’s no confusion as to what direction I’m leading you to with this alternative form of hair care.
So Why an Ayurvedic Hair Regimen?
God is the Creator of all things. Earth and all the substances in it. It doesn’t matter if a religion comes along and attempts to alter that. Because God is the Creator, He knows what’s best, including what particular substances work best for our hair. The various herbs you find used in hair regimens adopted from ancient Indian hair care practices, have specific characteristics that will work for anybody.
Using natural herbs like henna on natural hair, doesn’t mean we are ready to convert to Hinduism. You don’t even have to refer to them as Ayurvedic herbs because they belong to no particular religion. They are simply a part of God’s creation and we are blessed enough to use them to facilitate the improvement of our hair health. We only refer to certain herbs as Ayurvedic because that’s what they are popularly known as within the culture of folks who use them in every aspect of life.
Indian women have been using various herbs and herbal remedies to grow long hair for ages. We in the West are finally catching on to what they already know. It’s a wonderful thing that they have shared what’s deemed as “secrets” with those of us who have been struggling to grow our natural hair out.
There’s so many elements that make up ancient Ayurvedic hair care. The Indian women’s hair growth secrets are what these beautiful women use to grow their hair long. I’m talking butt to floor long. It’s awe inspiring. Really.
Now, you may not want your hair to be that long but certainly you want a head full of healthy hair right? Otherwise, I don’t think you would have read this far. Well, following an Ayurvedic hair care regimen can certainly assist with that and should your hair grow to phenomenal lengths, either embrace it or cut it to the length you want to maintain it. Either way, according to the Bible in the book of 1 Corinthians chapter 11, verse 15: “If a woman has long hair, it is her glory. For long hair is given to her as a covering.”
Simplifying Ayurvedic Hair Care
So, like any hair regimen, there are basic principles to follow. It doesn’t matter what type of hair regimen you are following. Regardless of if you are looking to milk all the Indian hair care secrets for your own gain or just want to use a little henna on your hair, you still need to wash, deep condition, moisturize and style your hair. To simplify it all, let’s break down the regimen into what we are already familiar with. It’s the products used that determine if it’s of Ayurveda or not.
The pre-poo is an important part of any healthy hair regimen. To keep it simple and under the guise of Ayurveda, all you need to do is use a single herbal hair oil. Pure organic extra virgin cold pressed coconut oil will do. If you are not fond of coconut oil, olive oil is also sufficient.
If you want to try a blend of oils, you can create a mix of oils with various benefits like Amla (fights hair loss), Brahmi (stimulates hair growth), Coconut (protects moisture levels) and Neem (promotes hair growth).
Vatika oil is an Ayurvedic oil blend that works very well as a pre-poo. You can easily find it online and in some Indian grocery stores.
Related Post: Why Coconut Oil Is the Best Natural Resource
To wash your hair, there’s a number of options at your disposal that will not only clean your hair but also provide it with light conditioning. They include:
- Clays – Rhassoul and Bentonite are the most popular with Rhassoul being the more moisturizing and Bentonite being the cheaper. Mix them to your desired consistency with aloe vera juice and add essential oils like lavender and tea tree. The key is to make just what you need so that you don’t require any preservatives. Here’s a simple clay wash recipe shared by Miss T1806 on YouTube
- Herbal hair rinses – The number of DIY recipes you can come up with are endless! Let’s make it simple though. Mountain Rose Herbs shares several easy herbal hair rinses here.
- Herbal hair shampoos – Of course, you can purchase a shampoo but then it will likely be preserved so why not make it yourself using soap nuts, Amla, Neem, Shikakai and essential oils. I like this DIY shampoo recipe.
- Shampoo bar – Shampoo bars are at the heart of Ayurvedic hair care. You can find them on Amazon for as little as $6 a bar.
Neem Oil-Heena Shampoo Soap Bar (Pack of 2) by Soulflower (Anti-Dandruff, Organic, Handmade, Ayurvedic)
III. Deep Condition/Strengthen
Because herbs like henna and cassia condition and strengthen your hair, you pretty much get a two for one when you use them. For a deep conditioner that provides even more moisture, try a henna gloss or cassia gloss. Otherwise, go full strength and just mix your herbs with warm water to the consistency of mashed potatoes (this prevents the “drippies” while it’s in your hair). If you use henna, allow it to sit for a few hours (to over night) before applying to your hair so that the lawsone (natural dye) content can release.
Henna on Natural Hair
Henna is by far, the most popular herb used in simple Ayurvedic hair care. It’s easy to obtain and can be used from weekly in a hair gloss to monthly full strength. When using henna on natural hair, make sure you purchase body art quality henna powder from a crop that’s been finely sifted. The best of the best is Ancient Sunrise Henna for African Hair. Since natural hair tends to range from curly to kinky, having a finely sifted henna powder will make rinsing it out a lot more effortless.
IV. Moisturize & Seal
Keeping your hair moisturized is a main key to maintaining healthy hair that retains length. I use Curly Proverbvz Green Tea Hair Rinse to help moisturize my hair multiples times per week. This hair rinse not oily moisturizes your hair, it also strengthens it.
Yes, it’s a rinse but it can also be left in your hair for a more intense treatment. After spritzing the tea into your hair, simply smooth on a leave in conditioner followed by a hair oil to seal all that moisture in.
DIY Hair Growth Oil for Black Hair
Speaking of hair oils, Curly Proverbz also has a DIY hair growth oil recipe that you can easily make yourself. Here’s the recipe:
- 3/4 cups of Coconut oil
- 3/4 cups of Extra virgin love oil
- 1 -2 teaspoons of MSM
- 1 tablespoon of henna
- 1/2 cup fenugreek seeds
- 5 tablespoons of castor oil
- 5-10 Drops of Tea tree oil
- Rosemary and/or Peppermint essential oil
Indian ladies with long hair follow a rigorous routine of nightly oiling their strands. This is an Indian hair growth secret that’s not actually much of a secret any more. Oiling the hair nightly is done in combination with massaging the scalp and encourages hair growth and strength to the hair shaft. Choose your natural hair oils wisely since certain oils will weigh the hair down too much. Also, keep in mind that a little goes a long way. There’s no need to saturate your hair with oils.
If you keep your hair in a protective style such as a braid, then having your hair a bit oily will not likely be an issue. Otherwise, use an oil that will readily absorb into your strands over night. Here are some good choices:
- Argan oil
- Jojoba oil
- Bhringraj oil
No Ayurvedic hair care guide would be complete without discussing the use of products for styling. Butters infused with henna hair oil or other oils are a great (and simple) start. Keep in mind when styling your hair that less is more. For a little hold, try using flaxseed gel. There’s many DIY recipes on the net that you can search and find. Just do a search for “DIY Flaxseed Gel recipe.” YouTube videos are sure to pop up first.
Universal Healthy Hair Practices
Aside from using natural and herbal hair products to support your Ayurvedic hair routine, you’ll want to start (or continue) doing the simple practices that support a healthy scalp and hair. These include:
- Scalp massages to encourage blood flow in the scalp
- Hair steaming – especially in the colder months, to support your hair’s moisture levels
- Trimming as needed to remove weathered ends and keep splits at bay
- Avoiding heat – heat styling is just no good for fine natural hair or any type of hair really. Those with heftier strands can certainly get away with occasional heat styling but for those of us with fine strands, it’s best to steer clear of direct heat as much as possible. Once a year is a good timeframe.
- Low Manipulation/Protective Styling – The less you handle your hair the better. Think of it as a delicate fiber because it is.
To find ingredients for all of your Ayurvedic hair needs, check out some of these resources (in alpha order, not order of preference):
These Ayurvedic hair care tips should help you to grow your hair to stronger longer lengths if followed consistently. This guide is for informational and educational purposes and is not meant to diagnose or treat any medical conditions.