I recently moved cities with three large suitcases and a medium-sized duffle bag; the latter was only stuffed with body, hair and skincare products. Over the years, we’ve seen how skincare routines have evolved from a simple CTMS (cleanser, toner, moisturiser, sunscreen) to an elaborate 12-step one. But because we’re now accustomed to this evolution, I am even mildly alarmed with the amount of products I have. What did surprise me, however, was my growing pile of hair care products.
The hair care industry is an overly saturated space. And if you really think about it, this could be both, a good and a bad thing. On one hand, it gives the consumers options to choose from, but on the other hand, it confuses them. In order to understand the topic of hair care, I spoke to Dr Sravya Tipirneni Reddy, dermatologist and trichologist, and gained a unique perspective.
According to Dr Reddy, “Your hair type and lifestyle are important factors to keep in mind while determining how elaborate your routine should be. For starters, you may need a more intensive routine if you have dry, damaged, or colour-treated hair. If your use of heat tools is constant, you may also need products to protect your hair from heat damage.” She also explains how expensive such products can be, and your willingness to spend on it decides your routine.
A Basic Hair Care Routine
“Wash your hair twice a week with a shampoo that is designed for your hair type. Apply conditioner to the ends of your hair after each wash. Once a week, use a hair mask or treatment to deep condition the hair, and use a leave-in conditioner or serum to protect your hair from heat damage,” Dr Reddy suggests this as the most basic routine. She also emphasised the importance of avoiding heat styling as much as possible and getting regular trims to get rid of split ends.
However, this is just a basic routine and needs to be tweaked depending on an individual’s needs. But amidst multiple options, consumers tend to get swayed by trends and don’t focus primarily on hair care. Sometimes, they may be tempted to try new products that might not suit their hair type. This can lead to problems such as hair damage or breakage. Dr Reddy believes that it’s important to remember that not all hair care products are created equal. Some may be more effective than others, while some may be better suited for certain hair types than others. Most important is to be aware of the potential side effects of these products before using them.
Looking at both, the positives and negatives of this growing industry, Dr Reddy appreciates that consumers have more choices and can find products that are right for them. But, she also opines that this can be quite overwhelming. Additionally, the high cost of such products can make them inaccessible to the regular consumer. It’s important for consumers to be aware of the potential downsides of the industry and to make informed choices when purchasing hair care products.
Age-Old Practices And Home Remedies
Back in the day, our grandmothers used home remedies and organic ingredients to keep our hair healthy. We’ve shifted to commercial hair care products because they are easily available and convenient to use. But those home remedies and organic ingredients can still be very effective for hair care. In fact, many commercial hair care products contain ingredients that are derived from natural sources and have deep roots in our culture.
Ayurveda, a traditional Indian system of medicine has a huge store of knowledge on hair care. Using traditional ingredients such as Bhringraj and Amla can effectively promote hair growth. Shikakai, a natural shampoo made from the bark of the acacia concinna tree, is a gentle but effective cleanser that helps remove dirt, oil, and buildup from the scalp. Aloe vera also has a number of beneficial properties of moisturising hair and keeping them soft and manageable. It can also help to soothe and heal the scalp. Turmeric has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that promote healthy hair growth and prevent hair loss.
Additionally, some age-old practices like our favourite champi head massage, are still very effective. Dr Reddy believes that oiling your hair regularly with coconut oil, olive oil, or jojoba oil, massaging the scalp, using a hair mask made with natural ingredients such as yoghurt, honey, and eggs, and rinsing your hair with apple cider vinegar or herbal teas are some good at-home hair care practices.
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No matter how extensive or concise your hair care routine is, or if you prefer home remedies over commercial products, here are some thing Dr Reddy suggests you must follow-
- Wash your hair regularly, keeping in mind your hair needs, with a mild shampoo
- Condition your hair regularly to keep them soft and manageable
- Oil your hair once or twice a week to nourish the scalp and hair follicles
- Massage your scalp regularly to improve blood circulation and promote hair growth
- Use a heat protectant spray before using heat styling tools
- Eat a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
- Avoid harsh chemicals, such as bleach and dyes, as much as possible
- Don’t wash your hair too often as it can strip your scalp of healthy natural oils
- Don’t overuse heat styling tools as this can damage your tresses
- Don’t brush your hair roughly, tie your hair too tightly, sleep with wet hair or pull out your hair when it’s tangled
- Don’t compromise on getting enough sleep and manage your stress levels
In all, if you’re not sure how elaborate your hair care routine should be, it’s always a good idea to consult with a dermatologist or trichologist as they can help you create a routine that’s right for your personal needs.