In Ayurveda, hair is an indicator of your overall health and vitality. Problems with hair are a reflection of an underlying imbalance and signals that there is something wrong in the body. Making the right choices in your diet and daily routine may save you from many bad hair days as well as future health problems.
Ayurveda has multiple hair-care tools for different types of hair problems. To understand which ones are appropriate for you, you have to first determine your dosha, or body-mind type. Once you know the dosha that is contributing to your hair problems, you can follow specific dietary recommendations and use hair oils that will help revitalize your hair as well as your entire body.
If your hair tends to be dry, lusterless, thin, frizzy, coarse with split ends and you have a tendency to get dandruff then your hair is signaling a Vatta dosha imbalance. According to tradition, if you have a Vata imbalance, you need more moisture in your diet and in your hair. There are several things you can do to put life back into your hair. For example, you can try reducing your consumption of caffeine, processed foods, raw foods and cold drinks. Instead, try a diet rich in unprocessed, whole foods and grains that are cooked with or olive oil or a small amount of clarified butter (ghee). Breakfast should be cooked cereals or oats instead of light, dry, crunchy food with white sugar, such as most breakfast cereals.
There are specific massage oils for your hair that can help to bring moisture back to Vata hair. Before you wash your hair, massage your scalp for 5 minutes with sesame oil, bhringaraj oil, or brahmi oils. These oils can make Vata hair stronger and thicker. They may also help Vata individuals, who according to tradition have a tendency towards insomnia, sleep better. Also, make sure you stay on a regular routine if you have Vata hair problems. An irregular eating and sleeping routine, which may deplete your body, aggravates Vata imbalances. This state of depletion often shows up as dry, brittle, lifeless hair.
If your hair tends to be red or light colored, oily, silky and you are experiencing premature graying or balding, then you have a Pitta imbalance. The foods that may harm Pitta hair are spicy, acidic (citrus, vinegar), sour, fried, and fermented foods. According to Ayurvedic beliefs, alcohol is not recommended for Pitta people, so if you’re trying to ward off premature balding, you might want to to cut back on that evening beer or wine. Foods that may help keep Pitta hair from premature graying are green, leafy vegetables and juicy, cooling fruits like melons and pears.
The best type of oil to use for a scalp massage for Pitta hair is coconut oil. Coconut is a powerful tonic for Pitta individuals because of its potential cooling effect on the body and mind. Cooking with coconut oil can also protect Pitta hair. Pitta types need as much help as they can get to stay cool because they may run a bit hot, which can cause their hair problems.
Pitta people tend to enjoy exercising because of their natural abundance of energy. But it is important for them to drink plenty of water while exercising to keep from getting dehydrated. A generous cool down period after heavy exercise can also help keep them from getting overheated. The excess heat in the body may ultimately result in thin, oily, graying hair.
Those of you lucky enough to have Kapha hair are blessed with thick, lustrous, wavy, yet oily hair. Kapha hair often does not grey prematurely and can possibly stay thick for the majority of your life. Kapha individuals don’t have to work as hard to keep their hair healthy. But to keep the rest of your body balanced you should keep a diet that compliments your Kapha dosha.
According to Ayurvedic beliefs, Kapha people are slow moving, steady and strong. You want to actually add some spice to your life through your diet. Use spices like garlic, onion, chilies and just about any natural condiment to your food to help keep your hair and body healthy. Your food should be warm, but light. Try to avoid foods that are sweet, salty, oily or fried. Ayurvedic tradition says that dairy is also a big no-no for Kapha individuals, who unfortunately tend to crave cheese, ice cream, and creamy sauces.
Although Kapha hair often stays naturally beautiful, a scalp massage with mustard oil or olive oil can still benefit you. The most important hair care tip for Kapha types is to make sure you are washing your hair regularly since it tends to get oily easily.