Oil 'em Up, Girls!

Warning: This isn't a regular 22 Nelson Street post that's going to make you laugh. So please bear with me while I go on a rant about hair care.

From the time I can remember, my mother and grandmother routinely sat me down and massaged oil into my scalp. I even grew up under the impression that shampooing my hair without first applying oil would dry out my hair. I would wash my hair every alternate day and the washing was most definitely preceded by a nice and proper oil massage.

And then came the age when people started the anti hair-oil propaganda, saying that applying oil to your scalp was unhealthy. There's even a famous hairstylist in my home-town whose eyes turn into slits of disappointment if you confess that you have been using hair oils. Even the staff that work there go nuts if your answer to their intimidating question of whether or not you applied hair oil is a "yes". If you say yes, my dear, they're going to wash the shit out of your hair.

Indians are known for their healthy hair and healthy hair comes from healthy scalps. And healthy scalps are never dry. It's about time we get into some serious myth busting and use our abundantly available natural resources for our own good:

  • Using hair oils: Is a good thing. Whatever oil works for you. If you, like me, are from the land of coconut trees, get hold of your nice unadulterated organic coconut oil and slap some of it on to your scalp at least once a week. And when I say you should use your hair oil, I also find the need to stress the importance of WASHING it out of your scalp and hair before you leave the house. You don't want to walk around with a dirt absorbent on your head. Be 100% sure that you don't have any of it making your hair slimy and sticky before getting out of the shower. Not to mention the importance of conditioning your hair post shampooing. Treat your hair oil like a hair mask. Apply, wait 30 minutes, shampoo, rinse, condition, rinse.

Speaking of which,

  • Wash, rinse, repeat: is NOT the way to go about it. Forget "repeat" if you're not using an oil or a mask and want to make sure there's no residue left behind. You want to wash your hair to clean it. Not to dry out your scalp. Think of it like the skin on your body. It's like applying your shower gel/bar soap twice before getting out of the shower. That's plain unnecessary unless you want to strip your hair/skin of it's natural moisture.

Which bring us to

  • Washing everyday: Don't do it. Don't wash your hair every single day. It does the same thing that "wash, rinse, repeat" does. It strips your hair of it's natural oils and moisture. You can go up to 2 days without washing your hair if your scalp isn't too oily. If you're in too much of a hurry to apply oil to your scalp before a shower, all you have to do is brush your hair thoroughly before washing it. All the natural oil from your scalp will be spread along the lengths of your hair.

Now to address why I have taken a U-turn from my usual style of blogging to write this post on hair care, I have recently been hearing many stories of above mentioned anti hair-oil propaganda and feel the need to put this out there. It's totally up to you what you want to do with your hair. Maybe you don't like using oils, which is absolutely fine. But it's not bad. Using a hair oil is not going to make you bald. There's absolutely no need for a propaganda against it. Every single time I hear people from back home with their abundant wealth in terms of natural beauty resources, saying things like you should stop using those very resources, I send them all mental slaps. I mean, c'mon people! What is wrong with you? If this is about emulating the West, then you should know that the West is busy emulating you, trying to get their hands on good organic products that will do wondrous things to their hair and skins. Whenever I hear a beauty guru on the internet saying, "Coconut/Argon/Olive oil is a natural moisturiser for your scalp and serves as the best hair mask", I just go "And you're finding out now? We've been doing this from the time we were born.". They're going back to using natural products that are free from alcohol, parabens and other preservatives. Things that are readily and cheaply available in India. It's time to go back to our roots and understand our privilege in terms of the availability of good quality natural products at a reasonable price.

To healthy hair!