We all dream of having flawless, silky smooth hair but let’s face it, in today’s fast-paced life, how much time do we spend on following a proper hair care regime? Hardly an hour or two in a week. So the fastest and most convenient option we look for is a permanent hair treatment solution – smoothening and straightening are the most preferred choices in this regard. You can book a session at a salon and get the treatment done to look prim and proper. But hold on! Sure, the treatment will enhance your ordinary hairstyle and make you stand out in the crowd, but there comes along quite a few ramifications.
How does smoothening/straightening work?
Be it smoothening or straightening, the process involves applying chemicals on the hair that work by breaking hair bonds and then glueing them back in a new, sleek pattern. If you observe closely, the entire process goes likes this – the first step involves washing the hair with a deep-cleansing shampoo, followed by the application of a hair straightening solution. Then the hair is blow-dried and flat-ironed vigorously at a high temperature. This creates a waterproof seal that helps your hair strands to maintain their new structure for about 6 months.
Ill Effects of Smoothening/Straightening
Keratin treatments sure provide the desired results but they do have their own set of ill effects. Understand that your hair goes through a lot during the whole salon treatment, which potentially damages it over time. The most common and noticeable side effect of hair smoothening/straightening is hair fall.
The excessive use of heat and harmful chemicals weaken the hair follicles and cause them to detach from the roots, thereby leading to hair fall. As days and months pass by, your hair strands lose its natural strength and start breaking.
With regular visits to the salon and monthly spas, you may think that your hair is being pampered, but actually, it is the other way round. Your hair is left exposed to various chemicals. Following a smoothening treatment, your hair density or volume may reduce due to the thinning and breakage. This may further lead to the following –
Loss or damage to the natural texture of your hair
Extreme dryness and dandruff
Brittle, split ends
Ayurveda believes that a well-functioning body is essential to counter hair loss. To put it simply, the root cause of the problem must be rectified – you need to cleanse your system from within to strike a balance between the three Doshas, namely Kapha, Pitta, and Vata.
Ayurvedic remedies for hair loss include the following –
Amla – Amla is a natural immunity booster and a preferred ingredient for maintaining good hair health. It consists of lots of essential amino acids, which strengthens the hair follicles and leaves you with strong, lustrous hair. Make a paste mixing amla powder and lemon juice, and massage it on your scalp. Let it stay for an hour and then rinse off with normal water.
Shikakai – Shikakai is rich in antioxidants and essential vitamins D, K, A and C – all that helps your hair stay nourished. Due to its hair-cleansing property, shikakai is often considered a natural alternative to shampoo. You can make shikakai powder at home by sun-drying the pods for a couple of days and then grinding it in a mixer. Take two spoonfuls of the powder and add it to a container of coconut oil. Store it in a cool, dry place for a fortnight. Shake it well before applying on the scalp.
Coconut – Capric acid and lauric acid found in coconuts are rich in antifungal, antimicrobial properties, which are essential to prevent free radicals acting as a barrier against hair growth. Coconut milk is also great for hair health. You can prepare coconut milk at home by grating coconut and simmering the pieces in a pan for a few minutes. Strain and allow it to cool. Add to it a tablespoon of methi and crushed black pepper, and apply it all over your scalp and hair. Rinse off with a shampoo after 30 minutes.
Aloe Vera – Believe it or not, Aloe Vera can cure a whole lot of problems related to your scalp and hair fall. The plant contains proteolytic enzymes, which help repair damaged cells and improves follicle health. Aloe Vera is also packed with anti-fungal properties that keep dandruff at bay. Extract the pulp from an Aloe Vera stalk and apply it on your scalp. Leave it on for an hour and then wash off with water.
Hair fall is a complex problem. Spotting feathery, tangled hair on the brush can give anyone sleepless nights. Ayurveda is the most effective and safest line of treatment when it comes to controlling hair fall. However, keep in mind that Ayurveda is not just about taking herbal medicines and applying essential oils. It is also about following a healthy lifestyle – reducing stress, eating healthy, and giving up on all unhealthy habits like smoking.