8 ways to boost hair growth

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In the fast paced maze of urban lifestyle, one inevitably faces the dreaded issue of hair-fall and hair thinning at one point or other in life. Detailed introspection in terms of dietary intake, hormonal imbalance, drug side effects, pollution and stress levels needs to be done to deduce the causative factor for hair loss which leads to stunted hair growth. Whether hair growth can be boosted or not is debatable, but there are certain tried and tested ingredients that can aid in increasing blood circulation of the scalp thereby stimulating the hair growth phase.

Hair growth cycle comprises of 3 phase – Anagen, Catagen and Telogen. Anagen phase is the hair growth phase wherein hair grows by ½ inch every month. It lasts for around 2-6 years. Catagen phase is the transition phase lasting for about 10 days. Telogen is the last phase in which hair falls from the bulb. It typically lasts for 5-6 weeks. At a given point, each hair is in different phase of hair growth cycle. Thus losing 80-100 hair per day is considered to be normal; anything beyond that is termed as hair loss.

So what are the easy remedies to boost the hair growth?

  1. Onion – Onion is rich in essential nutrient sulphur- a building block for keratin content of hair. Sulphur is known to stimulate the anagen phase thus aiding in hair growth. To try this remedy, cut a few slices of onion, squeeze out its juice and apply it on your scalp for about 10-15 minutes. Rinse it off with a mild sulphate and paraben free shampoo for healthy hair. Alternatively, one can try potato juice in the same way.

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  1. Hibiscus – This flower is rich in amino acids and vitamin C, both of which are essential for hair growth. It is one of the best home remedies used for hair growth. It prevents the pre-mature aging and improves the thickness of the hair. One can mix coconut oil or sesame oil in hibiscus flower paste and apply to hair. Rinse the hair with mild shampoo after 15 minutes for to get the bouncy locks.

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  1. Fenugreek– It is an age-old kitchen remedy for hair growth issues. Fenugreek contains proteins and nicotinic acid which is known to encourage hair growth. Additionally it also adds shine to the hair owing to lecithin. Add a tablespoon of soaked Fenugreek seeds and water in a grinder till a smooth paste it formed. Mix coconut oil to it and apply the paste on your hair and scalp. Wash it off with a mild shampoo after 30 minutes. Repeat this process every week to see results.

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  1. Amla – Amla or the Indian Gooseberry is rich in Vitamin C and anti-oxidants. While Vitamin C accelerates hair growth, anti-oxidants keep hair follicles healthy by fighting off the damage-causing free radicals. One can mix 2 teaspoons of amla powder with equal amounts of Shikakai powder and mix it with water to form a paste. Apply it to the scalp and hair and let it dry for 30 minutes. Rinse it off with some warm water. Shikakai acts as natural cleanser whereas amla aids in hair growth.

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Despite there being kitchen remedies, most women opt for salon treatments either due to lack of patience or lack of time. The salon treatments give quicker results and bring about a sense of relaxation. No wonder high frequency treatment, Mesotherapy for hair loss, keratin treatments, Organic spa and Moroccan spa are ringing the cash registers at salons.

  1. High frequency therapy – It is a type of intensive hair treatment to cure dandruff, hair-fall or alopecia, carried out by treating your hair with high-frequency infra and ultra rays. A comb that emits infra red rays is used on various portions of the affected scalp. This is process is done for two-three minutes, followed by a thorough oil massage for about 20 minutes, followed by hair mask, steam and UV ray exposure. If done for 5-10 sittings, this treatment gives considerable results while boosting hair growth.

 

  1. Mesotherapy – It is a non-invasive technique based on superficial microinjections. Mesotherapy is a treatment that stimulates the mesoderm – middle layer of skin, approximately 1 mm deep.The solution injected can contain a wide range of minerals, vitamins, amino acids, nucleic acids and co-enzymes that can be tailored to each patient’s individual needs to boost hair growth. The treatment itself takes between 10 and 30 minutes depending on the area being treated. Usually minimum of 10 sessions is required to stimulate hair growth.

Contrary to the popular belief of selling innovative hair treatments to increase hair growth, Hair research expert Saloni Mehta shares, ‘Hair re-growth is debatable topic in hair industry. It is not possible to re-grow the hair; it is possible to stimulate the scalp, improve blood flow and nutrients. It will aid in pushing more hair follicles in growth phase. It is important to maintain a healthy PH balance of scalp between 4.5 to 5.5. Healthy scalp means healthy hair follicles and better hair growth. It is also important to watch the micro-nutrients in your diet and get your dose of vitamins to maintain a healthy mane’.

She adds,”Start by getting yourself checked for vitamin B12 and D3 deficiency. In case one is suffering from thyroid imbalance or PCOS, hairfall is bound to happen. In such cases it is important to first solve the systemic disorder. Second step is to check on the stress levels and dietary inputs. It is important to maintain healthy diet full of micro-nutrients and essential amino acids to have a healthy scalp and hair growth.”

There are other salon treatments available in market for boosting hair growth and softness. Frizzy hair leads to lot of breakage and hair loss.

  1. Deep conditioning treatments are done with an aim to increase blood circulation through massages while hot steam aids the penetration of products in the scalp. Loreal, Schwarzkopf and Matrix have a range of deep conditioning spa that boosts hair nourishment and in turn improves hair growth. In the premium segment, sulphate and parabene free products are on an up rise.

 

  1. Organic Spa from Amsterdam based brand like Keune is the latest craze in the hair industry. 911 Quinoa from Biotop Professional is another product that is selling like hot cakes for the ones interested in organic hair treatments. Quinoa based products are like life-line for dry, damaged and lifeless hair as they contain natural protein.

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Last but not the least, stay hydrated always. There is no better remedy than a healthy meal and happy sleep.

( This article first appeared in Femina Gujarat)

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Tame your summer frizz with 5 hair oils

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Since centuries, potions were made at home with secret recipes for beauty routines. Each family had their own unique formula of packs and oils made as per availability of ingredients. It is only since 1900’s that the market started getting flooded with concoction of shampoos, conditioners and hair oils infused with hibiscus, amla, aritha and bhringraj. The regionally available oils were used not only in cooking but also as a part of beauty enhancement routine for skin and hair. The coastal areas thus used coconut oil, Mediterranean population used olive oil, Mexicans used jojoba oil and North Indians used mustard oil.

The benefits of using this naturally abundant resource were many, ranging from easy availability due to favourable climate to its quick reception by the genetic structure of the body. Hair oils and nourishing packs have become essential in the weekly beauty regime of any woman who loves her mane. At the centre stage of these wholesome potions are the primary hair oils namely coconut oil, olive oil, jojoba oil and mustard oil.

Coconut oil has been the most affordable and easily available oil in India. Its molecular structure is made up of small and medium-chain fatty acid that allows it to penetrate the scalp and hair shaft more deeply and faster than other available conditioners, thus keeping the hair nourished and moisturized. Mainly used as hair growth oil, it can also be used as a leave-in treatment to repair split ends, moisturize scalp, and add a healthy glow to the tresses. For the best results, warm the coconut oil in a pan and then apply it on the scalp and hair-shaft till the ends. Leave it on for an hour and shampoo it off.  You may repeat this twice a week to improve the texture and bounce of hair.

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Coconut Oil 

‘Stress, faulty lifestyle and negligence can lead to hair fall and thinning of hair. Most women come with complain of hair fall and dry lustreless hair. Either they do not apply any hair oil or they keep hair-oil for 2-3 days on their scalp. Moderation is the key word. Oil nourishes the scalp, hair roots, promotes hair re-growth, and increases hair density. Regular use of hair oil will prevent hair-fall and premature greying of hair. We have created a unique potion of hair oil using essential ingredients to address these issues of hair wherein coconut oil, sesame oil, hibiscus oil and liquorice oil are used as base oil’ shared Dr. Aanal Kangad, dermatologist and founder of vegan and natural cosmetic products – Happy Flowers 

When mixed and heated with curry leaves, coconut oil prevents premature graying of hair. Curry leaves are rich in antioxidants, proteins, beta-carotene and amino acids. They moisturize the scalp, prevent hair loss, thinning and help strengthen follicles. The vitamin B content present in curry leaves helps prevent premature hair graying and as a result hair retains its colour and lustre longer

To make this tonic, pour the coconut oil into a pan and add a handful of curry leaves to it. Heat the oil until the black residue is formed around the leaves. Once the tonic has cooled down, strain it and store it. Gently massage the scalp with the fingertips while applying the oil concentrate to get the best results. Repeat the routine 2-3 times a week to see the visible results in hair quality.

Jojoba oil, derived from the seeds of evergreen jojoba shrubs, is native to Arizona, California and Mexico. It is one of the most nutrient rich and expensive botanical oils that has long shelf life and exact molecular structure as that of sebum produced by hair scalp. Its molecular structure makes it the product of choice to be added in shampoos, conditioners and oils as an active ingredient that moisturises the scalp and hair. Jojoba oil is an excellent choice for deep conditioning treatment.

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Jojoba Oil 

“It is the extensive dryness of scalp that leads to dandruff and hair loss at an increased rate. Jojoba oil is capable of moisturizing the hair without leaving any residues. It can help hair cells to reproduce themselves at a rapid pace” added Aanal on the benefits of jojoba oil.

Olive oil, popularly known as liquid gold, is rich in Vitamin B & E, magnesium, zinc, sulphur and calcium. It aids in hair growth by preventing hair loss.  Used earlier by the Mediterranean people, olive oil is now globally used in the cosmetic & hair industry. Primarily aimed at curbing hair-fall, olive oil gives best results when applied twice a week.

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Olive Oil 

The inexpensive option of olive oil is the ‘Sarson ka Tel’ from the nearby kirana store.   Abundantly found in India, mustard oil is a rich store of antioxidants, essential alpha fatty acids, and multiple vitamins like A, D, E, and K, and minerals. It directly helps in hair growth. The essential alpha fatty acids help to condition the hair generously. If your hair is dry, nothing can be more beneficial than mustard oil. Mustard oil is effective in preventing premature greying and darkens your hair naturally. Thus, instead of dyeing hair, you can massage your hair with mustard oil every night to see the result.

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Mustard oil aka Sarson ka tel 

Dr.Vandana Shah, senior dermatologist of Ahmedabad shares, “In dermatology practice, we mostly opt for pharmaceutically made oils to cure hair-fall, premature greying and dryness of hair. The base ingredients are indeed oils like coconut, sesame, mustard and olive. Castor and olive oil give strength to hair shaft whereas jojoba gives nourishment without any greasiness.’

Be it olive, jojoba, coconut or mustard oil, massaging the scalp with hair oil improves blood circulation and thus the flow of nutrients needed for hair-growth. To get the lustrous mane, make a promise to pamper yourself this year with regular hair oil massages.

(Please Note – This Article was first produced for Femina Gujarat Magazine. This is its unedited version) 

 

Home Remedies for Shiny Hair

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Historically, lustrous tresses are considered to be the crowning glory of women. Be it fairy tales like Rapunzel and her fabled long hair or media advertisements like Crowning Glory soap featuring Dimple Kapadia in her shiny hair; we are made to believe that long shiny hair is an essential check list for a woman to be considered beautiful. With the change in mindsets, we are now growing out of the ‘long’ and ‘beautiful’ criteria. However, every woman wishes to have shiny mane, be it long or short, straight or curly.

In case you are not blessed with the specific gene code that naturally gives you shiny hair, you will rush to the fanciest salon in the town to get the hair-conditioning treatment done and spend a bomb; because hair spa are available in different categories (Indian & international) & your hair stylist will convince you that your hair just doesn’t have it in them.

Do you find this situation familiar? Oh well, most of us have experienced it.
With weddings & parties round the corner, the frequency of using styling products increases. Hair is robbed off its natural moisture due to excessive usage of products and iron. To restore back the healthy locks, would you rather love if we gave you tested and tried kitchen remedies that would save you a fortune?
If yes, then sit back with a cup of coffee and read on to know ten not-so-secret recipes from your kitchen.
1. Yoghurt

Yoghurt can be used in multiple ways to restore the hair shine. It is rich in vitamin B5, Vitamin D and proteins. It is also packed with lactic acid that can clean your scalp and treat dandruff.

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Yoghurt mask
1 cup yoghurt
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Whisk the ingredients thoroughly and apply to the hair scalp and shaft. Let it settle in for 30 minutes and then wash it off to get soft and manageable hair.
2.Apple Cider Vinegar

If you do not have apple cider vinegar at home, we totally recommend purchasing one. Apple cider vinegar is one the best known hair detangler across the globe. It helps in removing the dirt and build up of styling products on your hair.

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Apple cider vinegar Rinse (ACV Rinse)

Mix 2 spoon of ACV in 2 cups of water
Rinse your shampooed hair with it
After 10 minutes rinse it with cold water for shiny soft hair

3.Mayonnaise
To eat or to apply is the million dollar question when mayonnaise is the ingredient. Mayonnaise works wonder for dry and damaged hair, especially coloured and treated hair. Since it is made of egg yolk, olive oil and lemon juice, mayonnaise is rich in amino acids and antioxidants.

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Mayonnaise hair mask
Apply and massage mayonnaise to the damp hair
Cover it with a shower cap for 20 minutes
Wash your hair with shampoo for soft hair
4.Beer

Beer is known to be a happy drink; well it seems not just for us but also for our hair. Along with vitamin B, the proteins found in malt and hops (which are active ingredients of beer) are said to repair damaged hair. The sucrose and maltose sugars present in beer tighten and strengthen hair cuticles for enhanced shine. Don’t throw away the left over beer that has lost the fizz yet; use it on your hair to get lustrous locks.

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Beer rinse

Use beer to rinse hair after shampoo and let it settle for 10 minutes
Rinse with cold water

5.Vodka

Did you know that Russia depended on vodka for most of its home remedies? Starting from rinsing mouth in morning to curing hair loss, vodka translated as ‘dear water’ in Russian, is the divine solution for all skin and hair needs. Try this rinse once a month to get a healthy mane.

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Vodka Hair rinse
Mix one tablespoon of vodka to two cups of water
Rinse your hair with this mixture after a proper shampoo and let it stay

6.Tea

A hair tea rinse is simply brewing a specific type of tea and allowing it to cool prior to pouring it over your hair. Tea is rich in caffeine that stimulates hair growth. Various types of teas will give different types of result.

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Rinse

Boil the pre-selected tea in two cups of water and let it cool
Rinse the hair with the tea-mix and allow it to dry naturally
Black Tea rinse is used for shiny hair. It also renders dark colour. Green tea rinse stimulates hair growth and increases shine due to its high antioxidant content. Chamomile tea rinse brings out the natural highlights in your hair owing to its lightening agents.

7.Fenugreek

Traditionally, fenugreek seeds have been used as a condiment to promote better health and as a potent hair potion. It can be used in multiple ways to increase the growth of the hair and add shine to the dull hair.

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Fenugreek Paste
Soak two tablespoon of fenugreek overnight and make a fine paste
Add one cup of yoghurt, one tablespoon honey , one tablespoon lemon juice and one tablespoon olive oil
Apply this mask to the scalp and hair and leave for 45 minutes
Wash it thoroughly with shampoo

8.Eggs

Eggs contain all the major essential vitamins, minerals and proteins that promote hair growth and condition the hair. Lecithin in the egg yolk helps in reducing frizz and helps in making hair smooth.

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Egg pack

Mix one full egg with one tablespoon honey and one tablespoon olive/coconut/almond oil
Whisk the paste well and apply it to the scalp & hair
Wash it after 30 minutes for smooth hair

9.Banana

Bananas are rich in Vitamins A, B, C, and E, which makes it a perfect ingredient to fix damaged hair. They also contain emollient that moisturises the hair shaft and makes it soft. Making a banana hair pack at home is easy.

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Banana pack

Mix one ripe banana with one tablespoon honey and one tablespoon olive/coconut/almond oil
Add one cup yoghurt and blend it
Apply this mask on your scalp and hair and leave it for 45 minutes
Wash the hair thoroughly to remove banana from the hair

10.Aloe Vera

Aloe vera contains proteolytic enzymes that repair the dead skin cells on the scalp. It also acts as a great conditioner as it composed of 95% water. It has been used in hair care for a long time as an ingredient that battles dandruff, moisturizes, and boosts hair growth.

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Aloe Vera pack

Extract 1 cup fresh aloe vera gel from plant. You can use readily available gel as well
Add one teaspoon of castor oil and mix the ingredients well
Apply the mixture on hair and leave it for 45 minutes
Wash it off thoroughly with shampoo

Besides indulging in these kitchen remedies, do take care of what you consume. Healthy gut is the sign of healthy skin and hair. Pamper your tresses with these simple home remedies to get those lustrous locks this season, that too in budget.

Please Note : This article was first produced for Femina Gujarat. This is the original unedited version.