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Here’s why hair oiling is the ancient ritual worth adopting

Hair oiling fuses selfcare with haircare and has been practiced for centuries due to its ability to nourish, strengthen and boost hair growth and more

The ancient ritual of applying oil to the hair has been practiced for centuries most notably by both Africans and South Asians. Ancient Egyptians used almond and castor oil to nourish their hair, Moroccans favoured argan and South Africans marula, while ancient and modern Indians use coconut, and sesame oils recommended in traditional Ayurvedic texts.

Deeply rooted in Indian culture Ayurveda is one of the oldest holistic medicine practices and has become increasingly popular in the west as we prioritise wellness. When it comes to hair health, oils and herbs are blended together and used to repair, rejuvenate and nourish the scalp and hair to promote healthy hair and growth.

The blend

Sesame oil is used during the winter and coconut oil in the summer as they have warming and cooling effects (hot and cold is a key concept in Ayurveda). To turbo charge these oils, Ayurvedic herbs and flowers like growth booster amalaka, thickening hibiscus, and antimicrobial neem leaves are added.

In Sanskrit the word Sneha means both ‘to oil’ and ‘to love’, and this is no coincidence as hair oiling is truly an act of love. Be it self-love or as a sign of love and affection towards your child, your sibling or even your parents as they age – this relaxing ritual does you and your hair the world of good.

But to get it right it’s no speedy affair, and isn’t as simple as a few drops of oil applied to your tresses to hide parched ends and add shine – although it will of course do that too.

How to

The weekly treatment should be performed on dry or damp, clean hair and always begins by massaging the oil and herb blend into the scalp and finally down the length of the hair. The massage element helps exfoliate and nourish the scalp, as well as boost blood flow which ensures follicles get all the nutrition they need to stay in the growth phase of the hair cycle. While application from root to tip helps rehydrate and nourish strands for strength, shine, and softness.

Since hair should be clean you can apply straight after a warm shower when your bathroom is nicely steamed up, or in the steam room at the gym, or wrap a towel soaked in hot water around your head after application as this can improve absorption.

Oil can be left in anywhere from one hour to a full 24 hours, after which it will need to be shampooed out thoroughly.  You can of course make your own oil blends, but we are big fans of the Ayurvedic hair oils by Fable & Mane, Mauli Rituals, and Ranavat.

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