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How the Indian hot oil hair treatment can give you shiny strands

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min read
Homegrown
How the Indian hot oil hair treatment can give you shiny strands
How the Indian hot oil hair treatment can give you shiny strands

You might have waited till your teen years to kick in before experimenting with the first rebellious streak of pink in your hair and your 30s might bring along a dedicated focus on restorative hair masks and serums. But your first memories of haircare likely belong to your grandmother’s nimble fingers soothingly working oil into your scalp while lovingly chiding you for not taking better care of your hair.

Such is the power of the hot oil treatment, a centuries-old tradition that still holds sway over our hearts and haircare routines. When chemical-laden shampoo and hair formulas have stripped your strands of its vitality, this is the comfort treatment you turn to for a pick-me-up. Ahead, we take a closer look at the cultural significance of the traditional champi.

The origins of the hot oil hair treatment  
The wisdom of the ancient science of Ayurveda holds credit for the origins of this hair treatment, which evolved from Snehana or oiling. While certain ghees are consumed internally to lubricate the body, the practice also advocates oiling for enhanced blood circulation, healthier hair roots and ultimately, stronger hair that is less susceptible to breakage.

In the years since, hot oil hair massages have become a household staple, with studies validating its benefits—according to a report published in the Journal of Cosmetic Science in 1999, coconut oil was found to reduce the swelling of the hair cuticle, thereby minimising protein loss. Today, the practice commands a healthy following in the country as well as abroad where it has found a spot in the haircare routines of the most discerning names, from Zoë Kravitz to the Kardashians.

What are the benefits of hot oil treatment?

If you are wondering how an ancient hair oiling technique from India managed to find a devoted following around the globe, consider this: a consistent routine of hair oiling can help moisturise the scalp, dial back frizz, promote hair growth and reduce dandruff. As a consequence, damaged and dull locks feel healthy, soft to the touch and bounce with vibrance. It can also reverse the damage caused by heated styling tools as well as keep hair issues like dandruff at bay.

How to do a hot oil treatment at home
If you are looking to give your hair some extra TLC, it helps to skip the salon appointment in favour of an all-natural hot oil treatment at home. Here’s how to get started:

  1. The journey towards healthier hair starts by choosing the best oil for a hot oil treatment. While coconut oil remains an all-time favourite, those with a greasy scalp might find that almond or jojoba can serve as a lightweight option that won’t weigh down your cuticles.  
  1. Start with a cleansed scalp to ensure that the hot oil can really work its magic. Lightly shampoo your hair with a mild formula and allow your hair to naturally air-dry. When it is damp, you can begin the hot oil treatment.  
  1. Once you have chosen your hair oil, lightly heat it in a pan for 30 seconds—the hair oil should be warm to the touch, but should not scald your skin. Pour it into a bowl for easy application or look for an applicator bottle with a comb attached to minimise the muss and fuss.  
  1. After ensuring that your hair is supple and devoid of knots, divide it into sections and apply the hair oil evenly onto your hair from the roots to the ends.
  1. Using your fingers, massage the hair oil into your scalp by applying light pressure. This will get the blood circulation flowing and revitalise fatigued hair.  
  1. Cover your hair with a heated towel or a shower cap and allow the hair oil to sink in for half an hour. Wash it off with your usual shampoo and conditioner and say hello to shiny, bouncy hair that is filled with fresh vigour.
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