Consider this my apology post. An apology for being away from you and the blog for so many weeks. Life has been getting in the way and even though my hands and brain have literally been itching to write up so much of the new and interesting knowledge I’ve been picking up recently, time has not being playing a good sport.
I have now slipped away from the madness to a small corner of South India, called the Kerala backwaters. Not only is it one of the most beautiful, most serene parts of the world but it’s also the epicentre of all things Ayurvedic. It’s where Prince Charles came to celebrate his 65th birthday and it’s where the likes of Naomi Campbell, Madonna, Demi Moore, Cherie Blair, Sadie Frost, Jade Jagger, Sting and Bob Geldof have come to unwind and address various mind or body issues. Yes, this place is that good.
So, here I am. In the centre of the Ayurvedic world. Trying to figure out how to translate this centuries-old science into beauty recipes that can be recreated anywhere in the world. And this is my first answer.
Haircare in Ayurveda has long centred around two natural ingredients: shikakai and amla. But while these are easily available in Indian stores across the continents, the whole process of soaking-boiling-pounding them into a shampoo every time you want to wash your hair is laboriously time consuming. Which is why I needed a recipe that pulled in all the potency of these nuts into an intensive treatment that could be done less frequently for more concentrated results.
And I finally found it in a tiny Kerala hamlet called Teekoy. Here, an 86-year-old lady with surreally unlined skin and thick, glossy hair took me through the steps needed to make a hair mask that’s like a juice cleanse for your strands. It will strengthen your hair, detox your scalp, reduce hair fall and make everything shiny and super-perfect. Trust me, I’ve tried it and reaped the results.
And it’s not that difficult either.
- 2 tablespoons amla powder
- 1 tablespoon shikakai powder
- 1 tablespoon fenugreek powder (methi)
- Juice of one lemon
- Enough yogurt to make a paste
How to make the Ayurvedic hair mask
- Soak the amla and shikakai powders together in warm water to make a paste; let stand overnight
- In the morning, add the yogurt and let stand for an hour
- Finally, add all the remaining ingredients
- Apply this paste all over your hair and scalp; wash off after an hour
PS: Do NOT let any of this get into your eyes. It stings like crazy!
Why does this work?
Shikakai, which literally translates into “fruit of hair”, is packed with vitamins A, C, D, E and K, along with many essential phytonutrients. These nourish the follicles, boost hair growth and strengthen strands from root to tip. It also has a very low pH, which helps eliminate dandruff and dryness, leaving hair glossier with every use.
Amla’s high vitamin C content and essential fatty acids help reduce hair fall, strengthen the strands and add lustre. Plus, it’s also antimicrobial and antioxidant – this goes a long way in combatting dandruff and other scalp problems.
Yogurt contains protein and zinc, which are perfect for resetting and balancing the scalp’s eco system to keep it healthy and free from dandruff, boils or itchiness. This is essential to keep the follicles working at optimum capacity, which in turn is essential for strong strands and maximum growth. Yogurt also contains lactic acid to stimulate circulation, along with hefty doses of natural conditioners that make it a potent benefactor for damaged hair.
Lemon is yet another natural hair conditioner that busts dandruff, prevents hair loss and strengthens hair. While simultaneously stripping away toxic buildup on the strands, leaving them soft and supple.
Finally, there is fenugreek. This ancient spice contains proteins, nicotinic acid and large amounts of lecithin, which literally rebuild the hair follicles. This makes hair stronger right from the root, while the inherent natural tonics moisturise the hair, bringing back lustre and bounce.
And that’s why they call it God’s own country. #kumarakom #kerala #india #backwaters #boatride #keraladiaries #nature #sky #beautiful #sunset #natureskingdom #photooftheday #love #bestnatureshot #natureaddict #river #riverside #riverwalk #rivers #riverbend #water #nature #ripples #picoftheday #riversong #green