This post was last updated on August 12, 2021 by Preethi Sukumaran
“I can’t believe the difference just 2 months of using the Krya extra conditioning hair system has made to my hair,” said SB of Delhi to us this morning. My hair used to break, was dull and lifeless and I had almost given up hope on it”, she added.
Why are synthetic shampoos and conditioners so similar to Lex Luthor and his evil sidekicks? We have been discussing hair, how dosha imbalances affect it , and how what we eat, and do can severely affect our hair. Here’s a post on something else we do that affects our hair – our consistent use of synthetic shampoos and conditioners.
In this post, we will see how synthetic shampoos and conditioners, in their very design, can damage your hair, dry it out, increase hair breakage and slow down hairfall.
Why are synthetic shampoos so harsh on hair?
Synthetic shampoos use only one grade of cleanser, the synthetic surfactant to clean hair. The synthetic surfactant like SLS / SLeS is basically a modified detergent which strips hair of oil and dirt.
Unfortunately, SLS and SLeS do not have any safeguards – so even if the weather is dry, and your scalp really needs the sebum, a synthetic surfactant will still remove oil aggressively. This is why scalp gets either very dry, or reacts like the less mild mannered Hulk and over compensates by producing huge amounts of sebum in response to this aggressive cleansing.
SLS and SLeS have also been implicated in contact related allergic reactions on scalp and skin. Most people who use synthetic shampoos do not rinse their hair well and will have traces of SLS and SLeS lingering on the scalp. As scalp and skin sensitivity increases, you may find your scalp flaking aggressively (dandruff), developing excessive itching (mild dermatitis) and even resulting in conditions like boils, and scalp psoriasis.
One of the other ways synthetic surfactants damage your hair is by reducing its elasticity. The elasticity of hair is an important property where the hair shaft is able to cope with varying changes on hair. For example, hair elasticity comes into play when hair is combed, brushed or tugged. If your elasticity is good, your hair can handle pulling and snap back to place easily without damage. If your hair’s elasticity is poor, the slightest pulling, tugging or even wetting can instantly snap and break your hair.
Poor elasticity comes from excessive dryness and cuticular damage – this is the reason for extreme hair breakage and split ends. And synthetic surfactants are the primary cause of poor elasticity. The second cause for poor hair elasticity is chemical treatments like straightening, perming and hair colouring.
Silicone based conditioning agents that mask damage
“If I shampoo and do not condition my hair, it is a mess”
How many times have you said this?
Is the conditioner repairing your hair? No, it is simply hiding damage. One of the side effects of using synthetic shampoo is that your hair’s cuticular structure is damaged. Some of the scales are ripped off, and some are broken or misaligned. As a result your hair will feel coarse, rough and look dull and lifeless.
To hide this damage, a synthetic shampoo is formulated with a silicone based conditioning agent. This is also the main ingredient in synthetic conditioners and gloss enhancing serums and spray on products. The silicones form a thin coating over the damaged cuticular structure – this is similar to a plastic wrap on your hair. As light falls on your hair, it reflects off this thin coating, making your hair look glossy and shiny. However, under this layer, the damage still exists. This is why every time you shampoo, your hair continues to feel rough. The silicones are simply hiding the damage done by the shampoo, and fooling you into believing your hair is healthier than it is.
Why are Krya’s hair washes better for you?
The Krya hair washes are designed differently from synthetic shampoos to cleanse in 3 different ways:
- a) through a natural surfactant
- b) by adsorption
- c) by the use of natural plant acids.
It is this combination of using 3 types of cleansing that makes the Krya hair washes milder, gentler, and better for the hair’s cuticular structure and helps us reduce hair breakage due to scalp dryness, and chemical treatments.
Krya uses biological surfactants like Soapberry and Shikakai for their oil removal and dirt cleansing effects. A mature, organically harvested soapberry contains 12% saponin content. A mature harvested Shikakai contains 6% Saponin content. The saponins in Soapberry and Shikakai are biologically and chemically unique. When we add 3 – 4 different kinds of detergent plants, we get a rich cornucopia of cleansing properties which complement each other.
Acacia concinna (Shikakai) at Krya
Acacia concinna alone contains several saponins, of which atleast 5 types have been chemically isolated. Apart from saponins, chemical analysis reveals that the Shikakai pod also contains acids like tartaric acid, oxalic acid, and acacic acid, ketones like lactone, and natural sugars like glucose, arabinose, etc.
Ayurvedic texts like the Raj Nighantu classify Acacia concinna as laghu (light), tikta (bitter) and kasaya (astringent). It cures vitiated kapha and pitta dosha, which is why it works so well across Krya’s anti dandruff products like the Krya anti dandruff hair wash and the Krya Anti dandruff hair mask. It also cures leprosy and other skin diseases so it is classified as a “Kushta” herb and also heals oedema due to wounds which is why it is classified as a vrana-sopha herb.
Soapberry at Krya
Krya has a long and delightful history (and experience) of using Soapberry in our cleansing formulations. We use upto 3 species of Soapberry at Krya, and always try and introduce Soapberries from different geographical terrains in order to imbibe their varying properties across these places.
Soapberry is recorded in the Raj Nighantu as having tikta (bitter), ushna (hot), katu (pungent), snigdha (oily) properties. It is a vatahara herb (reduces vata), and is kapha-hara (reduces kapha) as well. This is why the soapberry is indicated in both vata conditions like dry scalp and kapha conditions like psoriasis, itching, boils, etc.
The soapberry is therefore used at Krya in hair washes, ubtans and in certain formulations meant for difficult skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema. We use 2 different species of Soapberry in Krya’s hairwash formulations: the South Indian Soapberry, Sapindus trifoliatus and the Himalayan Soapberry, Sapindus mukorossi.
Sapindus trifoliatus grows across South and Western India and is found upto Orissa. We source Sapindus trifoliatus from Tiruvannamalai which is a dry region in south India and from the forests in Orissa which are much more moist, have greater tree cover with much higher bio diversity. The “tikta” content of Sapindus trifoliatus is much more than the Himalayan soapberry, which is why it has greater prescriptive use in therapeutic conditions.
Sapindus mukorossi grows across hilly terrains, and is native to the Himalayas and Nepal. We source Sapindus mukorossi from Uttaranchal and Punjab which have slightly differing heights and differing biodiversity. Sapindus mukorossi is a less pungent herb compared to Sapindus trifoliatus, so we use this for some of our sensitive hair products like the hair washes that are made for babies and toddlers. The foam produced by the Sapindus mukorossi is also different technically from what is produced by the trifoliatus herb. We find that a judicious combination of the two helps improve cleansing and detergency across our formulations.
Adsorption based cleansing herbs
Apart from natural surfactants, Krya’s hair washes also use several adsorption based cleansing herbs. These work differently from surfactants. They adhere to oil and grime on the hair and create a bond between themselves and these substances. So when the hair is washed, this oil, dirt and adsorbent layer is gently removed from the hair. Adsorption based cleansing herbs have always been used in Ayurveda and traditional medicine as a complementary cleansing aid to surfactant plants. Clays, muds, and certain kinds of lentils and grains form a part of this adsorption based cleansing family.
At Krya, we use special adsorption based cleansing lentils and grains. These are documented for their pitta hara (heat reducing) properties in Ayurveda, so they are very helpful in hair and scalp formulations. They are also very gentle and soothing in their action, and do not strip hair aggressively of sebum.
Why we do not use Muds and Clays at Krya
At Krya, we generally do not use muds and clays in our products. In our testing, we have found that several forms of clays and muds come highly contaminated with E.coli and other organisms that are commonly found in excreta. With arable land becoming scarce, there is a lot of animal and human contamination across land, so previously uncontaminated muds and clays have now become contaminated with these micro organisms.
The use of muds and clays also comes with a great deal of environmental hazards. If we use river soil, we tend to take the richest river soil which could be put into better use for farming or growing of food. If we take top soil, we are again disturbing the land, without planning for replenishment of this soil.
Even though certain kinds of clays are documented in Ayurveda to have good skin and hair properties like Multani Mitti, because of bacterial contamination and environmental issues, we tend to avoid these ingredients at Krya.
Fruit and plant acids for hair cleansing, restoration of acid mantle and hair health
The pH of our skin and scalp is 5.5. This mildly acidic pH is healthy for us as it allows our skin and scalp to form a strong barrier function for our whole body to keep out harmful bacteria and other micro organisms. This acidic pH also helps our body secrete mildly acidic sebum which coats our hair and skin giving it moisture, gloss and a protective cover to keep it from drying out in harsh wind or cold weather.
Unfortunately by using harsh synthetic shampoos, we break this cycle of producing this precious sebum on our hair and skin. Because of the harsh way in which shampoos over cleanse hair and scalp, the body is left dry and has no acidic sebum either for its protection of for hair and skin health. This is why when we over use shampoo, we find that our hair becomes extremely oily within a day or two of washing.
Krya’s hair washes use a harmonious combination of fruit and plant based natural acids in our hair washes. When used along with the natural plant surfactants and adsorption based cleansers, these plant acids restore the acid mantle of hair and scalp, help the cleansing process and strengthen the hair.
One of our go-to fruit acids is the Amla (Indian gooseberry). The Amla is a famous rasayana Ayurvedic herb which promotes good health, longevity and youthfulness. It is used across Krya’s skin and hair formulations in our powders as well as our oils. The amla helps strengthen hair, works to restore the hair’s acid mantle, improves cuticular strength, and reduces hair breakage.
Apart from the Amla, Krya uses a wide range of acidic fruits and herbs across our hair formulations like Haritaki, Vibhitaki, Orange, Sweet Lime, Lemon, Rose, Bhringaraj, Hibiscus, etc. Each one of these herbs come with unique hair nourishing properties apart from their acidic nature. They variously help improve hair gloss, improve the strength of hair, increase its elasticity, improves its ability to grow and help its health.
The Use of hair oils and hair masks for good hair health
Krya recommends the use of generous hair oiling and the application of hair masks to improve hair health. Hair oiling is a practice traditionally recommended in Ayurveda. It helps balance pitta and vata dosha, removes excess heat from the scalp, and provides the scalp with a frequent dose of health giving herbs.
Hair masks are another part of Krya’s recommended hair regime to give hair strength and improve the texture, manageability and gloss of hair. Different herbs respond better to different ways of application. Some herbs are best used in hair oils where the slow boiling and processing help them release their properties. Also hair oils tend to use herbs that are beneficial when left on hair for a much longer time.
Certain herbs are best use in extremely short applications like hair washing. Herbs like Shikakai, Soapberry, etc are short use herbs – they are best use in wash off applications where they can work intensively on the scalp and hair and give you immediate results.
Certain herbs are best used for an in-between application like a mask. We have found that herbs like orange flower, fenugreek, curry leaf, are also excellent when applied directly to hair as a paste and left on for a while. In this, the curry elaf is an extremely versatile herb, lending itself to all 3 formats. When herbs are used as a (short) leave on mask, they help strongly improve hair manageability, improve cuticular structure and vastly improve hair’s elasticity, gloss and smoothness.
The Krya hair systems – better as a whole rather than single products
To many of our consumers who come to us for recommendations of a good hair oil and a hair wash, we often suggest the use of a complete Krya hair system which includes a hair oil, a hair wash and a hair mask. Our hairwashes are designed to be used only along with our hair oils. Similarly, using a synthetic shampoo after using our hair oils, takes away from the good the hair oil can actually have on your hair.
Our hair systems have also been designed to be used as a whole. Our systems use a principle of layering and complementary abilities where each product works in harmony with the next to improve the effects on your hair. So a classic hair oil works along with a classic hairwash and a classic hair mask to reduce heat, dryness caused by heat, delay premature greying and improve health. Here’s a testimonial shared by a consumer who used this entire system and how her hair grew after the use of this system.
Similarly, the Krya conditioning hair oil reduces vata related dryness and works with the conditioning hair wash and hair mask to reduce vata related hair breakage, improve hair gloss and improve hair elasticity.
A previous blog post written by a consumer, shares her experience with the Krya anti dandruff hair system. In this, she shares how use of all 3 products help treat her previously stubborn dandruff problem.
It is important to understand which of our systems will suit your hair best and then use them as a complete system. We have consistently found that use of all three of these products in conditions as varying as dandruff, pitta related hair fall, vata related hair dryness and chemical damage related hair breakage and dullness, use of all 3 products together, gives a much faster hair transformation.
A happy hair day everyday with Krya
We have been sharing personal transformation hair stories this last month on Krya, and how even severely chemically damaged hair has been restored to health using one of our hair systems. We receive a call / email amongst every single day from grateful consumers who cannot believe the transformation in their hair after mobbing out of synthetic solutions to our holistic, natural hair systems.
Almost every one of them uses the word “magic” when they describe the change our systems have wrought in their hair.
Is it magic?
Magic exists in the body’s propensity towards health and its willingness to heal itself. We have often said that hair and skin is supposed to look good. And when the body is in a state of health, this health radiates as hair that has a great hair day every day.
Even if our body is healthy, by the consistent use of unhealthy, synthetic products on our hair and skin, we create a state of ill health in our hair and skin. When we switch from using these ill health creating synthetic products, to holistic, natural products, we immediately start the natural healing process in our bodies.
Are you having a perpetually bad hair day? Are you looking for a change?
Your search ends here:
- Krya Classic Hair nourishing system – useful if you have straight – wavy hair, are seeing premature greying, have hair that is fluctuating in its oiliness, and hair tends to be dry or break due to excess ushna / heat production
- Krya Conditioning Hair system – useful if you have wavy to curly hair that is inherently dry, and are seeing manifold issues of dryness like dull un-glossy hair, hair that has split ends, lots of static when you comb hair, and are facing issues of aggravated vata dosha
- Krya Anti Dandruff hair system – useful if you have large flaky, itchy dandruff which is persistent and nearly chronic, which could sometimes be accompanied with a fungal infection of the scalp
- Krya Damage repair Hair system – useful if you have hair that has been persistently chemically treated – coloured frequently and regularly, has been permed / straightened or exposed to treatments like the Brazilian, Keratin, etc. This kind of hair is described as straw-like – is extremely coarse, ragged, dull and frizzy. This is the kind of hair that requires heavy application of silicon based conditioners to get it into any kind of manageable shape (and this is this way because of chemical damage and not its inherent nature)
- Krya Intense Hair system – useful if you have medication and illness based hairfall.