This post was last updated on August 12, 2021 by Preethi Sukumaran
I was on a hair consultation call yesterday, and as I was summarising my recommendations, S (the consumer in question) asked me something which most of my consumers ask me:
“Do you think I will be really able to see a difference if I make the diet and regimen changes you have suggested? They seem very logical and like something I should do. But most of your conversation has been about this – I actually thought we will spend time discussing your products, but most of the time you have been telling me what to eat and what to do. I am surprised, hopeful and yet apprehensive – my doctors have told me that at my age I should expect my hair to grow less, but you are telling me I can see actually see a change. Is this even possible for me“
We have been sharing a lot of personal transformative journeys here in the Krya blog. Our post two days ago shared the hair journey of one of our consumers where her hair went from deeply damaged to healthy with strong growth by simple changes in her regimen and by using the Krya classic hair system.
Krya is a company that has been built on authenticity and our blog posts, ideas, formulations and pretty much everything we do at the company comes from our experiences and our journey. In that spirit, I decided to share my hair journey today in the Krya blog. I share this more as a before and after post, with emphasis on how damaged my hair was in the before and how simple, meaningful changes have helped its restoration in the after.
I share this post to provide hope. Too many of us have got it into our heads that we are “un curable” in some way. That we have peaked and reached the end of any transformative changes we can see in our external appearance and well being. Too many of us believe that only cosmetic driven transformations are now possible for us. This is not true, and I am witness to this. Read on.
My hair history
I started out with really long, thick, gorgeous hair fed by the south Indian love for copious amounts of hair oil and weekly baths with homemade herbal hairwash powders. Growing up, there was also healthy suspicion for new fangled synthetic shampoos.
I cut my hair for the first time, when I started working. I ditched my mother’s herbal hairwash and began using extremely expensive synthetic shampoos. I also started experimenting with hair colours. My hairfall started in my mid twenties aggravated by my hair experimentation.
I altered my hair’s texture twice – I permed it twice and then straightened it within 3 months of being permed. I started aggressively experimenting with colour – I started with streaks, then global highlights, and then went in for global colouring.
This is what my hair looked like when I was 30.
At this time I was using 5 extremely expensive products on my hair. A colour protecting shampoo and a conditioner, an intensive colour mask, a night serum, and a spray on product every day as I combed and set my hair to keep it looking glossy and in good health.
What this attractive colour and expensive styling hid was not pretty: I washed my hair every single day as my sebum secretion was out of control. My hair would start looking limp, dull and greasy by the end of the same day. Despite my short length, my hair was full of split ends. When I woke up in the morning, my pillow would be full of hair, and I started leaving trails of hair everywhere. My stylist now started suggesting re-bonding or hair conditioning treatments to help with my hair.
My hair epiphany
My hair epiphany came to me one day in a lab at the company where I worked. My friend was a principal researcher at the lab in charge of formulating hair care products. We were in the midst of another argument on how synthetic products were no good, and I scoffed as I repudiated her arguments.
“The products I use cost me a huge sum of money every month, and they come from the most reputed companies. My hair stylist is a celebrity stylist, and she has worked on so many people’s hair. The hair colour I use says it is gentle and ammonia free. I am probably losing hair because of stress. It can’t be the products I am using on my hair because they are so expensive / look so technically researched / come from such reputed companies”.
My friend simply snipped a strand of my hair and put it under the merciless 200X magnification of her microscope and urged me to take a look.
What I saw broke my heart.
My hair’s cuticular structure was full of gaps. The scales were serrated, broken and jagged looking. My hair looked like a poorly held together bale of dried hay – frizzy, full of static and coarse looking.
My scalp was alternatively oily and dry. I had severe flaky dandruff with constant, maddening itchiness which would subside only if I shampooed every day. If my hair was left unconditioned it would generate static electricity as I combed through it and it constantly felt rough and coarse.
I also started losing hair in a classic male pattern baldness pattern where I saw hair receding very fast from my forehead. To hide this, my stylist would suggest bangs or a style where hair would flop on my forehead – because of this I would also constantly get acne attacks as the dandruff flakes kept falling on my forehead and chin.
The present day:
Here is a picture of my hair that was taken today at the Krya office. The reddish colour you see is because of the sunlight streaming into our office. My hair is naturally a shade of dark brown with reddish tints in the sunlight, which I suspect is due to my pitta dominant prakriti.
From the time I was 29, when I had serrated and rough hair, severe dandruff, excessive oiliness, hairfall and poor hair growth, to today when I am 38, I have experienced deep transformative changes in my hair.
These transformative changes have happened despite the ups and downs in my personal life. And these changes have come inspite of my deep personal losses, the stress of becoming an entrepreneur and running a young company, and the constant juggling and tensions created by leading an urban life and managing aging parents and family members.
My current Krya hair routine and regimen:
Krya hair products used: To balance my pitta-kapha prakriti, I use the Krya classic hair oil and the Krya classic hairwash. I oil my hair copiously before washing it. I have found that unlike my twenties, because of the gentle and non invasive nature of Krya’s hairwash products, my hair stays light and non oily even after 3 – 4 days of washing.
I have to constantly remind myself to do the additional night time oiling which we recommend at Krya – we call our oiling formula the 2*2 oiling.
I have found that when I religiously follow the Krya oiling formula, there is a greater release of excess heat, I am able to sleep better, and I am not as irritable or sharp because my pitta dosha is under control. I ensure I do my nightime oiling especially if I am under a lot of stress and unable to switch off from my deep focus – these are signs of pitta dosha getting aggravated so hair oiling helps me control this.
Other Krya products I use for dosha balance
I am extremely particular about my weekly abhyanga. I understand that a twice a week abhyanga would help me much more, and that is something I am slowly trying to incorporate into my routine.
I use the Krya Abhyanga oil with Vacha and Ashwagandha for my Abhyanga. All city dwellers have high vata, and I am no exception. This is also because I am constantly using vata aggravating devices like my smart phone and computer and my work also requires that I speak to consumers on the phone for a long time for their skin and hair consultations.
On Abhyanga day, I ensure that I apply a small amount of warm abhyanga oil to my ear canal and massage my ears well to bring down vata as the ears are an important secondary seat of vata. I also pay a great deal of attention to my fingers, wrists and feet. As I type a lot on my computer keyboard, I find that my wrists and fingers need special attention – this helps them stay pain free and vastly helps me balance Vata dosha in my body.
I have found that the Abhyanga routine has been extremely helpful to me to balance stress, bring down vata associated aches and pains, help me sleep and pacify excess pitta dosha and keep my digestive Agni on track.
Krya skin products I use:
On a daily basis, I religiously use the Krya Classic facewash or the Krya Moisture Plus facewash to wash my face. My patchy, uneven skin and reddish pigmentation and greasiness which I saw in my 30s are a thing of the past. My skin stays smooth and flake free even in very cold weather without application of a synthetic moisturiser.
I am extremely partial to the Krya Women’s ubtan for a bath everyday. This is perfect for pitta prakritis like myself and helps me feel very fresh and great smelling even after a long day at work – it helps me completely avoid use of a synthetic deo.
Things I am careful about in my diet:
I am extremely particular about ensuring that I do not aggravate my pitta dosha by eating spicy or sour food. I do not use pitta aggravating red and green chillies in my food. On the rare occasions I use pitta aggravating tamarind, I ensure that it is balanced with coconut to bring down its pitta nature.
I add a lot of fresh amla (a great rasayana food) and bitters to my diet as both help balance my doshas and bring down my pitta aggravation – so you will find me eating vegetables like bitter gourd atleast once a week, even if somewhat reluctantly.
I am also very particular about including certain kinds of dairy in my diet. I eat a small amount of melted ghee in every meal. This ghee is sourced from dairy collected from indigenous cows and is not commercial ghee (from foreign breeds). Ayurveda is particular about eating this kind of ghee to balance all 3 doshas and to harness digestive fire.
I eat only organically grown vegetables, fruits and grains. I am partial to Mung dal, as Ayurveda considers it cooling and tridoshic. I avoid difficult to digest lentils like rajma, vatana, etc. I also avoid re-heating and eating food as it tends to increase ama / toxins in the body and usually eat warm, freshly cooked food.
We are extremely particular to ensure that we do not use devices like the Microwave oven which is now clearly known to be an extremely harmful method of cooking food. Ayurveda clearly says that Agni should be used to cook and transform food which is why a wood fire cooked meal is so much more tasty , healthy and delicious (a wood fired pizza tastes so much better than a commercial pizza for example). Obviously we do not have a wood fire in our home, but the second best option is the agni from your regular LPG cylinder.
What’s in my lunch box today:
Ayurveda teaches us that we are, literally, what we eat. The food that we eat is transformed into the dhatus of our body, mamsa (flesh), majja (marrow), asthi (bones) and keshya (our hair). The food that we eat nourishes us through the rakta (blood) and Rasa (lymph) that runs through our body, carrying nutrients to every part of our body.
If the food is high in dosha balancing and nutritive components then it stands to reason that our dhatus, mamsa, majja, asthi, keshya, rakta and rasa will also be full of life and health.
Our lunch today comprises of heritage native rice (this is a variety called kichli samba) that is unctuous and sweet. With this, I have plain Mung dal, which has been flavoured with turmeric, salt and roasted jeera powder. Along with this I am eating a native variety of beans called “kothavarangai”, or Cluster beans. Lastly, our lunch comprises of a key Ayurvedic factor – warm, freshly melted ghee.
Ayurveda teaches us that rice is sweet, cooling, and unctuous and provides the right balance of “kapha” the body needs for growth and heath. Mung dal is the most tridoshic dal you can eat – it is cooling on the stomach and especially helps pitta prakritis like myself. It is the primary dal recommended even in pathiyam diets when you are sick, when your digestive fire is weak, or when you are recovering or in a post partum diet.
Ayurveda recommends native vegetables as much as possible, which is why our diet is high in local beans, gourds and other vegetables like pumpkins.
Cluster beans and any variety of beans are generally considered high in vata dosha. To avoid aggravating vata dosha, the beans are to be cooked using sneha (oil or fat), and using warm, carminative spices like jeera, turmeric and dhania, which is what has been done today.
Melted ghee from a native cow is essential in Ayurveda to provide small amount of good fats for the body, help in nutrient assimilation and absorption, harness the Agni in the right way, and balance all 3 doshas.
I am 38 years old – this is considered not young by most standards. I live the difficult life of an entrepreneur. My life has a lot of uncertainty and stress because of the path I have chosen.
Yet, by following Ayurvedic first principles, and sticking to a sensible regimen atleast most of the time, I have been able to effect a noticeable, transformative change in my hair, at the most stressed period of my life.
So here is where I end by saying this: if I can, you certainly can. As we are fond of saying: beauty comes from the right basics – good food, good routines, good sleep, good products. Not just by cosmetic or external applications.