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Hair Oiling Benefits according to Ayurveda | Why this is a Dinacharya

Why should we oil hair regularly? What are the hair oiling benefits we can get when we do this practice regularly? As a company founded on ayurvedic first principles, we speak often about Ayurvedic dinacharya, particularly of Abhyanga and Hair oiling. 

Hair oiling or Shiro abhyanga is a powerful Ayurvedic Dinacharya with multiple health and hair benefits. However, it forms a part of the Ayurvedic Dinacharya i.e practices that MUST be done DAILY or atleast multiple times a week.

This may come as a surprise to many. Oiled hair is not aesthetically pleasing today. Moreover, there has been a consistent campaign in the beauty industry against traditional practices like hair oiling, so many believe that this is simply a surface level practice.

In fact Ayurveda tells us that the number of hair oiling benefits are very high, and many of these benefits accruing from hair oiling have more to do with overall health than hair health. Lets go through these one by one. 

Ayurvedic benefits of head oiling: The Ayurvedic Canon

Ayurveda is one of the oldest medical sciences in the world. This science is more than 5000 years old in the Indian sub continent and focuses on preventive health care. Acharyas Charaka & Sushruta are the two foremost sages who compiled monumental texts (called Samhitas) on Ayurveda. These two Acharyas codified and compiled the vast body of knowledge called Ayurveda around two thousand years ago. Ayurveda, which is considered as a Upa-Veda (applied science) belonging to the Atharva Veda, was originally revealed by divine sources to earlier Sages, like Maharishi Athreya Punavasu.

Hair oiling is an important Dinacharya extolled by Ayurveda

The Charaka Samhita , as available to us today, contains 12,000 sanskrit verses, set in specific metres, spread over 8 sections, which contain a total of 120 chapters.

The Sushruta Samhita as available today is composed of 6 sections with 186 chapters and has an extensive focus on Salya tantra, i,e surgery.

Around 1300 years ago, there emerged an highly accomplished Ayurvedic physician by the name Acharya Vaghbhata who wrote a textbook called Ashtanga Samgraha, based on the two foundational texts of Sushruta Samhita & Charaka Samhita. There is another textbook very similar in content called the Ashtanga Hridyam , attributed to his grandson , also called Acharya Vaghbhatta. This text is one of the most popular Ayurvedic textbooks used in medical practise even today.

These three texts, Charaka Samhita, Sushruta Samhita & Ashtanga Hridayam are together called the Brihat Trayee or the big three textbooks, which form the core of Ayurveda today.

Then there are three later textbooks written a few hundred years ago, which expanded on the Big Three textbooks , which are also highly respected and widely used today called the Laghu Trayee, or the Lesser Three set of texts. These are the Sarangadhara Samhita, the Madhava Nidhana & the Bhavaprakasa. You can read more about the history of Ayurveda and the evolution of these three texts in our earlier posts.

The Need for Ayurvedic Dinacharya (Ayurvedic wellness routines) 

In all these authoritative textbooks, the Acharyas have written chapters on the fundamental daily habits for great health, also called Dinacharya.

Ayurveda tells us everything we eat, do, think and behave can affect the doshas and the dhatus in our bodies.

When we eat foods, which are rich in Pitta dosha i.e. foods which are sour, salty and spicy, we add to the Pitta volume in the body. When we work late into the night, over work the brain or do frequent air travel, we can aggravate Vata dosha. When we eat sweet foods, sleep in the afternoon, and do little exercise, we can over aggravate Kapha dosha.

Our body is constantly in a fluid and dynamic statereacting to the food we eat, things we do and life we lead. When we over stimulate one or the other Dosha, our balance shifts and we become keyed up with an aggravation in levels of a particular dosha in the body. This upsets the body’s natural rhythms, overturns our balance and also causes conditions for dis-ease / ill health to creep into the body.

Therefore, Ayurveda recommends a set of routines to be done “Dina” to balance everyday, the imbalance we could cause due to our activities. These collective set of daily routines are called “Dinacharya” – daily routines / daily activities. When we practice Dinacharya routines regularly ad also modify our behaviour as per seasonal changes (Ritucharya, we are able to prevent small imbalances from building up in the body. This keeps diseases at bay and keeps the body in an overall state of harmony and health. 

 

What is hair oiling? Why is it good for your hair & health?

One of these important Dinacharyas, is the daily application of oil on the head , and the numerous health benefits that accrue to us from head oiling done regularly. It is very important to note here that oil application on the head is recommended to us in a medical textbook as a fundamental daily habit for good health – it is not merely cosmetic, neither is good hair the main benefit.

Head oiling / Shiro Abhyanga forms part of the larger Dinacharya of Abhyanga, which includes body and head oil application – this offers tremendous health benefits. Abhyanga should be a part of every healthy adult’s regular regimen. Please download our free eBook on this potent practice. Please also read about the mini abhyangahow a regular abhyanga can help in hair fallwhen to do an abhyanga and how to do an abhyanga in our earlier posts.

It is also vital to note here that the texts discuss the benefits of hair oiling , as a means of nourishing the skull , brain, eyes and ears and keeping them in great health. Since the hair strands are also rooted in the skull/scalp, the hair oiling application gives us another benefit of thick & strong hair.

So the name hair oil is extremely limiting and quite misleading in the Ayurvedic context, Head-Oil is a more accurate term that can convey the full range of health benefits that accrue over time to those who meticulously practice head oiling daily / regularly. .

Now let us examine the exact Ayurvedic references from the Important texbooks.

 

Benefits of oiling hair : references from various Ayurvedic texts

Benefits of Hair oiling from the Charaka Samhita :

In this text, Acharya Charaka devotes three slokas to the benefits of daily head oiling.

9 hair oiling benefits from Charaka Samhita

The literal translation of these slokas are:

“Daily application of hair oil prevents head-aches, premature greying, alopecia (balding). With regular hair oiling the bones of the skull become stronger, hair grows firm-rooted, long & black. The sense organs are nourished, face has a pleasant glow. Sleep is sound & deep and happiness is promoted. “

The slokas given above list 9 distinct and highly desirable benefits of regular head oiling with a suitable Ayurvedic hair oil.

Hair oiling Benefits from the Sushruta Samhita

The Dinacharya habits are described by Acharya Sushruta in a chapter called , “Anaghatabadha Pratiseda “ – Prevention of Future Diseases. This is very noteworthy as the all the Dinacharya habits including Head oiling help prevent future diseases. So daily / regular head oiling offers benefits much beyond simple hair growth.

The Shloka on Shiro Abhyanga ( head oiling) literally translated says

“ Annointing the head with oil cures diseases of the head, makes the hair soft , lengthy, abundant, smooth, black, bestows feeling of comfort to the head, pleasant appearance of the face, nourishes the sense organs well and gives a feeling of contentment in the head.

 

10 hair oiling benefits from Sushruta Samhita

Madhuka, Kshirasukla, Sarala, Devadaru, Kshudra Panchamula herbs must be collected, made in into water decoction and oil-paste and then cooked in cold-pressed oils to make a medicated oil. This oil should always be applied cool to the head. “

(the herbs are Mahua, Kakoli, Sarala, Deodhar & Sarivan, Pithvan, Badi Kateri, Choti Kateri and Gokhru)

Apart from the many benefits of head oiling already seen in the earlier shloka from the Charaka Samhita, Acharya Sushruta gives a crystal clear indication of the correct structure of an Ayurvedic hair oil. The group of important herbs recommended should be extracted in both water & oil and then cooked extensively only in cold-pressed vegetable oils (like sesame and coconut). This process is called as Tila Paka Veedhi in Ayurveda.

All Krya hair oils and skin oils are manufactured in this exact classical protocol. This is the main reason why the commercially available hair oils in the market , which are just a blend of paraffin (a petroleum derivative !) and synthetic fragrances are so ineffective,  and also repel users from the hair oiling habit. Further plain coconut oils , which are NOT cold-pressed but extracted with chemical solvents like Hexane are ineffective as hair oils, due to their low absorption by the scalp.

Even if we used pure, cold pressed coconut oil or any other plain base oil like Almond oil or Olive oil for head oiling, we would not get the benefits of head oiling: for these benefits we need the Oil to be transformed using Tila Paka manufacturing method using a correct set of herbs.

Benefits of hair oiling from Ashtanga samgraha and Ashtanga Hridayam

Both the Ashtanga Samgraha & the Ashtanga Hridayam have very brief but clear Shlokas on the benefits of head oiling , which can be summarized as below

“ Daily application of oil on the body ( Abhyanga) is highly beneficial, and special attention must be given to the head, ears & feet. When oil is applied to the head , it is good for the hair, skull and sense organs “ 

Hair oiling benefits from Ashtanga hridayam

Perhaps by the time of the 7th Century AD, when these texts were composed, head oiling was such a prevalent habit in India, that it did not require very elaborate explanation.

Hair oiling Benefits from Bhavaprakasha Nighantu

The Bhavaprakasha Nighantu by Acharya Bhavamisra  is a 16th century Ayurvedic textbook that forms part of the Laghu trayee set of ayurvedic texts. In the Dinacharya chapter of this textbook , Acharya Bhavamishra re-emphasizes the importance of daily oil massage of the body ( Abhyanga) with special focus on the head , ears and feet. When daily / regular head oiling is done, these are the benefits that we receive.

“ Massaging the head daily with oil gives strength to all the sensory organs. It enhances vision and relieves all scalp diseases. Growth of hair will be higher, strong, soft and lengthy. Thick black hair grow continuously (with daily application)” 

hair oiling benefits from Bhavaprakasha Nighantu

We can see that each important Ayurvedic text has explained the benefits of regular hair oiling for wellness. Lets delve into these benefits in greater detail.

 

Why is using oil on the head so good for the brain and eyes ? 

The head is the seat of both the brain and the eyes. In the activity of the brain and the eyes, we see the strong influence of Pitta and vata. Pitta is the dosha most dominant in the eyes: it adds Tejas / lustre, heat and the ability to perceive to the eye. In the brain, Pitta dosha helps organise thoughts, focus, and classify and order things neatly.

Vata dosha helps move these impulses of the eye and the brain. In the brain it helps retain memory, generate options, multi task and multi-focus and bring in creative solutions.

But the combination of air and fire dries the head and the secretions of the eye. As both the eye and the brain are made of Fatty matter (related to Kapha dosha), we have to keep the air and fire from going over board and affecting the structural composition of both these organs.

To help keep the head in balance everyday we are asked to oil the head using pitta and vata balancing herbs processed in Taila (oils). When we do this everyday, we keep Air & Fire from going overboard, continue to nourish the Fat based structure of the eyes and Brain and keep this area in a state of Balance.

 

Benefits of using oil on the Eyes and Brain

One of the key hair oiling benefits is that it helps draw out and balance excess Pitta and vata in the head region.

Those who have excessive Pitta will literally notice heat / vapour emanating from the head after oiling as Ushna is released through the small Srotas (channels) in the scalp. They may find that the eyes water profusely at first, indicating that the oiling is bringing some much-needed balance and aggravating tear secretion to release pitta + vata. You might find thick mucous like secretions after you wake up indicating that moisture / kleda is being restored to this area, allowing Mala (waste secretions) from the eyes to be excreted.

hair oiling benefits for eyes and brain

For those with excess / aggravated Vata dosha, the scalp feels cool and calm immediately after oil application. Anxiety and stress is reduced, and you are able to focus and bring in more depth to tasks. Hair and scalp may feel better moisturised and less dry.

After a month of regular oiling you might start seeing a different kind of change. You might find that you are able to focus longer. That you are calmer and balanced for longer. That you are less anxious or less freaked out by things. Sleep might be deeper with better quality and less shallow. The eyes may feel cool and rested instead of dry and scratchy.

All these changes point to the Tridoshas being balanced in the head region .

 

Benefits of hair oiling on scalp health & to promote hair growth

We have spent most of this post talking about the hair oiling benefits for overall health and not just for scalp and hair. But how does the scalp and hair benefit when we regularly oil the hair?

The same shloka on head oiling also says that regular hair oiling strengthens the skull bones, reduces premature greying and keeps the sense organs cheerful and the face peasant. This is because premature greying, in Ayurveda is linked to a build-up in Pitta dosha.

If you have Agni in excess in the body, it literally thins down hair (like fire burns things to ash) and bleaches out its colour (like the sun bleaches hair if you are out in it for too long). So, when you oil the head every day using an Agni / Pitta balancing hair oil, you help bring down this effect of excess Agni and reduce premature greying and hair thinning.

Hair oiling benefits for the scalp & hair growth

When vata is out of balance and aggravated, Ayurveda Hair becomes dull, rough, dry and brittle. It is more prone to breakage and split ends. It loses its natural lustre and colour and becomes weak and dull. Therefore, when you oil the head regularly with a Vata balancing Hair Oil, you help bring down this effect of excess Vayu and reduce hair dryness, roughness and breakage.

Similarly, when we regularly oil the head, we bring down mental vata related aggravation like anxiety, worry and stress. We therefore get better sleep. At a physical level we avoid build up of vata in the skull area and help strengthen the bones and help them remain dense and strong.

Now the next question is: do these hair oiling benefits accrue for any hair oil? Can we use any commercial hair oil from the supermarket and hope to get these benefits?

Are commercial (cosmetic) hair oils good for your hair ?

Most of the major Indian hair oils sold widely in India today are primarily made of liquid paraffin blended with synthetic fragrances and preservatives. Most of them do not contain the all important base of cold-pressed vegetable oils like coconut or sesame, neither do they contain any of the wide array of Ayurvedic herbs. Obviously they do not follow the time tested and laborious process of Tila Paka veedhi either.

Liquid paraffin also called as Light liquid Paraffin ( LLP), mineral oil or paraffin is merely a by-product of the petroleum refining process and it has zero nourishing or health-giving properties. It is used mainly because it is very cheap compared to coconut oil or sesame oil, has no natural odour or colour , and is easy to spread and combines easily with synthetic thickeners, colours and fragrances.

Commercial hair oils do not offer hair benefits

None of the astonishing health benefits promised by the Ayurvedic textbooks can be achieved by applying this petroleum-based oil. It is no surprise that the hair-oiling habit is on the decline in India due to the unscrupulous use of paraffin.

Read this report by consumer voice magazine ( available on the wesbite of the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, GoI) on the percentage of mineral oil in the leading hair oil brands. Many famous hair oil brands which claim to use natural ingredients like Amla, Almond, etc use these herbs in minuscule proportions, basing their entire formulation on mineral oil and fragrances alone.

Products containing mineral oil may be harmful for hair & skin 

A study published by the American Journal of Dermatology found that moisturizing creams containing mineral oil were tumorigenic when applied topically to UVB pretreated high risk mice. These creams increased the rate at which tumors form.

Occupational exposure to mineral oils may occur among workers in automobile manufacturing, airplanes, steel products, screws, pipes and transformers, brass and aluminium production, engine repair, copper mining, and newspaper and commercial printing.
The National Cancer Institute says that occupational exposure to untreated or lightly treated mineral oils is strongly associated with an increased risk of nonmelanoma skin cancer, particularly of the scrotum.

Mineral Oil – Forming an occlusive barrier on skin

Contrary to the claims of most mineral oil using hair oils and skin moisturizing products, mineral oil does NOT penetrate skin. Its molecular size is too big to slip into the skin’s pores. So what it does do is form a barrier layer on skin preventing trans-epidermal water loss through evaporation. While this may be useful in a few cases, for most of us, this means that the skin’s normal function is interrupted by this barrier layer. Plus , it does not work with the skin like vegetable oils do by penetrating it, cleansing it or nourishing it any manner.

Given these concerns around Mineral oils, it is no surprise that the regular use of Mineral oil containing commercial hair oils is NOT recommended by Dermatologists and Doctors. Even if they are unaware of how much of Mineral Oil the formulation contains, they can easily see the effects of using such products on scalp.

Because of the property of creating an occlusive barrier, Hair oils that contain Mineral oil form a barrier layer between the scalp and the atmosphere. This traps heat in the head. It also traps dust and dirt very effectively leading to fungal dandruff and pitta related heat boils on the scalp.

How to choose the best hair oil for your needs?

If you want to begin the ayurvedic hair oiling routine and oil your hair regularly, you must choose a good ayurvedic natural oil that offers you all the benefits we described above: for overall health, mental well being and hair health. Here are some things to look for:

  • The oil should be made using the classical Ayurvedic Tila paka method
  • The oil should use herbs that are appropriate for your hair and overall needs
  • The oil should not contain any anti nutrients like mineral oil, emulsifiers, thickeners, artificial fragrances, colours or any other chemical additives

3 questions to ask when selecting a hair oil

Lets see why we suggest these factors in greater detail. 

How the ayurvedic tila paka method improves oil’s ability to penetrate into the scalp

For the benefits listed in Ayurveda like nourishing the eyes, strengthening the nerves, calming anxiety, depending sleep and improving hair growth, the oil must have 2 properties:

  • Should be light and subtle and penetrate quickly into the scalp
  • Contain the beneficial properties of herbs chosen specifically – these properties must have been correctly extracted from each herb so that they are readily available in an easily absorbable from in the oil

Why is the ayurvedic tila paka prcess so important in hair oil?

The ayurvedic tila paka process is a special manufacturing technique used to make oils in Ayurveda. In this technique, herbs are extracted in 4 forms: as fresh juices, as herb decoctions, as cold water decoctions or tisanes and as herb pastes. The method each herb should be extracted depends upon the bio-availability of its nutrients and how tightly bound within the herb they are. The Ayurvedic texts clearly specify which plant par should be extracted in which manner.

These 4 types of herb extracts are then processed in slow heat in a mixture of base oils like coconut oil, sesame oil, etc for over 4-12 days, until they reach the correct stage where all the excess moisture is evaporated.

This process does 2 things:

  • It completely transforms the base oils – the texture becomes non sticky, subtle and absorbs very easily by nano-ising the oil particles
  • It subtly extracts the botanical nutrients form each herb and helps them get absorbed into the base oil.So every drop of oil carries the beneficial properties of the herbs within. 

 

What herbs should go into an ayurvedic hair oil and why?

The Acharyas & Ayurvedic texts give us a huge list of herbs that can be used in ayurvedic hair oils. However, each herb must be extracted correctly and the used in the right manner and right combination. Most importantly, the herbs must be processed in the Tila paka vidhi described above.

Here are some important ayurvedic hair herbs that go into Ayurvedic hair oils:

  • Fresh non hybrid Amla – used as Swarasa (fresh juice extracted without water or with minimal water) – highly nourishing and Pitta balancing. Improves hair thickness and colour
  • Fresh Bhringaraj – used as Swarasa (fresh juice extracted without water or with minimal water) – highly nourishing and Pitta balancing. Improves hair colour & growth
  • Manjishta – should be sourced carefully. Used as a Kashaya (herb is pounded and boiled in water for 8-12 hours to extract the nutrients). Excellent to improve scalp health and improve blood circulation throughout the scalp. Pitta balancing herb.
  • Daruharidra – Used as a Kashaya (herb is pounded and boiled in water for 8-12 hours to extract the nutrients). Excellent to improve hair growth and hair thickness. Pitta & vata balancing herb.  
  • Yashtimadhu – Used as a Kashaya (herb is pounded and boiled in water for 8-12 hours to extract the nutrients). Excellent to improve hair growth and hair thickness. Pitta & vata balancing herb.  
  • Vetiver – Used as a Kashaya (herb is pounded and boiled in water for 6-8 hours to extract the nutrients). Excellent Pitta balancing herb. Improves scalp health
  • Brahmi – Used as a Swarasa (fresh juice extracted without water or with minimal water) . – anxiety calming and Vata balancing. Supports healthy brain growth in children & also helps strengthen the hair . 
  • Vatama – Used in its “milk” form after soaking overnight, and peeling. Balances vata & helps in high hair loss . Is a highly nourishing and hair growth stimulating herb. 
  • Karanja Oil – specialised oil seed that helps naturally condition hair and improves the quality of damaged hair & over processed hair. Helps prevent hair breakage

The above is a SMALL sample of the herbs that are available in Ayurveda. The actual list of herbs number well into the 1000s. At Krya alone we use close to 50-75 herbs across our hair oil formulations. It is impossible to list too many herbs. But this is to give you an idea about how each herb should be selected and processed correctly. 

Can regular hair oiling lead to Dandruff? 

There is a misconception spread by many modern Beauty workers, Hair stylists and even allopathically trained Dermatologists that hair oiling should not be done regularly and if it is done, it can lead to clogging of scalp and conditions like dandruff.

To examine the reasons behind this statement we must understand who is issuing these statements and what their basis is of comparison / information. Hair stylists and those in the Cosmetics industry, especially in beauty salons are paid to endorse cosmetic hair products like styling gels, serums, etc. Also the aesthetic that is promoted in such circles is of dry, flyaway hair that can then be “sculpted” into various looks using synthetic hair fixers and holders. Many practices promoted by Salons like Hair colouring, Hair rebonding are bad for hair and even dangerous for health.

Can hair oiling cause dandruff?

Traditional practices like hair oiling takes away from this aesthetic and also in some cases, their commercial business. So it stands to reason that such experts will ask you to stay away from traditional hair oiling. Having said this, I am happy to note a growing trend of natural salons, which are strongly recommending such traditional practices like Ayurvedic hair oiling across the world. I hope this trend reaches India soon. I also hope more and more Salon professionals are educated more about Ayurveda and how Ayurvedic head oiling can strongly support good hair growth.

When it comes to Dermatologists and allopathic Doctors, the reasons are quite different. Most hair oil users use commercially available market hair oils. There is a very high usage of Light Liquid Paraffin or Mineral Oil in commercial hair oils. Even  brands marketed as “natural”, “containing the goodness of famous herbs like Badam” mix a very high proportion of LLP (Light liquid paraffin) in such formulations.

 

Hence if you have been receiving advice from either your salon stylist or your Doctor about Hair oils, please try and understand their context. It would also be obvious that neither piece of advice is valid when it comes to a properly formulated Ayurvedic hair oil that uses cold pressed pure vegetable oils and herbs where the oil is cooked in the traditional Tila Paka method. Such an oil NEEDS to be applied regularly on the head and will give you many health benefits including improved scalp and hair health.

 

Is a home made oil for hair good for hair growth? Can I get all these benefits from this oil?

Today we see many recipes online where people make home made hair oils. In this, they fry the herbs for 30 minutes or so and then leave them in the oil for a day or so before straining the oil and applying this oil to the scalp.

The oil looks and smells like a herbal hair oil. And it is a nice DIY to do at home. However this method of extraction and the short time for which oil is in contact with herbs is not enough to extract the full range of botanicals from the herbs.

This is especially the case in hard woody herbs like Daruharidra, Yashtimadhu, etc. 

Can i get hair benefits with a DIY hair oil

These home made hair oils are mildly better than using plain vegetable oils like coconut oil or castor oil. But they dont give the same wide range of health benefits that a properly made ayurvedic hair oil can. Also, many ayurvedic herbs cannot be correctly pounded and processed in a kitchen. So we miss out on the benefits of some of these herbs.

It is better to trust a reputed company for your hair care needs and buy a good ayurvedic hair oil from them depending upon your hair concerns. 

 

Krya Hair Oils: a brief glance

Krya has multiple hair oils for different hair types and lifestages available. Here is a brief glance of the products available:

  • Krya baby and toddler hair oil: formulated with special herbs to ensure proper closer of fontanelle, and support rapid brain development and strengthening of skull and bones for babies and young children
  • Krya Kids hair oil – Classic: for Children above 3 years with straight hair or hair that tends to be on the oily side – supports brain development and formulated with soothing herbs like Brahmi, Devdaru etc prescribed for children in Ayurveda
  • Krya Kids hair oil – Conditioning: for Children above 3 years with curly hair or hair that tends to be on the dry side – supports brain development and formulated with soothing herbs like Brahmi, Devdaru etc prescribed for children in Ayurveda
  • Krya Classic Plus Hair Oil : for hair that is prone to high premature greying, hair thinning or excessively oily scalp – provides balance to very high Pitta aggravation. Formulated with pitta reducing herbs like Amla, Mulethi, Bhringraj, etc
  • Krya Classic Hair Oil: For normal – oily hair prone to premature greying and oily scalp – balances medium Pitta aggravation. Formulated with Pitta balancing herbs like Amla, Nimba, Bhringraj, etc
  • Krya Conditioning Hair Oil: For dry hair , hair breakage and brittle and frizzy hair – scalp tends to be dry – balances Vata aggravation. formulated with Vata balancing herbs like Mulethi, Japa, Vatama, etc
  • Krya Damage repair Hair oil: for hair and scalp that is chemically damaged due to excessive use of synthetic hair dyes, and treatments like hair smoothing, keratin treatments, perming, etc. Detoxifies scalp and promotes healthy growth. formulated with detoxifying and growth improving herbs like Khadira, DaruharidraMushtaMulethi etc
  • Krya Kshema Hair Oil : For Insomnia, high stress and hair fall due to high stress . Made from a combination of stress and vata balancing herbs like Brahmi, Bala, Daruharidra, etc. Improves sleep quality, absorbs quickly, and reduces high vata imbalance.  
  • Krya Harmony hair oil: For high anxiety, anger management issues, eye strain & related hair fall . Formulated with Pitta and anxiety calming herbs like Jatamansi, Amla, etc. Nourishes eyes, calms down Pitta, helps calm irritability & anxiety
  • Krya Intense Hair Oil: For hair fall due to long illness and high / long term medication : promotes healthy hair growth. Recommended after hairfall due to Covid and other long erm viral illnesses. Strengthens hair shaft , nourishes scalp  & improves hair growth. USes herbs like Ashwagandha, Vatama, Narikela, Tila, Gokshura, etc.

Problem solution oils:

All Krya hair oils are made as per Ayurvedic tila paka veedhi, use cold pressed oils and the recommended Ayurvedic herbs. So all of these oils can be used for Ayurvedic head oiling.

 

Frequently asked questions

Is applying oil daily good for hair? : Shiro Abhyanga: A Key Dinacharya

Yes! Shiro Abhyanga is a Key Dinacharya (daily ayurvedic practice for wellness). Hair oiling is now being done just before you wash your hair . This merely prevents shampoo and water related damage to hair strands. However Shiro abhyanga is over and beyond this.

The benefits of oiling your hair everyday include better dosha balance in the scalp, higher ability to focus, steady energy and eye nourishment and better sleep,                              

Is oiling actually good for hair?

Hair oiling is actually good for hair – but it depends upon the oil being used. Commercial oils with Light Liquid Paraffin are NOT good for hair. They clog the hair follicles over time slowing down hair growth and training heat within the scalp. Hair may look temporarily nice with commercial non sticky hair oils but the health of hair deteriorates over time. 

On the other hand, Ayurveda recommends oiling hair with a specially formulated ayurvedic hair oil . This gives multiple benefits for different types of hair:

  • A well formulated ayurvedic hair oil quickly penetrates the hair shaft to deliver the nutrient benefits to the hair roots
  • It improves hair thickness improving the overall health and appearance of fine hair
  • It helps protect the hair strands from environmental and water damage
  • It helps with hair growth improving the quality of new hair
  • It improves the health of dry or damaged hair reducing the appearance of split ends over time

 

What is the disadvantage of hair oiling?

When there is very high Kapha accumulation of a strong sinusitis problem, we have to be careful with hair oiling. Even here using a warm, well chosen ayurvedic hair oil with brisk massage and following precautions like using Rasnadi choornam will be helpful. However in acute cases of Sinusitis or Scalp Kapha acucmulation, it may be best to consult a vaidya before starting regular head oiing.

In certain hair conditions like lice infestation, fungal dandruff, or scalp psoriasis, a rich and nourishing hair oil can actually worsen the problem. Here care must be taken to ensure the oil chosen helps with these conditions. 

Apart from these, there are no major disadvantages in hair oiling.

How long should you leave oil in your hair?

This question itself is erroneous. Because a good ayurvedic hair oil is absorbed by the scalp, leaving little reside on the hair.

There are 2 parts to the hair – the scalp which absorbs nourishment and the hair which needs protection from water, wind, personal care products etc.

Ayurveda recommends daily scalp oiling where we use a small amount of oil and massage it briskly into the scalp for multiple health and hair benefits.

Before we wash hair, the hair strands should be well oiled to protect them from damage during the washing process.

So in this scenario we use small amount of oil in the scalp daily to nourish it and then use generous amount of oil on the hair strands 1 hour before hair wash. I hope this answers the question.

Does hair oil have side effects?

A properly formulated ayurvedic hair oil made in the classical tila paka vidhi does not have side effects. However commercial hair oils can also have many potential side effects because of the way they are formulated (made with LLP, added fragrances, emulsifiers and colours etc). 

Who shouldn’t oil their hair?

Those with a cold, mucous based cough, fever or very high sinusitis should avoid hair oiling until the basic condition is under control.

Who should not oil hair?

If you have lice infestation, fungal dandruff or scalp psoriasis, you should choose a specialized oil for lice infestation or one formulated specially for oily fungal dandruff and scalp psoriasis. 

Is 2 hours of hair in oil enough?

Before applying oil on your hair or thinking about how long oil can keep on hair, we must understand the basics of this practice. Oiling is a wellness practice recommended in Ayurveda for brain , eyes and overall heath.

Therefore oiling is not especially for hair or exclusively for a cosmetic purpose. Hence we should seriously understand the Ayurvedic principles and instead resolve to apply oil onto hair daily for Shiro abhyanga. 

Is it OK to leave oil in hair overnight?

Those applying oil overnight on hair may find that over time they are accumulating high kapha in the head. You may develop neck issues or neck stiffness with kapha imbalance. 

Overnight oiling is not a good practice as the night is heavy in kapha. When using a kapha rich product like hair oil, applying large amounts of this on teh head and going to sleep can disturb the body’s overall dosha balance.

Can i leave oil in hair overnight

It is a better idea to do daytime oiling, in small amounts when it is left on. 

How long should I leave coconut oil in my hair?

Many find that when they use pure vegetable oils like coconut oil, or even exotic oils like argan oil, oiling weighs their hair down. The hair growth we see is better than commercial market oils but not as rapid as we would see with an ayurvedic hair oil.

Pure vegetable oils also do not offer the same range of brain, scalp, eye and overall health benefits as they are composed of one ingredient only. The vegetable oil is also not as subtle and penetrative as an ayurvedic hair oil.

So it is better not to use plain vegetable oils on the scalp and use a well chosen ayurvedic hair oil instead. 

Is it okay to apply oil on hair everyday?

Yes absolutely. As we have explained in detail above, applying oil to the scalp daily is highly beneficial for your hair and overall health.

What hair oil can I use everyday?

At Krya we have many hair oils which have been formulated for specific hair concerns and are specially suited for your hair type. 

Is shampoo necessary after oiling?

Ayurveda tells us that a well chosen ayurvedic hair oil is perfect for daily scalp oiling. We use small amounts of oil for each oiling occasion. This should not be shampooed out as it defeats the purpose of oil. Shampooing can be restricted to 2 times a week.

Should you shampoo after hair oil


Excessive shampooing can damage the cuticle barrier around the hair shaft and dry out and make hair brittle and prone to breakage. 

Does Hair Oiling Cause Hair Fall?

Many people new to hair oiling find that initially hair oiling seems to increase hair fall. This is not the case. What you see being shed is weak hair that is being loosened by the act of scalp massage. This hair would have fallen anyway. 

So hair oiling does not cause hair fall. However it hastens the shedding of already weak hair. Please dont get worried by this. Oiling hair every day is good for you. Persist with it & in time your hair growth will be stronger and healthier. 

Is it advisable to comb hair after applying hair oil?

Yes! The Ayurvedic texts recommend using a good quality comb after calp oiling. The comb must be made with well rounded edges that does not harm the scalp. The process of combing helps distribute the hair oil well across the scalp, dislodges dirt from the scalp and leaves us feeling fresh and cheerful. So combing is essential after using oil in your hair. 

Is regular hair oiling beneficial?

Yes! Using a daily ayurvedic hair oil is an excellent choice for overall health, wellbeing and hair health. A good hair care routine with regular scalp oiling has multiple benefits.  It helps keep your hair strands in good working condition. It helps you style your hair easily and  ensures the ends of the hair dont split from less nutrition. Finally an ayurvedic hair oil is rich in nutritive benefits and nourishes the scalp. Therefore the oil strengthens your hair. Besides these, it also has numerous other health benefits. 

To sum up: ayurvedic benefits of daily / regular head oiling with an Ayurvedic hair oil

In this post, we explored what many classical texts say about this potent Dinacharya practice. We can see that the daily application of a good Ayurvedic hair oil on the scalp gives these benefits over time

  1. Prevents head-aches, all diseases of the scalp and makes the skull bones strong.
  2. It enhances vision
  3. All the sense organs are nourished & gives contentment and happiness to the face.
  4. It promotes sound sleep
  5. It prevents premature greying and balding.
  6. The hair becomes thick, black , long , strong and grows continuously.

You can easily incorporate the incredible Ayurvedic dinacharya of Shiro Abhyanga ( head oiling) very easily, it takes just a few minutes to apply the oil on your scalp. Explore the full range of Krya Hair Oils here .

If you would like to use one of Krya’s hair oils for your Shiro Abhyanga and are not sure which one to choose, please write to us at goodies@krya.in or DM us on WhatsApp.

References:

  1. Caraka, Caraka Samhita, Vol. I , Text with English translation & critical exposition based on Cakrapani Datta’s Ayurveda Dipika by R.K.Sharma & Bhagwan Dash, Chaukhamba Sanskrit Series Office, Varanasi, 2019.
  2. Susruta, Susruta Samhita, Vol. II, Text with English translation by K.R.Srikantha Murthy, Chaukhamba Orientalia, Varanasi, 2016.
  3. Vagbhata, Ashtanga Samgraha, Text with English translation by K.R.Srikantha Murthy, Chaukhamba Orientalia, Varanasi, 2015.
  4. Vagbhata, Astangahrdata, Vol. I, Text with English translation by T. Sreekumar, Publication department of  Harisree Hospital, Thrissur, 2015.
  5. Bhavamisra, Bhavaprakasha, Vol. I, Text with English translation by Bulusu Sitaram, Chaukhamba Orientalia, Varanasi, 2015.
  6. Website of Department of Consumer affairs , Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, Government of India.

 

 

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Preethi Sukumaran
Preethi Sukumaran

Preethi is deeply committed to the formal study and application of the timeless principles of right living as laid down in the Ayurvedic canon. At Krya, her synthesis of ayurvedic principles with botanical expertise drives R&D & Product development.

We have over 100 proprietary formulations in the market today which are trusted and loved by our consumers.

Preethi is also deeply passionate about building Krya based on the Indic principle that Dharma leads to Artha ; we call this "Dharmic Entrepreneurship". She works with the Krya team on establishing Krya as one of the most trusted wellness brands in the categories we operate in.

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21 Comments

  1. You ar of course educating us a lot.. what surprised me is that this gen ppl shd ve got this msg from prev gen but somehow it’s lots or not heard. Thanks for your efforts in reviving

  2. Hello Preethi,
    Reading your posts have opened our eyes to many truths and lifestyle choices which have been slowly fading away. So many thanks for the same.
    I have a question regarding daily Shiro Abhyanga. I do rigorous workout post which there is a lot of sweating especially in the head. Post which there is a desir to wash the hair with shampoo the next day. If I have oiled the hair with basic coconut oil and have done my workout, the hair tenda to get very clumpy oily and in need for wash. How do I manage that with daily oiling?

    • Hi Hina,
      You might need a specialized hair oil to cope with pitta aggravation – sometimes plain coconut oil can be too sweet and nourishing and can combine with sweat secretions to cause clumping, itchiness and in some cases fungal dandruff.
      If pitta aggravation is balanced, it is possible that head sweating may reduce somewhat. Also, do you gym every day? This might be a bit aggravating for vata dosha.

        • Ok – then I advise Abhyanga on balance 3 – 4 days to help the body recover. This will also balance excess pitta and vata dosha. Combination of head oiling with correct hair oil + regular abhyanga will help the body overall.

  3. How I do know which oil to apply? Sometimes I feel, I have all the doshas.. is there a general oil to start with.. I have gastric issue and lots of hair fall..
    Thank you

    • Lalitha: it sounds like you could start with the Krya Classic hair oil – by gastric issues i am assuming you mean acidity?

    • Please try doing a regular Abhyanga with the Krya Classic Abhyanga system – that will help with pitta regulation and dry skin. Also, for dry skin, please switch to one of our herbal bodywashes instead of soap – you can try the Krya classic bodywash.

  4. Dear Preeti
    My husband gets cold quite often with sinus and at times wheezing early in the morning . He also does not sweat unless he works out .
    So he was told that oil massage on the body would help open the pores of the sweat glands and sinus and cold will be reduce and would be gone ,if he follows.

    Will abhyanka help ,if he applies oil on his head and body and have a bath everyday ??
    I would like to consult you over the phone , if possible .
    Regards. Anandhi venkatesh

    • Hi Anandhi,
      For someone with tendency towards cold and sinusitis and a wheezing problem, an abhyanga may initially increase the tendency towards colds and sinuses, as will head oiling.

      My suggestion is to consult a vaidya and start with treatment for this issue before beginning abhyanga and head oiling – this will help greatly.

  5. Dear Preeti,

    I have sinus and catch cold frequently. How often can I do abhyanga??
    I have ordered the oils and the abhyanga system that u have advised.
    Till I get them , can I apply coconut oil daily on my head..
    Thank you

  6. What is the best time for hair oiling? I have low volume frizzy hair and have been oiling the scalp with maybe less than half a teaspoon of oil, anytime during the day. Is there an ideal time?

    • Manas: in ayurveda oil is left on the scalp . This helps the head deal with pitta and vata energy which rises through the day as we work, read, think, concentrate etc. So it is not washed off. In fact in days when work load is high, you will notice that scalp has absorbed most of the oil by end of the day itself.

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