Screentime, Stress and falling hair – Krya Ayurveda series for IT employees

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Reading Time: 10 minutes

Circadian rhythms and the effect of sunlight on our moods, health, physiology, growth and fertility is an extremely well documented and researched subject. It is of great concern in countries that are far away from the equator with long periods of winter and no Sun. So a quick search online can actually throw up devices that mimic natural day light to be used in Nordic countries where winter not just means cold weather, but also a day without any sunshine. In these countries, the effect of a complete lack of Sun is extremely well documented, so people living in these countries and the health care system and offices, make a special effort to compensate for this lack of light.

1.winter

 

But in India, we are fast developing our own version of a Nordic winter in our offices: where the temperature is often a steady (and freezing for many of us) 16 degree Centigrade with white fluorescent light through the day. Given our tendency to stay longer and longer in office o finish up an increasing pile of work, and to avoid traffic snarls, many of us are spending time within an artificially cold environment without any natural light. This is especially true of IT professionals today.

2.it office

 

So in our post today on Ayurvedic hair and skin care for IT professionals, we are going to be looking at the influence that natural sunlight (or daylight) has on our bodies, why artificial light is not the same for our bodies (and why overexposure to artificial light can be harmful to us), and a few simple suggestions to get more daylight to help your body balance better.

 

What is so special about Sunlight? Why is it important for our bodies to get a certain amount of sunlight every day?

Our existence on this planet and of every other life form depends upon the Sun. Autotrophs organisms that make their own food), like most plants, use the Sun’s energy to perform photosynthesis. Heterotrophs (organisms that derive nourishment from organic sources of carbon like the soil, other plants, and other organisms and animals) use Sunlight and the Sun’s energy in many ways. The sun’s energy reaches our bodies by the food we consume (which has used Sun’s energy to create itself).

3. sunlight

 

In all animal forms , from the lowest to the highest and most complex organism like human beings Sun light also additionally regulates the body’s fertility, moods, the time we sleep and we get up, and how we feel about ourselves, and how we eat.

 

Sunlight and its effect on Melatonin production:

Melatonin (N-acetyl-5-methoxy-tryptamine) is a hormone produced by the pineal gland in animals (and human beings). Melatonin is also secreted in plants. The synchronization of all circadian rhythms in the body like sleep cycles, blood pressure regulation, menstrual cycles, fertility, etc, is regulated and worked upon by Melatonin.

4. melatonin

 

The normal pathway of Sunlight is as follows: Light passes through the retina to the optic nerve. One part of the optic nerve goes to the brain’s vision centre and the other part of the optic nerve goes to a portion of the hypothalamus called the superchaismatic nucleus. The superchiasmatic nucleus is the body’s internal clock. From here, a light generated nerve message travels through the brain to the spinal cord and out of the superior cervical ganglion to the pineal gland.

The basic signal sent via this pathway to the pineal gland is simple: if the body is exposed to light, do NOT secrete Melatonin. If there is no light, START secreting Melatonin.

 

Melatonin and the rest / repair cycle of the whole body:

When Melatonin begins secreting, it starts to relax the brain, signalling to the body that it is time to go to sleep. Darkness and the lack of light stimulates the release of Melatonin by the Pineal gland which then reaches our blood stream and travels through the cerebrospinal fluid into the brain.

This tells our whole body and brain to calm down and go into the state of repair associated with good quality sleep. When we get this good quality sleep at the right time, preferably 1-1.5 hours after eating our last meal (and hopefully a meal that is easy to digest), our body and mind go into a state of rest. Unencumbered by the digestive process, and relaxed into sleep, every organ system is meticulously examined and repaired.

The brain whizzes through the events of the day, analyzing and sorting and storing our impressions. When it encounters strong impressions, it creates dreams that help it process these impressions, and gives us signals / intuitive signs of incidents / people / behaviours we need to work on. It then goes into the deepest dream state, where it rests and repairs its own cells ready to re-start the next day.

 

The effect of using Blue light (from screens) on your body’s Melatonin production

Laptops, smart phones, and tablets and PCs emit light in the blue-white range. Several studies have been done on how this affects the Melatonin production in the body. Here are a few:

Mariana Figueiro of the Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and her team studied the effect of using an Ipad or a Tablet at night. The study showed that 2 hours of using an Ipad at night in maximum brightness mode was enough to suppress the volunteers’ normal night time release of Melatonin.

Two hours of screen time with a device held close to the eyes, reduced Melatonin levels by 22%.

When this is done every day for a few years, it is enough to chronically disrupt the body’s circadian rhythm with serious health consequences. The dose of light in this case is as important as the amount of light. The same researcher found that the Melatonin suppression was less when the device was positioned further away from the eyes – therefore a TV screen will also suppress Melatonin production, but not as much as a tablet / e-reader / Smartphone held close to the eyes.

Another interesting piece of research was done by the University of Basel in Switzerland. When LED screens were used in computers and laptops (vs. old style fluorescent monitors), Melatonin levels took much longer to rise in the evening and stayed deficient until the next day. Blue light exposure also gave the subjects higher scores temporarily on memory and recall.

The alertness and “awakeness” caused by exposure to blue light via the LED screen frustrates the body’s ability to go to sleep later. The longer our exposure is to this light, and the closer this exposure is to our bedtime, the more difficult it is going to be for us to fall asleep.

5. 22 percent drop

 

The manifestation of excessive blue light exposure:

A common recommendation at Krya when we see stress related hairfall is to investigate the nature of the stress. When we see that stress is manifested in insomnia and an inability to fall asleep, we ask about the nature of the job. When we are told that a laptop is used well past sunset, and a Smartphone is further used at home to check and respond to email until 10 pm or later, we can understand the reason for stress.

 

As we have seen above, even 2 hours of using an Ipad to simply play games is enough to decrease Melatonin production by 22%. Imagine the depletion and increase in stress in the body when we use our laptop to answer an angry work email or finish a presentation late into the night? With not enough Melatonin production, our sleep is going to be less, poor in quality and cause our other organ systems to malfunction. Several health conditions like diabetes, PCOS, infertility and obesity are linked to poor sleep caused by improper exposure to sunlight and excessive exposure to blue light.

 

When the levels of blue light exposure are high, we see the following health conditions at Krya: high hair loss and a marked slowdown in the growth of hair. We also see rapid aging of the body as manifested in dull skin, early appearance of wrinkles, premature greying, etc. There are often problems associated with the reproductive organs. In women we see delayed menstrual cycles, scanty bleeding, PCOS or PCOD, and infertility or delay in conception.

6. stress

 

This link with sunlight, exposure to artificial light is not new or surprising: studies done in the 70s and the 80s measured how Nordic countries had a definite correlation between sunlight availability and exposure and fertility. For example, conception peaks in June and July in Finland, when Finns are exposed to nearly 20 hours of sunshine per day!

 

While the artificial light and screen time is definitely unhealthy in our work environment, there is perhaps not too much we can do to directly and rapidly change this. But we can influence our bodies and health by making important, small changes in our home. We will see this below.

 

Ayurveda on sunshine and vata disorders:

The Dinacharya recommendation of the Acharyas, lays emphasis on exposure to different kinds of light. We are asked to appreciate and be exposed to different kinds of sunlight, specifically early morning and late afternoon and evening sunlight. We are also asked to be exposed to moonlight, and this is particularly true of those with a marked Pitta constitution.

This is also considered particularly important in the growth and development of infants. Infants are supposed to be exposed to the rays of the rising sun alone, and this is considered a very important health giving practice in Ayurveda. The Acharyas say that this practice strengthens immunity, improves bone and joint development and aids proper growth.

7. sunlight benefit

 

Similarly, the texts recommend a gradual slowing down at night and break from all brain related activity post sunset. The brain engages both pitta and vata dosha through the use of the eyes and mental thought, so all devices and activities that engage with the eyes and the brain cause restlessness.

8. slow down

 

When we over use these  doshas, we have high heat in the body, extreme fatigue, restlessness, inability to switch off and associated skin and hair complaints like premature greying, hair thinning, hair fall, rough and coarse skin and dryness.

Many vata based disorders like joint aches, slipped disc, chronic fatigue, and insomnia can start with poor quality sleep due to excessive and overuse of the brain and high exposure to blue light via screen time. As we have seen, simply using your e-reader at night can set off a chain of events leading to depletion in Melatonin production, change in menstrual cycles and increased risk of conditions like diabetes.

The antidote to this in Ayurveda is twofold: cut down the increase in vata dosha at source and pacify agitated vata dosha in the body. We will see these recommendations in detail below.

 

Krya’s recommendations when vata and pitta dosha is aggravated due to excessive screen exposure:

  1. Give your brain and eyes frequent rest breaks at work: 10 minutes once an hour is ideal. At this time, if possible, take a walk outdoors or stand outside of an air conditioned environment. Gazing at greenery is also recommended. Ayurveda recommends avoiding direct sun exposure between 10 am – 3pm, so this is not the time to go and do an energetic walk, atleast in India.
  2. Creation of a vata reducing “time out” between office and home: Ayurveda recommends creating an intermission or a space between places/ periods of intense brain activity. This helps the brain slow down, rest and get used to working at slower and more restful speeds. So if you have a stressful atmosphere or are overworked at office and use your laptop intensively, we recommend coming back home and taking a pause. Lie down in a dark room, without any stimulus (no sound, no cold air, no conversations, no reading) for 15 minutes. This helps the brain slow down and step down to a less stressful mode of operation. You can resume your activities at home post this “intermission”.
  3. Switch off or reduce use of screens after sunset. If you must, you may watch television for 30minutes. What is much better is to chat with your family, and cook a fresh meal together. If your vata dosha is very high, do not watch television either. Switch off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi in your home and go for a walk instead.
  4. Eliminate / Reduce personal screens both in the evening and the first thing in the morning. The evening suggestion is obvious: this is to help your body sleep better. We recommend avoiding using your Smartphone to check emails until 9 am to give your body time to accustom itself to natural sunlight. Ayurveda recommends waking up the body gently and lovingly: a Smartphone early in the morning is the electronic equivalent of waking your child up by throwing a bucket of cold water on her. It is harsh, unnecessary and quite frankly rude.
  5. Monitor your levels of natural sun exposure: We recommend atleast 30 minutes in the morning sun, and 30 minutes in the evening sun – the light spectrum is different at both times and both kinds are required by the body. Sun exposure should be whole without any barrier: glasses bend the light spectrum as do windows. So it is not enough to watch the sun through your glass window, you must be out in it. If you wear glasses / contacts, it is actually better to remove this during your walk, if possible. This allows the light to enter your body unfiltered and work its magic.
  6. Existing aggravated vata in your body (accumulated through the stress of multiple PowerPoint presentations and angry client calls) has to be contained by oil application. When your stress levels are high, be diligent about abhyanga. Increase its frequency if possible, and definitely do not skip t. Oil your scalp atleast 3 – 4 times a week to cool the brain and improve the function of the eyes. If you are highly stressed, add a pada abhyanga (foot massage) to your daily routine – this helps de-stress the body and helps you relax.
  7. Existing aggravated vata should be addressed by nourishing, dhatu building food. Cold food and drinks aggravate vata further as do crisp and hard foods. So avoid eating a burger and a coke when you are stressed and reach for a freshly cooked, warm Mung dal kitchdi instead. This will reduce stress and also nourish your body well.

 

Slow down and smell the roses:

In final analysis, health is built every single day by the simple choices we make and the things we say yes or no to. A full and rich life is not measured only by what we achieved at work or how much time we spent there. It is also measured by our health, optimistic outlook on life, and the relationships we nurtured and the conversations we had.

If after reading this article you have seen signs of vata imbalance and health issues associated with excessive screen usage, take some time to slow down and analyse this. A small decision you take today to cut down screen time at home, take a healthy walk, and spend time with loved ones instead of your Smartphone can have rich dividends in your future.

 

Krya products recommended for hair and skin to control aggravated vata (due to high mental stress):

  1. Krya harmony hair oil (contains Brahmi and other herbs to cool and relax the brain)
  2. 13. Krya harmony hair oilKrya Abhyanga Skin Oil (for full body abhyanga and pada abhyanga) – available separately and in the Krya Women’s Abhyanga system and the Krya Men’s abhyanga system

blog-post-11-krya-abhyanga-oil

If you would like further recommendations or help choosing Krya products, please write to us or call us on (0)75500-89090.

 

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Herb Thursdays at Krya – the ayurvedic properties & benefits of Shikakai (Acacia concinna)

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Shikakai: a herb that we all love to hate. A herb that reminds both of having our hair washed by our mother and grandmother, and of eyes stinging during the process. But also paradoxically, we associate Shikakai not just with painful childhood memories, but also having the hair of our childhood: thick, long, dark, and strong. A time when it was impossible to manage our hair because it was so voluminous and so long!

1. vintage shikakai

Shikakai is referred to as “the hair fruit” in India, and the Shikakai pod has been used as a biological surfactant to cleanse hair and skin for thousands of years in India. The Shikakai pod along with the Reetha pericarp, (Soapberry fruit) have together been the only cleansers India used to clean the laundry, dishes and our hair.

Because of the relatively low level of surfactants in both these soapy herbs, the skin and hair is always protected from excessive stripping of natural oils, breakage of hair and destruction of the acid mantle. Both these herbs also have a naturally mildly acidic pH which again makes them both ideal cleansers to used on human skin and hair.

2. hair fruit

 

Shikakai in Ayurveda:

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.

In folk medicine, Shikakai’s analgesic, anti bacterial, insect repellent and wound healing properties are very effectively utilised. For non specific pain in the leg, hips and joints, Shikakai is sprinkled on the affected area after a hot castor oil massage and then wiped away, providing great relief to the aching area.

Shikakai is also very well employed in traditional medicine as an oral rinse to help cure halitosis, dental caries, mouth ulcers and gum bleeding. Its kasaya (astringent) properties helps reduce oral inflammations, stops excessive bleeding and also helps flush out oral pathogens.

Shikakai is also very well used to fight any manner of skin infection. The Shikakai is used as a tincture / infusion to bathe and frequently wash stubborn skin infections which accumulate pus and clear exudates like psoriasis, skin rashes etc. Here the herb’s cleansing and inflammation reducing properties are used.

Shikakai in Krya:

Krya uses Shikakai across our range of hair cleansing products to help effectively clean dirt and grease from hair without altering its structure and damaging it. In fact, the use of Shikakai in our hair cleanser formulations helps us delver hair cleansing that is both effective yet gentle on hair. The consistent use of this herb also helps improve hair volume and texture.
3.shikakai in krya

Shikakai is also a key ingredient in Krya’s anti dandruff hair wash and hair mask. Our Anti dandruff products are able to work on even very long term and chronic cases of dandruff within a short period of time and this is due to the powerful herbs we use like Shikakai. Shikakai is used by Krya in the anti dandruff range for its unique ability to cleanse without irritating the scalp – this is extremely important when dealing with chronic dandruff because we always see small lesions and wounds on the scalp which have formed due to the inherent itchiness because of this condition.

4.shikakai in krya dandruff range

 

Krya also has a range of “Sensitive” skin products. These products are recommended for chronic skin issues like contact dermatitis, psoriasis and eczema, and requests for these products are constantly on the rise. Many of these skin conditions do not have an exact causative factor in allopathy and are usually managed with the use of topical steroids (both ingested and applied locally). Stopping these products even for a day triggers the condition and it is extremely difficult to live with.

Switching from a synthetic soap (even those recommended for these skin conditions) and using one of the Krya sensitive skin products along with the oil recommended, usually gives people an almost immediate relief from these conditions.

Shikakai helps these conditions through the action we explained above: Its kashaya (astringent) nature shrinks the thickened growth and brings down inflammation. Because of its tikta (bitter) nature, it is ideally suited to tackle both vitiated pitta and vitiated kapha, so it stops the redness and itching associated with pitta and the skin thickening and expanding nature of kapha vitiated skin diseases.

To sum up:

So there you have it: So there you have it: that’s a brief glimpse into the properties of Acacia concinna /  Shikakai which goes into Krya’s hair care products and certain specialised skin care products. As we have said before, Ayurvedic herbs are potent and strong, and must always be tailor made using the right anupana to suit your constitution. Do not attempt to self medicate. If you feel internal consumption of Shikakai could help you, please meet an Ayurvedic Vaidya who can diagnose your condition and prescribe Shikakai in the right dose and right format for you.

 

We do herb related posts at Krya to give you a glimpse into just how potent, powerful and good for us the plants used in Ayurveda are. We hope you found this post inspiring and useful. Do leave your thoughts and comments on this post below. If you would like us to write about a specific herb next Thursday, do leave that in your comments as well.

 

 

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Hair 101 on Wednesday by Krya – The Acid Mantle

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Reading Time: 4 minutes

The more I read and delve about the human microbiota, the more fascinated I am. Did you know for instance, that our first microbiota colonised us when we slid out of our mother in a vaginal birth? The microbiota we are exposed to via our mother’s vaginal microflora forms the basis of the microorganism colony we host throughout our life. Research in fact tells us that babies delivered via C section actually have a completely different set of microflora and a special effort needs to be taken to establish a good colony of microorganisms across a c-section baby’s body.

Science tells us that we contribute only 1/10th of our cells. The balance 9/10ths of the cells that form the total of our bodies is contributed by microorganisms. So a good team of microorganisms literally makes the difference between health and ill health for us.

Western Science is still not finished with finding out just how much our gut health infuses everything we do, and I mean EVERYTHING.

For example: A helicobacter pylori infection is many times the cause of gastritis or ulcerative colitis. Research tells us that if left untreated, this also affects the gut brain axis leading to co-morbidities like depression, anxiety and if left untreated, Alzheimer’s diseases. So the right bacteria can keep you both happy and healthy. And the wrong bacteria can leave you both ill and depressed.

 

This is perhaps why Ayurveda is so concerned with the gut and the outer surface of the body. Every good ayurvedic Vaidya will first figure what you eat, how you eat it, how much you eat, when you eat and how you eliminate it. And this will form the basis of everything your body will end up doing. Similarly Ayurveda is quite obsessed with what you apply on your person – your hair, your skin. The connection between what you apply on yourself and your health is very well established in Ayurveda. In fact many powerful herbs are delivered via the skin itself and can influence the organs within your body when simply applied on your skin.

Last week, we did a post on the Krya page about our acid mantle and how it is formed on the skin and scalp. This acid mantle is our body’s first resistance barrier to all disease and is formed by a tag team of us and all our friendly symbiotic micro organisms. When we are a good host to our symbiotic bacteria, they multiply and form a robust acid mantle for us keeping our disease and help us heal quickly.

But if, on the other hand, we are a careless and downright cruel host, we can just kill them and send them away, leaving huge gaps in our acid mantle for parasitic and hostile bacteria to colonise us instead.

The single greatest health decision you can make is to constantly think about your microbiota and figure out what keeps it intact. So here are 6 ways we think you could help your microbiota:

  1. Always oil your scalp and hair using cold pressed vegetable oil and Ayurvedic herb based oil. This oil tends to be mildly acidic and helps feed your microbiota well and supports your natural fatty acid sebum secretions. The oil and the herbs feed your microbiota promoting the growth of symbiotic, helpful micro organisms.
  2. 3.hair oilingAvoid harsh cleansers anywhere on your person. A single soap bath or the use of synthetic shampoo can severely damage your acid mantle taking you days to restore it. Always use a natural hair or skin cleansing product with no synthetic surfactants. This is why Ayurveda limits the use of plant surfactants only to hair cleansing. Skin is usually only cleansed using oil, grains, lentils and herbs.
  3. 8. a better hairwashAvoid petroleum based conditioners, or skin moisturizing products. They do not support the healthy growth of microbiota on your acid mantle and also clog the scalp and skin.
  4. 5.avoid toxinsAvoid using very hot water to cleanse your skin or hair. Heat destroys your acid mantle.
  5. Always rinse your mouth in plain, clean water after every meal or drink. The presence of a high amount of sugar in your mouth alters the oral microbiota promoting bacteria that cause dental cavities. Rinsing your mouth in plain clean water after every meal or drink allows friendly bacteria to colonise your mouth.
  6. Cut down sugary food, artificial sweeteners, and transfats in your diet. These tend to promote the growth of hostile bacteria and change the quality of your natural oil secretions, attracting harmful micro organisms.

 

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Hair 101 series on wednesday by Krya – Hair elasticity

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We spoke about how human hair was closest in texture and composition to silk and animal proteins like wool, last week in our Hair 101 series. We also spoke a few weeks earlier about hair porosity and why hair becomes porous with excessive shampooing and chemical treatments, and why that is not a good thing.

 

Hair elasticity and hair porosity are 2 sides of the hair health coin.

 

Our hair is supposed to be slightly elastic (note the use of the word, slightly), It is supposed to stretch slightly when we comb it or when it is wet. But it is supposed to bounce back to its normal length and texture when we release it from its pulling force.

blog pic 1

 

So if you are combing hair that is curly or wavy and you have a few knots, healthy hair is supposed to stretch as you try and tease that tangle out of your hair, without breaking. Once you have detangled your hair, healthy hair is supposed to go back to its original wavy or curly appearance without losing the tightness of the curl.

blog pic 2

 

Similarly, when hair is wet, it tends to expand and stretch slightly. As long as the cuticular structure is intact, this expansion of stretching is very limited. The cuticular structure limits the water from entering your hair and causing it to swell and break. As long as your cuticles are intact, wetting your hair will only cause a slight, temporary expansion that will go back to normal once hair is dry.

How does having healthy elasticity protect your hair?

Having the correct amount of elasticity allows your hair strands to stay intact without breakage whenever your hair is manipulated mechanically (for example combed, brushed, de-tangled, twisted into a braid, slept on, etc). Elasticity also helps keep the hair structure intact. So if you have curly or wavy hair, your hair’s elasticity allows your hair to comb back to its normal appearance and shape even after washing it, or temporarily straightening it.

blog pic 3

 

What reduces hair elasticity? Weathering due to high shampooing and chemical use

We spoke about how hair porosity increases (excessive shampooing, use of hard water, blow drying, colours and synthetic treatments). The more you subject your hair to these treatments, the faster your hair ages or “weathers”. Just like aging skin loses its elasticity and begins to sag, weathered hair loses its elasticity and becomes porous and dry.

 

So here are Krya’s 3 recommendations to retain your hair’s elasticity:

  1. Pre-treat and Protect your hair from swelling and dehydration and friction that occurs when it is wet

The layer just below the hair’s cuticular structure is called the endocuticle. The endocuticle can absorb a lot of water and swell very fast. Usually in healthy hair, the endocuticle is guarded by 4 – 11 layers of interlocking cuticles. This layer, when intact, reduces the amount of water that reaches the endocuticle so the hair’s welling is controlled. But f your hair is already weathered and has lost parts of its cuticular structure, the endocuticle swells very fast.

Pre-treating hair with a layer of oil helps repel water to some extent and protects the endocuticle from absorbing water too fast. A pre-treatment works best if your hair is oiled atleast an hour before your wash. We also recommend spreading the oil well through the hair by detangling your hair well and combing it so the oil spreads evenly and covers your hair strands well.

blog pic 4

 

  1. Choose a very mild shampoo, that is preferably naturally mildly acidic

Most shampoos are very harsh on hair, and quickly cause cuticular damage. Surprisingly, even no-poo shampoos that depend upon baking soda and vinegar are also harsh on hair, causing rapid swelling of the endocuticle. Natural detergent herbs like Shikakai, Soapberry are better for hair when mixed with the right amount of naturally acidic ad conditioning herbs. They are not as efficient as removing oil as alkaline soaps or shampoos are, and help retain the scalp’s natural pH better.

blog pic 5

 

  1. Prevent hair dehydration at other times

Hair that is even partially porous is quick to lose its natural moisture because of gaps in the cuticular structure. So, if your hair is already weathered due to excessive shampooing, heat based treatments or styling, we advise coating it frequently with a thin layer of oils, especially before you step out. The air-conditioner, strong wind and heat can quickly de-hydrate porous hair, so a thin layer of herbal oil helps seal the hair from drying elements.

This oil is best applied in small quantities on the scalp and at portions of the hair which are very dry like the ends of your hair.

Apart from protective oiling, we also advise covering your hair protecting it from drying wind, heat and the cold.

 

Krya product recommendations for hair with poor elasticity:

The Krya Damage repair hair oil is an excellent hair oil to repair high porosity and improve elasticity if your hair is weathered due to chemical damage. This oil is very suitable for leave in application as a protective layer as well.

blog pic 6

 

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Five simple ways to minimize hair damage from your shampoo

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Reading Time: 7 minutes

It is no secret that we at Krya think a shampoo and a synthetic hair dye are the very 2 worst villains to hit the Hair Universe. A shampoo is to us a much bigger Super Villain than even a synthetic hair dye, simply because it seems so innocuous, pleasant and definitely not scare inducing. This in no way exonerates a synthetic hair dye from being a super villain. So if you spot one, stay away from it, keep your kids, dogs and cats away from it, and lock your doors to prevent its entry into your home!

 

Apart from SLS and SLeS, the industrial degreasers used to clean cars which are the main cleaning agents found in a synthetic shampoo, a shampoo contains other nasty minions. Ethanolamines, parabens, fragrances, DEA, silicones are the many many classes of supper villainous ingredients you are likely to encounter in your shampoo.

1. super villains

Even an industry funded body like the Cosmetics Ingredient review is cautious about the use of ethanolamines in shampoos– they ask users, (i.e. us who love our synthetic shampoo)s, to use Ethanolamines only briefly for very short periods of time, scrub vigorously to ensure there is no residue left on your hair and to not use it continuously.

 

Contrast that with the Shampoo industry’s prevalent paradigm: where we are asked to wash frequently, even every single day, and rinse and repeat shampooing to ensure our hair is “clean”.
One of the properties we have come to fear in some of the most toxic chemicals used on the planet, the pesticides / fungicides / herbicides that are sprayed on your food is this: their ability to persist in the atmosphere, long after they have been used.

And this property of persistence exists even in the products we use on ourselves like our synthetic shampoos.

2. persisitence
A recent paper published by researchers at Cornell University is titled “Molecular cartography of the human skin surface in 3D”. The researchers have attempted to do something utterly fascinating: capture 3D photographs of our microbiome and the chemicals that reside on our skin to understand how the two interact.
As a part of this research, the volunteers were asked to forego shampooing and bathing for a few days and 3D photographs were taken before and after this abstinence.

 

The persistence of SLS on your scalp from your shampoo

In the picture given below, on the male volunteer, SLES persists on the scalp several days after the last shampoo – and we assumed these chemicals would get washed right out.

3.chemcial persisitence

On the female volunteer, avobenzene lingers on her neck several days after a sunscreen was used and washed off, lingering on despite the shower and the soap used after sunscreen application.

We’ve said this before: the skin is one of our key organ groups in protecting our body from invasion. Unfortunately, the skin is also extremely susceptible to the synthetic formulations we apply, rub and wash it with. The dermal route is one of the fastest routes of letting synthetic chemicals bypass your powerful intestinal tract (where they would be made less harmful), and directly invade your major internal organs.
Remember what we had to say about Parabens? 60% of breast cancer tumours were found in the area where deodorants are sprayed – and this area represents only 1/5th of the entre armpit area.

 

Co-incidence? We think not.  We think that everyone should avoid using a synthetic shampoo, and actually any manner of synthetic personal care product. (This may come as a surprise to you, if your have been looking up phrases like a “natural hair fall remedy shampoo”, or an “organic dandruff shampoo” or a “sulphate free shampoo”! )

But if you are still transitioning and can’t seem to give up your synthetic shampoo completely, here is what we suggest.

 

5 ways to protect your hair from your synthetic shampoo:

  1. Start by oiling your hair really well

A good herbal hair oil does many things for you, as we often write about. In Ayurveda, hair oil exists to cool the brain and eyes and regulate pitta dosha. But when you want to protect your hair from your synthetic shampoo, your herbal hair oil is your best friend and hair bodyguard.

Oiling your hair strands and scalp well before using your synthetic shampoo, helps form a fantastic barrier function between your hair and your shampoo. It also gives the SLS in your shampoo something else to work on outside of your hair’s natural sebum, helping leaving your sebum somewhat intact.

4. oiling before shampooing

Also, unoiled hair is very vulnerable to cuticular damage by synthetic shampoo. Pre-oiling helps limit this damage to some extent.

Krya recommends frequent oiling in small doses during the week. For your pre-shampoo oiling, we recommend doing it ideally an hour before washing your hair.

  1. Rinse your hair extremely well with cool water first before using your shampoo

Water is the first cleanser that your hair needs. The cleaner the water, the better for your hair, so avoid salty, hard or chlorinated water as much as possible. Water itself is a very good cleanser, so rinsing your hair thoroughly before shampooing helps remove some part of the dirt, dead cell and grease build-up and excess oil on the hair. Rinsing helps you save on using more shampoo.

5. wash with plain water

Krya recomends: Cool water additionally helps seal your hair shaft so it helps keep your hair’s cuticular structure in decent shape. You should be spending ideally atleast 3 – 5 minutes in the rinsing process.

 

  1. Use less, far less shampoo than recommended. Dilute even this quantity severely.

Most of us over dose on synthetic shampoos.  The foam compels us to over wash with the shampoo even when it is not needed. As we have stated above, shampoos are extremely persistent on hair. And as we are unable to see any residue is left behind, we assume w have washed off the shampoo from our hair, when in fact we have not. And a little goes a long way to both clean and damage your hair.

6.diluted shampoo

Foam does not cleanse your hair. Your surfactant does. Because we are all so addicted to foam, shampoos contain foam boosters to make us think the shampoo is doing a very gentle but through cleansing. As you have been reading, this is far from the truth. Diluting your shampoo will make it foam LESS, but this is MUCH BETTER for your hair.

Krya recommends: halving or quartering the quantity you normally use, and diluting the shampoo by 50% with plain water.

  1. Shampoo less Frequently. Maximum twice a week.

We have all been fed the manufacturer led myth that we ought to be shampooing every single day. We have been threatened that not doing so will make our hair prone to dandruff, make it dirty, increase hair fall, etc. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Frequent washing strains the hair’s sebaceous glands, forcing them to work faster between washes to produce sebum. As you age, when sebum production starts to go down, this tends to become next to impossible for your scalp to keep up with. So, when you over wash, you will find hair becoming oilier between washes when you are younger, and extremely dry as you age.

7. restrict shampooing

This leaves the scalp in a permanent state of imbalance: too oily and attracting dirt and fungal dandruff, or too dry, aggravating dry scalp dandruff and hair that break very easily.

Krya recommends: If you are used to frequent shampooing and want to transition, use plain water to rinse your hair frequently. Restrict shampooing with your synthetic shampoo to once or only twice a week.

 

  1. Here’s what we recommend most of all : switch to a better hairwash product

If using a synthetic shampoo is going to come with so many disclaimers, do you really want to continue using one? Try one of Krya’s all natural hairwashes instead.

Our hair washes come with their own set of disclaimers, but there are a wildly different set of disclaimers from synthetic shampoos. Our hair washes are powders and are super low foaming. We use only natural herbs as surfactants, so they foam only about 20% as much as your synthetic shampoo.

8. a better hairwash

As we use whole herb powders, you might find hairwash residue in your hair if you don’t rinse well. And as we are all used to much stronger shampoos, you may find that the hairwash does not remove oil as well as your synthetic shampoo in the beginning. Our natural hair washes have a transition period, but once you get over this phase, you will find that they work really well to cleanse your hair WITHOUT the side effects that a synthetic shampoo has.

Oh, and did we mention: you can skip the conditioner with our hair washes!

Krya’s range of natural haircare products can be explored here:

 

 

 

 

 

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3 hair oiling myths we want to shatter (and why hair oiling is great for you)

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Reading Time: 7 minutes

I just read this piece on Seth Godin’s blog and it resonated greatly with me. In this piece, Seth says that when we want to bring in a positive change, we often forget that this brings in discomfort. And acknowledging this discomfort helps everyone get on board with the positive change we are trying to bring in.

 

Discomfort or atleast an initial sense of un-ease goes hand in hand with a truly natural beauty routine. For example, the idea of a truly natural, synthetics free shampoo is exciting to almost everyone. But, when people see the Krya range of hairwashes (which are truly natural), they are disconcerted by the idea of using a powder based hairwash. And as we have said before, it DOES take some initial getting used to.

 

However, to make a truly natural shampoo which is genuinely free from synthetic surfactants, TEA, DEA, silicones, fragrances, and preservatives, we can only make a powder hairwash. Only this format ensures the product is stable, has a reasonable shelf life and does not spoil easily.

1.powder hairwash

 

Similarly, EVERONE is now disconcerted by our assertion that hair oiling is essential not just for a healthy scalp and hair but for the entire body.  Unfortunately, when it comes to hair oils, this unease is driven by 2 reasons: a) the feeling that our hair will be sticky and not look fashionable AND  b) because we have now become convinced that hair oiling is unnecessary and can cause harm to our hair and scalp.

 

So today’s blog post will examine a few of these hair oiling myths, and we will provide both Ayurvedic and personal experiences to tell you just why hair oiling can be your biggest growth hair weapon.  Read on.

 

Myth 1: Regular oiling attracts dirt and clogs the scalp

There is an optimum level of oiling for every scalp and this varies depending upon season, humidity levels, how frequently you are shampooing your hair, how drying and stripping your shampoo is, your diet and the time of the month (for women). With such a sensitive, changing variation in sebum levels, it is no wonder that sometimes we could get it wrong.

 

Also, given the level of dust, pollution and our tendency to commute a lot, it is also no secret that a lot of this dust and pollution will find its way into every exposed part of our body including our skin and hair.

 

But here’s another interesting fact: our face will attract the same amount of dirt, and in fact far more than our scalp will as it is not covered by hair. Yet, we are consistently told by the beauty industry to moisturise, use serums and also use thick greasy sun blocks and sunscreens. Surely a simple, natural hair oil is not going to be greasier or more dirt attracting compared to all these products, correct?

2. dirt magnet

 

Plus, when we apply thick leave on hair serums or silicone based leave in conditioners, they are equally sticky and can attract dirt.

 

So it seems that the beauty industry and allied beauty service experts (salon stylists, dermatologists, and trichologists) are being extremely selective when it comes to dismissing oil because of its “special dirt attracting property”.

 

Here is what Ayurveda says about the Keshya abhyanga (practice of hair oiling):

At a superficial level, Keshya abhyanga helps in 2 aspects: improves circulation of the scalp and re-energizes the small blood vessels that supply nutrients to the scalp. It also helps to physically lift dirt away from the scalp and ensure it is washed away during bath, leaving the scalp clean and free from bacteria and insects.

3.hair oiling

 

At a more profound level, Keshya abhyanga helps to cool the scalp, channel excess heat out of the scalp through the numerous minute orifices present in the scalp. And we will explore more about this below.

 

BUT: all the above information is contingent on 2 things:

  1. The choice of the right hair oil for your scalp and hair type and external surroundings
  2. Usage of the correct amount of hair oil for your scalp

If the right choices are not made in these 2 things, then hair oiling will not work well for you.

 

Myth 2: Hair Oiling increases dandruff in the hair

We have written extensively about dandruff before. As we have said, there are 2 types of dandruff:

Dry dandruff:

The first kind is what is most common today and about 75% of those who believe they have dandruff, suffer from this kind. This dandruff is called “dry dandruff” and presents itself as a constantly shedding scalp with dry, small, white, powdery flakes.

This dandruff occurs exclusively due to 3 reasons: excessive shampooing, lack of hair oiling or because of scalp irritation due to SLS and SLeS in your shampoo.

4. dry dandruff

The cure for this dandruff is to oil MORE, shampoo LESS and ELIMINATE the use of SLS and SLeS based shampoos.

 

Oily Dandruff:

The second kind of dandruff, which is less common, is the oily dandruff which is caused by fungal organisms like Malassezia furfur which feeds on and metabolises the sebum on the scalp. This dandruff is creamy – yellow in colour with large visible flakes that are oily in nature.

Here the hair products used need to 3 things: bring down the conditions of growth for the fungal micro organism, regularise sebum production and cut down the thickening of the scalp.

As these fungal organisms thrive in the presence of sweet, nourishing food mediums, the scalp should not be oiled with regular oils like coconut oil, almond oil, etc. These oils provide a bountiful growth medium for fungal micro organisms and will increase their growth.

5. coconut oil for oily dandruff

 

Ayurveda recommends the use of specific bitter herbs to cut down fungal growth and balance sebum levels for this kind of dandruff. Typically the hair oil should contain bitters like Neeli (Indigofera tinctoria), Nimba (Azadarichta indica), Indravalli (Cardiospermum halicacapum), etc. When these herbs are used in the right base oil, they have the property of completely eliminating the fungal organism and treating the dandruff within 2 – 3 months.

6. Oily dandruff

At Krya, we have seen the most stubborn of dandruff respond very well to the bitters and herbs used in the Krya anti dandruff system.

 

Myth 3: Hair Oiling has no inherent purpose. It is unnecessary and useless.

We have spoken earlier in this piece about the benefits of hair oiling.  Hair responds to the stimuli given to us and by our environment and is reactive in its growth. Similarly, our hair also acts as a barometer of our dosha balance and inner health. It is the quickest organ system to respond and show changes in its structure and appearance to indicate when pitta is out of balance (hair greying and thinning), when vata is out of balance (dryness of hair and scalp, split ends, breakage and tangling) or when kapha is out of balance (high hair fall, dandruff, poor hair growth, etc).

7. oiling treats imbalances

 

In Ayurveda, specific herbs are prescribed for each of these conditions. Herbs like Amla and Bhringaraj are usually indicated for pitta increased conditions. Herbs like Yashtimadhu (Indian liquorice) and Brahmi (Indian pennywort) are indicated for high vata conditions. Herbs like Neem, Indravalli are indicated when Kapha is high.

 

Besides illnesses, certain modern chemical treatments can also damage hair. Excessive shampooing dries out the scalp creating a high vata like imbalance. Frequent hair colouring and alkali based treatments increase the pitta in hair and vata in hair causing hair thinning, severe hair greying and loose, weak hair with high hair fall.

8.chemical damage

 

In each of these conditions as well, using the right hair oil with the right herbs can greatly benefit hair, treat the imbalance locally and reverse hair weakness. When the underlying dosha imbalance is corrected in the body as well, by following Dinacharya routines like the Abhyanga and by adopting the right diet and lifestyle corrections, we can see a complete reversal of the hair symptoms.

 

To conclude:

Any practice or product when taken out of its underlying system or context makes no apparent sense. Hair oiling makes sense when viewed in the Ayurvedic lens as a practice adopted to heal the entire body and aid hair growth.

In this context, Ayurveda recommends that hair oiling be done using specific herbs, specific base oils and applied in a particular way for each condition to be treated. When followed this way, hair oiling works precisely and specifically helping treat your hair and health condition.

hair oil benefits

 

When hair oiling is taken out of context and non permitted substances like Mineral oil are used without any understanding of the base oils or herbs to be sued, then obviously the hair oil does not work well for you.

But it is important to understand here that improper hair oiling or hair products did not work for you. The system of Ayurveda or the hoary practice of hair oiling is not to blame. When used well, as we have seen consistently at Krya, hair oiling works wonders in many kinds of hair issues from premature greying to hairfall related to illnesses.

We hope this post gave you a glimpse into just how powerful a practice hair oiling is and how Ayurveda helps us formulate different kinds of hair oils for different hair problems.


Krya’s extensive range of ayurvedic hair oils can be explored here:

 

 

 

 

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What your breakfast can tell you about your hair: Ayurvedic eating fundamentals

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Reading Time: 8 minutes

Millets have made a wonderful come back across India, with a lot of extensive research now available on the health benefits of various millets, the micro nutrients in the millets, and their satiety factor. It is no wonder that when we ask for diet charts from consumers who come to consult us on skin and hair, we see a preponderance of Millets among consumers who believe in eating healthy.

1.millets health fad

 

In most cases, we advice that these consumers cut back on Millets and we are met with major disappointment from the consumers end. Many of these people have been told that regular cereals of choice like rice and wheat are nutritionally poor and Millets are far better, healthier and good for them. Therefore, in their zeal to improve their health and their family’s health, these consumers completely ban conventional cereals in their home and substitute this with Millets.

 

Why do we advise against excessive consumption of Millets? How is this linked to good health, good skin and good hair? We will examine this in today’s post.

 

Basic Ayurvedic framework:

We have spoken extensively about the Ayurvedic framework behind health. So I am going to repeat this very briefly. We are all made up of 5 basic elements: these 5 basic elements combine to form 3 doshas (humours) in the body. The combination of these 3 doshas decides our prakriti / constitution.

2.basic ayurvedic framework

So if we have a predominance of fire, we would be called a Pitta prakriti. If we had a dominance of air and space, we would be called Vata Prakriti. A predominance of water and earth makes us a Kapha prakriti. We can also be combinations of 2 or even three doshas, with one dosha being more dominant over the other.

 

The importance of Vata dosha:

Vata dosha is a primary dosha to examine when we have dis-ease. Acharya Sushruta and Acharya Charaka say that 50% (or more) of human illnesses are due to the derangement of Vata dosha. Vata dosha becomes even more important for city dwellers, because the Ayurvedic texts say that cities are already high in Vata dosha. So for a city dweller, where the environment itself is high in vata dosha , it is very easy to have your own body’s vata dosha aggravated when improper food is taken or proper lifestyle practices are not followed.

3.city living vata

 

Whenever vata dosha is deranged, it also quickly helps derange the other 2 doshas as well. Therefore all Ayurvedic preventive healthcare looks at reining in vata dosha through external and internal means.

 

What happens when Vata dosha is aggravated?

Vata dosha is the dosha that brings in dryness, dullness, brittleness and pain, when it is aggravated. It is also the dosha that governs all movement, physical energy and a positive mental attitude. So whenever Vata dosha is impaired, we see extreme darkening of the skin, dryness and dullness of skin and hair, a tendency of the hair to break and get damaged easily.

4. dry hair

We also see joint aches and pains, a lack of energy, a feeling of tiredness, and improper digestion or constipation.

 

Why does Vata dosha get aggravated in a stressful job?

We have many consumers who work in IT and Finance where the job entails very long hours, being available on the phone for a long time, a long commute and uncertain eating hours. Vata dosha is the dosha that governs all mental activity and mental stimulation.

5.corporate life

Typically working with a laptop or a Smartphone excites and energises vata dosha. When this is compounded with a long commute, a cold air conditioned environment and uncertain eating timings, we have all the elements that can over stimulate vata dosha and push it over the edge.

 

How can my diet help control Vata Dosha?

Vata has 6 properties: roughness, dryness. Lightness, coldness, hardness, coarseness and non-sliminess. Ayurveda says that foods which have the same property as vata dosha are vata promoting in nature. So if your vata dosha is already high, eating vata promoting foods will aggravate vata dosha further.

 

Example 1: Millets

Ayurveda considers Millets dry, rough, coarse and slightly hard to digest compared to Rice and Wheat. Traditionally, Millets are sprouted, roasted and made into flour to make them easier to digest, or soaked, made into a liquid batter and fermented before eating. These are practices meant to make the millets easier to digest and to not put a strain on the digestion.

 

Millets are also in many areas consumed in cold season. For example certain kinds of millets are typical winter foods in Rajasthan and parts of Gujarat. This is because Ayurveda teaches us that digestive ability is extremely high in winter. This gives our body the power to digest even difficult to digest Millet preparations.

6.bajre ki roti

 

Specific millets are paired along with fermented foods like buttermilk and drunk in Summer  as a porridge in states like Tamilnadu and Karnataka. These millets are Kambu (Pearl Millet) and Ragi (Finger Millet). These millets are prepared as roasted and sprouted flour and then cooked into a thin porridge like consistency and then mixed with fermented buttermilk. The mixture is traditionally considered both satiating, cooling and easy to digest. However, it is always drunk in the morning., which is a time when digestion is much more stronger.

 

7.kambu kanji

 

In lifestyle diseases like Diabetes, Ayurveda says that the body is very high in kapha dosha (earth and water). Therefore foods given in this disease are mean to be light, rough and drying in order to balance the Kapha dosha. So here, Millets are a very good dietary substitute to conventional cereals.

 

If you do not fall into any of the above categories, and have simply substituted rice with millets, then you may be aggravating your vata dosha further. If you already have hair and skin dryness, brittleness and lack of healthy growth, then you should be consuming less millets and not more.

 

The safe way to include Millets in your diet is in moderation. Do not consume more than twice a week. Try and make millet preparations using flours or the fermentation technique to avoid straining your digestive system. Ensure that you eat Millets only as a warm preparation with plenty of ghee to reduce its vata aggravating properties.

 

Example 2: Dry breakfasts like Cereal, granola bars and Bread

Most of us have moved to the system of 3 meals a day with breakfast being the first meal of the day. A well cooked, well planned breakfast can give us a good jump start to the day. Similarly, a breakfast that aggravates one dosha can worsen its effects and make us feel worse.

 

Most working people opt for an instant, ready to eat breakfast as it saves times. However, breakfast foods like instant cereal, cornflakes, granola bars or even bread are considered very high in Vata dosha. This is because all these foods have the same property as Vata dosha: they are rough, cold, crisp, brittle, light and bind water (reducing its availability in the system).

8.breakfast cereal

 

Again, if you are already suffering from the effects of aggravated Vata dosha, it is far better to go for a freshly cooked, traditional Indian breakfast (upma, poha, idly, cheela, etc). If eating cereal, cornflakes, granola or breads are unavoidable, always follow these suggestions:

  • Eat vata aggravating foods warm. This somewhat brings down their Vata nature. Eating cereal with cold milk will only aggravate Vata.
  • Eat vata aggravating foods after making them soft in some manner. For example, bread can be buttered well and warmed, or ghee can be added. Cereal can be soaked for sometime in warm milk until it becomes slightly soggy before eating. Making the food soft brings down its Vata nature slightly.
  • Reduce the particle size of the food to make it easier to digest. So you can crumble the granola bar well and soak it in warm milk. Mashed and soft food is kinder on the stomach.
  • Add warm ghee to all vata aggravating food – this helps make it easier to digest and reduces its vata aggravating nature slightly.
  • Avoid making vata aggravating foods harder or crisper – so dry toast, crisps, or fried bread is not advised.

9.dry crisp foods

 

External oil application: the other Key to controlling Vata dosha

Apart from diet control, an Abhyanga is a key practice to controlling excess vata dosha. Regular Abhyanga atleast twice a week physically restrains vata dosha, brings all 3 doshas to the right balance and promotes harmony and good health.

10. oil application

With this practice, you will see visible effects of vata in balance: your skin and hair will be healthy, supple and well moisturised. Your energy levels will be high and consistent, your digestive ability will be good, and your physical fatigue will reduce dramatically.

 

Vata dosha’s primary seat is your skin. This is why external oil application is so helpful in controlling Vata dosha. Even if your vata aggravation is felt elsewhere (for example dry, brittle hair), an abhyanga on the body will help control the overall vata dosha and bring your hair back to health.

11.vata pacification

 

The Abhyanga is such a key health giving practice that the Acharyas have put the abhyanga in our Dinacharya list.  A practice that can be followed by anyone, irrespective of age or gender, every day for health and well being. Tuesdays and Fridays are prescribed Abhyanga days for Women and Wednesdays and Saturdays are prescribed Abhyanga days for Men. These days are prescribed if you are unable to find the time to do an Abhyanga every single day.

12.abhyanga days

 

An abhyanga must be done in a sesame based oil for the face and body. The oil should preferably use Vata reducing herbs that help balance Vata dosha and bring all 3 doshas back to balance.

13.krya abhyanga oil

 

To conclude:

We hope this post on controlling vata Dosha was both enlightening and useful for you. With the fragmentation and splintering of knowledge, we are often bombarded from all directions with health and wellness advice. Some of this may not be appropriate or right for us.

 

Ayurveda gives us a fantastic framework to understand both our constitution and determine what foods, practices and behaviours can give us health and well being. As a part of our work at Krya, we try and disseminate this information in an interesting and engaging manner. We continue to hold firmly onto our belief that the principles of Ayurveda are both timeless and relevant. We believe that Ayurveda alone holds the key to giving us a life of holistic health, harmony and well being.

 

We hope this post gave you a glimpse into the relevance that Ayurveda continues to hold for us. We also hope that the post gives you a new lens to look at your health and inspires you to take charge of your own health.

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How a regular self oil massage (abhyanga) can help reduce 3 kinds of hairfall – Krya shares insights from Ayurveda

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Reading Time: 9 minutes

Our last post, and many of our past posts and hints have triggered an avalanche of questions on the Abhyanga, and why we so strongly promote it. Modern life itself seems to go against the grain of adopting something that is so traditional and seemingly old fashioned as the abhyanga. So why do we at Krya persist, and continue to talk about the abhyanga?

This is because we have seen the life improving and health giving benefits of a regular abhyanga first hand and have also heard from our customers about the benefits they have experienced with a regular abhyanga.

1.abhyanga

This is also because we have seen that a regular abhyanga can aid and help any hair programme suggested by us, and can help restore hair health much faster and in a more holistic manner. We will look at how an Abhyanga can help 3 different kinds of hairfall in this post, and what are the special precautions to be taken for each kind of abhyanga.

 

  1. An abhyanga to reduce and rectify pitta related hair thinning and premature hair greying

Premature hair greying and hair thinning is considered a sign of aggravated Pitta dosha in the body. Pitta dosha is responsible for mental sharpness, intellect, courage, decisiveness, complexion, blood and hair colour. So when our work or life situations demand a lot of this dosha, or if are exposed to high heat, or if we eat foods that aggravate Pitta dosha, we can push this dosha out of control.

2.pitta dosha

 

To combat hair greying and hair thinning, we advise regular hair oiling with the Krya classic hair oil, or the Krya conditioning hair oil or the Krya harmony hair oil depending upon the hair type. All these 3 oils contain a high amount of Amla that is very useful in controlling excess Pitta.

3. Krya hair oils with amla

 

In addition, a weekly abhyanga done in the first hour after sunrise is extremely useful to control Pitta dosha further. When this is done regularly, you will notice a strong reduction in body temperature to levels where you do not sweat excessively, feel very hot or have any burning sensation. The abhyanga helps reduce Pitta dosha by stimulating the production of sweat and urine which carries out excess heat out of the body. Together with hair oiling, this strongly helps control premature hair greying (if detected early), when it is due to pitta aggravation.

 

Special notes for Abhyanga that is done for hair thinning and premature greying:

  • Ensure that the Abhyanga is done as early as possible, within the first hour of sunrise.

4.abhyanga sunrise

  • This ensures that there is enough time given during the day to allow the release of excess heat from the body.
  • Stay indoors and do not expose yourself to additional heat.
  • Do not eat pitta aggravating foods on this day like red chillies, green chillies, tamarind, curd, mangoes, raw mangoes and kokum. Avoid sour, salty and spicy food on this day.

5. avoid spicy food

 

  • Drink water whenever thirsty to ensure there is adequate urination so that excess heat is released.
  • Do not do any strong, heat increasing exercise on this day like long distance running, intense gymming, etc.
  • Do NOT sleep in the afternoon after abhyanga – this will trap excess heat inside the body and give you a headache, and further worsen premature hair greying. This is also a good practice for any abhyanga.

 

  1. An abhyanga to help hairfall related to PCOD and PCOS

PCOD is a collection of symptoms that includes either a lack of menstruation or irregular cycles, presence of ovarian cysts or other associated symptoms along with these like acne, weight gain, hair loss, male pattern balding and hirsutism.

Vata and kapha imbalance are two prominent reasons for PCOD. Apana vayu is the type of vata that governs all downward flow of material in the body like bowel movement, urine and menstrual flow. In PCOD, the flow of Apana vayu may be improper. Or, the flow of vayu (air) may be extremely strong and aggravated where it could pull kapha dosha from its normal resting place in the chest, so kapha dosha forms into small vesicles that become ovarian cysts. As kapha dosha moves from the chest to the uterine area, it pulls pitta dosha that is usually present in the stomach. So PCOD sees aggravation of all 3 doshas. Kapha and pitta dosha together cause a strong and intensive hair loss that presents as male pattern baldness.

In PCOD related hairfall, we recommend the Krya intense hair system of products that include the Krya Intense hair oil, Krya Intense hair wash and Krya intense hairwash that help with this pitta-kapha hair loss.

7. Krya intense hair system

In addition, we have consistently seen that a regular Abhyanga strongly helps PCOD related hairfall. This is because the regular abhyanga balances and restores Apana vayu, which is the primary culprit behind PCOD. Abhyanga is the best cure for any vata related disorder, so this is why PCOD related hairfall responds so well to a regular abhyanga.

8.pcod abhyanga

Special notes for Abhyanga that is done for hair fall and slow hair growth due to PCOD:

  • Ensure that the Abhyanga is done with warm oil. The Krya abhyanga oil should be heated in a water bath and not directly for best results.
  • Ensure the abhyanga is done in a full closed room without any air draughts and after switching off the fan and the a.c. This ensures that there is no excess vayu aggravation after the abhyanga
  • Eat a light, easy to digest meal on the day of the abhyanga. Avoid kapha and vata stimulating foods like fried foods, sweets, curds, maida based foods, etc.
  • Do light and easy household work on any form of physical work during the day of the abhyanga. This work should not strain you or tire you out, but should engage you and keep you moving and active.

9.light physical work

 

  • Drink warm liquids and eat warm foods on this day. Avoid exposure to the a.c. as much as possible and avoid eating cold or stale foods and drinks: these include processed foods, ice creams, sweets, cold drinks etc.
  • Avoid exposure to cold and drying winds as much as possible on this day: these include using the air conditioner for long periods and driving long distances with the wind blowing in your face.

9.light physical work

 

  1. An abhyanga to help hair fall with hair breakage, split ends and vata aggravated dryness

Hair that is excessively dry suffers from split ends and breaks easily when being combed or brushed with a dry scalp is usually considered as hair suffering from aggravated vata dosha.

Vata dosha is essential in a healthy body to promote mobility, intellect, creativity and speed. Vata is often called the companion dosha as it helps transport and moves the other 2 doshas of pitta and kapha which are immobile without Vata. Vata therefore governs the seat of the muladhara chakra in the body – the kidneys, uterus, and all organs of downward movement (faeces, urine, and blood).

11. vata dosha

 

Therefore any disturbance in Vata always affects all downward movements in the body – limbs, walking, joints, periods, bowel movements, etc.

Cities and people living in cities naturally have an excess of Vata. Vata dosha governs the qualities of wind, space, and actions associated with air like speech and hearing. So when we utilise transport to commute long distances, use our speech and hearing in excess (with most office and creative jobs), use objects that excite the sense organs and involve creativity like a computer, mobile phone, Ipad, we are engaging with our Vata dosha – if this engagement is not balanced and does not give our Vata dosha a chance to calm down, we would have excited it to the point of excess.

12.vata dosha excitement

 

When vata is extremely aggravated in the body, we can see many different symptoms like high mental stress, an inability to sleep properly, constant fatigue, skin darkening and excessively dry skin and dry scalp. When we further do chemical treatments like hair colouring or use synthetic shampoos on this already dry hair and scalp, we aggravate teh condition further.

 

For vata aggravated hair, we generally advise frequent oiling with the Krya conditioning hair oil, and in the case of excessive mental stress or high use of electronic devices, we suggest using the Krya harmony hair oil. Both oils are designed to treat vata type hair and with regular use bring down extreme dryness, nourish the hair and reduce the occurrence of hair breakage and split ends.

13. Krya harmony hair oil

It is extremely beneficial to add a frequent abhyanga to treat this dryness even more thoroughly. As we have mentioned above, the skin is a primary seat of vata dosha, so when we massage the skin with a warm herbal oil, we are instantly treating aggravated vata dosha and are bringing it down to more harmonious levels.

 

The addition of an abhyanga helps treat hair and scalp dryness in a much quicker and much more wholesome manner.  It also corrects any vata aggravation across the rest of the body and helps induce restful sleep and calms the entire body down.

14.abhaynga vata 

Special notes for Abhyanga that is done for hair fall due to dryness, hair breakage and excessive split ends:

  • Ensure that the Abhyanga is done with warm oil. The Krya abhyanga oil should be heated in a water bath and not directly for best results.

15. warm oil

  • Ensure the abhyanga is done in a full closed room without any air draughts and after switching off the fan and the a.c. This ensures that there is no excess vayu aggravation after the abhyanga
  • Eat a light, easy to digest meal on the day of the abhyanga. Avoid vata stimulating foods like potatoes, millets, biscuits, and any dry, hard and crisp / brittle foods. .
  • Ensure you include warm melted ghee in all meals on this day (atleast 1 teaspoon per meal)
  • Reduce electronic stimulation strongly this day as much as possible. Set a device cut off for yourself this day.
  • Drink warm liquids and eat warm foods on this day. Avoid eating cold or stale foods and drinks: these include processed foods, ice creams, sweets, cold drinks etc.

16.warm liquids

 

  • Limit exposure to wind and coldness as much as possible. If AC is unavoidable, dress warm to ensure your body does not go dry again.
  • Eat your meals on time and ensure you sleep two hours after dinner, preferably before 10:30 pm on this day. This will ensure vata dosha settles down and you get good restful sleep

 

To conclude:

In this post, we have described only 3 types of hairfall that can be helped greatly by having an abhyanga. However, in our experience, an abhyanga helps many many other conditions including depression, post partum mothers, people with high mental stress, sports people to reduce their rate of injuries, babies and children to improve immunity and aid growth and to nourish and vitalise older people with high fatigue and tiredness.

17.abhaynga - to sum up

 

An abhyanga is an extremely important Dinacharya, and in the true Ayurvedic tradition helps extend both ayu (life) and Ayush (health).  We hope, that this through this post, we have been able to convey to you some of the benefits of this Dinacharya. We also hope you are inspired to adopt this Dinacharya and enjoy the benefits for yourself.


Krya products recommended for you and your family’s abhyanga:

For adults:

5. womens abhyanga system

MEn's abhyanga system

 

For Babies (age: 0 – 1 years):

11-baby-ubtan

 

For Kids & Toddlers (age – 1 +):

  1. Krya traditional baby massage oil with Bala & Ashwagandha
  2. Krya Fragrant Kids Ubtan with Gotu Kola & Cassia Flower

12-kids-ubtan

Please note: If you , your family members or your child has skin prone to eczema, dermatitis or psoriasis, please write to us for other product options.

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How the Krya hair care routine works to reverse your hair damage and grow strong hair: Dump your toxic shampoo today !

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Reading Time: 11 minutes

My hair felt much softer and smoother with a synthetic shampoo. I read that it is so bad and contains so many harmful ingredients. Then why does my hair feel better when using a synthetic shampoo and so rough when I use a pure natural hairwash like the Krya hairwash or if I use a mixture of herbs?

If you too have felt this way, then this post should be useful for you and provide you with a few insights on how shampoos are formulated, why they are formulated this way and why despite the temporary good feeling of using a shampoo, you should consider switching to a natural product like the Krya hairwash.

1. synthetic shampoos

 

In the beginning we only had herbs:

Civilisation as we know it has been around for 1000s of years. In these many thousand years, despite the invention of soaps, these were never used to cleanse skin or hair. You can read about the history of soap in our earlier post. Soaps were prized for their ability to clean and  to launder linen and were always considered extremely harsh and unfit for personal use.

 

Indian civilisation which records many firsts including the discovery of the zero, advanced mathematical and astronomical progress, high progress in surgery, medicine and hygiene, never used a synthetic soap and a shampoo for either laundry or personal use. This is despite the fact that the procedure to make a lye based soap has been around for atleast 5000 years and would have been easy to make and accessible across India.

2. herbal smoke

 

We instead used a rich variety of herbs for different kinds of cleansing in India. In India cleaning was multifaceted: we cleansed our person, our laundry, our floors and even our air using herbal smoke. Many of the herbs used were also edible and could be used to solve dis-eases. This meant that we only used extremely safe, tried and tested herbs that could be eaten.

 

This obviously meant that we were not harming our body, our hair or our skin. This also meant that we did not pollute the soil, water or the earth in our quest to clean and care for ourselves.

 

The birth of the synthetic shampoo (and hair problems):

The harmonious situation we described in the previous paragraph came to an end when Hans Schwarzkopf, a German, invented the first liquid shampoo in 1927. Initially a liquid shampoo was simply a watery soap. This made the preparation strongly alkaline and extremely harsh on hair. So in 20 years, shampoo formulations “evolved” to use synthetic surfactants like Sodium Lauryl Sulphate and Sodium Laureth Sulphate.

3. shampoos

 

Little did we know when we all agreed to this change that we were merely substituting hair roughness and damage for far more insidious long term side effects like dermatitis, with SLS. You can read much more about how much damage SLS and SLeS do to hair, skin and the earth in our previous posts.

 

The fallouts of using a synthetic shampoo

Many of us have come to appreciate the feeling of using a synthetic shampoo. A shampoo and a conditioner give the hair an instant feeling of smoothness. There is no external serration or roughness when we wash or comb our hair.

However, with repeated washing, we notice that the sebum secretion in the hair either becomes excessive or very poor. So as a result we suffer from either extremely oily hair or very dry scalp and hair with constant itching and flaking. There is also a slowing down in hair growth. We may also notice hair breakage, frizziness and hair thinning.

4. rough dry hair

Why is it that our hair quality worsens so much internally , but the external appearance and smoothness is maintained when we use a synthetic shampoo?

 

The natural composition of Sebum: the first target of a synthetic shampoo on your scalp

We have spoken about how the surfactants in a synthetic shampoo dry out the secretions of your scalp’s sebaceous glands. Sebum, produced by our scalp is not a simple oil. It is a complex mixture of triglycerides, waxy esters, and metabolic secretions of fats along with squalene. This mixture of substances forms sebum and this helps lubricate our skin and hair.

 

Depending on the weather and temperature, sebum changes in structure. For e.g.: In rainy weather, there is a greater production of fat based cells which act as a waterproof layer for skin and hair.

5. raincoat

This intelligent, skin and hair protecting secretion is mercilessly stripped dry whenever we use a synthetic surfactant based shampoo or a soap on our skin. The harsh detergent in the shampoo does not have the ability to remove only excess sebum. Instead it completely strips hair of the sebaceous secretion forcing the sebaceous glands to repeatedly waste energy re-producing the sebum.

Natural sebum in the right quantity gives hair a healthy sheen. It gives the right amount of oily coating to the hair to ensure that hair does not build up static, or go dry and frizzy. It maintains the synergistic bacteria on our skin and scalp by giving them nutritive substances. It keeps hair strands healthy and does not allow hair to go dry thereby facilitating hair growth and health.

Most importantly: as the sebum composition is decided by the body using intelligence, it is able to anticipate the needs of the body and vary its composition accordingly.

 

Plasticizers and silicone based conditioners: a poor substitute to natural sebum

The consistent use of synthetic shampoo tampers with the natural production of sebum and alters how much is produced, by either drying out the sebaceous glands or excessively increasing sebum. This means that without this sebum and with the excessively harsh detergents in the shampoo, the hair is bound to go completely dry and get damaged.

To ensure that the hair does not look too dry or damaged, a shampoo uses silicone based hair coating substances in the shampoo.

6. silicones

 

Dimethicone: PolyDimethylSiloxane (PDMS) (a silicone used in moisturising skin care and shampoos)

A typical example of this kind of silicone is Dimethicone, which is found across many leading shampoo brands. Dimethicone is an industrial emulsifier found in putty, certain food brands and across skin and hair care products, in heat resistant tiles, in herbicides and hydraulic fluids. Dimethicone is an emulsifier and provides a smooth coating on skin and hair, which is why it is so favoured in the cosmetic industry.

Dimethicone when applied on hair forms a synthetic plastic like coating with a reflective shine. This coats over breaks in the hair’s cuticles and gives us a smooth gliding effect. This makes us believe that our hair is much healthier and well maintained than what it actually is.

The important thing to note here is that our hair is still damaged. Dimethicone is only forming a layer over the damage preventing us from observing the damage.

 

Concerns in the use of silicones in skin and hair care products

When used on hair, silicones can aggravate the sebaceous glands, stimulating aggressive sebum production. This can create a breeding ground for fungal attacks on the scalp leading to sebborheic dermatitis or stubborn fungal dandruff.

7. itchy scalp

Silicones can interfere with the natural function of the skin and scalp by preventing temperature regulation and the interaction of the skin and the scalp with the environment.

In skin, silicones can also lead to breakouts and acne as the plasticky coating can trap dirt and bacteria close to the skin.

 

The Indian hair secret: ours for thousands of years, and now fast disappearing

A few paragraphs before, we made the statement that in the beginning we all used herbs to cleanse ourselves. And this has worked pretty well until the last 50 years for all of us, especially Indians.

8. indian hair

Indians discovered synthetic shampoos quite late in the day (around the mid 1990s) and synthetic conditioners even later (for the last 15 years). This explains in part why Indian hair was so prized over the world for its health, texture, length and colour. Until today, Indian hair is exported across the globe to make wigs and human hair extensions for the rest of the world which has suffered from hair damage from a much longer use of synthetic hair products.

 

The secret behind healthy Indian hair was simple: We followed the Ayurvedic method of cleansing the hair.

 

Ayurvedic hair cleansing – first oil the hair with a good hair oil

Ayurveda recommends generous and frequent oiling of hair with a natural herb infused oil made using cold pressed vegetable oils like coconut and sesame. As we have described before, this hair oiling is good for us for several reasons.

Apart from supporting the sebaceous glands, assisting the scalp’s nutrition and naturally conditioning and strengthening hair, hair oiling also helps cool the scalp and the eyes and helps balance pitta dosha in the body. As we have discussed before, when pitta dosha goes out of control, our hair starts to thin down, goes grey and loses its natural colour.

9. krya hair system

 

Hair oiling is an extremely important part of Ayurvedic hair care. Hair is never supposed to be left “dry” in Ayurveda as the body is always generating excess heat in the form of the brain and the eye’s activity. This excess heat is released through the scalp which means that hair is constantly subjected to internal heat.

When this internal heat is left unchecked, hair can go dry, brittle and lose its colour and strength.

 

Ayurvedic hair cleansing 2: wash using the right combination of herbs

The second part to cleansing and maintaining your hair is to use the right combination of Ayurvedic herbs to wash your hair. We have written in detail in earlier posts on how an Ayurvedic hair wash is formulated very differently from a synthetic shampoo.

A synthetic shampoo mainly has 3 kinds of ingredients: a detergent to clean hair, silicones to coat hair and hide the damage caused by the detergent and colours and fragrances to trick you into thinking the shampoo is a luxurious and safe product to use.

10. krya hair wash

A natural hairwash like Krya’s range of hairwashes on the other hand have many different kinds of herbs to perform different functions: release excess heat, gently remove excess oil and dirt, restore the acid mantle of hair, improve hair growth, and clean the srotas (minor skin openings) in the scalp well so that the scalp is able to perform all its normal functions.

All these functions are achieved using edible grains and lentils and carefully chosen, hair improving herbs.

 

Differences between Ayurvedic hair care and synthetic hair care

There are a few critical differences between Ayurvedic hair care and synthetic chair care. For one, there are no herbs chosen purely for “fragrance”, lather” or “providing a good experience”.

For example Krya uses shade dried organic red rose petals in the Krya Classic hair wash which have a beautiful natural fragrance. The rose is used in the formulation to balance excess pitta on the scalp, and provide an astringent effect on the scalp so that the hair is able to deeply root into the scalp.

11. rose in classic hairwash

Similarly, an Ayurvedic hair care product will not contain fake ingredients like silicones to hide hair damage. So when you first move to a natural hair care product like one of Krya’s hair washes, your hair may seem much rougher than it did when washing it with a synthetic shampoo. This is merely the truth. What your Krya natural hairwash is revealing is the current , damaged state of your hair.

However, with careful oil application, a good diet and a consistent use of our hairwash products, many of our consumers have observed a reversal in this hair damage. In 1 – 2 months, your hair will start feeling much smoother and in better health as the damaged cuticles have been assisted in repairing themselves.

12. herbal hair oil

Also, an Ayurvedic hair wash product like Krya’s hairwash can seem much more difficult to apply on the hair and scalp at first. This is because our hairwash is formulated without synthetic emulsifiers and thickeners which give synthetic shampoo its heft and thickness. As with all good things, it takes a little bit of practice to get used to this format. Along with the obvious hair benefits, by eschewing the use of these synthetics we are also able to reduce the toxic load on your body by using purely herbs, lentils and grains in our hairwash products.

 

OK, I am convinced. What should I start with and how long will it take for me to see results on my hair?

Phew! We are glad you were able to see the benefits behind using pure natural and synthetic free products like ours. We have designed 5 types of hair care products in Krya for different hair needs. We recommend starting with the oil and the hairwash from each system for a start. If your hair is in bad shape and needs resuscitation, we recommend using the hair mask as well from the system you choose.

  1. If your hair is normal to oily and requires frequent washing, or is greying or thinning, choose the Krya Classic hair range
  2. If your hair is normal to dry, tends to tangle easily, breaks easily and is frizzy or dry, choose the Krya conditioning hair range
  3. If your hair has severe and stubborn dandruff, choose the Krya anti dandruff range
  4. If your hair has been chemically treated frequently, and is feeling very rough with poor hair growth, choose the Krya Damage repair hair system
  5. If you have been having medication and illness related hair loss (surgery, chemotherapy, long term medication, PCOD), choose the Krya Intense hair system.

 

Hair goes through some visible signs of improvement which you should look for when you switch to our hair systems. What we have described is the usual order of improvement. Depending upon your body’s state of health, your hair could experience these stages one at a time or several at a time. The time taken to cross each stage again depends on your health.

Observable stages of hair improvement:

  1. Balanced sebum production: hair and scalp stays “cleaner” much longer and needs to be washed less frequently.
  2. Sufficient sebum production (related to above) : Hair does not feel dry or break at the tips as sufficient sebum is produced in the scalp to coat the entire hair strand
  3. Scalp feels clean and healthy without any visible breaks, flaking or boils
  4. Hair tangles and breaks less and generates less static
  5. Hair is smoother and easier to comb.
  6. Hair reflects light better without any styling products or conditioners used – especially in sunlight. This means that your scalp is producing sufficient sebum and that your hair strands have no or minimal cuticular damage.
  7. Visible reduction in split ends despite growth in length
  8. Hair is able to grow longer – this usually is achieved when scalp is healthy and there is sufficient growth medium for hair to extend in length. This is also achieved when sebum production is sufficient and balanced – when there is too little sebum, hair length is poor and split ends are high as there is not enough sebum to maintain a long strand without damage.
  9. New hair that grows is thicker and blacker – there is a slowing down in hair greying
  10. There is a filling of hair in previously thinning areas like the crown of the head and the forehead

Do look for these signs of hair improvement when you switch to any of the Krya hair systems. These are ways to monitor the progress in your hair and give you confidence you are on the right track, despite the initial difficulties in switching to a natural system.


We hope this post resonated with you and you were able to get a sense of how deep, holistic and well thought out genuinely natural products based on Ayurveda are.

We also hope we gave you a sufficient sense of horror and disgust at how poorly thought through, bad for hair health and bad for the environment synthetic personal care products can be.

With the abundance that nature provides us, and the fantastic solid framework that Ayurveda provides us, we do not need to resort to synthetics to care for ourselves and our families. Do write to us with your questions, reflections and if you would like us to write about a particular subject you are seeking answers or insights to.

 

 

 

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The Ayurvedic alternative to a shampoo and conditioner – Krya explains why a synthetic shampoo and a conditioner worsens hair fall, decreases hair elasticity and increases hair breakage.

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Reading Time: 12 minutes

“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?

Harsh surfactant

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.

1. industrial car cleaner

 

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.

2. scalp itching

 

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.

 3.chemical colouring damage

 

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:

  1. a) through a natural surfactant
  2. b) by adsorption
  3. c) by the use of natural plant acids.

5. 3 types of cleansing

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.

 

Natural surfactants

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.

6.acacia

 

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.

7.soapberry

 

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.

8. soapberry 2

 

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.

9.clay

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.

14.samosa

 

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.

10.amla

 

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.

11. acidic herbs

 

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.

12. herbs for oils

 

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.

13. curry leaf

 

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.

15. conditioning hair oil

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:

  1. 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

 

  1. 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

 

  1. 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

 

  1. 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)

 

  1. Krya Intense Hair system – useful if you have medication and illness based hairfall.

 

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