Care Hair

Q & A with Shahnaz Husain

I recently coloured my hair but my hair is losing its shine. Is there a way to let the colour last while still having healthy hair?

Haircare after colouring is extremely important to prevent dryness and protect the texture of the hair. Mix one part of castor oil with two parts of coconut oil, heat and apply it all over your hair. Remember to apply on the ends too. Then dip a towel in hot water, squeeze out the water and wrap the hot towel around the head, like a turban. Keep it on for five minutes. Repeat the hot towel wrap 3-4 times a day. This helps the hair and scalp absorb the oil better. Keep the oil on overnight and wash the hair the next day. Use a mild herbal shampoo to wash the hair. After washing the hair, apply a creamy conditioner, massaging it lightly into the hair. Leave on for two minutes and then rinse off with water. Regular conditioning is extremely important. Or, apply a leave-on type of conditioner or hair serum to soften and disentangle your hair. These improve the look and texture of the hair and also protect it. For drying your hair, wrap it around the head and allow it to absorb excess water. Comb out the tangles with a wide-toothed comb, starting from the ends and working upwards. Allow the hair to dry naturally. Shampoos and conditioners with sunscreen would also help protect your hair well from the effects of sun exposure.

What foods should one include in the diet to get thick hair?

Diet is very important for promoting healthy hair growth and controlling hair loss. Apart from proteins, your daily diet must supply the body with adequate amounts of vitamins, minerals, trace elements and bioflavinoids. It should also provide enough enzymes for the proper breakdown and utilisation of proteins. The minerals that are essential for healthy hair are iron, zinc, magnesium, sulphur, potassium and iodine. Biotin, one of the B-vitamins and essential fatty acids, are also important for the hair. The essential fatty acids help to promote hair growth and are available in fish, flaxseed, flaxseed oil, walnuts and soyabean; biotin is present in eggs, wholegrains and liver; and B-Complex vitamins are extremely important for the hair. Your daily diet must consist of fresh fruits and vegetables, while protein can be obtained from lean meats, fish, egg, paneer, yogurt, dals, peas, beans and nuts. Sprouted grains greatly benefit the hair. Have fresh, raw salad daily. Yogurt is a wonder food as far as the hair is concerned. Fresh fruit and vegetable juices can also be taken.

Is a leave-in mask really needed for hair or are shampoo and conditioner enough?

Hair masks help to provide extra care to the hair to maintain or restore its good health. They also keep the hair in good condition. Hair masks comprise of a hair paste made with various ingredients. They can provide nourishment to the hair, also helping to soften the hair and making it look manageable. They also help to add body to the hair. If the hair has suffered damage due to chemical lotions or heat applications, hair masks can improve the texture and soften the hair. There are also hair conditioning masks and packs available for removing dandruff and infection.

I usually have an oily scalp but after washing it becomes very dry. What can you suggest to solve this problem?

Using too much shampoo can make the hair and scalp dry. If the hair is oily, apply egg white on the hair 20 minutes before shampooing. It would help to reduce the oiliness, adding body and shine to the hair. After shampoo, you can apply a hair serum. Or, mix some water with creamy hair conditioner to make it lighter and put it in a spray bottle. Spray this mixture on the hair. Then comb the hair, so that it spreads through the hair.

Do haircuts aid in new hair growth? How frequently should we trim our hair for healthy locks?

Cutting the hair does not affect the hair follicles that actually grow hair. However, cutting and trimming make the hair look better and feel better. It also helps to remove split-ends, thus improving the look of the hair. Shorter hair does not get as entangled as long hair, and may help in decreasing hair fall. A short hairstyle may need trimming every 6-8 weeks or so, while long hair may be trimmed once in 3 months.

Can you suggest some hair hacks for the monsoon season?

The hair usually becomes dull and limp during monsoon when the humidity is high. Give your hair a tea-water and lemon rinse after shampoo. Boil used tea leaves in water. After boiling, you should have about 5-6 cups of tea-water. Cool and strain it. Then add the juice of a lemon and use it as a last rinse after shampoo. Some people are plagued by bad odour from the scalp due to sweat and oily secretions. For this, add the juice of a lemon and half a cup of rose water to a mug of water and use as a last rinse. It has a cooling effect too. Fenugreek (methi) seeds also protect the scalp from infection and dandruff. Soak the seeds overnight in water. Grind them into a paste. Add two teaspoons each of olive oil and lemon juice. Apply the paste on the scalp and leave on for half an hour. Rinse well with water. Ripe papaya is ideal as a cleansing pack. It is particularly useful for removing scales that adhere to the scalp. It also has a powerful cleansing effect on the scalp. For oily scalp and dandruff, mix ripe papaya pulp with gram flour, egg white and four teaspoons apple cider vinegar into a paste. Apply on the hair and wash off after half an hour.

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