By Samar Farooq, SamolHerbal.com
Could you be missing out on one of the world's greatest beauty secrets? If you live in the West, you probably are. Because while you take great care with facial moisturising, you are likely starving the skin on your scalp, which supports the growth and maintenance of healthy, lustrous hair.
Just think about how much your scalp has to put up with! Regular drying out with shampoos, blow-drying, hair products and hair straightening - all this can weaken the follicles in the scalp that are responsible for making strong hair. No wonder so many people suffer from chronic scalp conditions such as dandruff, eczema and even psoriasis.
Fortunately, you have a simple (and sensuous) solution. Across many ancient Middle Eastern and Eastern cultures, both women and men have a tradition of massaging healing oils into their scalp and hair, adding essential nutrients while also increasing blood circulation to stimulate follicles and encourage hair growth. (Many people also find massages good for alleviating insomnia and muscle tensions too.)
However, it's important that you apply these oils as an overnight, pre-wash treatment. These are healing oils, not the generally available kind used for post-wash styling. With healing herbs, the secret is to let their soothing powers work overnight.
So, which oils should you use?
Choose pure, natural products
I always recommend organic cold-pressed oils, which must be free of chemicals and artificial fragrances which can damage your hair and scalp.
The next question, of course, is which oils to use! Drawing on ancient Unani (Ancient Greek) medicine traditions, and on my grandmother's and mother's decades of work as an Unani practitioner, I have selected seven traditionally proven oils I believe are essential for scalp health and strong, lustrous hair.
1: Sesame Seed Oil. Sometimes known as the 'queen of oils' for its highly nourishing and healing properties, sesame seed oil is very important in both Unani and Ayurvedic medicine. Enriched with vitamins E and B complex, and packed with minerals including magnesium, calcium and phosphorus, it helps promote hair growth by strengthening hair from the roots, and can help prevent premature greying too. (It also deters lice!)
2: Blackseed Oil. Known as the 'prophetic herb', with a reputation as a cure-all. Both Hippocrates and Cleopatra placed a high value on blackseed oil, and studies show it's one of the most effective ways to tackle hair loss. Blackseed oil helps form a protective barrier over the hair, shielding it from toxins and day-to-day wear and tear.
3: Muskmelon Seed Oil. Loaded with vitamins A, C and E as well as essential minerals magnesium, phosphorous and potassium, this promotes hair health, growth, lustre, and also helps fight hair loss. The oil's fatty acid keeps your hair hydrated and strong. In India and Pakistan these seeds are known as magaz (or 'brain'). Massaging your head with this oil is believed to be good for your eyesight.
4: Triphala based oil. Literally 'three fruits', Triphala blends three nutrient rich herbs to help maintain thick, healthy hair. Amlaki (Emblica Officinalis), the 'wonder berry', is a rich source of vitamin C. With twice the antioxidant power of acai berry, it also has valuable anti-dandruff properties and makes a wonderfully nourishing conditioner for hair. Har (Terminalia Chebula), the 'mother of herbs' (or the 'king of medicine' in Tibet) has many rejuvenating and medicinal benefits, and serves as a brain tonic. Bahera (Terminalia Bellerica) is rich in vitamin A, proteins and omega-3 fatty acids. It helps protect hair against greying and the ageing process.
5:Pumpkin Seed Oil. Packed with essential minerals like zinc, phosphorous, magnesium and manganese as well as vitamins K and B. A wide range of antioxidants includes many forms of Vitamin E. Researchers at Korea's Pusan National University have confirmed that pumpkin seed oil increases hair growth among balding men.
6: Neem Oil. Known as the 'plant with a promise', neem has medically proven health and beauty benefits, while the oil contains extraordinarily high levels of antioxidants and fatty acids - essential for nourishing and conditioning the scalp and hair. Neem also has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties. A truly generous gift from nature!
7. Nardostachys Jatamansi. The 'calming herb', prized in Unani medicine for its power to reduce stress and anxiety, and to aid sleep. Jatamansi extract helps produce lustrous, silky and healthy hair.
What a combination! Nature clearly wants you to enjoy superb hair and healthy skin, and lets you achieve this through the power of herbs. And, you now have an easy way to benefit from all these oils at the same time, through Samol Herbal products. Just thought I'd mention it!
Find out more about the power of herbs for lustrous hair & skin at samolherbal.com
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Samar Farooq is founder of Samol Herbal . Samol Herbal Hair and Scalp Oil is a unique and powerful blend of nourishing herbs and oils, derived from a family recipe that is over 100 years old and draws on the ancient Unani tradition. It was recently awarded Gold in the Janey Loves 2016 Platinum Awards.