Mar 29, 2016

How I controlled my hair fall (and how you can too)

tl;dr answer - I stopped using shampoo.

Hairfall has become one of the common issues among women today. Hormonal changes, stress, increased body heat, hard water, lack of adequate nutrition, lack of proper sleep, PCOD/thyroid issues are some of the reasons why many women are facing hair fall, especially in urban areas. I've also been one among such women. After 3-4 years of taking multiple steps, I've finally managed to control it.

The first and most important step that has shown good results is that I have stopped using shampoo. Why this drastic step? I have tried 3-4 leading brands of shampoo that promised less hair fall and strong hair. They end up making the hair look so frizzy that you have to use their specific conditioner to get the straight look which would last for a day or two max. Once I had been to a parlor for hair wash and the lady was quick to spot and say "mam, your hair fall is very high. why don't you try this brand of shampoo?" She handed me a pack that was way too expensive which I politely declined. Another time, a lady suggested I go for hair straightening which is the latest "trend". Somehow, I feel that hair straightened that way looks too artificial (might be easy to manage ofcourse!)

It's been more than 4 months since I stopped using shampoo and I'm so happy that I've taken the step forward. It has not only benefitted my hair but also helping the environment a little by not sending chemical-loaded water into the sewage pipes. What's the alternative, you might ask. As I have been embracing the concept of "return to your roots" quite seriously with my food, I searched for answers from our ancestors. Years ago, my grandma used to apply warm gingelly oil on my scalp and then apply a paste of shikakai paste(soapnut powder) to wash my hair every Saturday. I used to hate this paste as a kid primarily because it would get into my eyes and burn like hell.

I got hold of a pack of shikakai powder from an organic fair sometime last year and then there's no looking back. Hairfall has reduced a lot and my hair feels good and dense. It acts as a natural conditioner too. During winters, I massage my scalp with coconut oil while for summers, I use gingelly oil. After leaving the oiled hair for 10-15 minutes, I apply the shikakai paste and rinse it off. That's it - easy, simple and effective.

Apart from this major change, I have also started including more curry leaves in my diet in the form of curry leaves podi and chewing the leaves that we generously add in our South Indian dishes (which we nicely collect in a corner of our plates to throw away). All other lifestyle changes that I have mentioned in my earlier posts on PCOD and migraine would also have helped me control my hair fall.

Shampoos are loaded with many harmful chemicals such as sodium lauryl sulfate, polyethylene glycol, parabens, diethanolamine etc. Please look at the ingredients list during your next purchase. The used shampoo water eventually gets into our lakes and rivers, contaminating the water bodies. The plastic packaging that we throw out every time a bottle gets over ends up in landfills.

Switching to natural alternatives that are not marketed day-in and day-out using celebrities and making tall promises is the right choice for many issues today.

P.S. If you are not able to find shikakai powder, try Meera herbal powder. It is usually stocked up in a corner in the bottom-most shelf of the shampoo rack. Or ask your grocer to procure it.

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