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Primped with oil

Primped with oil

I recall running a mile when mom used to catch me for our weekly, odious ritual of oiling my hair and plaiting it tightly. I evaded going to play with my friends and adamantly refused to go to school with oil greasing my hair, claiming that it made me look like such a dweeb.

Washing it off was such a pain too! It took three applications of shampoo and rinsing to get the annoyingly slippery liquid off. And the smell of coconut oil! Whew! It clawed at my senses until I was ready to pull my hair (oil and all) out.




Today, I would give an eye for someone to lovingly massage oil in my swiftly dwindling tresses. Ah! For someone to rub away the stress of the day and knead away that gnawing headache is something we have to pay our way for at a spa.

A sense of déjà vu washes over me when I holler to my daughter to come and sit with me so I can rub oil in her thick hair and comb it for nits and lice. And as she ooows and ouchs, I wonder in awe at how the tables have turned and that life has come full circle.

It is now a monthly treat for me to apply oil to my own hair and instantly I can feel the throbbing nerves melting away. The suppleness of my locks after I shower away the oil is also something I treasure.

My mother kept telling me that it was good for my hair and now I know why. Not only is natural hair oil a lubricant and conditioner but a detangler; a heat protectant and sealant for the hair cuticles. It replaces the lipids in your hair when your strands start to get really fine and thus prevents it from splitting. 

My favourite is coconut oil, simply because the ritual of applying it makes me nostalgic. The scent which once repelled me is now pacifying. I fail to understand why someone would opt for exorbitant chemical hair products when coconut oil’s antioxidants, antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial properties takes care of the scalp and fights infections and fungus in an all-natural way.

The anti-microbial properties, lauric acid and medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil penetrate hair more effectively than other conditioners and is perfect to repair split ends and make your locks shine.

It is a boon for people like me whose hair is thinning with age as it’s packed with vitamin K and vitamin E which strengthens hair follicles and reduces dandruff. Wrapping your oiled hair in a damp, warm towel can maximise favourable results.

Coconut oil is also an affordable and natural styling agent especially for frizzy hair and also prevents thermal damage which our hair suffers from when we subject it to harsh straighteners, curling irons and hair dryers. This is the reason it is God-sent for dry and damaged hair.

Another oil ideal for the hair used since time immemorial is olive oil. It has softening emollients like oleic acid, palmitic acid and squalene which add shine, body, softness, and resilience to our tresses. Rich in vitamins A, E and antioxidants, olive oil helps protect the keratin in hair and keeps in moisture. 

We live in stressful times — this combined with exposure to environmental pollutants, nutritional deficiencies and hormonal imbalance is the cause of hair loss. The dearth of magnesium, calcium and zinc are also a cause of poor hair growth and hair loss. This is the reason why sweet almond oil — a lubricant rich in all of these minerals is recommended when experiencing hair problems.

The application of nutritious and sweet almond oil comprising polyunsaturated and mono fatty acids as well as vitamins E, D, B1, B2, B6 and A and Omega 9, 6 and 3 is also relaxing and a harbinger of healthy, shiny tresses. Almond oil conditions and prevents split ends, all the while protecting your mop from the dulling rays of the sun.

You can warm one tablespoon of sweet almond oil and gently massage it to the scalp every night and leave it overnight.

A hair massage is something you should definitely treat yourself to — ask your mom or sister or daughter to do it if you don’t want to throw away cash at a pricy spa! Not only does a head massage with a natural oil relieve stress, but also improves the circulation of blood in the head and face.

Better circulation at the roots in turn results in better hair growth. If nothing else, the sense of contentedness and relaxation which comes with a hair oil massage is sure to wipe away that pinched look from your face and make you feel lighter and look younger.

Published in Dawn, Sunday Magazine, March 20th, 2016

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