Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Hot Oil Treatment for Your Hair

Looks are important and first impressions count. When your hair is the crowning glory of your appearance then dry and frayed ends have no place. A hot oil treatment is a natural way to restore the lost lustre and split ends of your damaged and neglected hair.
Your hair crowns your countenance and so, it is important to groom yourself pleasantly if not beautifully. Pollution and changing seasons affect the luster and shine of your hair. Good nutrition is important for healthy hair but not enough. Protection of the hair from direct exposure to noxious fumes or direct sunlight leads to lustreless hair with split ends and retarded growth. This is when you should consider giving your hair a good hot oil treatment.

A hot oil treatment is simply application of warm natural herbal oil to your hair, keeping it warm for a few minutes and then washing it off with a mild and moisturizing conditioning shampoo.

How often should you luxuriate your hair with a hot oil treatment?
You could opt to give your hair a hot oil treatment for as few as two times a week or as frequently as everyday. For a hot oil treatment the choice of a good oil is important. Most natural oils like coconut, almond or herbal hair oils work well.

Avoid mineral oils or baby massage oils that are made from petroleum products. Mineral oils irritate the scalp and can cause dandruff. Once you have the herbal oil of your choice, the treatment can be resumed and concluded in three simple steps. The first step is the application of the oil. Followed, immediately by a good scalp massage. Conclude the treatment with a shampoo & blowdry. Mild conditioning natural oils or natural oils with herbs are excellent for such treatments.

The hair is sectioned in four basic quarters with a tail comb. Warm the oil and work it through sub-sections of each quarter by applying the warm oil with a tint brush to each section. For heavily damaged hair each section should be wrapped with foil and placed over each other. After the oil is applied, cover the head with a shower cap. Sit under a salon dryer set at medium heat for 15-20 minutes. Comb out and massage the scalp after the oil has integrated well into the hair. Gently comb out the hair with a paddle comb.

This is followed by a Shiatsu massage beginning first from the lower quadrants of the head and finally graduating to the upper two quadrants. Finally massage the temples and then the hair line. You are now ready for the last step- the shampoo and blow dry. Initially remove all the excess oil with warm water and then shampoo the hair with a mild moisturizing shampoo and conditioner.

Blow dry on medium heat. Obviously, one is curious to find out how hot oil helps in conditioning the hair? The structure of the hair is composed of cells arranged in three layers- the cuticle, cortex and medulla. The cuticle or the outer structure of the hair shaft is composed of transparent, overlapping, protective scale like cells pointing away from the scalp towards the hair ends. These scales can be raised with chemicals so that chemical relaxers, hair color, etc can enter the hair cortex.

The cuticle protects the inner structure of the hair. Climatic conditions affect the hair. The increase or decrease in humidity, contraction of hair by cold air, expansion of hair with heat are all a result of change in weather or seasons. Similarly, pollutants can enter the inner structure of the hair through the cuticle and damage it. Split ends and dry hair are a combination of weather and use of over abrasive shampoos or hair care products. When hair is dry there is immense amount of static electricity in it. This static electricity creates so much charge between individual hair shafts that it damages the hair. It is the build of static charge that results in split ends, dryness and eventually increased brittleness.

When natural oils are applied to the hair they superficially coat the hair shaft thus reducing the static charge. When heat is applied along with the oil application, the oil penetrates through the cuticle and builds up a protective coating around the cuticle. This oil coating prevents pollutants from penetrating into the inner structure of the hair shaft. The oil that eventually reaches the scalp, helps prevent the dryness of the scalp.

Natural hair oils with or without herbs in no way nourish the hair with nutrients but they eliminate the build up of static electricity and protect the hair from other ambient pollutants. Scalp massage increases the circulation of blood towards the scalp area and prevents hair fall by catalyzing hair growth. When oil is applied to the head, the massage movements become smoother, preventing hair tangles. Oil massage builds up heat that promotes blood circulation.

Natural and herbal oils are usually recommended as they are non-allergenic. Mineral oils and baby massage oils contain petroleum products and can irritate the scalp. Certain herbs have a more softening effect on the scalp and so herbal oils seem effective. Certain herbal formulations are natural yet non sticky and can penetrate the cuticle better. The more facile the penetration power of the oil the better is its protective nature. Pamper your hair to a beautiful you!

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