As a young girl, I had short pixie hair cut. Dandruff didn’t seem to be much of a problem then. I washed hair everyday and got good head oil massage from mom regularly. Whenever my head itched, I washed it with shampoo and felt temporary relief.
Dandruff flared up when I grew my hair. Washing everyday wasn’t possible and nor was receiving mom’s intensive head oil massages. Working in a busy metropolitan coupled with irregular eating habits took a heavy toll on the over all health of my hair.
My hair began falling and my head always itched. Also, the hair became brittle and dull.
I visited a renowned trichologist and she suggested medicated shampoos containing ketoconazole. Ketoconazole is an anti-fungal drug and is used extensively by cosmetic companies to treat fungal infections. According to her, dandruff was the root cause of all my hair problems.
I used Ketoconazole shampoos regularly for months at stretch and while it helped temporarily, the dandruff returned sooner than later. With longer uses of Ketoconazole, my hair became more rough and frizzy.
Also, due to the overuse of harsh medicated shampoos, my scalp became oily while my hair below the shoulders became drier. Right a day after washing with shampoo, my scalp looked oily and unwashed.
The dandruff was now a vicious problem – the more I washed hair, the more oil it removed from the scalp. The more it stripped sebum from my scalp, the more dandruff it produced.
To top it all, my scalp always looked oily and dirty while the hair below the shoulder appeared dry, frizzy and unmanageable.
In the meantime I also tried home remedies – using lemon juice on scalp, baking soda scalp scrubbing, home made oils and various other ideas but nothing helped.
Finally I decided to follow this simple trick.
Washing less frequently and doing weekly oil massage
Honestly, it wasn’t easy to not wash my head when my scalp already looked oily and unwashed. But I got brave and reduced the frequency from washing my hair thrice a week to twice a week. Within a month I brought it further down to once a week.
Not only this, I greatly reduced the use of shampoo. Earlier I shampooed only on days when I had to attend social functions. Slowly I reduced the use of shampoos and washed my hair using vinegar, tea tree or even a mild, plain glycerin soap.
I also use a herbal hair wash powder made from Amla (gooseberry), reetha (soapnut) and Shikakai (acacia).
As the use of shampoo reduced, my dandruff started to decline. Initially, it was difficult to live with a constantly itching head. I was tempted to wash hair but if you are able to control that temptation, things get easy after a fortnight or so. When the itching got worse, I applied tea tree essential oil on the scalp and that gave me some relief.
With less washing of hair and use of less shampoo, I could break the cycle of excessive oil secretion in my scalp and that helped in reducing dandruff. Also, my scalp looks less oily now. I wash my hair once in 8 -10 days and and my scalp remains clean. The hair below my shoulder have become less frizzy over time and the overall quality of hair has drastically improved.
Along with this, I followed the ritual of massaging my scalp and hair with oil at least once a week. This not only gave the required nourishment to my hair, it also compensated for the loss of oil that my scalp faced during frequent shampoo days.
I prefer massaging my hair with warm coconut oil. I microwave the oil for 20 seconds and then apply it on the scalp and hair using my finger tips. I leave it overnight and wash off next morning.
Occasionally, I also use DIY Banana Honey Curd hair Mask which is great for dry and dull hair.
Recipe For Amla-Reetha-Shikakai Natural Hair Cleanser
In India, amla-reetha-shikakai have been used as natural hair cleansers since ages. I have seen my mom cleaning her hair with this concoction and I am not surprised that she still has shining, dark black hair at the age of 57.
The recipe is easy to make and is like an amrit (elixir) for hair.
How To Make The Cleanser
Take handful of alma, reetha and shikakai and soak them in clean water overnight (preferably use an iron pan for soaking).
Next morning heat the mix on low flame. As the mix comes to boil, turn off the heat and let it cool. Squash the mix to a pulp and strain.
Use the strained water as shampoo and discard the pulp.
How To Use The Cleanser
Apply the shampoo (strained water) on the scalp like oil using your finger tips. Cover your head with a shower cap to stop the liquid shampoo from dripping.
Since this shampoo concoction leaves stains on clothes, it is advisable to wear worn out, old clothes.