Straight out of the old wives' tale, routinely oiling your hair is indeed the best way of making it healthy, strong, soft and lustrous.
The markets are flooded with different varieties of oils but if you are looking for something customized exactly to suit your hair and its needs, then the best way is to infuse your oil with the natural goodness of herbs.
These oils can also be used in making soaps, lotions, creams, lip balms, medicinal salves and more.
1. Aloe Vera Oil
The magical plant Aloe vera is an all-rounder. Apart from skincare and healing burns and wounds, it is great for the hair too!
Aloe vera nourishes the hair strands and repairs them.
It is richly packed with Vitamins A, C, E, B1 & B2, calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, zinc, folic acid etc.
How To Prepare Aloe Vera Oil
Fill a glass jar with a carrier oil like coconut oil. Scoop out the gel from a nice and large aloe vera leaf and mix it with the coconut oil. Close the lid and make sure it is airtight. Let it sit in the sun for about 4 - 5 days and shake it daily.
The shelf life of aloe oil is about 7 to 10 days because of its moisture content. Make small batches and massage it gently but generously into your scalp, root and tip of the hair.
2. Nettle Oil
Nettle (Bichu Buti) is packed with all the right kinds of nutrients, vitamins and minerals that we need in our body to maintain overall good health.
Nettle has a rich content of iron, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, Vitamins A, K, B and other fat-soluble vitamins.
Nettle infused oil transfers all this goodness to your hair thus repairing them and making them lustrous.
How To Prepare Nettle Oil
Chop dried nettle into tiny pieces and put them in a glass jar. Fill the jar completely with coconut oil or jojoba oil. Make sure that the chopped nettles are completely covered by the oil. Let the airtight container sit in bright sunlight for 2-3 weeks and shake it regularly.
Separate oil from the mixture by passing it through a muslin cloth and store it in a dark and cool place.
3. Hibiscus Oil
Hibiscus Oil conditions the hair and reduces dandruff. It has moisturizing properties and helps in growing healthy hair. Hibiscus oil not only helps fight hair fall but also gives the hair extra shine, bounce and luster.
Hibiscus oil also has hair darkening properties.
How To Prepare Hibiscus Oil
Pick fresh hibiscus flowers, wash them and separate the petals. Dry the petals in the sun till they lose all moisture. Add the petals to either coconut oil or almond oil and heat it for about 10 - 15 minutes.
You can heat it by keeping the bowl in a larger bowl filled with boiling water (Double boiler method).
Once the oil cools down, store it in an airtight glass bottle. If you do not wish to dry the petals then just wipe off the water, chop them and follow the same process. The only difference is that the oil with dried petals will have a longer shelf life.
4. Curry Leaves Oil
Curry leaves are loaded with phosphorus, iron, calcium nicotinic acid and Vitamins A, B and C and E.
Curry leaves oil can work wonders for the hair. It controls hair fall, promotes hair growth and stops premature graying of hair.
How To Prepare Curry Leaves Oil
Remember that the curry leaves have to be heated indirectly. First, heat some coconut oil in a bowl and then turn off the flames. Next, add finely chopped curry leaves to it. Let it sit till black liquid coats the oil.
Store it in a glass bottle along with the black residue and use it as your normal hair oil. You can also prepare it by using the double boiling method as mentioned in the preparation for hibiscus oil.
5. Bhringraj Oil
Bhringraj or "false daisy" is the wonder herb for hair, recommended by all Ayurvedic scriptures. It is used for treating all kinds of hair issues like hair fall, graying hair, dandruff etc.
Bhringraj plant can be found almost everywhere in India.
How To Prepare Bhringraj Oil
Pluck, wash and wipe fresh bhringraj leaves and make a fine paste of the leaves. Using your hands, roll the paste to make small round balls and let them dry under the sun. Drop the balls in coconut oil and keep the glass jar in the sunlight for a few days by wrapping the bottle with a brown paper bag.
An alternate method is to mix the bhringraj paste with coconut oil and store the mixture in a cool and dark place. The herb paste gets infused with the oil giving it a greenish colour and nice smell.
Bhringraj oil increases blood circulation in the scalp and helps the hair to grow.
6. Amla Hair Oil
Another gem from the Ayurvedic records, amla or the Indian gooseberry is the desi superfood with both health and beauty benefits.
It is an abundantly rich source of vitamin C. Amla oil fights hair fall, prevents premature graying and makes the hair super dark. It also adds shine, bounce and volume to the hair.
How To Prepare Amla Oil
Chop the amla into small pieces and dry them in the sun. Pour coconut oil or sesame oil in a glass jar and add the dried amla pieces. Let it sit in the sun for about 4 weeks and shake the bottle regularly.
You can also use the double boiling method and heat either blended amla paste or amla juice with the carrier oil for 10- 12 minutes. Stir it well and it will give out a nice aroma.
Store it in a glass bottle when it cools.
7. Calendula Oil
Calendula Oil is prepared by infusing marigold flowers with a good carrier oil. Calendula oil can be used both as a medicine and as an ingredient in beauty treatments.
The bright and cheerful yellow flowers have antioxidants and are astringent and anti-inflammatory.
How To Prepare Calendula Oil
Fill the glass jar loosely with the flowers and submerge them completely with the carrier oil. Fill the jar with oil to avoid oxidation but leave one inch of space at the top. Wrap the bottle in a brown paper bag and let it infuse in the sun for 4 to 5 weeks. Shake it well regularly.
Once the infusion is complete, strain the oil through a fine mesh or nylon cloth to remove the plant material.
Store the oil in a dark and dry place.
Calendula oil strengthens hair follicles and helps with hair growth.
8. Neem Oil
Neem oil controls scalp irritation and soothes frizzy hair. It also removes dandruff, minimizes graying hair and eliminates head lice. Neem has lots of medicinal properties and also helps in stimulating hair growth.
How To Prepare Neem Oil
Make a paste of washed and cleaned neem leaves and mix either the paste or the neem juice with any carrier oil like coconut oil, olive oil or jojoba oil.
After 30 minutes, slightly heat the oil and massage your scalp and hair with the warm oil.
9. Rosemary Oil
The highly aromatic rosemary oil can improve blood flow and blood circulation in the scalp. It ensures that the hair follicles get enough blood supply and hence do not get weak and fall off.
It promotes hair growth and treats dry hair.
How To Prepare Rosemary Oil
Take a few rosemary sprigs and dry them after washing. Rub them gently between your palms to crush them a little. Pour coconut or olive oil in a pan, add the herb and heat it on low flame. The oil should not simmer, it should be just warm.
Let the oil infuse for around 1 hour, then strain it and store the oil in a small glass bottle. Cover it tightly and keep it away from direct sunlight.
10. Tulsi And Fenugreek Oil
Tulsi can soothe the scalp, fight dandruff and work wonders for the hair. It keeps the scalp cool and helps stimulate blood circulation to the scalp.
Fenugreek seeds are rich in many vitamins and minerals and help to treat hair woes. It can also improve hair texture and volume.
How To Prepare Tulsi And Fenugreek Oil
Grind a few tulsi leaves to make a paste. Heat coconut or olive oil in a pan and add the paste to it. Stir the mixture on low flame and add fenugreek seeds or crushed fenugreek powder. Turn off the flame after 5 - 6 minutes.
Strain it into a glass bottle when it cools. You can reheat it and apply the warm oil to your scalp and hair. Keep it in a cool, dark and dry place.
Points to remember
• Herb infused oils are natural, safe and much more beneficial to our health and beauty. But they are homemade and hence do not contain preservatives. Prepare them in small amounts and do not store them for a long time.
• The folk method of solar infusion is the best method for naturally infusing oils. It is always better to wrap the bottle in a coloured paper bag to protect it from the UV rays.
• Always use glass jars or bottles for making and storing herbal oils. Make sure the glass is clean and dry.
• The quantity of herbs you use, should depend on the size of the bottle and amount of oil you use.
• Herb infused oils can be made with any carrier oil like coconut oil, almond oil, grape seed oil, jojoba oil, olive oil, sesame oil etc.
• It is better to strain out the plant materials after the infusion is over so that they don't turn mouldy.
• Vitamin E oil or a few drops of essential oils such as rosemary essential oil, lavender essential oil, peppermint essential oil etc can be added to these homemade herbal oils if you want to mask the smell.
• Discard the oil immediately if it turns rancid, smells foul or looks unusual after a few weeks.
• Massage your scalp with these herb-infused oils at least twice a week to reap maximum benefits. Natural remedies take time but they are effective and usually do not cause side effects.
Making your own herb-infused oil is not only a new learning experience but you can also have fun while experimenting with the different colours, fragrances and beneficial properties.
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