I’ll admit that I didn’t know much about Ayurvedic hair oiling until I started seeing success stories flood my Instagram feed. What I can 100% get behind with the practice is that it’s easy to incorporate into your regular haircare routine and provides some pretty compelling health benefits along the way. What’s particularly intriguing about the practice is its ability to help promote healthy hair growth, which I’m sure many of you will be interested in. Did your ears perk up? Don’t worry—I’ll explain.
Since I didn’t have enough solid info to write an entire story on it, I had to tap an expert on the matter to give me all the details. Meerika Khanna, founder of Ayurvedic wellness brand Rthvi, told me everything I’d ever need to know about the practice. If you’re curious about the practice yourself, keep scrolling and find the full rundown along with a few product recs.
Ayurvedic hair oiling happens to be an ancient form of haircare that does wonders for the locks. “Ayurvedic hair oiling is a centuries-old self-care ritual [where you] apply herbal oils to your scalp and hair in order to moisturize, strengthen, and thicken [your] hair,” says Khanna. “In addition to hair health, oiling is also used to boost overall wellness, as it helps with stress relief and promotes better sleep.”
Sounds pretty great, right? What’s even better is that the practice is so easy that you won’t even think twice about adding it to your haircare routine. “Hair oiling is performed by massaging a few drops of herbal oil into your scalp and then working it through your hair from root to tip, ensuring you cover every strand,” Khanna adds. “In Sanskrit, this ritual is known as shiro abhyanga and can be a very relaxing form of self-care. The oils used are those mentioned in Ayurvedic doctrine and feature herbs including ashwagandha and bhringraj.”
But wait, there are additional benefits to hair oiling that I hadn’t mentioned previously. Khanna also says that incorporating this practice can prevent breakage, combat dandruff, and even boost hair growth. How often you do it will depend on your goals. Khanna recommends practicing hair oiling as little as once a week or month or even every few days. “It [depends] on how often you wash or style your hair,” she says. “When used as a treatment to restore dry and damaged hair, it should be performed two to three times a week with the oil left on overnight before shampooing.”
I know most of you are probably interested in how it can promote longer, thicker hair. Don’t worry—Khanna has the scoop on that too. “The oils used in this practice are used to help nourish your scalp and stimulate blood circulation, which increases oxygen supply to the hair follicles and thus promotes faster growth,” she shares.
Khanna has a few tips on which oils work best if you decide to give hair oiling a try: “Amla, bhringraj, rosemary herbs, [and] nourishing carrier oils like jojoba or sesame make for effective Ayurvedic hair oil. Amla is a great natural source of vitamin C, which helps strengthen your hair and prevent breakage. Bhringraj is known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which can help keep your scalp healthy and promote healthy hair growth. Rosemary has many benefits for the hair, including strengthening and preventing hair loss. Rthvi offers each of these oils along with other oils such as marshmallow root (great for detangling) and hibiscus (offers exfoliating properties) as well as a blend of the best hair-growth herbs, which I created as my own ‘ideal’ hair oil.”
To shop these options from Rthvi along with a few more solid picks, keep scrolling below.