Nov 15, 2013

DIY Haircare: Warm Oil Treatment For Healthy Hair

Warm Coconut Oil Curry Leaves Hair Treatment - How to Make Use - DIY At-Home Remedy
Coconut Oil infused with curry leaves
Warm oil treatment to prevent premature greying and reduce hair loss.

I love using warm oil treatments for my hair, and most days it's just something as simple as massaging warm olive or coconut oil as a prewash treatment.  Every once in a while, though, I like to add in a little something extra to the oil.  My favorite ingredient to add is curry leaf, commonly used in South Indian and Sri Lankan cuisine and NOT the same as curry powder.  Apart from the unique flavor they impart to food, curry leaves also have phenomenal health benefits including being rich in antioxidants, iron, flavinoids, etc.  When infused into coconut oil or as a paste, they are also believed to be quite effective in preventing premature greying of hair - not really a big help to me considering I have all the grey hair I need already - as well as strengthening hair roots.  It's easily available in most Indian stores, and here's how you can make your own curry leaves infused warm oil treatment (I am quite familiar with using a microwave and working with oils in a microwave, but if you are not, please ask someone who knows to help you).

Warm Coconut Oil Curry Leaves Hair Treatment How to Make Use DIY At-Home Remedy Makeup Beauty Blog Indian
Curry leaves infused coconut oil - Here's what you need
Coconut oil - preferably unrefined.  I buy mine at Whole Foods.
Curry leaves - from the Indian store.  If you have access to pesticide-free, home-grown leaves, that's always a great option.  Wash the leaves and pat them dry.  Ensure there is no moisture on the leaves before using.
Microwave-safe bowl
Warm Coconut Oil Curry Leaves Hair Treatment How to Make Use DIY At-Home Remedy Makeup Beauty Blog Indian
Take the required quantity of coconut oil in the microwave-safe bowl.  I use about 1/4 cup oil for my shoulder-length hair.  
Snip about 10 curry leaves into small bits into this oil.
Mix it up and place in the microwave for about 30 seconds (read notes below) to heat the oil.

Coconut oil solidifies at colder temperatures as shown in the photo but liquefies easily to a clear, colorless liquid when warm
Warm Coconut Oil Curry Leaves Hair Treatment How to Make Use DIY At-Home Remedy Makeup Beauty Blog Indian
Once the oil is sufficiently warm, stop microwaving and leave the bowl of oil to cool down to a comfortably warm/lukewarm temperature.  The leaves will turn a dark green, and this oil has a slight greenish hue and a strong leafy smell to it.  Once the oil is lukewarm to touch, you can transfer it into another bowl through a sieve to catch the curry leaf bits.  I just let the leaves stay in the bottom and ignore any bits that do end up in my hair.  They wash off quite easily.

To use the oil, once it has cooled down to a comfortable-to-touch warm, massage it into the scalp with fingers.  I also apply this to the entire length of my hair.  Tie up the hair and leave the oil on for about 30 minutes.  Wash off using your regular shampoo followed by conditioner.  You might need to shampoo twice or use extra depending on how gentle your shampoo is - oils do take some effort to get off the hair.  A few things to clarify before you try this (or any) hot oil hair treatment:
  • The oil needs to be heated to "warm," not boiling, bubbling, hot, fuming, steaming, flaming, etc.  If you are unsure of what that means, please do not try this.  Oils can heat up quite fast and burn/cause fires, so please check every 5 to 10 seconds instead of just leaving this unattended for 30 seconds in the microwave.  Heating times can vary depending on the microwave and quantity of oil used.  And please, don't leave oil spills uncleaned in the microwave.
  • Ask someone to help you with the heating/transferring part if you are not familiar with handling hot foods and/or oils.  Hot oils can cause burns (you shouldn't have heated the oil to burning/scalding hot, though).
  • Wait for the oil to cool down to a comfortable lukewarm temperature before attempting to use on scalp/hair/skin.
  • Do not use if you are allergic to any of the ingredients.
  • This may or may not prevent premature greying or give any added strength to your hair.  I believe it does, but I don't have any scientific studies to prove the point.

Curry leaves - nutritional information and health benefits - source HERE.

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