From oils and creams to shampoos and conditioners, we are bombarded with a range of products every day, all holding the promise of shiny, strong hair. But what if you can replace these glitzy commercial products with some simple, age-old hair-care methods that can work just as well – and sometimes better! Ghee is one such oft-overlooked remedy that can do your hair good from the inside and out.
Vitamin-Rich Clarified Butter: An Age-Old Ayurvedic Remedy
Ghee, simply put, is clarified butter. You get it when you simmer butter for a length of time, allowing milk fat or solids to separate out and the water to evaporate. What’s left behind is a distinctive, nutty-tasting fat. Popular in South Asian cuisine as well as in ayurvedic remedies, ghee was even used for wound healing in ancient times.1 Ghee comprises essential fatty acids (short, medium and long chain) as well as fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, which are needed for multiple physiological functions in the body.2 And as you’ll see, these nutrients make ghee a good choice for your hair-care regimen too.
Works As A Natural Conditioner For Your Hair
Instead of reaching for fragranced conditioners that contain chemicals that may end up damaging your hair, why not go natural with your hair care? Being a fat, ghee can be applied to your hair just as you do coconut oil. In fact, it was used as a conditioner centuries ago in the Middle East.3
Tackles Dry Scalp, Dandruff, And Thin Hair
Ayurveda recommends using massage with medicated ghee or oils to soothe a dry or itchy scalp and dandruff (known as darunaka). Try shiro abhyanga or head massage with a lukewarm medicated ghee, gently massaging the ghee in the direction of the hair.4
If you massage your hair with ghee for about 15 to 20 minutes, it can really get the blood circulation to your hair going. One piece of research from Japan suggests that scalp massage could even boost thickness of hair.5 Even a short massage with ghee may do – but it should be done daily.
Helps Build Hair Quality From Inside, Too
Ghee has much nutritive value and can help the quality of your hair from the inside out. A word of caution here – remember, while ghee does have a lot of great hair-friendly nutrients, it does also contain saturated fats that can be problematic for some people with cholesterol problems or those at risk of atherosclerosis or heart disease. So if you are susceptible to these, you must consult your doctor before switching out your regular oils for some ghee.
Provides Vitamin A To Keep Your Hair Moisturized
If it is glossy, well-maintained tresses you are after. you may want to apply ghee to your hair. Fat-soluble vitamin A, present in abundance in ghee, is needed by your body to maintain productions of sebum. Sebum is a natural oil that keeps your hair from drying out and is found close to the roots of your hair. It is a natural moisturizer but needs an adequate supply of vitamin A to be produced. By adding ghee to your diet, you can keep up vitamin A to recommended levels and support sebum production.6
Offers You Vitamin D To Fight Hair Loss
Vitamin D plays a role in cell growth and differentiation and is an important immune regulator in the body. Some researchers suggest that insufficient vitamin D intake may also have a link to hair loss from alopecia areata. Animal studies on the vitamin have found that it can help promote hair growth in those with the condition. Yet, because wider human studies are lacking, the intake of vitamin D supplements to boost hair growth cannot be recommended. 7 Which is where natural alternatives to boost vitamin D intake through diet come in. By swapping out some of your regular oil for ghee, you can up your intake of vitamin D. Better yet, give yourself a real vitamin D boost by also getting in some sunlight exposure every day – after all, that remains the best way to effectively increase levels of the vitamin in your body.8
Protects Your Tresses With Vitamin E
Sun exposure and exposure to chemicals in hair products or hair treatments can cause oxidative stress to your hair, damaging it. Vitamin E offers a natural means to protect your hair from such damage.9 As with other fat-soluble vitamins, ghee is a natural means to boost intake of the nutrient.
Applying Ghee To Your Hair: Do It Right
Simply warm up a little ghee and apply it to your hair and leave in for a while before rinsing off with a gentle shampoo. You can also use ghee on the hair as a carrier for other herbal remedies such as hibiscus powder or Indian gooseberry powder.
Ghee tends to coagulate at much higher temperatures than other oils. This means, if the ambient temperature is low, ghee becomes grainy or semi-solid and hard to apply. If it does become hard, warm it slightly by placing in a bowl full of hot water. Or alternatively, blend equal parts of ghee with other oils like olive oil or coconut oil and massage this blend into your hair.
|↑1||Verma, Sachin Kumar, Sajan Palanchoke, and Avinash Singh. “Therapeutic Effects of Dairy Products.” Indian Dairyman (India)(2012).|
|↑2||Sharma, Vivek, Sumit Arora, Darshan Lal, and B. K. Wadhwa. “A Laboratory Manual On Analysis Of Milk Lipids (Ghee).” (2014).|
|↑3||Sherrow, Victoria. Encyclopedia of hair: a cultural history. Greenwood Publishing Group, 2006.|
|↑4||Agnihotri, V. K., Vijay Kumar, and Richa Sharma. “Therapeutic significance of shiroabhyanga: A review.” Int. J. Res. Ayurveda Pharm 6, no. 6 (2015): 725-730http.|
|↑5||Koyama, Taro, Kazuhiro Kobayashi, Takanori Hama, Kasumi Murakami, and Rei Ogawa. “Standardized scalp massage results in increased hair thickness by inducing stretching forces to dermal papilla cells in the subcutaneous tissue.” Eplasty 16 (2016).|
|↑6||Everts, Helen B. “Endogenous retinoids in the hair follicle and sebaceous gland.” Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA)-Molecular and Cell Biology of Lipids 1821, no. 1 (2012): 222-229.|
|↑7||Kim, Dong Ha, Jin Woong Lee, In Su Kim, Sun Young Choi, Yun Young Lim, Hyeong Mi Kim, Beom Joon Kim, and Myeung Nam Kim. “Successful treatment of alopecia areata with topical calcipotriol.” Annals of dermatology 24, no. 3 (2012): 341-344.|
|↑8||Vitamin D. University of Maryland Medical Center.|
|↑9||Trueb, Ralph M. “Oxidative stress in ageing of hair.” International journal of trichology 1, no. 1 (2009): 6.|