Indian Hair care – safer than West
Indian Civilisation is over 5000 years old. Perhaps, because of that, Indians practised some sound hair care methods in a traditional way,
I am impressed by the fact that Draupadi had the guts to swear by her hair and keep that promise after 13 long years. Even if the epic is taken as a fiction, the poet had the guts to make a character swear by hair. [Queen Victoria was bald. Alexander Pope's 'Rape of the Lock' is a mock epic on hair]
Such ancient secrets of haircare are not with us now. Perhaps they got a bit damaged, diluted or distorted a lot down the ages. Still, the traditional Indian way of hair keeping is safe and sound.
You can check that out with photographs of Indians in 18th and 19th Century.
Why I say this?
Swapna Hair Enricher is my pastime invention of 1991. Swapna owes its strength to some old traditional therapies / comments
The Traditional Haircare
By Indian Haircare, I mean traditional haircare as practised generally around 1960.
Oil on the hair: lubricates the hair strands: combing becomes easy and is not a forceful pull operation: Oil offers some protection against harsh tropical Sunlight as well as Winter.
There was safety to the hair in 2 ways. Vegetable Oils like Coconut, Mustard, Sesame etc, known for safety for Centuries, were used. They give protection against Sunlight, unwanted clubbing and ease in combing
Solid cleaners like Shikkakai, Besan powder, Aritha were used whose safety are known for Centuries. These solid cleaners were mild in action compared to detergent based degreaser / shampoos. The hair roots were unaffected.
Moreover, abuse of the hair due to shampoos, toxic chemicals in anti-dandruff shampoos, heating or chemicals for styling, use of unproven chemicals in the name of hair retention were not common.
In Tamil Nad, people used to take Oil bath on Fridays. Excess Oil used to be removed with Skikkakai, Aritha, Besan powder or such natural products. These were basically a safe and sound procedure to retain the hair in a natural way. These solid cleaners cannot enter the hair holes / routes / root, like a detergent solution / shampoos. The extra oil in the external portion is removed. Hair / Skin is safe.
In short, we did not monkey with the hair about which our knowledge is still limited.
Drawbacks of the Western / Modern / Cosmetic hair care
It is an unwanted and baseless assumption that all the hair products are tested by regulating authorities for safety. They are not. For example, FDA does not generally test any OTC / Over the Counter products. Shampoo, a common product of use, has not been tested for its long term safety.
Hair Dyes, Perming, Conditioners / Quarternary Ammonium salts, Cyclo Methicone / silicones for shine, Detergents and so on are powerful chemicals. The intended action is chemical. Wrong use / misuse or even nominal excess use can be risky / tricky. None has been tested for long term safety.[My knowledge of western hair care is limited to what I gathered in the net]
Indian Grandmothers hair keeping was scientific and time tested. The modern / Cosmetic gimmicks conveniently oversteps Dermatology when it is suits them.