Updated: Mar 22, 2020
When I talk about this, I’d like to put this whole thing under the umbrella term of – ‘vibration.’ Which is pretty much how I’d explain ANYTHING in life, and I feel like a large part of trying to achieve something is breaking down this concept into the tangible actions which purposefully alter it. Without going all metaphysical on you, let’s get straight into the details of how I manage good hair health on the road.
Back story – I’ve been travelling continuously for over 3 years now (the most I’ve lived in one single place at a stretch has been a month), and if you’re part of my Instagram tribe you’ll see that I generally keep in good health (touchwood). This includes my hair. Seeing as I get asked about this a lot, I’m sharing some key contributing factors here.
<Instagram post : https://www.instagram.com/p/BqwYQFtnupv/>
At the very basic level, our body is only as good as what is put inside. Malnutrition is one of the biggest causes of issues like hair fall and weak hair. As a traveler it’s often hard to nourish myself and indeed I have faced some periods of malnourishment – for example, my B12 tends to drop.
Having said this, I’m MUCH better off than I would have been living in a city and eating unconsciously. Conscious. This is like the main keyword that underlies a lot of things I do. Being on the road pushes me to put the extra effort into eating healthy because I know I won’t have energy otherwise.
Eating healthy for me means a lot of fresh fruits, high quality produce, and filling proteins. I have days when I devour a whole pizza with a glass of wine but on the whole, I abstain from alcohol and anything that’s not proper nutrition. On the whole my breakfast is substantial and I get in at least 2 proper meals in a day.
And it’s not just about eating at health-food places, it’s also about listening to your body. Though I’m vegetarian I do consume animal products like dairy and eggs because I know my body asks for it. However, I do know that I do NOT need to kill animals to nourish myself, I recognize that animals have a right to live, and also know meat production is the biggest cause of deforestation and one of the largest causes of global warming. That’s something I would never touch.
Lastly, I don’t go on extreme diets. I’ve done raw vegan. I’ve done keto as a vegetarian. Let me tell you - they were extremely unhealthy. Raw vegan was one of the dumbest things I did. I agree with the ethical issues around dairy and so only consume from conscious sources (like local farms for example and NOT supermarkets). But I don’t follow any blind dogma because otherwise my nutrition and also my hair, would suffer.
I still have a lot of work to do on my own nutritional regularity but I feel nutrition is one of the biggest factors in being able to maintain decent hair and skin without doing a thing.
Hair products and hair-oil
Though I do save money on a lot of things one thing I can’t compromise on is the quality of my inputs be it food or things I apply on my body. This means I don’t use shampoo and conditioner than is standard supermarket Pantene; I tend to buy more expensive (expensive doesn’t mean always good though) products that have more of a natural base or even just completely natural products e.g. hemp-based. Basically I think about what I’m buying and make sure it’s actually good for my hair because there is really a lot of complete crap out there that is packaged all flashy.
One of my favourite personal care brands is Kiehl’s and I consistently use their Olive shampoo and conditioner. Another preferred brand is Lush Cosmetics who use ethically sourced ingredients and the quality of their products is amazing. I also use natural powders and cleansers when I can get my hands on them e.g. Ayurvedic products (cough NOT PATANJALI cough). If I don’t have time to condition my hail, I have an Kiehl’s leave-in conditioner which helps to protect and nourish it.
Apart from this, I tend to oil my hair once in a while (general once a week), with cold-pressed coconut oil or some Ayurvedic oil I’ve picked up from somewhere along the way. I tend to massage it in deep into my scalp and leave it overnight to wash it off in the morning. I know for a fact that it helps my hair a lot, though I don’t do it enough when travelling. There are tons of specific hair-oils and herbs you can use to stimulate hair growth.
Chemicals and hair treatment
On the flipside of using good-quality products on my hair, there is also the NON-utilization of chemical products. This means I don’t colour my hair. I don’t add unnecessary serums and random shit that’s really not doing anything good. I don’t spray it with chemicals – I treat it right. When I was a teenager I was super materialistic and used to straighten and blow-dry my hair every time I washed it. Now, I just leave it. I have been doing so for 9 years and combined with all the other things I’ve been doing for my health it really requires no treatment whatsoever. Over the long run, artificially heating and treating your hair DESTROYS it at its root. Remember that your natural hair is your strength and you should give it the right environment to flourish.
The environment is a HUGE factor in maintaining basic hair health. In a large metropolitan city, the amount of dust and air pollution that is coating our hair and infiltrating our lungs and skin is just ridiculous. Although I do spend a fair amount of time in Bombay, I tend to spend most of my time in nature-orientated places. You can argue that not everyone has the flexibility to do so because they work in a city. But we can still be a little more CONSCIOUS of how much we expose ourselves to the external environment – and also where we are doing so. We can always make the extra effort to take weekend breaks in nature or drive a couple hours outside of the city and spend the day next to a lake. Exposing ourselves more to nature does wonders for both physical and mental health. And if the lifestyle you have now is killing your health, you should really think about making a change.
Supplements and Herbal Tea
Okay so I am a bit of a supplement freak. Yes we already talked about how superfoods aren’t just going to magically alter your health on their own without a balanced diet and lifestyle. But they can have huge benefits. One major input that I’ve used for good hair health is RED HIBISCUS FLOWER. I regularly drink hibiscus tea and this is a proven hair tonic which reduces hair fall and promotes hair growth. Even my mum who is 50+ managed to grow her hair to mid-length drinking hibiscus tea every day. Aside from this I stock on up superfoods like bee pollen, propolis, Ashwagandha, Bhrami, Moringa, Goji berries, raw Cacao nibs and of course when I’m outside I tend to choose options with some added superfoods. I can’t really say how much added benefit this has but I do feel an actual difference.
Blood circulation and Spiritual Exercise
Another major factor in maintaining adequate hair health is ensuring good blood circulation and oxygen flow which in turn also improves hormonal function. There are a number of things I do in order to do this. Firstly, I practice a lot of pranayama on almost a daily basis. And especially when I’m coming up on psychedelic substance I often do Naadi Shodhana pranayama to channelize and ground my energy. Some great exercises to improve oxygen flow to the brain are Bhastrika Prayanama and practicing Bandhas. Secondly, I have a decent knowledge of acupressure and also just an intuitive feeling about pressure points which of course I administer on myself. I also get regular massages when travelling in Asia which does wonders for my blood circulation. Lastly, I do a lot of yoga on a somewhat regular basis - in particular forward bends because these are spiritually quite significant for me and I spend a long time going deep into those postures. The blood flows to my brain and enriches oxygen flow across my entire system. Other great postures for blood flow include doing headstands, Matsyasana, and Sarvangasana.
State of mind
Cortisol. If you haven’t heard of this hormone, then you need to. Cortisol, also known as the stress hormone, is found in exaggerated levels especially in city environments where we are constantly under physical and mental pressure. Both excessively high and excessively low cortisol levels lead to a number of problems including anxiety and depression, and also hair loss. This means being stressed out DIRECTLY ruins your hair health. If you are suffering from any psychological pressure then it’s time to counteract this at it’s root – and if you don’t, taking some additional supplements is going to do absolutely fuck all to help you improve your physical health. Some great ways to keep your cortisol levels under control are regular physical exercise, mindfulness meditation (there are a number of studies now on the effectiveness of mindfulness meditation on stress and depression levels), and spending time in nature. One of the major reasons I decided I didn’t want to work in a bank in London was because of this – because I would be a slave to a retarded lifestyle that did nothing for my internal fulfillment. A.k.a The Matrix. And so you can say a large part of me staying good physical health is because I’m happy. I may not be rich, but your body responds to how you are in your mind and if your mind is health, your body will smile back at you tenfold.