The rainy season welcomes an abundance of humidity—which doesn't do so well for our skin and hair. "Frizzy hair, dullness, and dandruff are a few of the primary concerns one faces during monsoon. The oily substance secreted by the body's sebaceous glands, called sebum, tends to accumulate on the scalp, especially if not cleaned regularly during humid weather. Microorganisms end up feeding on the sebum, which further gives way to scalp issues such as flakiness and lice," informs Dr Stuti Khare Shukla, MD Dermatologist and 'Hair Growth Queen of India'.
Sareena Acharya, Artistic Head for Hair, Enrich, adds, "While getting drenched in the first rain of the season is blissful, the acidic combination of pollution and rainwater can cause significant damage to the hair fibre and scalp. Plus, the extreme humidity often causes hair fall in both men and women and may weaken the shaft bond. Hence, it is important to maintain a clean and healthy scalp all season long."
So, how to go about ensuring a healthy scalp and tresses?
To begin, Dr Khare recommends cleansing your scalp and hair with the correct shampoo (since some people may have to change according to the season). "Don’t forget to lather your hair with enough conditioner to keep it soft and nourished. If you're living in a city where humidity is at its peak—such as Mumbai or Chennai—use a microfiber towel to dry your hair without making it sticky. Plus, if you've been postponing your salon appointment, now is the time to make it happen. Trimming your hair will not only keep it up-to-date with the latest trends but will also help eliminate dryness and split ends," she adds.
"Once you've washed your scalp and hair, avoid combing or tying the wet hair as it damages the elasticity of the fibre, leading to further breakage. At the same time, frizz occurs due to a lack of moisture in the hair, causing the hair to seek greater moisture from the air around it. With excessive humidity present, matters often get worse. In such a case, using anti-frizz hair products including a leave-in cream or a moisturising conditioner can go a long way in curbing woes," explains Acharya.
Opting for fuss-free, easy hairstyles during this season may also help combat the effects of humidity. "Sleek ponytails, neat buns and braids will keep tangled and frizzy hair at bay. Using balaclavas, scarves, umbrellas, or hats to keep your hair covered and dry may also be a good idea. And if you tend to wash your hair frequently due to sweat and dirt—that can make your scalp a breeding ground for bacteria and infection—make sure that you use a sulphate-free shampoo that doesn't strip your hair of its natural oils," suggests Dr Khare.
Apart from these hair care tips, Sareena Acharya recommends a few DIY hair rituals for healthy locks.
1) Honey and Yoghurt: Mix yoghurt with a few drops of honey and apply the paste evenly on your roots and lengths. Leave it on for approximately half an hour and rinse with cold water afterwards. Apply this concoction once a week for shiny, luscious hair.
2) Coconut Oil: A coconut oil mask coupled with essential oils such as almond and olive oil work great on damaged hair. Mix the oils in a small bowl, slightly heat it, and apply the mixture evenly across your scalp. Keep the mask on your hair for around an hour and wash it off with a mild shampoo and conditioner. Apply a hair serum afterwards.
3) Aloe Vera: Aloe Vera is popularly known for its umpteen skin and hair benefits. When mixed with yoghurt, coconut oil, or castor oil, it can offer the hair a splendid sheen. Extract the gel directly from the plant and mix it with coconut oil and honey. Apply the paste to soothe a dry scalp, leaving it on for half an hour before washing it off with mild shampoo and conditioner.