Comfortably Numb

Sheila Kumar's Storehouse

Published on: 06/1/08 8:25 AM

Feature: Hair Attack!

Hair Attack!


Your hair really is you. So what happens if it is wild and unruly, with a mind of its own? Sheila Kumar takes you through her tress trauma.

I watch Madonna with a fixed intensity. I have been doing so for years now. You may think I’m a die-hard fan of the singer but I am not.

The reason I analyse pictures of her like a hawk is because I live in daily expectation of her hair falling out. The quick-change artiste has done so much in so many different ways to her mane that I am amazed it stays on, that it stays lush and well- behaved.

Okay, the last two words have blown my cover.

The thing is, I am one of those women who have more bad hair days than good. Actually, I have bad hair months, and looking back, I think I can say I have even had a bad hair year or two.

I was born with a mop of thick curls and before you say `Raphaelite,` I must tell you the curls were, in turn, born opinionated. And their opinion was that bushy, frizzy, untameable is good, and that’s that.

Basically, let me define difficult hair for HAIR readers. It is much like a thatched roof; it is dry, rough, tends to frizz, and worst of all, parts of it fall limp while other stick up and out. Colour doesn’t sit smoothly. The best thing that can be said for this kind of hair is that it has ‘personality.’

I have become a one-woman expert on hair products. Back when it was fasting time in India, when quality hair products were simply not available, I was getting them from abroad.

Now that it’s feasting time, vis-à-vis all kinds of creams, potions, gels and mousse, you would think I’m in hair heaven. Nope. The tussle with my hair continues, with experimentation having moved on to an advanced plane.

Over the years, if there is one thing I have realised, it is that a man or woman is his or her hair. Studies have revealed that one’s hair is what makes up the halo impression formed about a person at a first meeting.

You could be dressed to the nines, you could be toting the latest Dior or Louis Vuitton bag, you could be shod in stylish Jimmy Choos. You could have striking features, a profile
that belongs on a Roman coin. But, but, but, if your hair is not in the best condition, not looking gorgeous, you will always be out of the magic circle.

Then again,  it’s not all bad news. There is a lot we can do to right that unequal equation. Let`s begin with food. What we ingest has its impact on our hair. Green veggies, yoghurt, nuts, fruit (avoid watermelon, though) and fish, as well as all kinds of protein (hair is 98% protein after all!) are vital for the health of our tresses. Spicy, fried, greasy food, carbohydrates such as starch and sugar are all taboo.

Colour has become pretty much part of our hair care routine. So, one way to protect hair is to always use the best products and go easy on the colour. Judicious use of tongs, hair straighteners, dryers and electric rollers go a long way in saving your tresses, too. If you simply can’t do without frequent blow-dry sessions, opt for a partial job and then let hair dry naturally.

There are other ways to protect hair. Keep it covered when you are about to stroll around under the sun, plunge into a pool, or get exposed to dust and grime. Sunlight, chlorine, bleach, drying shampoos are all hair devils.

Oh, and it’s a myth that frequent shampooing will accelerate hair fall. If you shampoo just once a week, all you are doing is harvesting a seven-day supply of hair that’s loosened from the scalp!

Silicon-based gel and mousse is good for wild hair. However, always remember to apply these
products to the hair, not the scalp. They are most effective when used on damp hair.

Once a fortnight, deep condition your hair with heated oil or a hair mask. Always opt for cold water for the final rinse so as to seal in the moisture and let the cuticles close and set.

Here’s a tip from a woman with difficult hair (no prizes for guessing who): plait your damp hair into a loose braid at night. When you wake after a good night’s sleep, smooth some serum over your tresses and comb them out for a sexy flowing look. Kinda like the Material Girl on a great hair day, right?

Great tress tamers

  • Sunsilk
    Colour Shine range of shampoos, conditioners, leave-in creams.
  • John
    Frieda’s Frizz Ease serum.
  • The
    Body Shop Brazilian Nut Moisture Mask.
  • The
    Body Shop Honey Moisturising Conditioner.
  • Aroma
    Magic Protein Hair Conditioner.
  • Johnson’s
    Baby Oil.
  • Dabur
    Root Strengthening Shampoo.
  • L’Oreal
    Professional Absolute Repair Shampoo and Conditioner.
  • Keune
    Leave-In Conditioner.

This appeared in HAIR magazine of June 2008.

curlsFeatureFeaturesfrizzhairwild curlswild hair

Sheila Kumar • June 1, 2008

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