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5 Best Massage Oils for Radiant Hair With Benefits for the Mind

Updated: Jun 12

Oiling the hair and, more importantly, oiling the scalp is a time-tested tradition in Ayurveda.


woman in an orange shirt with her hands in her hair and her eyes closed


The 5 best Ayurvedic massage oils for radiant hair with additional benefits for the mind and nervous system:


  1. Neelibhringhadi oil

  2. Himasagara oil

  3. Brahmi oil

  4. Kshirabala oil

  5. Dhurvadi oil


Skip ahead to read about each of these oils.


Why use Ayurvedic massage oils on your head?


The Charaka Samhita, an ancient Ayurvedic text, tells us:


"One who has got his head daily well oleated [oiled] alleviates head-ache, premature graying, and alopecia (hair loss), while strengthening the cranial bones significantly. Hair roots become stronger, senses become clearer, the facial skin becomes smoother and the person gets sound sleep and happiness." CS, Sū, 5/81-82


Western research has demonstrated that hair thickness increases with regular head massage (Charak Samhita).


Robert Svoboda in his book Prakriti: Your Ayurvedic Consitution, explains that oiling the head helps to pacify vata in the mind (Svoboda, 2132).


Vata in the mind is characterized by anxiety, worry, fear, insecurity, and loneliness--emotions that are rampant in our world today.


Western research indicates that head massage activates the parasympathetic nervous system leading to a refreshing and relaxing effect (Charak Samhita).


Massaging oil into the scalp brings a feeling of relaxation to both the head and the body while strengthening the sense organs (Svoboda, 2132).


This is important because the sense organs allow you to perceive the external environment around you (Lad, 23) and they are the interface between the external and internal worlds (Pole, 18).


Oiling the head induces sound sleep and calms the mind (Lad, 102).


Western research has discovered that regular head massage promotes hair growth while reducing hair loss (Charak Samhita).


Finally, according to Sebastian Pole in his book Ayurvedic Medicine: The Principles of Traditional Practice the hair is an area where excess vata dosha can build up (Pole, 53), leading to dry hair and a dry scalp.


Oiling the scalp will help to reduce the dryness of the hair and scalp and reduce vata dosha's effects.


the back of a woman's head showing long blonde hair

My experience with oiling my hair


When I was first introduced to this concept of oiling the hair and scalp, I was quite skeptical.


My hair is very fine, straight pitta hair that will look oily if I don't wash it every day.


However, I've found that oiling my hair actually helps to balance out the oils.


I no longer use conditioner in my hair because I find the oil leaves it soft and well-conditioned.


When I oil my head (and entire body), I can feel my nervous system relaxing.


How to apply Ayurvedic oil to the hair


Ayurvedic oils that benefit the hair are generally warmed before being applied to the crown of the head and massaged into the scalp.


Usually, the oil is not applied to the hair itself but rather massaged into the scalp.


The easiest way to heat oil for hair massage is to place it into a glass jar and then put that glass jar in a mug of hot water.


5 Best Massage Oils for Radiant Hair With Additional Benefits for the Mind and Nervous System


Let's look at the best massage oils for hair and why you might choose one over another.


You may notice that some companies call these oils body oils instead of hair oil.


That's because many of the oils can be used both for the body and the head to receive different benefits.


Athreya Herbs and Kottakkal are two Ayurvedic companies that I trust and use both for myself and my clients. I'll attach links for these two companies in case you are interested in purchasing any of these oils to try.


1. Neelibhringadhi Oil (Tailam)



Neelibhringadhi oil is one the best massage oils for your hair.


It is famous for being a special tonic for promoting rich, luxurious hair, reducing hair loss and balding, and reducing greying.


This oil generates healthy keratin to make the hair strong and nourish the hair follicles while balancing the secretion of oil on the scalp and reducing scalp dryness (Athreya).


It increases the volume of the hair, stimulates hair growth, and gives hair a rich luster (Athreya).


Other benefits of this oil are the reduction of burning sensations and the promotion of sound sleep (Kottakkal).


The two main ingredients of Neelibhringadhi oil are Neeli and Bhringaraja which work together to make this one of the best massage oils for hair health.


Let's look at these two herbs a little closer.


Neeli

Neeli, known as Indigofera tinctoria or simply "indigo," is used medicinally in Ayurveda for bone and joint disorders, reducing fever, maintaining the health of the liver and spleen, and safely dying hair a very dark blue/black color (PlanetAyurveda).


It improves the texture and softness of the hair while encouraging hair growth (PlanetAyurveda), and reducing grey hair and baldness (Easy Ayurveda)


Bhringaraja


Bhringaraja, Eclipta alba-folium, also known as the "king of the hair," is used externally to reduce heat and inflammatory-related head issues including sinusitis, ear infections, and headaches (Pole, 141).


Bhringaraja clears pitta (or heat) from the head, easing hair loss, greying of hair, and early baldness (Pole, 141).


This herb also helps alleviate inflammation and itching of the head, and the skin in general when the itching is connected to eczema, ringworm, and hives (Pole, 141).


Bhringaraja is rejuvenating to the hair and memory and helps to slow the aging process (Lad & Frawley, 229).


In addition, this herb calms the mind and promotes deep sleep (Lad & Frawley, 229).


Kottakkal offers this oil in coconut oil as well as sesame oil.




 

2. Himasagara Oil (Tailam)



Himasagara oil not only promotes healthy hair and a healthy scalp, but it also promotes a relaxed, healthy mind (Athreya) and is one of the best massage oils for hair.


Special herbs used in this formulation encourage blood circulation in the brain and work to revitalize the nervous system (Athreya).


Daily application of this oil is said to benefit everything from premature greying of the hair, speech difficulties, insomnia, anger outbursts, vision difficulties, and even schizophrenia (ayurmedinfo).


The main ingredient of Himasagara oil is shatavari, and it also includes 30 other rich and supportive herbs (Athreya) making it one of the best massage oils for radiant hair.


Let's look at that main ingredient, Shatavari.


Shatavari


Shatavari is better known as a tonic for the female reproductive system, but it also nourishes and calms the nerves (Pole, 272).


According to Sebastian Pole, it also nourishes the brain while reducing pains, spasms, and insomnia related to vata dosha (Pole, 272).



 

3. Brahmi Oil (Tailam)



Regular oiling and scalp massage with Brahmi oil promotes hair growth making it one the best massage oils for healthy, shining hair (Athreya).


This oil can also reduce headaches while supporting memory and cognition (Kottakkal).


Brahmi, or Bacopa Monnieri, is the main ingredient in this oil.


Brahmi, the herb


It is an herb that increases memory, concentration, and learning ability (Pole, 149).


Brahmi is used in cases of insomnia and nervous disorders to help soothe vata dosha, the mind, and the nervous system (Pole, 149).


If you would like to learn about other benefits of this oil, please read 5 Brahmi Oil Benefits to Help Ease Your Life.



 

4. Kshirabala Oil (Tailam)



Kshirabala oil promotes healthy skin and hair but also soothes the nerves through its cooling effect on the mind (Athreya) making it one of the best massage oils for healthy, radiant hair.


This oil enhances cognitive health by revitalizing the nerves (Athreya).


This is my go-to hair oil, and I also use it on my whole body sometimes, like I did this morning for my daily abhyanga!


We made this oil in a class I attended about Ayurveda and the Mind with Dr. Partap Chauhan of Jiva Institute in India and it's a beautiful process.


Even though it has few ingredients, watching the milk, oil, and Bala transform into one of the best massage oils for healthy hair is an experience I won't forget.


It was also prescribed to me by Vaidyagrama Ayurvedic Healing Village in Tamil Nadu after I received panchakarma (an intense Ayurvedic detoxification and rejuvenation program that lasts 21 days or more).


After using it for three months after the panchakarma, I went to my hairdresser and she couldn't believe how thick my hair had become.


She demanded to know what I had been using on my hair.


Kshirabala is a simple oil made with just bala (Sida cordifolio), milk, and sesame oil but one of the best massage oils for healthy, luxurious hair.


Let's look more closely at the benefits of bala and milk.


Bala


According to Sebastian Pole, bala means "strength" and this herb imparts inner strength because it is a nourishing tonic when used either externally or internally (Pole, 137).


Bala is used externally in oil form for vata-related structural and nervous disorders (Pole, 137).


Bala relieves inflammation of the nerve tissues while easing nerve pain or numbness (Lad & Frawley, 228).


Milk


The milk used in this formulation has a cooling effect on the mind which also helps to soothe the nerves (Athreya).



 

5. Durvadi Coconut Oil (Tailam)




Durvadi coconut oil relieves itching of the scalp and dandruff while also promoting wound healing (ayurmedinfo) making it one of the best massage oils for hair.


The main ingredient in this formulation is durva. Let's look a bit closer at this herb.


Durva


Durva, Cynodon dactylon, is known as Bermuda grass in English (easyayurveda).


It is used in cases of skin disorders of the scalp (easyayurveda).


Durva can relieve burning sensations and be used to help cool a headache characterized by excess heat (easyayurveda).



After oiling your hair


woman standing under a shower washing her hair

The oil will need to be washed out of your hair.


Some experts recommend leaving the oil on the hair for either 20 minutes, 45 minutes, or even overnight.


Be sure to keep your head warm no matter how long you leave the oil on your head so that you don't catch a cold or create sinus congestion.


Shampoo can be used to remove these oils from the hair.


I usually need to shampoo twice in a row in the shower to remove the oil.


If you use a liquid shampoo, it may help to add the shampoo to dry hair. After working in the shampoo, add water to make it lather. You may still need to shampoo twice in a row during your shower.


Athreya offers a hair wash powder called Healthy Hair Wash that is rich in herbs that are specifically good for the hair and scalp.





Hair should be dried immediately after washing to prevent sinus problems (Lad, 102).


Washing hair after dark should be avoided to prevent sinus congestion.



5 Best Massage Oils for Radiant Hair With Benefits for the Mind


Now that you have read about the 5 best massage oils for the hair and scalp, I would love to hear about your experience with any of these oils.


Please let me know in the comments section of this post.


If you would like to schedule an online consultation to learn more about how Ayurveda can help you, you can book here:






 


Sebastian, Pole. Ayurvedic Medicine: The Principles of Traditional Practice. 2nd ed., Singing Dragon, 2013.


Frawley, David, and Vasant Lad. The Yoga of Herbs: An Ayurvedic Guide to Herbal Medicine. 2nd ed., Lotus Press, 2001.


Svoboda, Robert E. Prakriti: Your Ayurvedic Constitution. 2nd ed., Sadhana Publications, 1998.


Lad, Vasant. Ayurveda: The Science of Self-Healing. 2nd ed., Lotus Press, 1985.

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