Friday, 1 June 2012


Pollution in Kolkata 
If you're ever in Kolkata one thing you're gonna notice is how quickly you're skin gets oily and your hair gets dry. I think it's because of climate (tremendous DUH! It's like 40 degrees in summer, and the winter is barely cool now), the pollution and the food (we cook everything in oil :D ). So naturally, it becomes impossible to keep oneself pretty and preened 24/7 (here, at least). With the sweat, and the dirt, and the humidity and the heat, and the stench (not present everywhere, and you get used to it), I don't wonder why people don't bother as much about their looks here as they do in other parts of the world.

Bengali women are renowned for their long hair.
 This picture isn't that flattering though :D
Plus, it's assumed that people who look good here are most definitely unemployed and have very little else to do with their time. Which is a pity.

So, since summer last year I've been experimenting with the products here with some interesting results. And these are my observations with respect to hair care in Kolkata. Again, different people have different needs so what works for me might not work for a bunch of other people. But this is how Bengali people take care of their hair.......and it's amazing :D.

Pretty Indian dancer/actresses 
Like any other culture, Bengali people have a fixed image/notion of beauty. A curvy, voluptuous dancer's figure (preferably Odyssey, cause Kathakali, Manipuri, Bharatnatyam and Kathak aren't that sexy), milk fair skin, big eyes, round face and long, thick, black hair that cascades down to her waist.
I personally think long and short hair can both be sexy; it depends wholly on how the hair complements the face. But the quality of care you take of your hair is imperative, especially in this city, -.- I kid thee not.

First off the bat, do not use rubbish shampoos!!! Clinic All Clear, Clinic Plus, even Sunsilk are ABSOLUTE RUBBISH!!! They're full of damaging chemicals that turn hair to jute (trust me, that's exactly what happened to me). You should only use the best products on your hair. They may be dead fibres, but still.....they are a part of your body, and one is supposed to treat one's body like a temple.

Rubbish!!! o.O
Shampoos are also responsible for removing natural oils from the scalp, which are essential for healthy hair growth. So this hairdresser I visited last year (for my last haircut, cause since then I wanted to grow my hair long)  told me that one must never, AND I REPEAT, never shampoo their hair if it's not oiled!!!

I, of course, have shampoo'ed it without oil, with disastrous results. My hair started changing colour and turned increasingly brown. o.O
Even with oil, rubbish shampoos like Sunsilk and others ruined my hair (absolutely floored it). It was awful. I had dandruff, my scalp was itchy and flaky (right after my bath too), the hair texture had been spoilt, and it was lumpy and unmanageable; and my scalp got super oily super fast :'(. I didn't even wanna go out in public without tying it up (which didn't help much) or wearing a hat. Can you imagine wearing a hat in this god forsaken heat???

I recommend the L'ore'al Total 5 shampoo, and some of my friends seem to really like Dove shampoo, though I've heard it causes tonnes of hair fall. But I don't know. I experience acute hair fall anyway, due to stress, and possibly a strange diet. :D
My personal miracle
The L'ore'al shampoo, though, is a miracle. My grandmother got a sample and gave it to me. So I was like, "Oooooo free sample, might as well try it :P." And now I'm hooked. I don't care that it's expensive; I actually find that buying a big bottle of L'ore'al is more economical than buying 20 sachets of  cheaper, rubbish shampoo, cause it lasts longer surprisingly. And my hair has never felt this good before (NEVER).

It's soft, and it smells nice all the time, it's easy to brush and tease into hairstyles, and it cascades down my back :D (cause it's long enough now to 'cascade'), my scalp isn't as oily any more, and I don't have any dandruff, and I can't stop playing with it. The colour's still dark brown and red, but my hair never was particularly black. ^ . ^ I Love It!!!! <3

My hair oil massages look like this pretty much :P
But I must admit, I used to hate the smell and feel of coconut oil in my hair, but (and I've heard 2 different people use this phrase) it's "food for the hair". The effects of oil treatment on hair are amazing. It makes it softer, silkier, and repairs a lot of damage. Positive results are palpably evident!!

What you should do is get someone else to apply the oil to your scalp (I get my mom, grandmoms, cousin sisters, aunts, maids and sometimes my brother to do it for me). Remember, it's more important to massage it into the scalp than to cover the hair strands in it. The massage itself is therapeutic.

Negative points about coconut oil on your scalp is that it doesn't help you keep cool in the heat and it may feel uncomfortable; also some people don't like the smell. But it's all worth it in the end. Now one could get the pure coconut hair oil tins, or one could opt for the scented coconut hair oil bottles like Vatika and Parachute. I personally use Parachute cause it smells like jasmine flowers :P.

You could leave it in for a night, or for an hour and then shampoo it off. Usually, to get rid of all the oil, I need to shampoo like twice.        

Some of my friends use really complicated preparations like pastes made of amla, shikakai, henna, honey, black tea, egg yolk, lemon juice, etc. I'm gonna try it out soon and let you know how it goes. But usually, on a day to day basis, I don't have the time to do so much.

My maids (traditional Bengali women with LONG hair) say that it usually helps to sleep with your hair tied up in a braid (which I can do sometimes).

And finally, every now and then, you should trim the ends of your hair or get someone else to do it for you. This is just to prevent the development of split ends, of which I get plenty. All you have to do is snip the thinnish ends of your hair strands (not evenly, that'll look weird). IT REALLY HELPS.

These days my hair reaches my lower back, it looks and feels greats, and I can't stop touching it.  

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