Dating back to India, nearly 5,000 years ago, Ayurvedic literature explains that the beauty of your hair is, in part, a result of the health and balance of your scalp and roots.
Picture this: an ornate bathtub filled with a laboriously prepared bath infused with boiled bark of trees, accompanied by silver bowls on the side containing an oil each for the face, body and hair. After an oil massage and a dip in this bath, Indian princesses had their hair dried gently with a muslin towel. The flowing hair was then spread over burning, herb-scented coals (remind you of a sauna?). The smoke from the coals gently dried the hair strands leaving them fragrant and the oils infused their hair with moisture leaving them shiny.
Applying oil on the hair was ritual for the royalty and a habit for our humble ancestors.
...... Meet Practical...... Introducing "Champi", your at-home ritual
"Champi" meaning "rubbing", "friction" or "pressure" is a popular beauty routine at Indian salons, spas and barber shops.
Shiro (head) Abhyanga (massage) or "Champi" is the modern day interpretation of our ancestral Ayurvedic head massage routine that delivers potent natural oil-herb blends to the scalp and hair follicles. Developed by Indian women as part of their daily beauty routine for healthy and shiny hair, this technique soon became common beyond the borders and can be found in luxury spas and salons worldwide today.
Effects and benefits of the Champi style of massage:
A body under stress may provide outward physical cues such as jaw clenching, risen shoulders, shallow breathing, all leading to negative effects on the posture, tense muscles & joints, and poor skin & hair health. A champi session in which powerful herb oils
combinations are massaged into the scalp, hair strands, neck and shoulders balances the mind & body, realigns the joints, improves blood circulation, vitalizes energy levels and radiates as outer beauty in the form of healthy hair. Similar to a daily face moisturizing routine, supplying nutrients to the scalp is just as paramount to luscious hair. All of aaram oils are based in coconut oil, a universally favored oil with miraculous abilities well suited for all hair types.
How frequently is a Champi massage performed?
The frequency of a scalp and hair massage is up to personal preference, however, at least once a week application is recommended. Similar to exfoliation and moisturizing of the skin, the scalp too requires regular sloughing off of excess oil and dirt build up, followed by hydration and moisturizing. Think "scalp facial"!
At-home Champi Ritual
To prepare for an at-home champi, find a time when you can commit at least an hour to your hair and scalp health. The evening before you were planning to shampoo next day or a quiet weekend night with low next morning commitments would be well suited. Bring your favorite aaram blend and hard working fingers for a rigorous massage.
Depending on the hair length, oil (little less than the amount of shampoo used) is taken in a small glass bowl and placed over heated water to gently warm it up.
Follow the steps below for a simple, relaxing hair oiling routine:
Step 1: Exfolissage (exfoliate + massage)
Hair is divided into sections and oil is applied using a cotton ball or fingertips into the scalp and strands extending it to the forehead, neck, shoulders and upper back. The massaging action enhances oil absorption and improves blood circulation, while gently exfoliating build up from excess oil and dirt on the scalp allowing the pores to breathe. Massage 10-15 minutes.
Step 2: Turbanate (turban + hydrate)
Next, steam delivered with a wet, hot towel turban maximizes oil penetration by opening the pores of the scalp and hair shafts. For this, a hand towel or washcloth is simply dipped in water, excess water wrung out and heated in the microwave for 2 (quite hot) to 3 (very hot) minutes. Hair is wrapped like a turban with this towel and steam allowed to do its magic for 15-30 minutes or until he towel is gone cold. The turban is then unwrapped. It is highly recommended to leave-in this oil treatment overnight, but for those with an on-the-go lifestyle, leaving-in the oil treatment for at least 30 minutes to an hour prior to shampoo will do the trick. If leaving overnight, an old towel is placed under the head to protect the pillow case.
Step 3: Easy-rinsey (mild shampoo + warm water rinse)
Starting with warm (more like lukewarm) water, scalp is gently massaged with a mild shampoo to get the excess oil out of the hair. Shampoo is rinsed out with the same lukewarm water. A final rinse with cold water, if tolerable seals the pores. Conditioner application is optional, but not necessary since the oil acts as a natural conditioner. One shampoo may not rinse all the oil from the hair and that's OK. The residual oil acts as a protective, hydrating, moisturizing sheath for your hair. If squeaky clean results are preferred, then a second shampoo is quite alright.
Step 4: Hydradry (hydrate + gentle dry)
Finally, hair is simply air-dried or in cold weather months, hair is gently dried using the cool shot button of your blow dry or on very low heat allowing your hair retain the beneficial effects of the oil treatment. Heat treatments or styling products are best avoided on this day of "aaram" or rest for your hair and scalp.