One thing that no one tells you about moving to UAE is that there is a challenge in a matter you didn’t imagine, your hair. It is rare to meet a person who is completely happy with their hair, yet most of us never get nervous about it until a certain age. Even if we do merely introducing a good hair care routine fixes the problem at least to an optimal extent.
While I was growing I never gave my hair much thought. That said there was a reason for that. My father had always put us on a high fibre and calcium diet. My mother never skipped the Sunday coconut oil massage before the shampoo. This ensured I always had good hair. So it was definitely something I was wracking my brain about when I moved to UAE.
What is in the water?
The one question that the diaspora community gets asked back home is, “How about the water there, is there a shortage?” And the answer is no there isn’t. Although the tap water is not potable it is still plenty and flows through the day. The issue however, is that this water is from the desalinated plants. It is common knowledge, the government is direct about it. So where as it is not an issue to do the dishes and laundry with this water, this water cannot be consumed.
Most of us use it for showering as well. But this water contains minerals that cannot be completely filtered in the desalination process. Add to it the woe that they add chemicals like fluorides, chlorines and such (for disinfecting but in the long run they have been theorised to be toxic). Even these remain as residue on the hair and their toxicity causes damage to the texture and health of the hair. It even dries out the scalp.
TIPS AND SOLUTION
Use a Shower Filter
There are shower filters available all over Middle East that have been specially designed to filter out the impurities in water. If someone has used this, please let me know the results.
PC: Wikipedia. Alum looks like this.
You know alum? May be you have seen it in your grandfather’s shaving kit. This method was taught to us in school that alum helps settle the impurities in the water. Just stir a bit of alum into your bucket of water and use it. Of course you can’t use this for the shower, but if you are eager, this can be a solution.
Use Less Shampoo
Remember what is now said about consuming only one Alka Seltzer/Aspirin for a headache as that is the appropriate dosage. But we fall for their trick in the ads and consume more and end up buying more every time. The same applies to almost all commercially bought products.
Actually, the shampoo is a cleaning agent. The water itself is good enough to clean the hair. But given the pollution that we live in, we need that scrub of detergent to wash it off. Still the amount of shampoo should not be such that it leaves your scalp dry even after you have used a conditioner.
Here’s a technique I use
In a one litre mug pour about 2-3 tsp of shampoo (depending on the length of hair,) stir it a bit and use this for shampoo. When you use the shampoo directly from the bottle to your palm you always take more and it doesn’t lather much. But you will see that in this diluted form it will lather really well. In fact if you have hair slightly longer than the shoulder length you will find you won’t even use half from the mug.
Should you shampoo everyday?
There are many people who shampoo everyday. And you should if you live in a tropical climate or work in a hot and humid environment. But even then daily is a tad more. This results in drying of the scalp and the hair.
(If you are gutsy you can eliminate shampoo entirely by using the no-poo method. Or the natural hair mask methods.)
Massaging with Natural Oils
Massaging with oil is the oldest known skin and hair care method. While you can use as many cosmetics as you wish on your routine but if you are going to massage your hair or skin it is best to do it with essential oils. I like coconut oil and olive oil. It triggers blood circulation in the area and helps with the growth of hair. Oil penetrates the shaft and makes it stronger.
Here are the things I do. How do you manage your hair (if you are in UAE)?