Anyone who tuned in to watch Simone Ashley's unforgettable entrance in season two of Bridgerton as fearless horse-riding heroine Kate Sharma, will know that there was one thing almost as captivating as the rising sexual tension between her and leading man Anthony Bridgerton - her hair. Effortlessly wavy and impossibly glossy, especially when side plaited in that very first scene, Kate's hair stood out. Yes, we've followed all the regency beauty tips offered up by the show with a keen eye, but the focus on both Kate and Edwina's hair in season two not only inspired a global bout of hair envy, but a moment of cultural significance.
In episode three Kate comforts her younger sister Edwina and in the same spirit, takes the time to sit and oil her hair, a tradition that those familiar with the ancient Indian practice will recognise as not only beauty prep, but an act of self-care, and a moment of intimacy between the two sisters.
So, what is hair oiling and what does it do for our hair and wellbeing? We asked Michelle Ranavat, founder of Ranavat beauty, a company focused on Ayurvedic skincare, all about this well-respected tradition.
Hair oiling goes back centuries, and has its roots in community, says Michelle. 'Culturally, hair oiling is practiced by men and women alike in India on a weekly basis,' Michelle explains, 'many people do not realise that our hair ages, and protecting it from environmental damage is quite important. My memories of hair oiling are from when my grandmother would take me aside to massage my hair. We used the practice to bond and connect. I love how I’ve reconnected with this practice and am excited to pass it down to my boys'.
What Is Hair Oiling?
If you've been struggling with dry, lacklustre hair then this could be the technique to try at home. 'Hair oiling is the process of massaging the scalp and hair with an oil, most likely infused with a botanical ingredient known to help strengthen and condition hair,' answers Michelle. 'Our hair oil has a sunflower base, which is rich in vitamin C, to help protect, and the potent anti-oxidant Indian gooseberry - or amla - which helps strengthen and repair hair. Typically this oil is used as a deep conditioning treatment and left overnight. You then shampoo and condition as normal the next day.'
How Do I Practice Hair Oiling At Home?
Start with a product that contains essential or natural oils like coconut oil, argan oil, almond oil, olive oil or avocado oil. 'I massage a few pumps into my scalp focusing on my temples, crown, and back of my head,' says Michelle. Next, move onto mid lengths and ends. 'Coat your hair and comb through gently with a tangle teaser. I leave overnight and then shampoo and condition the next day. You may need to shampoo twice to make sure it’s all clear. This oil is pretty light but I always wash twice.' Although you don't wan't to strip the nutrients the oil is putting into your hair. If your hair tends to get greasy quickly, use a clarifying shampoo as part of your routine to combat excessive build up.
What Results Can I Expect From Hair Oiling?
That depends on your hair type. If you have medium to dry hair, expect to see shinier, stronger lengths, and and experience less breakage further down the line. The practice can even promote hair growth.
How Often Should I Oil My Hair?
'I typically oil and massage my hair and scalp once a week and it’s been doing wonders for its shine, strength and overall quality,' says Michelle, 'I use the Ranavat Mighty Majesty Hair Serum, £70'.
Does Hair Oiling Help With Hair Loss?
Many women experience hair loss, whether due to stress, genetics or the postpartum journey. Factoring in a hair oiling routine with the right products can help stimulate circulation in your scalp and keep finer hair nourished.
'I experienced significant hair loss after having my two sons,' reveals Michelle, 'each time, I made sure to oil my hair weekly and also added a few lifestyle adjustments like avoiding tight hair styles and added fenugreek to my diet. This completely transformed my hair and over a period of a few months my hair felt so much fuller and shinier. Hair oiling helps protect from breakage because it prevents something called “hygral fatigue” which is the swelling and shrinking of that sometime causes it to break. An additional weekly repair mask will allow your hair to rest and give it the time it needs to recover'.
Shop: Hair Oiling Essentials
Ranavat Mighty Majesty Hair Serum., £70
Founded by South Asian scientist turned entrepreneur Michelle Ranavat, this nourishing serum is designed to restore depleted hair with a rich blend of amla extract, jasmine oil, and sunflower oil. Keep an eye out for the brands expansion into Harrods stores and online from this week.