New Delhi: Oils have been used since ancient times for beauty care and according to the Ayurvedic system, massaging with oils is said to have various therapeutic benefits.
Here we are referring to pressed oils, like olive oil, sesame seed (til) oil, mustard oil, coconut oil, almond oil, sunflower oil, castor oil, etc. which have been commonly used as massage oils for centuries.
Coconut oil is probably the most popular oil for the hair. It is said to strengthen the hair and make it thick and shiny. Hot oil therapy with coconut oil is said to be very beneficial.
Heat coconut oil and apply it on the scalp at night, leaving on overnight. It is said to restore health to damaged hair and prevent split ends, suggests Shahnaz Husain.
Coconut oil is also said to be beneficial for the skin, as it soothes sun-damage and has a healing effect. It softens the skin and gives it a smoother and more youthful appearance.
Sesame seed oil
Sesame seed is a common body massage oil in India. It is a light oil, free of odour and is easily absorbed by the skin.
Ayurveda advocates it as the most balanced oil and therefore suits all "doshas." It is rich in nutrients and has healing properties too. It is useful as a daily body massage oil, keeping the skin soft and supple.
Research has revealed that sesame seed actually has natural sunscreen properties of SPF 4. As far as the face is concerned, sesame seed oil can also be massaged on the face to relieve dryness.
Pure olive oil can be used both for the skin and hair, mainly to soften and provide nourishment. Olive oil contains many vitamins and minerals. It is also an antioxidant.
The action is so gentle that pure olive oil can be used to massage a baby's tender skin. In dry skins, when there is flaking and sensitivity, olive oil can have a healing effect.
However, it should not be used on oily, acne-prone skin. For the hair too, olive oil is useful. Since it helps to restore the normal acid-alkaline balance of the scalp, it can be useful for oily hair with dandruff.
Almond oil is also one of the top choices of Aromatherapists as it is good for all skin types. A good massage oil, it is beneficial for dry skin and helps relieve itching, soreness and dryness. It is reported to be soothing, healing, lubricating, softening, revitalizing and nourishing. Good for sensitive or irritated skin.
It is used mainly for hair conditions such as dry, brittle and damaged hair. It is also said to darken the hair. It will not turn white hair into black, but will darken hair that has become brownish due to sun-exposure or nutritional deficiencies.
Since it is a thick and sticky oil, says Shahnaz Husain, one should always shampoo and rinse the hair well after its application, so that oily residue does not remain on the scalp.
Castor oil is said to encourage the growth of eyelashes and eyebrows. For eyelashes, very little castor oil should be applied with a cotton bud. It should be applied only during the day on the lashes.
Do not apply castor oil on the lashes at night and go to sleep. It can lead to puffiness of the eyes....