Rain check

Anushree Basu        Print Edition: July 10, 2011

The rain comes as a welcome relief after the sweltering summer heat; the thick grey clouds and cool breeze make you want to hum Rain drops are falling on my head, but one's love affair with the monsoon is mostly short lived. A few hours of rain and the grouses start pouring in-from traffic jams, puddles and humidity to bad hair days. The excessive humidity leads to sticky or frizzy hair (depending upon its type), dullness, hairfall, and dandruff. To top that, there's the problem of pollutants sticking to your hair and settling on your scalp, causing irritation and often, a smelly scalp.

As Manas Nigam, Style Director, Toni&Guy puts it, "Certain scalp conditions, like fungal and bacterial infections and eczemas, become more prevalent during the monsoon, because of constant exposure to warm and humid conditions."

To prevent these issues it is important to keep the scalp dry, so avoid stepping out when it's raining-even if you are armed with an umbrella. "In case your hair gets wet, make sure you wash it thoroughly with a mild cleanser and use a conditioner thereafter," suggests Mira Kulkarni, Managing Director, Forest Essentials. Speaking of conditioners, these are the useful sidekicks that go the extra mile in helping your hair beat monsoon woes but are often ignored. "Conditioning your hair becomes twice as important during this season. Don't shun it if you have sticky hair; just opt for a light conditioner that is suited for limp, oily hair. The trick is to pick the right product," she adds.

Arm yourself well in advance with products that suit your hair type. Don't just buy products off the shelf, driven by enticing advertisements. It may require a few test-runs but once you have found 'the one', stick to it. A lot of people have a combination hair-scalp type: for instance, the scalp is greasy but the hair is dry. In such a case, opt for a mild cleansing shampoo-one than removes the grime without drying the hair. Rod Anker, Creative Director, Kimrobinson Salon, The Aman, New Delhi, adds, "Cleansing your hair and scalp everyday is important as we perspire more during the monsoon. If your work involves being outdoors for long periods of time; put on a hat."

Another common complaint during monsoon is frizziness. "A good serum can help tame unruly hair, giving you a smoother finish," says Manas and recommends label.m anti-frizz serum or Kérastase Oleo Relax serum to do the trick.

Research has proven that hairfall during monsoon increases by about 30 per cent; while on a regular day you may find 50-60 strands of hair on your brush, the count on a wet day may go up to 100. Mira offers advice, "You can oil your hair once in 15 days to nourish it." She recommends Forest Essentials' herb enriched headmassage oil with bhringaraj that reduces hairfall. But make sure you wash your hair well because residue oil can attract dust and grime, which along with sweat, can cause dandruff and even scalp infections. Also, go easy on styling during this season. Excessive use of hair gels and sprays will only cause further damage.

Take time off from your busy schedule and book yourself a hair spa therapy. Rod says, "To ensure healthy hair, get yourself a protein treatment that will lock moisture levels into the hair and close the cuticle. Have regular sessions with your stylist every six to eight weeks to minimise the damage to your hair.

When going for a haircut, suggests Anker, opt for a practical style that will sit well even during the humid conditions rather than one that would need a lot of styling to stay in shape. "It is your best insurance against bad weather. Keep you hair trimmed and short during the season. A good haircut should stand up to any weather conditions," he adds.

Take these words to heart and sail through the monsoon.

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