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Prior to the pandemic, most of us relied heavily on our local hair salon. Whether a regular colour touch-up or a quick blow-dry before a night out, our trusted stylist was one of our closest allies. When salons closed, desperate times called for desperate measures, and those who frequently visited the salon had no choice but to go it alone, resulting in a surge in online sales of at-home haircare products.

“The pandemic has brought about some irreversible changes in the buying behaviour of consumers,” says Prashant Goenka, Director, Emami. “Although they are no longer stuck in their homes or limited in terms of options post-pandemic, they continue to shop from online platforms and companies have continued to invest in digital marketing to acquire new customers.”

Against the backdrop of the pandemic and the rise in consumer awareness about the harmful effects of certain compounds, such as paraben, the haircare products market in the UAE witnessed an increase in demand for natural and organic products, explains Goenka.

“A high percentage of consumers choose one brand over the others based on its natural formulation, increasing the demand for safe, natural and organic products in recent times. The strong demand for natural ingredients has led to the majority of companies developing products with nature-inspired components such as premium botanical ingredients. Conditioners and shampoos, serums and oils, and styling products are among organic haircare products that have seen a major increase in demand.”

With consumers back in the workplace and returning to busy modern lifestyles, there is less time to spend pampering at home, which has meant more demand for less time-consuming haircare products.

“Consumers have shifted towards natural products such as enriched hair oils and even hair oil shampoos to cleanse and care in minimum time,” says Apurva Joshi, Senior Product Manager at Vatika Hair Oils. “Thankfully Ayurveda brands are now innovating their formulations and packaging to suit modern lifestyle needs while keeping the foundation strong on traditional haircare recipes.”

Perhaps another reason consumers have turned to natural hair remedies, such as Ayurveda and herb-infused products, is because some items weren’t readily available during the pandemic, forcing beauty aficionados to make their own concoctions.

One of these growing habits in haircare routines at home is taking care of the scalp.

“Scalp care is definitely one of the growing trends in the UAE,” says Joshi. “Natural ingredients-infused hair oils have become a part of the daily regime. Scalp care has been a traditional practice in many cultures, but somewhere, time-strapped modern lifestyles stepped in, and consumers found it difficult to find the time for it. But now, Ayurveda brands such as Vatika stepped up in product innovation to marry ancient wisdom with modern sciences to offer convenient products.”

And it isn’t only the scalp that women in the UAE are taking care of, as there are also hair problems that women in the region suffer from, which can now be managed at home.

“Exposure to excessive heat, chemical treatments, heat styling and blow drying results in hair damage that leads to five main hair problems such as hair fall, dryness, premature grey hair, thin and dull hair, and dandruff,” explains Goenka. “With more than 35 years of experience in Ayurvedic and herbal haircare, Emami has launched 100 per cent Natural Hair Oils under the brand Emami 7 Oils In One, which are derived from plant extracts. Everyone’s hair is different and hair oil with a single ingredient cannot replace lost proteins and vitamins, hence Emami has come with a blend of seven different oils in one for tackling the major hair problems in the UAE.”

Joshi says Vatika too has the choicest selection of natural ingredients that tackles the entire gamut of hair health problems that women face. “We have signature lines of hair care range that manage everything from deep nourishment to volume, health and shine. Vatika hair oils, shampoos, conditioners, and hair masks are packed with natural ingredients and work on the root cause of hair issues. We also use exclusive herbs such as blackseed, garlic, argan, coconut and curry leaves that penetrate deep within the scalp to nourish from the root to the tip.”

With such a variety of natural haircare products at consumers’ disposal, it has become easy to maintain a healthy and beautiful hair.

The ideal at-home care routine for smooth, healthy hair

For shiny, healthy hair, Prashant Goenka, Director, Emami, offers some tips.

* Oil your hair regularly before washing with 100 per cent natural hair oils that are free from parabens for deep nourishment and managing damaged hair.

* Gently apply on the scalp and massage in to the roots of the hair strands. Leave on for one hour and wash the hair with a mild shampoo.

* Use a regular conditioner or a hair mask post-wash.

* Use serum or anti-frizz cream while going out

* Cover your head while heading out in the sun

* Avoid hot water for head baths

* Drink lots of water and stay hydrated

5 hair myths busted

If you have an oily scalp, you don’t need to put oil in your hair.

“A major myth is the idea that if the scalp is already oily, one doesn’t need to oil their hair,” says Apurva Joshi, Senior Product Manager at Vatika Hair Oils. “This belief has only increased scalp build-up and the curse of hair loss year after year. Regular oiling of the scalp, especially if it is oily, promotes proper nourishment and conditioning since it stops the scalp from creating as much oil as it would otherwise. People can now oil their hair to avoid the ill-effects of oily buildup, without worrying about spoiling the texture of their hair thanks to the availability of non-greasy oil.”

Cutting your hair more often makes it grow faster.

“Hair grows from the follicles found in the scalp,” says Prashant Goenka, Director, Emami. “Therefore, cutting hair has nothing to do with the root from which they grow.” However, it helps to get rid of damaged hair at the tip and split ends.

Washing your hair too often leads to hair loss.

Joshi says, “In a country where the summer season dominates the charts, it’s surprising this myth still persists. After a long day, one can be certain that the hair, like the skin, has perspired and accumulated dirt build-up on the scalp. The only effective way to remove the daily build-up is to shampoo the scalp regularly with a mild shampoo.”

Plucking out a grey hair will prevent more.

“The truth is that removing grey hair merely accelerates the regrowth process,” says Joshi.

Rinse your hair with cold water to make it shinier.

There is no solid proof that washing your hair with cold water actually gives shine to your hair, says Goenka. “Regular oiling with hair oils with ingredients such as coconut, almond and walnut can do wonders and give the perfect shine to hair.”