Lisa Mattam, founder and CEO of the Ayurvedic beauty brand Sahajan, has been oiling her hair since she was a child. The practice is rooted in South Asian culture, Mattam says, but not just because of the aesthetic hair benefits.
“There is an element of it that is so familial,” she explains. “Most people have stories of their moms and dads sitting around and oiling their hair on a weekly basis.” For Mattam, it was her father who took on the role of oiling her hair to encourage strong and beautiful locks.
“Hair is considered a reflection of health,” she notes. Further, there’s a belief system in Ayurveda that says, “The act of anointing oneself with oil from head to toe is the ultimate form of self-expression or love,” she says.
Even where you start massaging your scalp holds significance. “When you start at the crown of the head, that’s the crown chakra, which is the area of knowledge and energy,” she explains. The crown chakra is also the area that holds heat, which can lead to stress, Mattam explains. (That may explain why it’s so common to hold tension in your scalp.)