"This new hair oil seems to have solved my flaky scalp in a single day"

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Stylist’s beauty director Shannon Peter may be new to the world of hair oiling, but after using this new scalp oil, she’s a fully fledged covert. Here’s why… 

I’ve had a dry scalp for as long as I can remember. And it’s not as though I don’t know why — it’s clearly a side effect of my lifelong penchant for hot showers. And I mean really hot. Of course, I’d never recommend you turn that temperature dial so high — it’s horrendous for skin, causing it to dry out very quickly, which can lead to things like eczema — but I’ve always been bad at taking my own advice, so here we are.

Back to my dry scalp. I love an anti-dandruff shampoo (Head and Shoulders is still the undisputed champion) and every now and then I do treat my head to a grainy scrub to dislodge any dead skin. But I’ve always felt that rather than simply stripping back the scalp, it could be worth putting some nourishment back in. And that’s when I came across Fable & Mane’s new HoliRoots Hair Oil, £25, an ayurvedic blend of scalp-nourishing oils.

Now this isn’t the first time I’d heard of hair oiling. Senior beauty writer Hanna Ibraheem has been oiling her scalp weekly ever since she can remember. “It’s a big part of Asian culture. Every Sunday, I’d sit on the floor between my mum’s legs while she massaged oil into my scalp, and through my teens and into my 20s, it’s a practice I’ve kept up.” 

“Massaging the scalp not only means I’m delivering nourishing ingredients to the roots, but I’m also stimulating the circulation. It’s what keeps my hair healthy,” she adds.

But having never tried it for myself — and with a rather aesthetically-pleasing new product at my disposal — I was intrigued to give it a go.

What is hair oiling?

Hair oiling, in the most basic sense, is treating your scalp to a nourishing oil treatment. “It’s the most potent form of nourishment for the scalp used in Ayurveda for centuries,” explains Akash Mehta, co-founder of Fable & Mane. “The scalp comprises numerous energy points which will find balance through the rejuvenation of hair roots.”

What are the benefits of hair oiling?

As well as a much-loved ayurvedic ritual, hair oiling can, “also strengthen, condition and protect hair, promote hair growth and enhance blood circulation, providing stress relief in the head and neck,” explains Mehta. But the real benefit I was most looking forward to was a rebalanced and nourished scalp.

How do you oil your hair?

A quick Slack message to Hanna, and my hair oiling routine was set. I simply used the pipette to squeeze a generous amount of oil all over the scalp, parting my hair in different places to make sure I reached every inch. Then using the base of my palms and my fingertips, I massaged the oil into the scalp, following Hanna’s sage advice: “Make sure you really cover the skin, and not just the hair.” Then, I twizzled my hair into a top knot and left it for an entire day.

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You can use pretty much any hair oil you wish, but HoliRoots is designed specifically for the job, utilising ayurvedic principles. It contains adaptogen ashwagandha, as well as dashmool, a blend of ten plant roots, which together strengthen hair, relieve stress and fight inflammation. And I should mention, it smells divine.

Hanna loves to make her own DIY hair mask. “When I was younger, my mum smothered my hair in Vatika coconut oil we bought from the local Indian shop. It leaves it so soft and gives it a glossy shine. Now, I’ve started adding rosemary and vitamin E to coconut oil, to reap the extra hair and scalp benefits. It’s a hair mask recipe my mum learned from her mum while growing up in Yemen.” 

Mehta recommends oiling hair a maximum of once or twice a week, adding, “Following this routine consistently but not excessively is key to sustaining the balance of nutrients in the hair and scalp.”

The results:

After ten hours, I jumped in the shower (making a conscious, albeit reluctant effort to turn the temperature down) and washed the oil out. I made sure I did two lather-rinse cycles to make sure I got it all out — lingering oil can lead to limp, greasy hair — but it really didn’t take much effort at all.

I gave my hair a quick blast with the hairdryer (on the lowest heat setting so as not to undo all my hard work) before inspecting my scalp. The dry flaky bit at the front? Completely gone. The residual itch? No longer. And as for my hair? It felt swishier, bouncier and cleaner than ever before. I can’t quite believe it achieved in one day what it usually takes a week of scrubbing and anti-dandruff-shampooing to sort out, so it’s safe to say, I’m now a hair oiling convert.

Fable & Mane HoliRoots Hair Oil, £25

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Images: Shannon Peter / courtesy of brand.

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