Every year our kids or my husband Guy, will coyly ask me, “What would you like for Mother’s Day this year?” I’ll often laugh and let them know that anything is fine with me. This year though I started thinking back to when I was younger and so much smaller, looking up to her and thinking about all the things our mothers give to us beyond love, food, comfort and home.
They give us knowledge, passed down traditions that vary from family recipes to even beauty tips and regimens. That myth about the 100 brush strokes daily for healthy hair? Passed down by countless generations of mothers. It's from our mothers that we gain perhaps some bad habits, but also some really good habits and tips about life, health and beauty. In honor of my mother, I want to share some of what I learned from her with all of you!
When It Comes to Texture, You Need the Right Products
When I was younger growing up in India, haircare products for naturally textured hair were very limited compared to what was available in the United States. While my mother and aunts had easy to manage beautiful wavy hair, I had unusually curly hair compared to every other member of my family. Because of this, neither I nor my mother even knew what to do with it in order to get it under control and keep it groomed and frizz free.
Because we didn’t have products and limited knowledge, my mom did the best she could by keeping it trimmed and just asking the hairdresser to, “give her a boy’s cut”. It was often embarrassing and would be years before I learned enough about my hair (and had access to products for it) when I could grow it out and learn to live and love my texture.
Though she had the best of intentions, when we couldn’t find haircare products to help me tame my curls, mom turned to “homemade” remedies. One of the worst of these was Henna, considered widely back then to be a great thing for your hair, offering both conditioning a natural reddish hair color. When mixed with water, Henna powder becomes a paste which is applied to hair for an hour or so and then rinsed out. We did this for many years when I was a child not realizing it was actually worsening my hair issues over time, leaving my hair rough, frizzy and brittle. With limited access to good quality shampoos, my mom would use soap nut powder, used by most households in India to wash hair.
Good hair habit: Take the time to LEARN your hair. If you’re a naturally textured girl, yours is a lifelong relationship to understand every beautiful kink, curl and wave. Once you learn to work with it and have products designed FOR your curly hair, life becomes so much less frustrating.
Hair Oils Will Change Your Life
One good hair habit I did pick up with my was discovering how amazing hair oils can be. Once a week she’d apply coconut oil to my hair and give me a head massage, a common practice in every Indian household. Applying coconut and other hair oils is fantastic for nurturing healthy hair growth and also help cool the body. My Mom would get a special oil which had hibiscus, amla, and Brahmi leaves soaked in coconut oil that contains loads of healthy hair and scalp nutrients, amino acids and vitamins that helps with hair growth and adds loads of natural shine. It’s such a fantastic oil that every time I go home to India I bring a few bottles home with me!
Good hair habit: A weekly hair oil ritual is great for scalp, hair and wellness. I’m a big fan of “me time” on weekends, so I’ll plan an afternoon hair oil treatment for my hair and scalp. With any hair oil you want to apply it to the scalp once a week and leave it on for a few hours before rinsing it out. I run my fingers through my scalp and gently massage my scalp, followed by a short nap. After waking up, showering and rinsing it out, you feel fresh and free of toxins. This weekend ritual is something my mother swore by and is now something I treasure, one day passing on my kids, who will one day share it with their own.
Even all these years later when my Mom visits from India she’ll still oil and massage my hair, it’s bonding time for us and something I always look forward to.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there and remember that in the end, whether we pass on to our children good habits or bad habits, the most important thing we give them is our time.