Masala Chai is a traditional Indian drink made with black tea and spices boiled in water, milk and sugar. While chai is delicious to drink or even prepare tiramisu with, the ingredients of chai come with a plethora of benefits for your hair as well! Aside from the tea itself, spices like ginger, cardamom, black pepper, cinnamon, and cloves can be incredibly helpful in tackling some of the most common hair concerns you might have.
Benefits of Masala Chai for Hair
- Prevent Hair fall
Perhaps the most important benefit of using a masala chai rinse for your hair is that it can help prevent hair fall. This is because the caffeine found in black tea (especially the highly oxidized teas often used in masala chai) can act as a dihydrotestosterone (DHT) blocker. DHT is a hormone that has been found to cause hair fall by weakening the hair shaft and cause hair to fall out and break easily. Thus, any DHT-blocking compound is extremely effective at preventing hair fall and improving your hair’s health. Rosemary, another anti-hairfall hero, is also a DHT blocker!
It’s important to keep in mind that hair fall can result from other factors too, such as stress and genetics – in which case DHT-blockers alone might not be very effective.
Promoting Hair Growth
Many of the spices in masala chai increase blood circulation and flow when massaged or used on the scalp. This helps boost hair growth and revitalize your roots! Delving into the specifics, the DHT we mentioned earlier not only works to lower the rate of hairfall, but also helps hair grow longer by making them healthier.
Coming to the spices, cloves contain Eugenol, a compound which has been found to promote hair growth when applied to the scalp. Fennel seeds are rich in iron, vitamin C, and a host of nutrients that can promote hair growth by making your hair healthier and more hydrated. Cinnamon contains procyanidin, which some studies show can improve hair growth rates as well. It also contains cinnamaldehyde, which dilates blood vessels and increases the scalp’s blood flow, promoting healthy roots and hair!
Fight Dandruff and Scalp Irritation
The traditional masala chai recipe contains some of the most well-known antiseptic, anti-fungal, and anti-microbial, and anti-inflammatory spices – namely ginger, cloves, cinnamon, and black pepper. All of these spices can tackle scalp issues such as dandruff, irritation, redness, and itching by targeting and getting rid of the root of these problems: infection, fungi, and inflammation.
Strengthening Your Hair
We turn the spotlight to cloves and ginger when it comes to how masala chai can strengthen your hair. Both spices are packed with high levels of antioxidants which, when applied topically, can help prevent hair damage and breakage by forming a protective layer on top of your hair. Cloves also contain with Vitamin K, which studies have shown can help heal damaged hair and aid the regeneration of hair strands.
A Natural Hair Dye (Kind of)!
For people with black or brown hair, a concentrated masala chai rinse can act as a natural dye that can bring out the best of your hair’s hues, making any greys appear darker and bringing out an overall shine to the hair. The tannins (a type of antioxidant) present in highly-oxidized teas (like Indian black teas) are also useful in giving your hair a temporary chestnut-colored makeover! Though, do keep in mind the results don’t last too long, and probably unlikely to cause any drastic color change.
How to Apply Masala Chai on You Hair
You’re probably wondering how you can make the best use of the benefits listed above. We have just the recipe for you – it’s simply preparing masala chai, minus the sugar and milk! For the best results, you could use a pre-made masala chai blend that’s packed with spices and tea, such as ChaiBag’s 11 Spices Chai. If you don’t have a pre-made blend with you, you can simply boil the ingredients together – take about 2 tablespoons of black tea, followed by 2 teaspoons of ground or whole cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, fennel seeds, and any other spices you might have on hand! Usually, the more, the merrier – but just make sure you aren’t overloading the tea with sharp spices (like ginger) that might be too harsh on your hair and scalp!
You can boil the tea and spice blend for as long as needed to achieve a dark, concentrated brew. Boiling for prolonged amounts of time at high temperatures also aids in extracting the beneficial tannins (anti-oxidants).
Once the tea is boiled, you can cool it down to room temperature and then pour it into a spray bottle, or simply massage directly onto your scalp to the middle of your hair. Of course, this isn’t the only way to incorporate masala chai into your hair care – you can also add it to your shampoo, make a DIY hair mask with tea, rice flour, and aloe vera, or freeze the tea in a scalp-scrubber-mould to massage your scalp with Now, all that’s left is giving your hair the makeover and treatment it needs!
We’d like to add a tiny disclaimer here – firstly, be sure to patch test the chai on your skin and scalp to ensure you aren’t sensitive or allergic to any of the ingredients. Secondly, boiled tea can sometimes dry out your hair when applied too often, so it’s best to spread out how often you use masala chai on your hair.