Timeless secrets to gorgeous hair. Rediscovered.

Timeless secrets to gorgeous hair. Rediscovered.

Shringar and the Royal Art of Attraction

Hair secrets from the Gujarati Queens

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By the Hairsutras Team

Shringar is exalted by the Natya Shastra, the ancient Indian text on dance, as one of the nine vital rasas or emotional states. Shringar Ras translates to attraction, beauty, and erotic or romantic love. It usually refers to the ritual where the woman beautifies herself and gets adorned for her beloved.

In a queen’s life, there were many such occasions which called for Shringar- weddings, getting ready to meet the king, and fertility customs. Each of them had their own beauty rituals, one more elaborate than the other. Legend has it that the queens of Kathiawad were no less.They even had dedicated handmaids just to look after their hair, who closely guarded their hair beauty secrets.

Everyday Shringar

First, rich, therapeutic preparations made up of coconut oil and almond oil, were stored in pure copper vessels for pre-conditioning. The oils nourished the Queen’s hair with moisture, and gave it strength to fight elements like extreme heat and dryness. The use of copper vessels was not unusual, with the ancient knowledge of copper’s purifying and anti-greying properties handed down through generations.

The ritual next led them to an indulgent bath, where natural cleansers like Reetha, or soap nut, lay patiently in wait, along with buckets, mugs and stools of pure silver.

Afterwards, the queen’s hair was fragranced by fresh jasmine flowers plucked from the royal gardens itself, so that the alluring scent would always enter a room, before she did. These were simply crushed by hand, in copper bowls to release the essence, and applied on her long, regal tresses.

For young, blushing brides

The ritual of scenting hair took on a more meaningful avatar on the occasion of a wedding. Under a full moon night, jasmine flowers at the peak of their scent were harvested for the young bride to bathe in, the fragrance adorning her hair like an irresistible aphrodisiac.

Another lesser-known fact about young Gujarati brides is that they wore fish symbol toe rings for fertility. And when the fertility symbol had worked its magic, and a queen was expecting an heir or an heiress — the truly royal treatment began.

Pregnant queens lay down as fragrant fumes from Dhunis, special baskets with holes that let out incensed steam, were infused in her hair to promote lactation. Neem leaves and raw husk, known for their antiseptic qualities, were burnt in abundant quantities into her hair.

Inspired by the romance of everyday shringar? Here's how you can practise the royal art of attraction:

● Use a few drops of almond essence in your coconut oil. 
● Store your hair oil mixture in a copper vessel.
● Make your own shampoo from Reetha.
● Use a few drops of jasmine essence in your hair post wash, as a fragrant leave-in conditioner. Or, to save yourself the trouble of making it yourself, use Parachute Advansed Jasmine Hair Oil.

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