The South Asian Beauty Practice 'Champi' Couldn't Be Easier Or More Beneficial

Healthy hair is important not only to a person's self-image but also to their overall well-being. Naturally vibrant tresses allow you to experiment with various hairstyles with confidence. They also indicate that your body is getting the vitamins and nutrients needed to keep your hair follicles in tip-top shape. Meanwhile, dry and thinning hair may signal underlying medical conditions. Although genetics and hormones play a big role in hair health, a proper hair care routine is also essential in ensuring your scalp is healthy and your locks are glamorous. That is, besides washing your hair at least twice a week, you should nourish it with moisture-supplying nutrients.

Many hair products, such as hair serums, masks, and leave-in conditioners, can offer your hair an instant boost of hydration and shine. If that's what you've been doing, keep it up! However, we'd also like to call your attention to this hair nourishing trend that has been garnering popularity all over the globe lately — the champi ritual. On TikTok, searches for 'champi oil' have raked in over 75,000 views. Hailing from the Indian Ayurvedic practice dating as far back as 600 BC, champi is a hair care method that involves oiling and massaging the scalp, per Little Black Book. In fact, it's common knowledge that regular champi rituals are the secret to Indian women's famously thick and shiny waves. Cue Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Priyanka Chopra. Here's how you too can embrace this ancient Asian beauty ritual for effortlessly bouncy and lustrous hair.

The benefits of champi

The champi is a traditional coconut oil scalp massage rooted in the Indian Ayurvedic practice that started more than 5,000 years ago. For Indian families, champi is a nostalgic picture of domestic bliss. This hair oiling ritual is not so much about hair care as it is about spending time together, where family members — from young to old — come together to tell each other about their day and bond over hair oiling. 

Rich in antioxidants and fatty acids, coconut is able to penetrate inside the hair shaft and bring a load of nutrients with it. Massaging your scalp with coconut oil allows you to restore your hair health by replenishing dry locks with moisture, strengthening the scalp, and preventing free radicals from messing with the hair. Massaging the head with coconut oil can also relieve tension, boost memory, and calm the mind, according to Inde Wild. According to dermatologist Hope Mitchell (via Cosmopolitan), massaging the scalp with hair oil such as coconut oil can enhance blood circulation to your hair follicles, which is helpful in facilitating hair growth. 

Champi is the favorite beauty routine of many celebrities, including Bollywood A-lister actress Deepika Padukone. In an interview with DNA, the 'Om Shanti Om' actress said:  "I believe in keeping it simple and not doing too much. That said, I make sure I invest in regular deep conditioning massages with coconut-based hair oil, and that is my secret to keeping my hair voluminous, thick, and full of bounce." 

How to make the most out of champi

In this day and age, reimagining the Indian Ayurvedic champi ritual doesn't have to be a struggle. You can find plenty of champi-focused deep-conditioning hair products using a variety of oils, such as olive, rosemary, castor, and jojoba oil in addition to the classic coconut oil. All of these oils are helpful in boosting hair growth and adding luster to your locks.

After dropping a pea-sized amount of oil into your palm, apply the solution to the top of your clean and dry scalp in a rubbing motion, says YouTuber Rujutadiwekarofficial in a YouTube video tutorial. After your palm gets heated from the motion, gently tap it on your scalp for about a minute. Then, pick some more oil on your fingertips and gently run your index fingers across your scalp in circular motions for about five minutes to distribute the oil. This step can do wonders in helping you unwind and relax your nerves, so you might want to do it slowly instead of rushing it. After that, get some more oil on your fingers and run it through your hair. Try not to overdo it as too much oil can make your hair look greasy and weighed down. 

To obtain optimal results, Ayurvedic physician Dr. Gunvant Hari Yeola (via Vogue) recommends performing champi on your hair at least two or three times per week and keeping the oil on for at least two hours every time before rinsing it out. 

Who should avoid champi

Although champi's benefits for the hair has been decisively proven for thousands of years, it's not for everybody — especially when you didn't start doing it since childhood like most Indian women. If you have oily scalp, hair fall, boils, or acne on your forehead, hair oiling can make your condition worse. To oil your hair without making it greasy or weighed down, celebrity hair artist Jennifer Korab (via Well+Good) advises against glossy hair oils that are designed to add shine to the hair. If you have an oily scalp and dry hair ends, you should get a hair oil that has a thick, viscous consistency. "I like a thicker oil rather than a watery oil because watery makes it look too oily and wet-looking rather than silky and shiny," celebrity hairstylist Kevin Kelly tells Well+Good.

Hair oiling, according to ayurvedic doctor Dr. Sandhya Lakshmi (via Vogue), is best done as part of a daytime beauty regimen, using warm oil appropriate for individual hair type and the season. Massaging your scalp with oil before bedtime might spell troubles for your hair, because the hair follicles usually close at the end of the day, which makes it hard for the oil to be absorbed properly and even gathers dust on the hair. People who are prone to body allergies, colds, coughs, asthma, sinusitis, neck pain, and neck muscular stiffness should avoid champi altogether.