Discover your new favourite hair care brand and learn all about the founder who started it all!

Meet Shikha Kasal and Sakshi Nabh- the C0-Founder’s behind the wellness and hair care brand, HAVAH. Today, HOLR is sitting down to chat with Shikha and Sakshi about how HAVAH honours ancestral knowledge and traditional rituals. The incredible hair oils were developed based on the time-tested wisdom of Ayurveda, which is a 5000-year-old system of natural healing and is specially formulated from ethically-sourced pure plant extracts and resins.

Keep reading to learn all about their story to get a behind-the-scenes look at HAVAH as a brand.

Tell us about the journey to founding your hair care brand, HAVAH. 

HAVAH was born out of a desire to honour and amplify one of the best-kept Indian beauty secrets, and some of our fondest childhood memories: hair oiling. Hair-oiling (and going to bed with oil-soaked center parts) was such an intuitive part of our beauty regimen growing up and one that we’ve held on to close even today. Yet we would struggle to recreate the Ayurvedic oil recipes that we found in India simply because the ingredients, formulations, and preparation methods were not readily available locally. Instead, we would resort to hand-pounding whatever herbs we had in our kitchen pantry or savour the few bottles of oils that our friends and family managed to bring back from India, all of which resulted in poor quality oils with unpleasant scents, textures, and an overall messy experience. This led us back to India a few years ago motivated to replicate our grandmother’s oil concoctions and find a solution in Ayurveda – the indigenous medical system of India. Our exploration of Ayurveda inspired us to build a purist mindset around the Indian art of hair care that informs every aspect of our brand. We are so privileged to be able to bring these deeply respected Indian traditions and formulations directly from India to doorsteps across Canada (and beyond)!

What makes HAVAH products so unique? 

Most hair oils on the market are meant to be applied topically – they just sit on the hair and don’t actually do much in terms of long-term results. They are also usually packed with silicones and synthetic fragrances to give them their smooth feel and luxurious scents.

HAVAH addresses hair health at the roots. Our hair oils are unique in that they are intended to be applied on the scalp and are inextricably tied to a sensory experience: The Champi. The Champi allows the ingredients to sink into the scalp and hair follicles (where your hair starts growing!). Our oils are lightweight, non-toxic, vegan, and proudly bear their natural scent.  

Can you explain what a Champi massage is, how it is done, and the benefits?

Champi is the traditional Indian art of head massage that is at the core of Ayurvedic hair care, and HAVAH! The Ayurvedic massage technique that has been practiced for thousands of years uses herbal oils that are massaged into the head starting at the crown, working your way through the roots of the hair in a rhythmic motion using your fingertips to create friction with the scalp. Regular practice stimulates blood circulation and healthy hair growth, as well as drains away accumulated toxins, and heals irritation. The Champi using oils infused with Ayurvedic herbs also allows you to harness their effects, including supporting sound sleep and promoting feelings of well-being and happiness.    

A simple Champi can be done in a short 10-minute session pre-shampoo or a longer 30 to 40-minute experience. The longer the massage, the deeper the oil can penetrate the scalp tissue and transform it from a beauty routine to a self-care ritual that relaxes the face, body, and mind. It is a powerful practice!  

How do the ingredients featured in your products work to restore, nourish and strengthen the scalp and hair? 

Our hair oils are produced in small batches from India with ethically sourced raw ingredients taken directly from the natural world. Derived from time-tested ancient Ayurvedic formulations that have been regarded as hair elixirs for centuries, each of our hair oils are infused with a selection of nutrient-dense herbs that address specific hair concerns and are slow-cooked into a base of black sesame oil, which is naturally heavy and warming. Our Bhrami ka Tel and Bhringraj ka Tel highlight their powerhouse ingredients of growth-stimulating Bhringraj – which has special significance in Ayurveda as the “King of Herbs”, and hydrating Brahmi – known as the “Herb of Grace” for its soothing qualities. Our Tel ka Mishran is basically an all-in-one hair oil that is packed with a blend of herbs prized in Ayurveda, including thickening Gudhal (hibiscus) and conditioning Amlaki (Indian Gooseberry). The herbs take center stage in each of our oils and as you would expect with any natural, non-toxic product, each has its own unique herbaceous scent that’s real and alive!          

What’s more is that HAVAH’s entire hair oil range is free of unnecessary extras (such as parabens, sulfates, and fragrances), and is cruelty-free and vegan. It is real hair care that you can feel good about knowing exactly what goes into each bottle. 

What does the future have in store for HAVAH?

There’s a lot of exciting things happening at HAVAH! However, launching in the midst of a global pandemic made it challenging to physically engage with our customers in a personalized way through traditional retail channels. Now that we are returning to some semblance of normality, we are excited to expand our retail network and have a few exciting partnerships in the work, that will make it easier for us to educate our consumers and get products into their hands.  

In addition, even though India was particularly hard hit during the pandemic, we have been working behind the scenes with Ayurvedic experts, artisans, and suppliers in India to perfect our formulations and packaging in a way that brings our hair care concepts to fruition and to market. We spend countless hours doing Indian hair care research and product testing and currently have a new product in our pipeline. Keep an eye out for something special coming soon!

Published by HOLR Magazine.