For Healthy Hair, Take Care of Your Scalp
Skim the hair care section of any fashion or beauty website and you’ll find articles about how often you should shampoo, the best deep conditioners, celebrity hairstyles, and the latest trends in colour. What you probably won’t see is any mention of scalp care. But healthy hair requires a healthy scalp. Before you take care of anything else to do with your hair, be sure you tend to your scalp!
Want a Healthy Scalp? Follow Your Skin Care Regimen
An article in Rodale’s Organic Life states that “your scalp is an extension of your face” and should be treated as such. In other words, to achieve optimal scalp health, use the skin care knowledge you already have.
- Unlike skin–which needs to be cleansed every day–you can skip a day or two between shampoos. But for the sake of your scalp, be sure to wash your hair at least once a week. If you don’t, the buildup of sebum (oil), dead skin cells, and product residue can lead to inflammation and slow hair growth. In some cases, it can even cause hair loss. Worried that washing will dry your hair? Trichologist Elizabeth Cunnane Phillips, in a Prevention magazine article, recommends you look for a gentle shampoo that is free of sulfates.
- Skin toners provide extra cleansing for your skin. The equivalent for hair is clarifying shampoo. Used monthly, it can remove the product buildup that causes irritation of the scalp. Apple cider vinegar has the same effect. New York salon owner Eva Scrivo suggests adding 1-2 tablespoons of the vinegar to your shampoo. Massage it in and let it sit for 3 minutes before rinsing.
- Just like your face and body, your scalp can benefit from exfoliation. In an Allure article, celebrity dermatologist Francesa Fusco suggests adding a few spoonfuls of sugar to your shampoo and massaging it into the scalp. For extra-heavy buildup, she recommends a shampoo with salicylic acid.
- For years we’ve heard that putting conditioner too close to the scalp can clog pores and weigh hair down. But, like your face, your scalp needs hydration. If you worry about clogged pores, Fusco suggests you look for a non-comedogenic conditioner. Scrivo also recommends a nightly essential oil treatment for added moisture. Rosemary oil, which improves circulation, is a great choice. Add a couple of drops to a carrier oil like jojoba, massage it into your hair before bed, and wash it out in the morning.
That’s all there is to it! Use the skin care routine you know so well on your scalp and you’ll soon see the results in healthier, more beautiful hair.