Your scalp is an extension of your face, the same rules should apply. Healthy and shiny hair starts, quite literally, at the root. If your scalp skin is not in optimal condition—thoroughly clean, perfectly balanced—then you’re not giving your hair it’s best shot at reaching its full growth, glossy and lush potential. A scalp care routine is simple, and doing it regularly will set you on the path to a happy head of hair.
Beauty editors are always going on about the importance of getting your skin as healthy as possible, and it’s for a very good reason: healthy skin makes everything else—namely, makeup—infinitely easier. But we’re not just talking about your complexion, because the same principle applies to the rest of your head: look after your scalp skin and you’ll be ensuring your hair always looks its best.
“Our scalp is home to around 100,000 hair follicles, and if scalp skin is dehydrated, damaged or distressed, it can’t function at its optimum level,” explains hairdresser Stevie Vincent, owner of her eponymous salon in Perth.
It can be strange to think about scalp skin being prone to some of the same environmental and ageing factors as our face skin, but it’s not that much of a stretch when you consider that the scalp is essentially an extension of our face. Regularly removing dead skin cells encourages cellular turnover, so that fresh and healthy skin cells can come through and provide the best environment for hair growth. And then there’s the product buildup from all those dry shampoos, texture sprays and gels, accumulation that “can suffocate the hair follicle and, in some cases, lead to premature hair loss or other scalp conditions,” warns Vincent.
So what’s the solution?
Treat your scalp as you would your face, and adopt a dedicated skincare routine. Just like you might smear on a face mask for #SelfcareSunday, think about swapping out your regular shampoo one day a week for a scalp cleansing treatment.
R+Co Acid Wash: buzzy beauty ingredient apple cider vinegar whisks away excess product buildup without stripping the scalp, and helps balance scalp skin’s pH levels.
R+Co Tea Cup: a must for regular swimmers, this conditioning rinse washes away chlorine, minimises colour fading and rehydrates dried-out hair.
Oribe Exfoliating Scalp Scrub: both chemical (alpha hydroxy acids) and physical (sugar cane) exfoliants gently remove dead skin, oil, dirt and product build-up, while a dose of caffeine rejuvenates scalp skin and hair follicles.
What do you do if you have issues with flaking and dandruff?
And then there are those white flakes that most people have to deal with from time to time, and which are generally caused by one of two things: a dry or irritated scalp, or dandruff, which can be brought on by seasonal changes, periods of high stress, or over-washing the hair which can lead to a dehydrated scalp. If it’s the former, regular exfoliation allows natural oils to nourish scalp skin and keep it healthy, while for the latter, it’s worth routinely using a deep cleansing duo, like Sachajuan Scalp Shampoo & Conditioner, which has skincare favourite salicylic acid to dissolve flakes, plus a botanical blend of rosemary oil, menthol and ginger extract, to soothe irritation.
Finally, Vincent suggests you don’t forget all the other little things that you might not be aware you’re doing:
- Don’t sleep with wet hair (the moisture can lead to issues ranging from irritation and itchiness, to dryness and dandruff)
- Wear a hat to shield your scalp from damaging UV rays
- Don’t just focus on mid lengths and ends when brushing out your hair, but get right into the roots as well, “and give yourself a little scalp massage while you’re there—future you will thank you for it."