That’s right, you read that correctly: It’s time to start exfoliating your scalp…
What, you thought shampoo and conditioner alone would guarantee the health of your scalp forever? Sorry to be the one to break it to you, but you’ll need to put in a bit more work if a healthy head and hair is your end goal. After all, your scalp is skin. You exfoliate every other inch of your skin’s surface to help it breathe and regenerate, so why not do the same for the skin at your body’s north pole?
Why it works…
Your scalp plays a big part in the health and look of your hair. If your scalp gets oily, your locks look oily. If your scalp gets too dry, your mane gets dry, brittle and potentially flakey from dry skin. So you need to give your scalp a helping hand—shampoo and conditioner can only do so much.
That delicate acid mantle you need to keep balanced on your face? It’s the same on your scalp. And similarly to the way your facial skin can be easily disrupted by dirt, pollution and residual products…yup, same thing can happen to your scalp.
When you exfoliate your scalp, you help to remove dead skin cells, dirt, dandruff, excess oil and any product that’s built up over time (looking at you, dry shampoo). In doing so, you clear the pores and follicles along your scalp, making it much easier for healthy hair to spring forth. A gentle scalp scrub will also help stimulate blood flow, which will in turn stimulate hair growth.
How it works…
If you’re not ready to invest in a product specifically made for scalp exfoliation (though there are some excellent ones out there), you can experiment with a salt scrub you already own. (Salt will soothe inflammation, balance skin and give you a whole effortless beach wave situation.) Just know that the results may not be as good since a body scrub is different than a scalp exfoliator, but it’s the same general idea and will give you a good enough sense of what to expect.
The application process is pretty straight forward. In the shower, take some product and massage it into your hair and scalp, similarly to the way you use shampoo. Scrub along the hairline all the way around, the middle and back of your head, and any patches of skin you can get to without tangling your wet hair.
“Gentle” is the key word here—your scalp is sensitive. Just like you can over-exfoliate the skin on your face, you can overdo it amongst your hair as well. Small abrasions, torn strands, etc. And also make sure to use warm water; if the water is too hot, it’ll dry your scalp out even more.
If you’re using a product designed specifically for the scalp, let it sit for a bit. Many of them also tone and moisturize to create an even healthier environment for hair growth, and include ingredients that promote cell turnover even after the physical exfoliation is over.
When you’re done getting your scalp nice and exfoliated, shampoo and condition as normal.
+Check out more beauty tips and tricks from Allie here!
Photo by Jana Kirn.