Hair Care

7 Secrets to a Healthy Scalp

+ Britta Aragon

Want healthy, shiny, luxurious looking hair? It all starts with the scalp. That’s where your hair is born, and if your scalp is dry, flaky, or undernourished, your hair will look that way, too.

Here are seven ways you can nurture the health of your scalp to a) stop any flaking or dryness you may be experiencing, and b) create healthier, shinier looking hair.

1. Go easy on the shampoo.

Every time you shampoo your hair, you strip away some of the natural oils and moisturizers in the hair and on your scalp. Excessive shampooing can result in dryness, flaking, and dull-looking hair. So try to take a break as often as you can. Have some “shampoo-free” days in your routine. If you have dry hair and scalp, you need to have more “shampoo-free” days than someone with naturally oily hair and scalp. Also, don’t forget to choose a gentle shampoo that’s sulfate-free.

2. Add a scalp treatment to your hair-care regimen.

Fortunately, manufacturers are finally getting wise to the fact that we need to take care of our scalps as well as our hair. There are several scalp care products out there now that you can apply directly to the scalp after shampooing and conditioning. These products can be conditioning and moisturizing, and can help keep your scalp from becoming too dry. (Note: Our Rescue + Relief Spray works great in a pinch, and is particularly good for itchy, flaky scalp!)

3. Avoid heavy styling.

If you’re frequently subjecting your head to tight hairstyles, rough detangling, or harsh chemical treatments, you’re eventually going to suffer the consequences. These usually include dryness, dullness, flaking, and even hair loss. Be gentle when dealing with your hair, and if you use chemical treatments, be sure to baby your hair and scalp afterwards with soothing, conditioning treatments.

4. Use moisturizing hair masks.

Just like your skin benefits from regular moisturizing masks, your hair and scalp can, too. At least once a week, apply some natural oil (argan, oil, jojoba, etc.), shea butter, or another hair mask to your head and let it sit for 15-30 minutes. Rub it into the scalp before wrapping a warm towel around your head. You can also add a few drops of oil to your regular conditioner and use that as your weekly mask.

5. Address dandruff immediately.

If you’re noticing your scalp flaking, address it right away. It usually won’t get better on it’s own, and over time, it can weaken the hair follicle and cause your hair to shed prematurely. You can talk to your doctor about treatments, or use over-the-counter dandruff shampoos, but there are also home remedies you can try:

  • Add some tea tree oil to your shampoo and wash as usual.
  • Rub some baking soda into your scalp, then rinse.
  • Mix some apple cider vinegar and water and spritz on your scalp, let sit for about 10-15 minutes, then wash as usual.
  • Rub some coconut oil into your scalp and let sit for 30-60 minutes, then shampoo normally.

6. Gently exfoliate your scalp.

You probably already exfoliate your skin, but have you ever exfoliated your scalp? It can help refresh the skin there, and is particularly beneficial if you have dryness or flaking. If your hair is thinning, exfoliation may help. Try adding some sugar or salt into your hair when you’re shampooing, and scrub your scalp gently, then rinse.

There are also several exfoliating scalp treatments available on the market today that are designed to help treat itching and flaking, as well as some to treat oiliness. Some are scrub-type exfoliants, and some are made with chemical exfoliants like glycolic and salicylic acids. Simply look for “scalp exfoliation.”

7. Treat yourself to a head massage.

A deep massage on the scalp and neck not only feels great, it can help release stress, stimulate circulation to your hair follicles, release dead skin cells from the scalp, and ease scalp conditions like dandruff. You can ask for one at the spa or the salon, but you can also give yourself a nice scalp massage.

Apply a few drops of essential oil or massage oil on your fingers, and then simply use your fingertips to apply pressure in circular motions all around your head. Massage experts typically advise starting at the front of the scalp and working toward the back.

Extra Tip: Our Calming Moisture for Face, Neck, and Scalp helps moisturize and nourish a dry, flaky scalp. You can use it as a hair mask—simply rub into the scalp and leave on for 10-15 minutes and rinse, then shampoo. Or if you don’t have hair, or if you shave your hair, it works perfectly to keep your scalp looking and feeling healthy.

How do you care for the health of your scalp?

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