In the world of beauty, scalp care has become the latest and most sought-after trend. The hair on our heads is often taken for granted, so now it’s time to pay attention to the foundation of our tresses.
Hairdressers have always told me to think of my scalp as an extension of my skin, and just like the delicate skin on our faces (which many of us spend thousands on every year), it deserves the same care and attention. Oftentimes, dry, dull and damaged hair, as well as greasy roots, derive from neglecting a rigorous scalp regime. And at risk of unnecessarily overcomplicating your hair care routine, with the amount of effort most of us put into re-hydrating dry ends, I think returning to the root cause is essential for runway-approved hair.
Tools, tech and serums aside, the first step to scalp care is choosing the right shampoo — one that caters to your specific needs (this might be entirely different to your conditioner). It pays to think about shampoo for your scalp, and conditioner as the nourishment you need for the hair itself. So if you’re someone who struggles with a dry, sometimes itchy scalp, look for targeted shampoos that will provide nourishment and relief. Especially good are ones that contain zinc pyrithione, a powerful ingredient that regulates oil production and reduces any residual flakiness. In contrast, if oily roots weigh you down, shampoos with salicylic acid will be a lifesaver. This skincare hero is a gentle, effective ingredient that regulates sebum production and cuts through product buildup.
Just as exfoliation is an essential step in sloughing away dead skin from your face and body, this rigorous scalp care ritual should be applied to your head too. A weekly deep cleanse with an AHA serum (ideally one formulated for scalp use like Sunday Riley’s coveted Clean Rinse Clarifying Scalp Serum) helps to break down any product buildup and nourish hair follicles, alongside providing immediate relief from itchy, flaky scalps. For an extra dose of luxury, switch your chemical exfoliant for a physical scalp scrub every other week. This physical scrub (the Sachajuan Scalp Scrub — with a deliciously nourishing shea butter scent is a favourite) will gently exfoliate your scalp, taking care of any dead skin cells and leaving your hair feeling truly salon fresh.
And given that we lather every other inch of our body in SPF, our scalp needs protection from harmful UV rays too — so ensuring the application of a broad spectrum is essential to longevity and protection. A challenging task to navigate, Supergoop! is a great option that goes on like dry shampoo for easy application that doesn’t make your roots feel greasy.
Once the basics feel effortless, it’s time to add in the tools. Most hairdressers recommend beginning with a scalp scrubber, which can be used as a massage tool every time you shampoo. Simply scrub in small circles, stimulating the hair follicles to encourage growth, and ensure you remove the scrubber from your scalp before starting on a new area — the only way to avoid a knotty mess. Others prefer a gua sha-inspired comb which employs a lot of the same scalp-stimulating benefits, in a more relaxing, intuitive way (it’s great for tension headaches too).
Other tools, like BeautyBio’s scalp attachment, are essential additions, akin to dermarolling your scalp — and providing many similar benefits. Jolie’s showerhead is another scalp care necessity, replacing your usual head with a filtering alternative, that removes harsh chemicals and contaminants from the water before they irritate your skin. Dare I say it, scalp care evidently is the new skincare, and if you’re not already, this should be your sign to start.