Ah, our scalps. They really are one of those things we don’t think about until we REALLY do, aren’t they? Like, when we have no other choice because flaking and itching have literally taken over so we actually can’t think about anything else, save for wondering how it happened and what we did to deserve such a fate.
What if we told you that a few simple shifts in your hair care routine could equal big changes for the health and happiness—and itching—of your scalp? Deanna has a few suggestions off the top of her head (get it?) we think might help.
Keep it dry and clean, but stop overcleansing.
A lot of times, things like dandruff and itching come from people overcleansing.
Best case scenario for your scalp is to have it be clean and dry with a natural sebum oil production. How do you create that? My argument is you create it by scrubbing your scalp once a week until it is clean. as. eff.
Before you do that, though, brush, brush, freaking brush your hair and scalp to get the oils from your scalp all the way through your hair.
Then you wash. You wash your scalp until it is CLEAN. You scrub your scalp. You actually take the time to make sure all the excess dirt and oil have been taken off your scalp. Wash it a thousand times in a row during that one wash day, and if you don’t have time to do that, wash it as many times as you need to be able to put your finger on your scalp and hear that ‘squeak’ sound. Squeaky clean. That’s what you want.
Next, condition. While you’re doing this, massage your scalp. Stimulate your scalp to increase blood flow which heals lots of problems on its own. Rinse that clean. Do not have a buildup of conditioner on your scalp.
Let your hair dry all the way BEFORE you put it up in a ponytail or that beautiful Portland bun. As an added bonus, this will also prevent your hair from getting mildewed (which I have seen). Now you have a clean, dry palette to live on. Delightful.
Get a co-wash.
If you are someone who can’t stand the idea of only washing once a week, get a good co-wash and wash your hair with that in between weekly shampoo days. I recommend KEVIN.MURPHY’s RE.STORE. It’s excellent. It is a cleansing conditioner that uses green pea protein, amino acids, and fruit enzymes to clean your hair while also acting as a deep conditioner and treatment.
Put it in your hair, let it sit for five minutes—it has to sit because the fruit enzymes slowly work to break the protein bonds in the oil—and then you have to scrub it out of your head. Do NOT let it stay on your head or you’re gonna have build up and your hair could fall out. Get it out of your hair. All co-washes need to be scrubbed out of your hair.
But you can even just use conditioner to wash your hair. You don’t actually have to get a co-wash. Take something like HYDRATE-ME.RINSE, scrub it in your hair, scrub your scalp, and then rinse it and make sure you get it all out. That’s definitely an option.
Get a water filter for your shower head.
A lot of water, especially in Southeast Portland because it’s closest to the water treatment plants that Portland uses to clean its water, has really freaking high mineral counts and is highly chlorinated. You HAVE to get a water purifier on your shower head or you are going to be taking showers in what is essentially swimming pool water and wondering why your scalp itches so much. Just get a water filter on your shower, live your best life.
If you don’t believe me, everyone in Southeast Portland, go ahead and test your water. You’ll be like, “Holy crow, I had no idea.”
Everyone on the westside, you’re welcome, because everyone in the Southeast has stolen all the chlorine and shoved it onto their head. You’re fine, but you know, you should probably get a filter anyway so you can be one of the team.
Generally speaking, stop putting SO MUCH sh!t on your scalp, but the occasional at-home treatment is fine.
The SCALP.SPA Treatment is fucking awesome. Before you wash, brush your hair to oblivion, then put this foam treatment on your hair. Let it sit for TWENTY minutes. Watch your TV, live your life. About minute 15, you’ll feel pulsating on your head, as if someone’s massaging your head. It’s like wah, wah, wah, wah. It is AMAZING, life-changing, and then you shampoo your hair afterward—OH MY GOD. Y’all will die. Honestly, it’s the best thing ever. It’s designed to restore scalp health and is especially good for folks with sensitive scalps.
Now, if you have an itchy scalp, and you’re like, “I have an itchy scalp. I am a sweaty, itchy person. I am always itching my scalp,” then get the SCALP.SPA Serum. You put that in on dry hair, directly on your itchy spots. It stops all itching, so you won’t keep scratching your scalp and then flaking everywhere. It honestly works—it’s the craziest thing—KEVIN.MURPHY really brought it with this one.
The SCALP.SPA Wash is excellent too. I know that it’s color-safe, but I would not recommend it for people who have really dramatic color. Just listen to me.
Only use essential oils with a carrier oil and as a treatment. AKA, WASH IT OUT.
I get a lot of questions from people about whether or not they should be putting things like rosemary oil or lavender oil on their scalp, and the thing is, oil creates a barrier to your scalp accepting moisture. Also, essential oils are extremely powerful, so using them can also be kind of dangerous when done incorrectly.
If you really want to use one, mix a FEW drops (like a very small amount) with a carrier oil and massage it into your scalp, let’s say, once a month as a pre-shampoo instead of doing something like the SCALP.SPA Treatment. Think of it as a treatment for your scalp. Put it in, leave it on for thirty minutes, and then shampoo your hair afterward. Good to go. Do not leave it in. Do not put it on your scalp and have it live there forever. That is not the reason for doing those types of treatments.
Wow. Our scalps feel better already.
(Obviously, note these are the opinions of a working stylist and are not intended, nor should they be construed, as medical advice. Please always refer to your dermatologist for maximum scalp and skin health!)