Your scalp probably isn’t high on your list of beauty priorities. It’s hidden away beneath the hair, and we only seem to pay it any notice when it’s acting up.
However, there’s no such thing as a healthy head of hair without a healthy scalp.
Why a healthy scalp = good hairYour scalp is covered in hair follicles. These can easily get clogged with dead skin and sweat, as well as random particles (such as pollen or dust) and environmental pollutants which find their way onto the scalp throughout the day.1 Hair follicles which are blocked don’t do as good a job of growing strong, healthy hair, and general build-up on the scalp can leave it flaky, itchy and sensitive. This is looking after your scalp is so important.
A guide to scalp treatment products
Here are our top tips for products which can help restore balance to stressed-out scalps.
Choose the right shampoo for your scalp type. If you don’t know your scalp type, it’s simple. Dry or sensitive scalps tend to flake and itch, whereas oily scalps are prone to flat, lank hair. If you have oily or dry skin on your face, you’re most likely to have this type of skin on your scalp, too.
You could ask your hairdresser next time you’re in their chair if you’re unsure.
- Oily scalps – a clarifying shampoo will help minimise the oil on your scalp to help prevent clogged follicles. Ingredients like tea tree oil, eucalyptus oil and clary sage oil can rid your scalp of excess oil. We like the Earth Kind Tea Tree & Eucalyptus Shampoo Bar for Improved Scalp Health
- Dry scalps –the best shampoo for dry, itchy scalp is a nourishing formula which helps to relieve dandruff. Try the Jason Dandruff Relief Shampoo
- Sensitive scalps – using too many detergents and strong shampoos could upset a sensitive scalp. The best shampoo for sensitive scalp is one with organic plant extracts and natural ingredients, such as Natura Siberica Shampoo - Neutral for sensitive scalp or Ethique Heali Kiwi Shampoo Bar For Touchy Scalps.
Conditioners shouldn’t be applied to the scalp. Instead of giving you shiny, soft hair, you’re more likely to overload your scalp with heavy products and cause the hair at the scalp (where it’s newest and naturally most soft) to become lank and oily.
Keep conditioners for the ends of your hair, where the hair is oldest and driest.
Your scalp is covered in skin. You wouldn’t consider a flaky, itchy face par for the course, so why do we so often ignore such issues on our scalp?
Moisturise your scalp with a scalp serum, scalp cream or scalp oil. Some formulas are designed to be washed out and others are supposed to be applied to towel-dried hair and left in, so check the label.
- Try Hanna Sillitoe Intensive Scalp Oil and leave the rich oil in overnight and wash out the following morning.
- Sensitive scalps might like the Gallinée Scalp and Hair Serum, a lightweight oil-free serum enriched with fermented rice water.
A hair mask for dry scalp issues will give you serious scalp TLC and can make a real difference in the condition of your scalp and hair over time.
The best dry scalp treatment will work like a scalp conditioner, delivering both clarifying ingredients and moisture to a parched scalp without weighing down your hair at the roots.
- The Sea Magik Seaweed Scalp Mud Mask harnesses natural minerals from seaweed and Dead Sea mud. Used like a deep conditioner but concentrating on the roots not the ends, this mask is used after shampooing.
- Dr Organic Hemp Oil Rescue & Restore Hair & Scalp Treatment is a leave-in scalp treatment which contains lots of natural ingredients such as aloe leaf juice, hemp seed oil and horsetail extract
Dry scalp treatment: DIY
If cash is short or if you just prefer making your own products, you can make an easy scalp mask at home. Try this:Honey is one of nature’s best offerings for beauty. It contains antioxidants2 and is also a humectant, meaning it attracts water which is great news for dry, flaky scalps.
Manuka honey scalp scrub mask
- 1 tablespoon manuka honey
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon sugar
How to use:
- Mix ingredients apart from the sugar in a suitable bowl and microwave for 15 – 30 seconds. Once warm, add the sugar.
- Massage the warm mask into damp hair, allowing the sugar granules to act as an exfoliating scrub. Cover hair with a warm towel and leave for up to 30 minutes before rinsing out and shampooing thoroughly. Use weekly.
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Last updated: 10 August 2020