Winter is fast approaching and that means dry skin.
Often this time of year means that our scalps get drier and that can lead to itchiness, flaking, and other irritation. It’s not always dandruff, per se. It could just be dry skin. Your scalp is skin and needs exfoliation just like any other area of your skin.
If you find yourself having seasonal dry scalp, I suggest incorporating a scalp scrub into your hair care routine.
Of course, when you shampoo your hair you are already offering a light exfoliation. Shampoo’s job is to lift the oils, dirt, and buildup from your hair and scalp. But sometimes your scalp could use a little extra help. If you often style your hair with products, such as gels, pastes, or hairspray, then a scalp scrub could really benefit your hair quality by removing the excess buildup.
When the weather cools down, it also can become drier. Dry skin then breaks off and shampoo might not be enough to combat the excess buildup of skin cells. That’s why regular scalp exfoliation can really help, especially during the winter months.
What are the benefits of scalp exfoliation?
It removes buildup. Your hair follicles need cleansing. When too much dirt, skin, or oils build-up, it can lead to flaking and irritation. If you have hard water, scalp scrubs can remove mineral deposits from your scalp also. Over time the deposits from hard water can lead to dull, brittle hair.
Many people don’t take into account the minerals in the water they use for washing. Just like hard water buildup on the side of a tub or pool, minerals can begin to build-up on the scalp, creating hair that is dull and lifeless.
Removing that from the scalp environment is a great way to have more lustrous hair.
Exfoliation promotes hair growth. By removing dead skin, you are promoting cellular turnover of the scalp. This means that your follicles will have a healthier environment to grow healthy, shiny hair. More follicles that are clear of build-up, the more hair you will grow.
Exfoliating the scalp can also lead to increased circulation to the area, which stimulates hair follicles to produce more keratin, leading to more hair. If you’re trying to grow your hair out, or just have thicker hair, exfoliation of the scalp can greatly increase the speed of growth. I have been exfoliating my scalp this year, and my hair is at the longest it’s ever been.
Now that you know the benefits, let's talk about technique.
Unlike a normal gel shampoo, these scalp scrubs typically come in a jar and are grittier in texture. This can be intimidating at first. It’s hard to put something gritty and textured into your hair. These products are made specifically to rinse out easily without leaving any residue behind.
You’ll want to part your wet hair and place the shampoo directly on your roots. You’ll work the shampoo into the scalp in circular motions. Focus on areas where buildup is most likely. This is going to be where you put your styling products and any dry spots. It’s not necessary to be aggressive with your scrubbing. Let the product do its job.
Rinse out gently. As long as you rinse well, you shouldn't have any grime or residue. Always condition your hair afterward to provide hydration and protection to the hair.
Now for recommendations.
There are scalp exfoliators available at every price point. They all have the same basic use, but some will include better ingredients or have additional benefits of use.
My personal favorite is the Briogeo Scalp Revival Exfoliating Shampoo ($42 USD). It's a charcoal and micro-exfoliant based shampoo that soothes the scalp. It leaves your scalp feeling cool and hydrated. It also contains coconut oil to keep your hair hydrated and shiny. This exfoliating shampoo is one of the highest-rated, most used, and beloved by many hair care experts.
Briogeo carries an entire line dedicated to scalp health. They have a great scalp serum that I’ve used to clear up irritation and buildup. While it can be a more expensive product, it’s very effective and worth the money.
For a more affordable option, Target carries the Kristin Ess scalp care line. This includes the Instant Exfoliating Scalp Scrub ($14 USD). It's a sugar-based scrub that melts away buildup and keeps skin hydrated. It’s a vegan, cruelty-free, non-drying formula. It’s really soothing too.
On the high-end is the Christophe Robin Cleansing Purifying Scrub ($53 USD). This one is a thicker consistency and offers a sea-salt scrub to purify and detox the scalp. When I first got this, I didn’t realize it was a scalp scrub and used it on my body. My skin was so soft and smooth. Once I started using it for the prescribed use, my hair and scalp responded very well.
While this scrub is on the high-end of prices, it’s highly concentrated, so a little goes a long way. It’s a little stickier than most scrubs and has a more paste-like consistency. Despite the texture, it’s a great purifying scalp scrub.
We all have heard the benefits of using apple cider vinegar in body care. dpHue haircare has harnessed the benefits of ACV and combined it with pink Himalayan salt to create the Apple Cider Vinegar Scalp Scrub. This runs $38 and has color-protectants to ensure that it doesn’t fade any color. This scrub includes avocado oil and aloe vera to soothe the scalp and lower irritation.
All of these scrubs offer great exfoliation to the scalp. Regardless of how much you spend, adding exfoliation to your hair care routine can offer great benefits. If your hair is looking dull or lifeless, or you’re battling a dry scalp, these types of treatments can help you achieve gorgeous hair results. More and more companies are beginning to create their own lines of scalp treatments, so it’s worth doing some research into the different options.
Once you start exfoliating your scalp, you’ll reap fabulous benefits in your hair health too.
(Photo shot/edited by The Savvy Reeder)