THE IN-TRAY

Want healthier hair? It’s time for a scalp detox

SCALP HEALTH IS THE LATEST BEAUTY BUZZWORD TURNING HEADS, BUT IT’S NO FAD. IT’S THE ROOT TO CREATING HEALTHY, SHINY HAIR.

You lavish the skin on your face with replenishing serums, brightening oils, hydrating masks and all manner of Bladerunner-esque tools, but what about the skin on your head? Pampering products designed specifically for your scalp are flourishing for the simple reason that a healthy crown equates with healthy hair. “Think of your scalp as the soil and your hair as the flowers that grow on it,” says Aveda guest artist Darren Summors. “Healthy soil means healthy plants. It’s exactly the same with the scalp and hair.”

Is shampoo and conditioner enough?

Not if you’re dealing with mild irritation, itchiness, dandruff or just lacklustre locks. For hair to thrive, you may need to consider targeted solutions that exfoliate, soothe and balance the scalp. Sachajuan, a new arrival from Sweden, has a trio of scalp-focused products, including a shampoo, conditioner and a leave-in serum that protect and preserve the skin’s barrier. “They use natural ingredients like rosemary oil, menthol and ginger extract to soothe irritated scalps and maintain healthy moisture balance,” says Stockholm-based co-founder Sacha Mitic. The brand’s supplementary treatment uses additional actives, piroctone olamine and climbazole, to remove dry dandruff. “And it creates a cooling sensation on irritated scalps.”

Beware sebum and product buildup

Hair follicles produce sebum and an excessive amount can exact a toll. At the same time, styling products leave behind congesting residues. All this blockage can lead to hair loss and thinning. “Clarifying shampoos are great since the scalp is the oiliest part of the body,” says LA-based hair guru Philip Berkovitz, the founder of Philip B. “Use one every one, two or three washes.” In terms of other scalp-friendly shampoos, Berkovitz prescribes Forever Shine, and Russian Amber, the Rolls Royce of hair cleansers. “They contain oleosomes and amino acids that are nourishing and strengthening not only to the hair but to the scalp,” he adds. Meanwhile, the brand’s Rejuvenating Oil is a pre-shampoo treatment enriched with botanical oils to balance dry, oily or irritated scalps. The upshot? Lustrous hair that actually grows faster.

Scalp exfoliation goes even deeper

“Your scalp is skin and an extension of the face,” continues Aveda’s Summors. Consequently, it should be polished with an exfoliating cleanser. Aveda’s Pramasana Purifying Scalp Cleanser is a gentle scrub powered by salicylic acid. “Use this before your regular shampoo,” Summors says. Follow with a mildly exfoliating version to bolster your handiwork. 3 More Inches Exfoliating Scalp Treatment is a weekly detox that uses a blend of AHA fruit acids to eliminate lingering product, flakes and dead skin cells. Or try Bumble and bumble’s Bb. Scalp Detox, a zingy remedy for clogging impurities that fizzes on application. Follow with the brand’s exfoliating shampoo, which fosters healthy roots. Omorovicza uses revitalising Hungarian moor mud in its sumptuous scalp mask. A scalp brush is another beneficial addition to your tool kit. Aveda’s Pramasana Exfoliating Brush boosts blood circulation and banishes build-up.

Hair hacks to master

There are a few other tips for maintaining peak scalp health. Massage is a good way to keep blood circulation flowing. Berkovitz cautions on the technique. “Always remember to massage with the pads of your fingertips—never use finger nails as they can spread or create an infection in the scalp.” Also, be kind to damp hair. “Avoid tying your hair up when it is wet,” says Mitic. “When the hair is left damp, bacteria can easily build up in the scalp area.” Aquis, the pioneer in hair towels and turbans, has an entire system devoted to reducing the damage that happens to hair when it gets wet and loses its strength. Finally, a Slip pillowcase helps minimise friction on tresses. It’s another arrow in your quiver for Hollywood-worthy hair.

Words by George Epaminondas
August 2019

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