When it comes to your hair care routine, you probably pay a whole lot of attention to your mid-lengths and ends, right? After all, if your ends are super-dry, that can make creating a stunning hairstyle a whole lot more difficult. Not to mention that neglecting them can contribute to split ends. But think about it: How much thought do you actually give your scalp? If your answer is not much, it’s time to change your tune! That’s because in order to have healthy hair, you need to have a healthy scalp, too. If you’re dealing with itchiness, flakes, oily roots, or scalp build-up, you may be inclined to spend all of your time with your hair hidden under a giant hat. Instead, why not get to the root of good hair care (pun intended) by showing your scalp some TLC with the following hair care products and tips. Don’t overlook your scalp any longer!
HOW TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR SCALP AND MANAGE SCALP BUILD UP
So, you’ve decided to put more time and effort into taking care of your scalp, but where do you start? Your scalp is still skin, so it needs special care just like the rest of your complexion. Here are our best scalp care tips to reduce scalp build up and promote healthy, gorgeous locks.
SCALP CARE TIP #1: USE A SCALP SCRUB
First off, if you’ve been neglecting your scalp, you almost certainly have some excess product and dead skin cell build up on your scalp that needs to be sloughed away. The best way to reduce scalp build up is to use a scalp exfoliating scrub, like the L'Oréal Paris EverFresh Micro-Exfoliating Scrub. Just like your skin can benefit from a bit of regular exfoliation—from head to toe—so can your scalp! This scrub is formulated with apricot seeds and helps gently remove impurities, flakes, and build up from dirt and excess oils that can cause hair to become weighed down. A scalp scrub should be used on damp hair before you shampoo. After you hop into the shower, wet your hair and apply a liberal amount of the scrub. Gently massage it onto your scalp and throughout your hair. Then, rinse thoroughly and move on to your shampoo (we have some thoughts on that too, so keep reading).
SCALP CARE TIP #2: USE THE RIGHT SHAMPOO SYSTEM
Once you’ve washed your scalp scrub out of your hair, it’s time to use a system of shampoo and conditioner that will also bolster your scalp health. If you suffer from dandruff or scalp flakiness to any degree, or are on the hunt for an itchy scalp shampoo, reach for one that’s formulated with pyrithione zinc, like the L’Oréal Paris EverFresh Anti-Dandruff Shampoo. This shampoo can help restore scalp balance and stop scalp itching, irritation, and flakes. After using your scrub, apply the shampoo to wet hair by gently massaging it onto your scalp and hair, then rinse well. Use it at least twice a week for best results or as directed by a doctor.
If dandruff isn’t a concern for you, but you still have dry strands and oily roots, use a moisturizing shampoo that’s formulated with clay, like the L'Oréal Paris Elvive Extraordinary Clay Shampoo. Formulated with kaolin, bentonite, and montmorillonite clays, this shampoo can help instantly purify oily roots and hydrate dry lengths, without weighing hair down, for beautifully fresh, flowing hair from root to tip.
SCALP CARE TIP #3: DON’T SKIMP ON CONDITIONER
Have you been skipping out on conditioner because you think it’ll make your oily roots even more oily? Wrong move! Oily roots and dry ends are an indicator of overall scalp health, and you need to keep your locks hydrated to restore balance.
Choose a conditioner that pairs with your shampoo of choice—you should be using products that are part of the same hair care system. If you used the L’Oréal Paris EverFresh Anti-Dandruff Shampoo, reach for the L'Oréal Paris EverFresh Balancing Conditioner as your next step. If you used the L'Oréal Paris Extraordinary Clay Shampoo, use the L'Oréal Paris Elvive Extraordinary Clay Conditioner. Once you’ve rinsed out the shampoo, massage the conditioner onto your wet hair, then rinse.
SCALP CARE TIP #4: WASH WITH LUKEWARM WATER
We talk about the effect hot water can have on your skin and hair all the time, but it isn’t great for your scalp either! After all, your scalp can dry out just like the skin on your face. Thankfully, there’s an easy fix to this little issue—simply turn down the water temperature when you shower. Using lukewarm water to bathe and wash your hair will benefit your skin, hair, and scalp—win, win, win.
SCALP CARE TIP #5: USE THE RIGHT DRY SHAMPOO FORMULA
If you have oily roots, you’re likely already a major fan of dry shampoo—and that’s fine, but you need to be certain that the dry shampoo formula you choose isn’t hurting your overall scalp health. Too much of the wrong type of dry shampoo can cause an unruly amount of scalp build up, which isn’t good for the health of your hair follicles. To remedy this situation, use a dry shampoo that’s formulated with clay, which can help restore purity to the scalp without causing unnecessary build up. Next time you’re in need of a refresh, reach for the L'Oréal Paris Elvive Extraordinary Clay Dry Shampoo as your dry shampoo of choice. To use it, simply spray onto your roots while holding the can between six and eight inches away from your hair.
SCALP CARE TIP #6: USE A MULTI-TASKING LEAVE-IN PRODUCT
When you’re trying to avoid product build up, use a hairstyling product that multi-tasks! Not sure what that even means? Look no further than the L’Oréal Paris EverPure 10-in-1 Elixir. This total hair and scalp beauty solution is formulated with Indian lilac and helps transform hair vitality. It has 10 (yes, 10!) benefits in one: nourish, hydrate, soothe, repair, density, smooth, texture, strength, softness, and shine. Talk about a workhorse! To use, apply it to towel-dried hair and scalp in sections. Gently work it through your hair or comb through to evenly distribute. You don’t have to rinse—go ahead and style as usual!
SCALP CARE TIP #7: give yourself a scalp massage
Those wonderful scalp massages you get during a haircut? They shouldn’t just be reserved for your regular trims. In fact, treating yourself to a mini scalp massage doesn’t have to be decadent at all, and it can also help the health of your hair follicles. Don’t believe us? According to research published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), regular scalp massages can result in increased hair thickness! Who knew? To kill two birds with one stone, next time you shampoo, focus the product onto your scalp and give yourself a massage for a couple of minutes.
SCALP CARE TIP #8: protect your scalp from the sun
We already established that your scalp is skin too, but you might not treat it as such when you spend time outside. It’s time to change that habit! Your scalp can get sunburnt just like everywhere else on your body, so it’s important to protect it from the sun. If you’re heading outside for an extended period of time, consider wearing a sun-protective hairstyle that doesn’t include a hair part, which is prime real estate for the sun’s harmful rays.
Another easy option when you don’t have time to style your strands? Toss on a wide-brimmed hat! Or, if you want to wear a hairstyle with a chic side or middle part without risking your scalp, you can apply sunscreen along your part to keep it as protected as possible. That’s right, you can totally use sunscreen on your scalp! If you’re worried about ending up with greasy strands, we recommend dusting a powder sunscreen onto your part.
SCALP CARE TIP #9: avoid tight braids and hairstyles
If you’re experiencing scalp sensitivity of any sort, it’s best to avoid wearing tight hairstyles or tight braids, which can tug and pull on your hair. In fact, super tight hairstyles aren’t just bad for scalp sensitivity—they can also cause hair loss, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). This is known medically as traction alopecia, and it happens when tight hairstyles (worn repeatedly) literally pull hair out of the scalp. When this happens repeatedly over time, the hair ceases to grow back. Now, we’re not saying never wear a tight hairstyle! But, if you’re experiencing scalp sensitivity or are prone to thin hair or hair loss, it’s best to wear loose styles that won’t cause any tugging on your hair.
Need recommendations for loose hairstyles that won’t tug on your hair? A couple of our favorites are low buns and loose fishtail braids. To be even gentler on your strands, secure them with soft scrunchies instead of firm elastics.
SCALP CARE TIP #10: don’t blast your scalp with your blow-dryer
If you blow-dry your hair regularly, take note of this tip: Blasting the hot air directly onto your scalp is a big beauty no-no! The hot air doesn’t only hurt, it can also be damaging to the skin on your scalp. Think about it: Would you want extremely hot air blown directly and closely onto your complexion? Certainly not. To avoid this scenario, simply hold the blow-dryer at least a few inches away from your scalp. To brush up on the specifics of the correct way to use your blow-dryer, head to our article, How to Blow-Dry Your Hair at Home.
Now that you know all about scalp health, here’s a refresher on something else important: How to Use Heat Protectant Before Styling Your Hair.