When it comes to your hair care routine, you likely give your mid-length and ends tons of TLC. After all, super-dry and split ends are not ideal. But what about your scalp? If you haven’t been paying attention to your scalp, too, it’s time to switch things up. This is especially true for those who wash their hair less and turn to dry shampoo to refresh their strands, which can result in added scalp build-up. All that product needs to be removed with a wash reset, so you can start fresh!
We’ll let you in on a secret: In order to have healthy hair, you need to have a healthy scalp. So, if scalp build-up, itchiness, flakes, or oily roots have become your new normal, it may be time to get acquainted with a scalp cleanser, scalp moisturizer, and other scalp care essentials.
Instead of hiding your hair under a giant hat, why not get to the root of good hair care (pun intended) by showing your scalp some love with the following hair care products and tips. Don’t overlook your scalp any longer!
WHAT IS SCALP BUILD-UP?
You may have an idea of this already, but just in case, let’s talk about what scalp build-up is. Essentially, this is when products, dirt, and oils accumulate on your scalp, which can weigh your hair down and clog your pores (after all, your scalp is skin).
WHY DO I HAVE BUILD-UP ON MY SCALP?
Like we mentioned, scalp build-up is common with those who don’t wash their hair as frequently, and instead rely on dry shampoo and other styling products to revive their strands. While this isn’t a bad thing in a pinch, over time, these products accumulate and can do more harm than good. Think about it: You wouldn’t want to leave makeup caked on your skin for days at a time, would you?
HOW TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR SCALP AND MANAGE SCALP BUILD-UP
So, you’ve decided to put more time and effort into maintaining a healthy 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 for reducing scalp buildup and promoting healthy-looking, gorgeous locks.
SCALP CARE TIP #1: USE A SCALP SCRUB
First off, if you’ve been neglecting your scalp, you need to get rid of excess product and dead skin cell buildup. The best way to reduce buildup 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 buildup from dirt and excess oils that can cause hair to become weighed down. Think of it as both a dry and oily scalp treatment.
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 scrub out of your hair, it’s time to use a scalp shampoo, like the L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate Free Scalp Care + Detox Shampoo. This shampoo contains menthol and neem leaf extract and gives your hair and scalp a detox. The creamy formula is sulfate, paraben, and dye-free, vegan, and safe for color-treated hair. It works to deeply purify and cleanse the scalp of dirt, product buildup, and oil—all without stripping your hair.
Post-scrub, apply the hair detox shampoo to wet strands, gently massaging it onto your scalp and hair, then rinse well. Use at least twice per week or as directed by a doctor for best results.
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 scalp cleanser of choice—you should be using products that are part of the same hair care system. If you used our detox shampoo, reach for the L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate Free Scalp Care + Detox Conditioner as your scalp moisturizer. 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 dry scalp 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 buildup, 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 scalp build-up. Next time you’re in need of a refresh, simply spray one onto your roots.
SCALP CARE TIP #6: USE A MULTI-TASKING LEAVE-IN PRODUCT
When you’re trying to avoid scalp buildup, use a hairstyling product that multi-tasks! Not sure what that even means? Look no further than the L’Oréal Paris Elvive Total Repair 5 Protein Recharge Treatment. Formulated with almond and protein elixirs, this leave-in works to increase the strength and flexibility of your strands. Not to mention, it prevents the five major signs of hair damage: split ends, weakness, rough texture, dull tone, and dehydration with continued use. Beyond that, this essential doubles as a heat protectant to help protect your locks from everyday damage caused by heat styling. Talk about a workhorse!
To use, apply a small amount to damp hair. 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 help the health of your hair follicles. Don’t believe us? According to research published by the National Institutes of Health, 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. This is known medically as traction alopecia, and it happens when tight hairstyles (worn repeatedly) literally pull hair out of the scalp. When this repeatedly happens over time, the hair ceases to grow back. Now, we’re not saying to 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, but 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 Out 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.