After all, use the right combination of products, tools and techniques for your skin type, and you have a high chance of kicking your skin goals. But when it comes to our scalp... crickets.
Which is strange, because when you think about it, scalp skin is essentially an extension of facial skin. So why wouldn't you treat it with the same TLC?
Well, the good news is our scalps are finally getting the attention they deserve. Scalp care is at the forefront of the beauty industry, and it's no fad — because we know that the scalp is the root of creating healthy-looking, gloriously shiny hair. And there are an abundance of hardworking (and pampering!) products designed specifically for your scalp out there!
Still not convinced scalp care is important? “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 similar with the scalp and hair.” Makes sense, right?
How do you take care of your scalp?
Target sebum and product build-up
Hair follicles normally produce sebum, but an excessive amount can take a toll. At the same time, styling products can leave behind congesting residues. All this blockage and build-up can lead to hair loss and thinning, which is why regularly shampooing your hair is essential. You wouldn't go days without washing your face, would you? (We hope not!). The same goes for your scalp.
Choose a shampoo specifically formulated for your hair type, whether that’s a moisturising one for dry hair, a purifying one for oily hair or a colour-safe one for colour-treated hair, and get washing! Now, how often you wash will depend on your hair and scalp type. Generally, finer hair and oilier scalps might benefit from a daily shampoo, while drier hair and scalps might be able to get away with a shampoo every three or so days.
In addition to your regular shampoo, LA-based hair guru Philip Berkovitz (the founder of Philip B) says “clarifying shampoos are great since the scalp is the oiliest part of the body.” He recommends the brand’s Forever Shine and Russian Amber to “Use once every one, two or three washes.”
A few more of our favourite clarifying cleansers: the zingy Malin+Goetz Peppermint Shampoo, the non-stripping and colour-safe Living Proof Perfect hair Day Triple Detox Shampoo and the silicone-free Aveda Rosemary Mint Purifying Shampoo.
Add a scalp exfoliant
Aveda’s Summors again emphasises the importance of remembering that “your scalp is skin and an extension of the face.” According to him, exfoliation is an important step to help shift build-up and keep your scalp skin clear. And just like when you exfoliate your face, you can take your pick from chemical and physical exfoliants (or use both!).
The deliciously whipped goop G.TOX Himalayan Salt Scalp Scrub Shampoo uses mineral-rich Himalayan pink salt to do the work (and is a MECCA insider favourite), while Briogeo’s Scalp Revival Charcoal + Coconut Oil Micro-exfoliating Scalp Scrub Shampoo brings together plant-derived exfoliators and charcoal to coax out impurities and clear away build-up.
Want the best of both worlds? Drunk Elephant’s T.L.C. Happi Scalp Scrub combines chemical and physical exfoliation, for an intensely deep clean.
A scalp masssager, like the Briogeo Scalp Revival™ Stimulating Therapy Massager, is another beneficial addition to your toolkit, helping to manually remove congestion, while giving you that delightful, main-reason-you-go-to-the-salon massage at the same time.
Use a scalp treatment or mask
Just like your facial skin benefits from targeted treatments, so does your scalp skin. For hair to thrive, you may need to consider targeted solutions that exfoliate, soothe and balance the scalp, especially if you’re dealing with mild irritation, itchiness, dandruff or just lacklustre locks. The key is to focus on the specific issues your scalp is facing right now, rather than trying to deal with everything at once. Remember, your scalp skin might change throughout the year, and you need to remain flexible to respond to what it might need at different times.
If your scalp needs a good cleanse, the Malin+Goetz Detox Scalp Mask combines exfoliating acids with oils to gently purify and moisturise scalp skin. Irritated scalp? Briogeo’s Scalp Revival Charcoal + Tea Tree Cooling Hydration Mask for Dry, Itchy Scalp quickly soothes, while the Sunday Riley Clean Rinse Clarifying Scalp Serum blends AHA and BHA to remove excess product build-up, oil and dead skin.
Introduce scalp massage
Add a leave-in treatment
You know how much good a leave-in treatment can do you for your hair, so give your scalp the same kind of care. You might not need to use a leave-in scalp treatment every time you wash your hair, but regular use – say, once or twice a month – can help you reap the benefits.
Again, pick one that will directly address the current condition of your scalp. Living Proof’s Scalp Care Dry Scalp Treatment helps calm, hydrate and rebalance your scalp skin, thanks to powerhouse ingredients like hyaluronic acid and vitamin B3 (aka niacinamide). Briogeo’s Scalp Revival Charcoal + Tea Tree Scalp Treatment Serum can also help to soothe an itchy scalp, while also balancing oil production and drawing out clogging congestion with witch hazel and Binchotan charcoal (bonus: it has a refreshingly minty scent). If you’re looking to boost thickness and strength, Aveda’s Invati Advanced Scalp Revitalizer utilises a mix of liquorice root, turmeric and ginseng to help stimulate the scalp's microcirculation.