Sometimes, your scalp needs more than a good shampoo. Your scalp absorbs every hair product we ever use, plus gets weighed down by product build-up and flakes. Here are the signs you need to head to a hair salon stat for a good scalp treatment and detox.
You don’t shampoo every day
FYI, most of us shouldn’t shampoo every day. It can dry out your hair and scalp, and even lead to hair loss.
But when we don’t shampoo, our scalp can get clogged with sweat, dirt and product build up. Dry shampoo controls the oil, but it can’t completely clean. Celebrity hairstylist David Adams compares it to someone wearing makeup to bed, then waking up and applying even more makeup.
Adams adds that shampooing everyday doesn’t necessarily solve the problem. “There is a big difference between shampooing the hair and exfoliating the scalp.”
Your hair is thinner
Clogged hair follicles can cause hair loss and hair thinning. A healthy hair follicle usually grows two or more hairs. A blocked hair follicle produces less, or shrinks and produces none at all. “Exfoliating the scalp can clear these blockages, which will help hair grow in better and appear fuller,” says Adams.
You live in Singapore
Yep, just living in a city with pollution and high sun exposure exposes your scalp to daily oxidative stress. Those are chemicals that cause cells to become weak – not just skin cells, but scalp cells.
And let’s admit it: we take better care of our skin than our scalp. “We rarely think to protect our hair when we go out in the sun, and we pay less attention to the ingredients in our shampoos than our skincare. Since we don’t see the changes in our scalp as quickly as skin irritation or rashes, we only think about our scalp health when there are big problems like dandruff or hair loss,” says Hollywood hair stylist Farrah Crowe.
While Crowe lives in California, her advice also applies to urban tropical cities like Singapore. “City pollutants and sun exposure don’t just affect your skin, but your scalp. Your beauty routine should include equal attention to your hair – not just styling products or hair colours, but what it takes to have a full, healthy head of hair until you’re in your 40s or 50s.”
Your hair feels oily or looks limp
This is a sure sign of product build-up, and can cause a lot more problems than greasy hair. Excessive scalp oils can lead to bacteria growth, which leads to scalp irritations and bad odour. Yeah, even if nobody tells you, maybe your hair stinks.
But just like overcleansing your face can trigger more face oils and acne breakouts, overshampooing can damage your hair and scalp. Instead of obsessively washing your hair, get exfoliating scalp treatments and clarifying shampoos. Your hair will look and feel as good as your skin does after a good scrub and mask.
Your hair is dry and dull
Just like other hair experts, he compares it to skincare. “You remove dead skin cells so your skin looks better and absorbs more of your serums and creams. The scalp is made of cells that behave the same way. Think of your scalp and your skin as part of the same ecosystem. You can’t keep adding serums without thinking of how to remove dead cells and stimulate growth and absorption.”
Your first instinct is to reach for conditioner, but that may only give a temporary fix to your hair strands. You need to go to the root of the problem – literally. “Exfoliating the scalp can remove hair stylisting and conditioning products that build up on your scalp and affect your hair health and shine,” says hair stylist Sam Corey.
You style or condition your hair
Styling products are hard to wash off, and there’s a huge chance that some residue remains even after you’ve shampooed your hair. Even conditioners and leave-in hair conditioners can stick to your scalp and strands.
Unfortunately, all that gunk can cause a lot of problems: dull hair, itchy scalp, and even acne along your forehead and hairline. If this happens to you, consider getting regular scalp treatments to remove all that residue and give you a fresh, clean start.
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