Having explored the season’s beauty and skincare trends, it’s high time to turn our attention to an often-overlooked part of our natural appearance – the hair and scalp. Bad hair days may stem from issues deeper than a poor cut or a rushed blow-dry. In fact, hair health is vital.
If you struggle with an itchy, irritated or flaking scalp, we’re here to offer a sympathetic reassurance that you are not alone. Thinning, oily hair or flaking scalps are quite common, in fact they can be triggered by stress, pollution, premature ageing or an excessive buildup of chemicals from hair products; resulting in dryness, dandruff and psoriasis. To contend with any such issue, we offer five practical hair care tips to help you heal your tresses and reach your ultimate hair goals.
Tip 1: Know the difference between dry scalp, dandruff and psoriasis
Dryness on the crown is a known to cause itchiness, flaking and skin shedding, because of the similarities in their symptoms, dry scalp can often be mistaken for dandruff or psoriasis. While dandruff is a form of seborrheic dermatitis caused by the likes of irritation, stress or infection, and psoriasis is a chronic and often genetic skin disease, they both cause patches of rough, scaly skin and stickier, oilier flakes. Identifying the root cause of the trouble is the first step to treating it, so seek the advice of a dermatologist. Their prognosis will allow you to treat your stubborn scalp issue correctly.
Tip 2: Avoid washing hair too often
Similar to washing any other part of the body – face, body, hands – excessive washing of the scalp, especially in hot water, can cause the skin to become more sensitive and work overtime to produce moisture and maintain the protective layers of its microbiome. Excess oil to compensate the drying effect of over-washing is often the result, and it’s one of the underlying causes of dandruff and dry scalp.
Buzz-worthy hair product specialist Ouai has released St. Barts Scalp & Body Scrub, a deep-cleansing sugar scrub that gently exfoliates the scalp and smoothens dry skin while nourishing the crown’s epidermis. Its blend of probiotics and moisturising, fatty-acid-rich coconut oil is suitable for any hair type whether normal, oily, dry, or damaged from chemical treatments.
Tip 3: Replace harmful chemical-heavy shampoos with nourishing ingredients
Staying on the topic of hair washing, recent science has proven that almost everything we have come to know as part of our hair products ought to be avoided – the likes of alcohol, sulphates and phthalates. These chemicals dry the scalp and make it sensitive to irritation. Swapping your usual shampoo and conditioner with alternatives formulated with ingredients that promote cellular growth, repair and renewal – such as zinc, tea tree oil and salicylic acid – will benefit the scalp immensely.
A case in point is Deep Clean Scalp Scrub by award-winning beauty brand Coco & Eve. This pre-shampoo treatment formulated with volcanic ash, AHAs, BHAs and other soothing ingredients not only deep cleanses and exfoliates the scalp, but also nourishes it. Addressing the problems of dandruff and dry scalp, it supports the turnover of dead skin cells, combats oil build-up and fortifies the scalp’s natural protective layer.
Choosing a shampoo that balances the skin’s pH levels – thus helping it return to a neutral, less irritated state – is also key. A fine example is the vegan-friendly Anti Pollution Club Sunday Detox Exfoliating Shampoo by French premium hair-care brand Abyssian. Containing Dead Sea salt crystals, coconut-based cleansing agents and Apiscalp – a patented active ingredient derived from celery seed oil extract – it works to purify and remove accumulated dirt, while soothing sensitive and oil-prone scalps caused by an overuse of chemical-heavy haircare products.
Tip 4: Keep the scalp moisturised and nourished with natural oils
The effects of dry scalp caused by weather, over-washing or damage from excessive use of hair products can be countered by natural oils such as coconut and jojoba, which have a satisfyingly moisturising effect. Keratin-savvy brand Virtue offers a strand-softening conditioning scrub, Exfoliating Scalp Treatment, with ingredients like Kalahari melon oil and jojoba oil that help to rebalance and moisturise the skin’s surface. The presence of rice beads, fruit enzymes and the brand’s patented Alpha Keratin 60ku ensure a satisfying dual-action cleansing and conditioning to treat your locks from roots to ends.
Similarly, clean-beauty brand Briogeo’s Scalp Revival Charcoal + Coconut Oil Micro-Exfoliating Shampoo helps to lift away impurities clogged underneath the hair follicle and soothe itchy and irritated skin, while increasing hydration in the epidermis to avoid dry skin. This minty-cool and creamy detoxifying scalp scrub works its magic through naturally derived ingredients such as coconut, tea tree oil and binchotan charcoal.
Tip 5: Make time for aftercare treatments
As we all know, beauty comes with a price. But what wouldn’t you pay for healthy, more luscious hair? Although hair washing is an important part of the regimen, it only lasts for a few minutes. Aftercare treatments are investments in the long-term health of your scalp and hair growth.
Tender love and care may come in the form of hair masks, oil treatments and scalp serums, such as American cosmetics brand Aveda’s clean and vegan Pramāsana Scalp Masque and pioneering scalp specialist Act + Acre’s Cold Processed Scalp Detox. The former comprises an exclusive blend of seaweed extract, natural oils and lactobacillus that balances and controls sebum levels, while the latter’s cold-process method – which can be used as an overnight treatment – ensures its active ingredients remain fresh and potent. Both products nourish the scalp and hair follicles with health-boosting nutrients.
New to the scene, anti-ageing skincare expert Dr. Barbara Sturm’s Molecular Hair & Scalp Collection is another fine option for delivering essential nutrients and maintaining healthy hair growth. Free of harsh ingredients that typically cause hair follicle constriction, inflammation to the scalp or an imbalance to the crown microbiome, the clean molecular formula is enriched with antioxidants and vitamins including candle bush, sand oat and vitamin B5. Repairing, boosting hydration, promoting smooth, glowing and rejuvenated hair – with your scalp safe in the hands of these products, you can wash your itchy, oily and dreary hair troubles away.