Why Scalp Care Should Be An Essential Part Of Your Hair Routine
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, louder for the people in the back: Healthy hair comes from a healthy scalp. No hair care routine is complete without the best scalp care products to help nourish and protect your scalp. That’s because an unhealthy scalp can lead to dandruff, flakes, dryness, and dull hair.
Just like the skin on your face, your scalp is skin, too and needs to be cared for with products that gently cleanse, exfoliate, detox, hydrate, and balance. To help you create a scalp care routine that will give you a healthy scalp and healthy hair, we went to our experts in all things hair, dpHUE Education Lead, Jocelyn Smith and celebrity colorist (and dpHUE co-founder) Justin Anderson. They’re sharing everything you need to know about the benefits of scalp care and the best dpHUE scalp care products.
What’s Happening With Your Scalp?
Just like the skin on your face and body, your scalp is in a constant state of renewal, says Jocelyn. “The outer layer of skin that covers our bodies is constantly being shed and replaced by new cells from below,” she explains. “The skin cells of a normal, healthy scalp fall off naturally as small, dry flakes, usually without you ever noticing.” But, when those skin cells are not renewing regularly, it can lead to a variety of issues that range from dryness and dullness to even affecting how color deposits on your hair. When your scalp isn’t healthy, it affects how your hair looks and feels, in addition to its overall health. “Your hair follicles derive their nourishment from the blood, delivering oxygen and essential nutrients,” says Jocelyn. And the scalp has the highest blood circulation of any area of the body, meaning you need to keep it functioning optimally in order to create that healthy environment for longer and stronger hair.
With that said, there are three main issues that you might face when it comes to scalp health: dry hair and scalp dryness, oily scalp, and scalp aging.
Dry Hair & Scalp Dryness
Just like your face, your scalp is made up of sebaceous glands that produce oil. The oil is what helps keep your hair naturally moisturized. For some people, says Jocelyn, their sebaceous glands become inactive for any number of reasons, leading to a build-up of dead skin cells (flakes) as well as causing dryness on their scalp and in their hair over time. These dry scalp flakes are not the same as dandruff, cautions Jocelyn, which is a medical condition caused by an excessive production and accumulation of skin cells. You can tell the difference as dandruff flakes will be much larger than dry scalp flakes. Those with dandruff will also commonly have an oily scalp to go along with those flakes.
When your scalp is dry, you need to focus on moisturizing and gentle cleansing. Washing your hair too often is the number one way to cause color fade,” says Justin. “Shampoo is a detergent and if used too often it will strip your hair of its good oils and dry out hair.” Instead, he says, try what’s called the scalp cycling method — instead of using shampoo every time you wash, switch things up and give your scalp a break by alternating between shampoo and a gentle alternative like the Apple Cider Vinegar rinses of our ACV Hair Rinse and ACV Hair Rinse Lite. Harsh detergent soaps and products with high alcohol content run the risk of irritating your already sensitive scalp and drying out your hair. “Unlike regular shampoos, our ACV Rinse will give your hair a gentle cleanse, without stripping away your hair color or essential oils that are imperative to the health of your hair and scalp,” says Justin. “Use the ACV Rinse in place of shampoo until your scalp balances out, and then use shampoo occasionally like a treat.” Follow with an emollient-rich conditioner or hair mask like the ACV Hair Masque to deep condition and repair dry, damaged hair as it delivers vital nutrients and re-invigorates your color and shine.
Conversely, if your roots always seem to be greasy no matter how often you wash your hair, chances are good that you are dealing with an oily scalp. Jocelyn says this scenario is caused by overactive sebaceous glands and is characterized by greasy buildup on the scalp and an oily coating on the hair. Some (but not all) people who suffer from oily scalps can also be prone to dandruff. To help get that oily hair and scalp under control, Jocelyn says to reach for a shampoo that will normalize and balance, like the ACV Soothing Shampoo. It keeps hair clean and enhances shine without disrupting your natural moisture balance and won’t cause color fade out. Resist the urge to wash your hair every day — just as with an oily face, overwashing your hair can actually cause your scalp to produce more oil in an effort to replace lost moisture.
Scalp Aging“Yes, aging skin is an issue on your scalp, too. It’s actually even more intense, as your scalp ages at a rate 6x faster than the skin on our face,” says Jocelyn. “Aging can cause the hair follicles to shrink and shorten the anagen stage of hair growth, which is the growing stage,” she says. As your scalp ages, it can also slow down the production of melanin, which is what causes gray hair. To help delay aging and prevent the scalp from thinning and losing elasticity, you’ll want to take a few key preventative steps. “Washing our hair too much aids in scalp dryness, which contributes to an aging scalp,” says Jocelyn. “Shampooing less frequently and using a serum rich in emollients will help reduce the rate of aging.” The ACV Daily Scalp Serum uses Apple Cider Vinegar, Maca Root, Hyaluronic Acid, and Apple Stem Cells to rebalance the pH of the scalp and nourish it while anchoring and strengthening the follicles of the hair. The ACV Daily Scalp Serum also helps hydrate and soothe dry scalps while creating an optimal environment to reduce signs of shedding and promote healthy hair growth.
Another key protective measure to guarding against premature scalp aging is to protect your hair from UV rays with a UV color protectant product like the Color Fresh Thermal Protection Spray, a color-safe heat styling spray that also helps guards hair against fading and damage caused by the sun. “UV rays penetrate deep into the dermis layer,” says Jocelyn, “so it is important to protect your scalp when out in the sun all day,” — especially for redheads and blondes, she notes, who lack the natural dark pigment in their hair (called eumelanin) of brunettes that helps form a more natural protective barrier. As for those grays? “Gray or silver hair tends to hold more yellow tones and will hang on to impurities a little heavier than fully pigmented hair,” says Justin. “So, products like our Cool Blonde Shampoo & Conditioner, as well as the Brightening Powder will really keep your gray strands looking bright — not brassy — as you naturally transition into full gray.”
Scalp Care 101
No matter what your scalp concerns, everyone can benefit by adding some simple scalp care into their regularly scheduled hair care routine. Exfoliating the scalp is key, and, thanks to our new ACV Exfoliating Scalp Detox, you now have options on how you manage excess oil and get rid of product buildup. For those who prefer to “feel” their product working by physically massaging away dead skin cells and buildup, the classic ACV Scalp Scrub uses apple cider vinegar and pink Himalayan sea salt to scrub your scalp clean. If you prefer a more gentle exfoliation without the grit, ACV Exfoliating Scalp Detox works like a chemical exfoliator to dissolve away product buildup and stimulate the scalp by using the power of apple cider vinegar, salicylic acid, and fruit enzymes.
You could also practice scalp cycling by alternating between exfoliators depending on how your scalp is acting. For instance, if you’ve been using a lot of heavy styling products that leave a sticky, stuck-on feeling to your roots, reach for the ACV Scalp Scrub to slough off all that stuck-on product residue. If dry shampoo is your go-to styler (or your scalp is feeling a little more irritated than usual), opt for the more gentle ACV Exfoliating Scalp Detox to target the scalp further. Scalp cycling is all about tailoring your products to your hair and scalp’s specific daily needs rather than following a set routine out of habit.
No matter which you use, be sure to follow with the ACV Daily Scalp Serum to soothe and nourish the scalp. Pro tip from Jocelyn: Because of that high circulation in the scalp area, stimulating the blood flow through massage can also help activate the anagen phase of hair growth to create the foundation for stronger, healthier hair. “By massaging the ACV Daily Scalp Serum into your scalp daily, you are creating that healthy environment for longer and stronger hair,” she says.