I always considered my fine color-treated hair and scalp to be in excellent shape, but over the past few months I’ve noticed some changes. I’ve been getting scalp breakouts (yuck), my hair is breaking more easily and it’s dull and limp. It could be that I follow the rule of not washing my hair every day, and go a bit overboard on the dry shampoo, especially after sweaty workouts. Or it could be that I’ve been using the wrong shampoo and conditioner, ones that I thought would keep my color and ends in excellent shape, but instead added product build up. Whatever the reason for my scalp issues, I knew I had to make some changes, and started to treat my scalp the way I treat my skin.
Scalp and hair health go hand in hand. If the scalp is compromised, hair won’t be shiny, full and soft, and will be plagued with problems such as dandruff, clogged hair follicles, thinning and breakage. “The appearance of the scalp and hair can be one of the first indicators of overall well-being and stress,” says dermatologist Kally Papantoniou MD. “When we are vitamin deficient, have hormonal imbalances or are emotionally stressed it can manifest in the appearance of our scalp and hair. Depending on the issue, treatment will vary, but it’s important to supplement your nutrition to provide the support for your hair and scalp to improve.” Papantoniou recommends vitamins such as Viviscal and biotin, which provide a good boost of nutrition and help strengthen the hair and scalp.
“Women these days are using mousse, anti-frizz lotion,, root lifting sprays, and other hair products while skipping shampooing all together in lieu of dry shampoo,” says Papantoniou. “This may not be a problem for some, but for those who suffer from dandruff, scalp psoriasis or have a greasy scalp, not washing the hair and scalp every day can definitely worsen or even cause problems.” Papantoniou recommends washing your scalp daily, and alternating shampoos weekly to prevent product build up and limp locks. “Alternating several times per week with an anti-dandruff shampoo can also help control scalp flare ups.” If flakes and an itchy scalp are your problem, try an anti-dandruff shampoo (Head & Shoulders) or one that contains tea tree oil.
These days, I’m all about treating the scalp so I have healthy strands and keep my color from looking fresh. The products below work to banish flakes, breakouts, build up, and thinning of the hair:
Phylia de M. Connect — I love how this entire all natural hair care line features potent high-quality ingredients such as organic botanicals and a proprietary blend of aloe, tannic acid and fulvic acid to penetrate hair follicles and encourage healthy hair growth. This leave-in scalp treatment is the hair care line’s hero product that works to help strands stop shedding and prevent breakage. I love how it makes my hair feel full and soft, and never greasy.
Yes to Tea Tree & Sage Oil Shampoo and Conditioner — This shampoo and conditioner works to banish dry, itchy scalp in eight days. Niacinamide and silk amino acids protect against irritation, tea tree oil moisturizes and soothes, sage oil adds shine and vitamin A stimulates cell renewal.
Neutrogena T-Sal Shampoo — Not a glamorous shampoo, but effective at treating flakes, oil and build up. This treatment shampoo contains salicylic acid to unclog dead skin cells and remove build up for healthier strands. For a deeper scalp exfoliation, Papantoniou suggests letting this sit for five minutes and then rinse thoroughly, repeating two to three times per week.
Jane Carter Scalp Nourishing Serum — Ideal for curly textured hair and a dry scalp, this serum is full of essential oils, botanicals and vitamins to soothe and nourish dryness and prevent dandruff.
Main image photographed by Tara DeLaive for Wanderlust Photography