A dry scalp can be due to a number of reasons and changing hair products can really help to alleviate this. A dry scalp may even be caused by using the wrong products in the first place, or by using them in a particular way.
Swap Shampoo for one With a High Quality Soap Base
When looking for a truly gentle shampoo, disregard standard marketing terms on the bottle such as ‘soothing’ or ‘moisturizing’. Rather go straight to the ingredients list and get used to interpreting this. Try to avoid the soap base Sodium Lauryl Sulphate. It is a usually inexpensive ingredient for manufacturers, is an efficient cleanser and can also make a product foam up nicely. However it can over-cleanse the scalp, being unpleasant for those who are already dry.
Shampoos that contain other soaps instead tend to be a little pricier but anyone who has never tried a Sodium Lauryl Sulphate free shampoo will notice a difference in the feel of the product from the first wash. Despite various claims and counter claims about the safety of Sodium Lauryl Sulphate, the best advertisement for using a shampoo free from this is just to try the way the products make hair and scalp fee. Try Ren’s Oat and Bay Conditioning Shampoo, Trilogy or Aveda.
- Avoid large quantities of clarifying essential oils such as tea tree or peppermint and lemon.
- Particularly soothing and hydrating natural ingredients to look out for include aloe, chamomile, lavender, avocado oil, jojoba and coconut oil.
- The largest ingredients are usually first. So, for example, if a product claims to contain soothing herbs, check the other larger ingredients first to make sure that they are also soothing or high quality.
Remove Build-up From Hair Styling Products
Styling products can stay on the hair and scalp both irritating and dehydrating it. Some products are hard to remove with regular shampoo and contain silicones which build up in a layer on the hair shaft. A detox shampoo, especially designed to remove product build up, can clean hair of styling product residue. Those using styling products regularly should use this once a week.
- Anyone hooked on products may try styling products from Aveda. Being a professional range, the products are also highly functional.
Home Scalp Treatments With Plant Oils
Those who suffer from generally dry skin on the body, and therefore a dry scalp, might benefit by using a traditional oil treatment to sooth and moisturize skin. Plant oils are fine enough to genuinely moisturize but also slip underneath dry skin to lift off dead skin cells. Using a weekly or fortnightly treatment like this can really help to stop dry, flaky skin from falling. Never use oil treatments such of these if suffering from greasy dandruff or acne on the scalp.
- Massage a small amount of the chosen oil into the scalp and leave it to sink in for at least 20 minutes.
- Shampoo out using a detox shampoo to remove all the oily residue from hair and scalp. The idea is that much needed moisture should sink in to the skin where needed, not that the hair is left greasy.
- Coconut or Almond oil are easy and cheap to buy from pharmacies and they have strong moisturizing properties as well as containing many nutrients.
- Jojoba oil is usually a little finer and sinks in to skin more readily, so might be good for anyone not liking the fatty texture of the other oils.
- Mustard oil is an exceptionally warming oil and traditionally popular in countries such as India.
- For a home-spa version of the above, try Espa Pink Hair and Scalp Mud.
General Tips for a Dry Scalp
- Wear a swimming cap if going in a chlorinated pool and always rinse hair well afterwards.
- When blow drying hair, blasting the scalp with extremely hot air really dries it out. It may take a few minutes longer but styling hair with a moderate heat will be better for dry scalps.
- After shampooing and conditioning, two to three minutes of rinsing actually feels longer than we may realise. Making yourself stay under the shower for longer will prevent shampoo from sticking to the roots, drying on the scalp and thereby dehydrating the skin.
- Similarly, don’t rinse out hair in bathwater as it will not get really clean from product.
- Use a good quality brush such as the Aveda Paddle Brush to massage and stimulate the scalp, keeping it healthy.
A healthy scalp encourages healthy hair growth and feels comfortable the whole time. An itchy or flaky scalp is not to be confused with a generally dry scalp although symptoms could be similar. An itchy, flaky scalp could indicate a number of conditions from greasy dandruff to psoriasis. If persistent, conditions such as these should be diagnosed by a Trichologist.