Lately we’ve been turning our focus to one of the most forgotten-about parts of our bodies: Our scalps! It might be because we don’t get to see it all that often, so it’s out of sight, out of mind… But with all the heavy lifting it does, providing us with a beautiful head of hair, we’re taking it upon ourselves to shout the importance of scalp care from the rooftops.
To help keep your scalp healthy year-round, stick to these lessons we’ve learned over 16 years of working with all sorts of clients, each with their own unique needs when it comes to caring for their scalps. So pull up a seat in the front row, as class is in session at Urbanbella’s Scalp School...
LESSON 1: REMEMBER TO EXFOLIATE!
Your scalp needs to breathe! Just like the skin on the rest of our bodies, our scalps need regular exfoliation to function at their best. But unlike our skin everywhere else, it’s got an even more important additional job to do... Growing healthy hair. The best way to ensure a healthy and happy scalp is by boosting its skin cell turnover process with exfoliation.
- When your scalp becomes congested with buildup, dirt and scaly dead skin, your scalp has to work that much harder to keep your hair follicles growing healthy strands through this thick, heavy layer.
- If left untreated, the decreased blood flow and blockages to your hair follicles can cause your hair to stop growing, or worse- to fall out completely.
- Use an exfoliating shampoo that contains ingredients like white willow extract and salicylic acid to slough off dead skin and product buildup.
- You can also purchase a gentle facial scrub with apricot or walnut kernels or oil beads that promote mechanical exfoliation, and use it as a pre-treatment before you shampoo.
- If you suffer from very dry skin or psoriasis, you may need to exfoliate two or three times per week; otherwise, exfoliating once weekly is generally adequate to remove dead skin cells from the surface of your scalp.
LESSON 2: PRESERVE THAT MOISTURE
Many common scalp issues arise from having dry skin, or are made worse than they might otherwise have been by having dehydrated scalp tissue.
- Follow Urbanbella’s Curly Code and join us in laying off any heat styling techniques. While steaming your scalp is great because it opens pores and helps clogged dirt escape, exposing your scalp to dry heat with heat styling blow dryers shocks your skin and prevents it from retaining moisture.
- Let your Wash ’N’ Go dry naturally, with Urbanbella styling products. All of our products are formulated to work without requiring heat activation, so from time to time you can skip exposing your scalp to the damaging effects of harsh hood dryers.
- Moisturize your scalp with essential oils to keep the skin hydrated and healthy. Our Piperita Scalp Serum is loaded with Sunflower, Jojoba, Meadowfoam, Peppermint and Orange Essential Oils to keep your scalp tissue moisturized and your skin’s hydration balance in check.
LESSON 4: YOUR SCALP LOVES MASSAGES AS MUCH AS YOUR BODY DOES
Increasing blood circulation to your scalp with a simple massage helps your hair grow longer and stronger. Beneath the skin on your scalp lies an intricate network of blood vessels. These blood vessels are what carries oxygen and vital nutrients to the scalp tissue to keep it healthy.
- Amp up blood circulation going to your scalp by massaging the skin really well when you lather up on Wash Day.
- To keep it going, spend 5 minutes every other day massaging your scalp using gentle circular motions with your fingertips.
- For the ultimate indulgence, add a few drops of invigorating Urbanbella Piperita Scalp Serum to your hands and distribute all over your scalp to experience a tingly, stimulating massage that’s also introducing precious oils and hydration.
LESSON 5: SHAMPOO REGULARLY
Shampooing regularly is especially important for those of us who work out, live in a humid climate, use a lot of hair products, have naturally dry skin and generally just tend to sweat a lot. We can pretty confidently say that us curly naturalistas tick most of those boxes.
- As sweat, product buildup and dead skin accumulate on our scalps, congestion can become an issue. Combined with exfoliating your scalp as mentioned before, by shampooing our hair regularly, we’re actually removing all the pollutants we’re sloughing off in the exfoliating process.
- Special ingredients in our hair cleansers make shampooing effective. This happens when the shampoo molecules bind onto the dirt and oil molecules clogging up our scalps, and carry them away when we rinse off with water.
- Make sure you’re effectively removing all the toxins and buildup with a quality shampoo that will efficiently remove all the pollutants you’re scrubbing off with exfoliation. Ensure you’re giving your scalp the zinging clean it needs with our Urbanbella No.7 Non-Lather Cleanser for more regular washes, and Urbanbella No.78 Honey & Aloe Lather Shampoo for a deep, clarifying clean once a week.
LESSON 6: BRIDGE THE WASH-DAY GAP
Maintain your scalp’s equilibrium between washes. We know that life gets busy and sometimes we don’t have time to launch into a whole time consuming wash-day routine as often as we’d like to. We understand that especially crazy days pop up regularly on all of our calendars… and if we’re lucky enough to squeeze in a quick workout (or just work up a sweat racing around between appointments!), we still need to look after our scalps on these days.
- To avoid discomfort and the inevitable itch, we swear by giving our scalps a refresher. Massage a few drops of our Piperita Scalp Serum onto your head and enjoy the soothing, invigorating effects of this miracle tonic that’s loaded with clarifying Peppermint and Sweet Orange Oil to make your scalp feel fresh and smell gorgeous.
LESSON 7: ADDRESS SKIN CONDITIONS HEAD-ON
Often we overlook an itchy scalp, dry flakes, or our hair growth slowing down as a normal occurrence that we just have to deal with... But some of these problems have an underlying issue that needs to be addressed so we can get rid of them for good.
- We recommend consulting a trusted dermatologist, who will be able to diagnose conditions like scalp eczema, psoriasis, impetigo, folliculitis or dandruff and prescribe medication if necessary.
- Once you’ve ruled out any serious skin conditions, many issues can be managed simply by making some lifestyle changes.
- For basic scalp maintenance, we recommend using Urbanbella No.9 Hair Shine Butter, which contains a healthy dose of Unrefined Organic Coconut Oil and Pink Grapefruit Seed Essential Oil. Massaging this onto your scalp a few times a week will help ward off potential fungus and yeast.
- Many skin issues like eczema and psoriasis that cause inflammation can be remedied with dietary changes.
LESSON 8: YOU GET OUT WHAT YOU PUT IN
You are what you eat, and your scalp will thank you for eating right too. First up, eating a balanced diet rich in nutrients will help supply the skin of the scalp with the raw materials necessary to produce new, healthy cells. Getting enough protein is necessary both for scalp care and a healthy head of hair. But then there’s also what we’re not eating that can contribute to the health of our scalp too...
- Eliminate excess yeast, carbohydrates and sugar from your diet to see changes in your scalp. This not only helps your body to not cause overgrowth of yeast that leads to scalp issues, but in turn allows preventative hair balms and prescription medications to really work their magic.
- Identify food sensitivities and allergies to cut out foods that are affecting your scalp. Try fasting from common allergenic foods for 30 days and see if you notice a change in your overall health, how you feel, and the health of your hair. One common culprit we’ve noticed at Urbanbella Salon is a diet heavy in wheat and grain products, leading to poor gut health. This can cause poor absorption of key nutrients and create food sensitivities. Minimizing your intake of these kinds of foods will allow your body to be properly nourished, and your scalp to thrive.
- A diet heavy in carbohydrates and sugar can cause a flaking, itching scalp. This isn't too much of an issue until it’s left untreated, when it can lead to hair loss.
- Try fasting from certain foods to identify any allergies or food sensitivities. Many of us can unknowingly suffer from food sensitivities, which can cause a poor balance of gut flora, which also shows in the health of our skin and scalps. A big culprit we've noticed that causes poor gut health is a diet heavy in wheat and grain products. If you have a wheat or gluten sensitivity, it can not only lead to feeling bloated, but also prevents your body form properly absorbing key nutrients to keep your skin healthy. Try eliminating or significantly cutting down your intake of these kinds of products, and see if you notice an improvement in how your skin glows... If you see noticeable changes in your skin, your scalp will be celebrating too.
- Garlic has incredible antifungal properties, so try including some raw garlic in your diet or adding it in supplement form with your daily vitamins.
- If you’re prone to dandruff, you might be suffering from Zinc, Vitamin B, or Allicin deficiency. Try a supplement to make sure your scalp is getting the key nutrients it needs to ward off potential dandruff and a dry, scaly scalp.
What are your scalp care routines that you swear by? We’d love to hear your healthy scalp secrets in the comments below…
~Keneesha and the Urbanbella Team