Greetings all! Many things contribute to our daily battle with our hair. My theory is that much of it can be solved simply by developing a relationship with your hair. Getting “in touch” with your hair and your environment and responding to it accordingly. Flakey scalps and waxy flakes around the front hairline are not only embarrassing and uncomfortable, but it also a sign of an underlying problem. Some people suffer from this shedding almost immediately following a shampoo and some notice with a week of shampooing. There are a lot of things that can contribute to the itchiness and flaking of the scalp that have nothing to do with lack of oil or “dryness” in particular. Some disorders need to be diagnosed and treated by a medical professional only so please do not attempt to self-diagnose! Below, I have a little bit of advice that may help reduce the scalp problems your are experiencing.
1. Keep Your Combs Clean You should be cleaning your combs, brushes, scarves, bonnets, etc. as often as you shampoo your hair. Debris and bacteria from your hair and surroundings have accumulated in these things. You don’t want to transfer all of that back into your clean hair. Think of it like this: Do you put on the same dirty clothes when you get out of the shower? Our scalp is skin as well (with even bigger follicle openings) so you want to keep that just as clean. Make sure your items are free of all hair and major debris before beginning. Sanitize with warm to hot water and a mild detergent. You can use the comb to comb through the brush bristles and use the brush to clean in between the teeth of the combs. Rinse thoroughly and let the items air dry on a paper or cloth towel in a well ventilated area. As for hair accessories, wash and dry according to fabric or directions.
2. DON’T SHARE!!! If keeping your scalp clear and healthy is a major concern of yours then you may want to think twice before you let someone use your brush! This is something we do innocently but do not realize that we could potentially be putting ourselves at risk for some contagious scalp infections. Sharing combs and certain hair tools is the leading way to spread contagious disorders of the scalp that could cause an inflammation of dandruff and even hair loss. I put my hair utensils in the same category as my personal bath towels when it comes to sharing: I would share only if had to and they will be properly disinfected before I used them again! You want to avoid disrupting the healthy chemical environment of your scalp by introducing someone else’s problems to it!
3. Clarify As Needed Co-washing is awesome and I highly recommend it, however, there are times when you need a god clarifying to completely cleanse your scalp. Some of us shampoo once a week, every two weeks, once a month, you get the idea. I say, do what works best for you, however, if you are not sure what is best for you. My recommendation is to shampoo as needed. This is where you have to learn to start listening to your body. Does your hair start to get itchy and a little flakey after two work days and a gym visit? Does it take about 5 days after your last shampoo to start noticing the itchiness? This is usually the best time to cleanse the scalp. Did you wear a protective style this week that caused you to be a little more heavy handed with the styling product? Probably a good idea to shampoo. Co-washed for more than 3 times in a row? Probably time to shampoo! Full moon coming up? Want to apply a deep conditioner? Probably a good idea to shampoo!
4. Stimulation Improves Circulation Sometimes, your scalp is just itching for attention. There are many things that can contribute to poor circulation to the scalp. This can be improved by a nourishing scalp massage! Gentle manipulations on your scalp surface using the cushion of your fingertips is very beneficial in increasing blood flow to the scalp. Healthy blood circulation to the scalp nourishes the skin in that area providing you with a healthier scalp environment. Think of it as improving the irrigation systems in your garden. It is beneficial to use oils and different treatments during these manipulations as well! My personal preference is to do my manipulations before and after cleansings and the days approaching the full moon. *I will have other articles to go into detail about various scalp massage treatments and the moon cycles affect on scalp circulation and hair growth!
5. You Can’t Hydrate with Oil (Alone)! Often when we get dry scalp, our first solution is to drown that area in oil. This often results in even drier scalp in the next following days no matter how much you “grease” your scalp! I do not oppose adding some lubrication to the scalp, however, the amount, type, and frequency of oiling is where the problem lies! A lot of what we place on our scalp is going to eventually (usually quickly) makes its way off of your scalp and into your hair and everywhere else. Remember, oils lubricate they do not moisturize! They are great for sealing moisture in as well, but oils alone will not solve your dry scalp problem if you have one.
I have many theories on different things that can result in drier hair and scalp. I could elaborate more on these points and even add more but that just gives me more to come back and talk to you all about! Thank you for reading!