As haircare goes, we spend a lot of time focused on length and split ends, but what lies underneath, our scalp, is often overlooked. Your scalp deserves attention; it has thousands of nerve endings, is home to hundreds of thousands of hair follicles, and while it's an extension of your facial skin, it conveniently moisturizes itself. You don't have to do much to keep it happy. And the results are well worth it.
Here are some tips to keep your follicles happy, your strands stronger and shinier, and your hair growing more quickly.
6 Tips for a Healthier Scalp and Shinier Hair
Tip 1: Exfoliate
Your scalp produces sebum, which is mostly a good thing. It coats hair giving it shine and luster, and moisturizes your scalp. Too much of this waxy substance, however, can clog follicles, weaken hair, and cause dandruff. The Internet is full of remedies to de-gunk hair from apple cider vinegar to tea tree oil and there are lots of expensive pre-shampoo treatments on the market.
However, you can just start with a thorough shampoo.
• When lathering, don't pile your hair on your head, like in commercials.
• Work in shampoo using the pads of your fingers.
• Massage in small circular motions, then work the suds down to ends.
Tip 2: Avoid Heat
Hair might be made of dead cells, but your scalp is sensitive.
• Be extra careful when using straight irons and blow-dryers; Extreme heat can irreversibly damage follicles and cause bald spots.
• Keep hairdryers on moderate settings and avoid flat-ironing roots.
Tip 3: Avoid Harsh Chemicals
When selecting hair care and coloring products, skip the ones with ammonia and sulfates. Chemicals like these will dry out your locks and your scalp.
• Try instead: Madison Reed Ammonia-, Resorcinol-, and Paraben-Free Hair Color, as well as our Gluten-, Sulfate-, and Paraben-Free Shampoo + Conditioner.
Tip 4: Let Your Hair Down
Tight ponytails, braids, and heavy extensions tug on your scalp and can stress out follicles.
• Switch up your hair style and give affected areas a break to let hair grow back.
Tip 5: Eat Smart
Restricted diets (especially trendy cleanses and fasts) not only starve you, they starve your hair. Follicles need nourishment and they especially thrive on heart-healthy foods.
• A balanced diet of salmon, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins A, B12, and zinc is not only good for your body, it will do wonders for your hair.
• On the flip side, junk food, red meat, and saturated fats in dairy weaken hair and make it dull and lifeless.
Tip 6: Practice Sun Safety
Summer is around the corner, so remember safety first.
• Hats always make chic solutions for protecting your hair.
• You can also rub SPF into cowlicks and your scalp.