If a speedy “lather, rinse, repeat” is all you devote to hair care, it’s time to level up. Read on for our need-to-know advice on achieving a healthy scalp, which is the foundation for strong, beautiful hair, especially during the winter months.
1. Treat your scalp with extra TLC
If you’re like most people, your scalp probably isn’t top of mind. “Women are more than happy to use a wide array of skincare products yet they don’t pay the same attention to their scalp, even when it’s experiencing the same issues with dryness,” says Dr. Rolanda Wilkerson, principal scientist for Head & Shoulders. But your scalp is skin, too, and “unhealthy hair will emerge from an unhealthy scalp,” she says. To deal with winter’s dry weather and harsh furnace heating – especially if you experience dry skin, flakes or dandruff – it’s essential to use products that not only moisturize your hair but also detoxify your scalp. The Head & Shoulders Purify & Hydrate collection does just that; plus, it’s made with naturally derived moisturizing argan oil and coconut water, and it’s free of parabens, phthalates, phosphates and dyes.
2. Do a (scalp) detox to remove buildup and renew your scalp
Chances are you already exfoliate your face regularly, and there’s no reason your scalp should be left out of this routine – especially during winter. “Incorporating gentle scalp exfoliation into your regular hair- and scalp-care routine helps manage dryness and the buildup of excess dead skin and flakes,” says Wilkerson. “It also helps remove dirt and oil, as well as product residue like dry shampoo, making it a key step for scalp health.” Look for a scrub with water-soluble beads, like the Head & Shoulders Suprême Exfoliating Scalp Scrub, and massage it gently into your scalp (before you shampoo) at least once a week. Consider it a reset button for your scalp when you’re noticing product buildup from excessive dry-shampoo use (hello, WFH life!) or after a super-sweaty workout.
3. Avoid going to sleep with damp hair
After a busy day, it may be tempting to start your beauty sleep as soon you’re done your evening shower, but going to bed with wet hair turns your scalp into a warm, moist environment – a welcoming place for flake-causing microbes to thrive. Give yourself time to fully dry your hair before hitting the pillow.
4. Choose winter accessories wisely
Cozy caps, beanies and scarves are winter-wardrobe staples, but make sure yours are made of breathable materials so your scalp doesn’t become an overly friendly home for dandruff-producing microbes. (Remember: They love a warm, moist environment.) Fabrics like cotton and merino wool are known for breathability, while tightly knit polyester won’t let air flow in and out as easily.
5. Try a humidifier at home
The weather outside might be frightful, but the toasty heating inside takes a toll too – dry indoor air quickly saps moisture from your skin and hair. As a guideline, if your home’s humidity level is under 30 percent, that’s considered too dry. For a quick fix, try an indoor humidifier – it’ll add the ambient moisture you need to keep your skin and hair softer, more hydrated and happier overall.
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