When in doubt, consult a dermatologist or certified trichologist. Even though the beauty market offers every kind of scalp and hair antidote we could dream of, it’s still important to get an expert opinion before diving into bottles of supplements and hair treatments. Hill reiterates that anyone dealing with major scalp buildup or heavy flakiness should refrain from using anything on their scalp until they have been analyzed or diagnosed by an expert.
Pay attention to how your body feels as a whole because true scalp and hair health begins from within. Regardless of how on point your haircare might be, if other important things (like sleep, stress levels, etc.) are discordant, they can have a direct impact on the health, feel, and appearance of our strands. Unfair, but true. “The most important factor for scalp and hair health is your overall health and wellness, and it’s imperative that our industry starts to make these connections,” Hill tells us.
Eat foods that make your body feel its best because your scalp and hair will also reap their benefit. “The second factor of utmost importance is diet,” says Hill. “Foods that are not beneficial for the body will not be beneficial to the scalp and hair. Anything that causes inflammation is going to have a negative impact on our body and hair over time.” Hill suggests minimizing inflammation-causing foods as much as possible and limiting yeasts and gluten.
Treat yourself to frequent scalp massages. Hill says all hair types and textures can benefit from pre-shampoo scalp treatments. On the days you are shampooing, she recommends pretreating your strands with oil and massaging the product into your scalp before you shampoo. If you’ve noticed a particularly itchy scalp, Hill explains the culprit could be anything from dandruff to congestion—aka the muscles in your scalp aren’t firing as fast as they should be. To help things along, she recommends massaging your scalp with peppermint-, tea tree-, and/or citrus-based oils to wake things up and stimulate circulation. Not to mention, strategic scalp massages like this can also help decongest a stuffed-up scalp.
“Start your massage at the nape of the neck, using both hands and working your fingers up the head to the crown,” directs Hill. “Then, work from the base of the ear to the top of the head on both sides. There’s a lot of area to cover, so take your time.” Hill suggests spending three to five minutes on your massage, which will help soften stubborn, built-up skin cells while also encouraging exfoliation for optimum blood flow.