A Cure for the Winter Hair Blues by Allyson DeSart

For a while now, stylists have been educating clients on how to take care of their hair. This began as far back as Cleopatra and her amazing bangs and black henna. You know she had an awesome stylist!!! What wonderful style!! The latest hair care philosophy is to use any gentle, sulfate-free shampoo from the Deva Curl, Unite, or Kevin Murphy hair care lines, and not to shampoo every day. This allows not only your natural oils to balance out, meaning not over produce and cause oily hair, but also the oils to work their way down a bit and naturally condition your hair. It also means you’re not breaking down your hairs’ naturally occurring keratin and hence causing breakage. I have seen a great improvement in my clients’ hair because of this. It has allowed many people to grow out their hair to lengths that they hadn’t been able to reach in the past. It has cut down on frizz in curly and coarse hair and allowed people to color their hair who otherwise were limited by the fragility of their hair. However, I am noticing something else; their scalps are suffering.

Who knew that poor scalp health would be the outcome of this? I think that like most things, some people like to take things to the extreme. Like, ” just how long can I not shampoo and not have gross hair?” Surprisingly you can go for a good while without it. Some people have even resorted to only rinsing and conditioning. This is something that guys are infamous for. Don’t lie, we know who you are! 😉 Yes, these things may help your hair become stronger and shinier and less frizzy, but as a result it can also cause your scalp to become coated and suffocated. In some cases it can potentially lead to hair loss or finer, thinner hair (the very things you may be trying to avoid in the first place.) It can even cause flaking. Oftentimes people mistake this for dandruff but this is not necessarily so. Dandruff is yellow, flaky, waxy, and caused by a fungus that prefers oily hair as it linked to yeast that grows in oil. At this point lots of people think that they need a dandruff shampoo. Dandruff shampoos may kill the fungus, but if you are taking good care of your scalp in the first place, fungus shouldn’t be growing there. This is where good care of your scalp come into play. So what’s a girl or guy to do? Friction! When you do shampoo, try to give your scalp some lovin’! Take a minute and give yourself a really great scalp massage while shampooing. This is of course while using a sulfate free or no sulfate shampoo right? Think of it as you would a cleanser for you face. If you use a crème cleanser you probably take a minute and really massage it in and around. You’ll notice that it exfoliates from the friction from your fingers, not from just a sudsy foamy cleanser. While I am shampooing my clients at the shampoo bowls I have a system. I start on the sides and work in a figure eight pattern. I then move towards the back and the sides and then work my way to the front, the top, and the back again (all in figure eights.) You don’t have to do it my way, but I recommend you invent a system so if you zone out in the shower you’ll be less likely to forget to really massage your scalp.

Another good idea is to use an alpha-hydroxy clarifying shampoo such as Kevin Murphy’s Maxi Wash. It will help pull the dead skin from your scalp and any build up in your hair without damaging or drying out your hair and scalp. This would be something good to do every four or five shampoos. Another treatment is to massage your scalp with warm jojoba oil. Jojoba oil is the same size molecularly as your natural sebum so it doesn’t coat or build up on your scalp. While you are at it, pull it through your hair and give your hair a hot oil treatment the way Indian women do. If you’ve ever wondered why they have such wonderful, lush, thick and amazing hair this is part of the reason. Then you can either sleep on it with you hair pulled in a top knot, or while you go to yoga or to work out. Then shampoo is out with the Maxi Wash. If you want to take that treatment further then massage your scalp with a tea tree oil and jojoba blend (5% tea tree oil.) Tea tree oil acts as an antiseptic and will heal your scalp if you do have dandruff or even acne on your scalp (which could occur due to lack of shampooing.) I will say not to do it before bed. The scent will keep you up at night (personal experience speaking here.)

So here we are at yet another stage in how to better take care of our hair and look even more fabulous. Who knows what will be next, but now is the time to start taking care of your scalp. A healthy scalp means healthy hair. So, let’s do it!

-Allyson DeSart, Creative Director