7 Steps to Healthier Scalp and Hair
Firstly, healthy hair starts at the scalp
The hair grows from follicles on the scalp. If those follicles are being stripped by harsh detergents, like sulphates found in mainstream shampoos, or clogged with product build-up, it can eventually lead to a dry, itchy scalp or under-nourished unhealthy-looking hair.
Instead, choosing shampoos with naturally derived ingredients can gently cleans the scalp without stripping it of its natural oil sebum, which is vital for a healthy scalp.
Masking the problem
Widely available non-natural hair products contain ingredients like silicones to create the slip needed to detangle and give hair a silky shine and manageability. These silicones seal the hair cuticle, preventing moisture from getting in. This is because the silicone “sticks” to the hair surface, creating a plastic-like film, preventing strands from absorbing water or nutrients.
Through sealing the hair cuticle, silicones mask the problem, making hair seem smooth and silky, but in reality, it is most likely in need of moisture and hydration.
Natural hair products do not contain silicones but instead use naturally derived ingredients that provide hair with the nutrients needed to nourish hair properly. While it can take a few months to see results, hair will become much healthier in the long run.
So now that you know why the scalp is vital for healthy hair and what to avoid, what can you do to achieve healthier hair?
Here are 7 easy steps
Step 1 – Choose a PH balanced natural shampoo with key botanicals that support an environment for healthy hair
Shampoos that are pH balanced are the optimal cleansers to use because they do not strip too much of the natural oil sebum from the hair and scalp. Additionally, a PH balanced natural shampoo can help reduce frizz, dryness, maintain the hair’s natural shine and keep the hair’s cuticle sealed.
But the PH level alone is not the only thing to look for – choose products that contain these five botanicals, which have been known to support healthy hair growth for centuries.
Gingko Extract – This plant is known to stimulate blood flow and improve circulation. It can help with increasing the blood flow that follicles need to encourage new growth at the root level.
Horsetail Extract – This plant is a hugely popular natural solution for promoting hair growth and a healthy scalp. It works by stimulating blood vessels that supply oxygen to hair follicles. It is known to improve the strength of hair and can help make hair less brittle.
Nettle Extract – This plant is loaded with vitamins, minerals, and amino acids essential for healthy hair growth. It is rich in sulfur, a mineral that helps lengthen your hair follicles in the growth or anagen phase and silica, another mineral that helps shine and strengthen hair strands’ quality.
Rosemary Extract – This plant is vitamin-rich, anti-bacterial, anti-oxidant and one of the most popular and effective herbs for scalp health and hair growth. It can help stimulate the roots, soothe an irritated scalp, condition and moisturise the hair.
Lavender Oil – This plant has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that can improve hair’s health. It provides deep nourishment for the hair and can protect it from environmental and heat damage.
Step 2 – Wash sparingly
Washing your hair less is not only good for the environment, but it is also good for your scalp and hair. We have been trained to wash hair too often when in actuality, you can go a few days without a wash and allow the natural oils on the scalp to condition the hair.
And of course, when you do need a wash, choose products with naturally derived ingredients to ensure they are gentle on your scalp and hair.
Step 3 – Brush hair before showering
Hair is in a fragile state when it’s wet. To avoid breakage and damage, try brushing before you get in the shower with a wide-tooth comb to get rid of any knots and always be gentle. Start at your ends and gradually work your way up to the roots.
Not only is it good for detangling but it also helps in distributing the natural, healthy oils, from the roots of your hair to the ends.
Step 4 – Pre-soak then shampoo
Pre-soaking your hair is very important. If you wet your hair thoroughly, you will need less shampoo, and applying too much shampoo can cause your hair to look dull and is also a waste of product.
Pour the shampoo onto the palm of your hand, rub your hands together and then smooth the shampoo over your hair. Massage your scalp with your fingertips in a gentle kneading motion. Then rinse.
Step 5 – Apply conditioner
Pour the conditioner onto the palm of your hand, rub your hands together and then smooth the conditioner over your hair. Massage your scalp with your fingertips in a gentle kneading motion.
Before rinsing, use your fingers or a wide-tooth comb to distribute the conditioner throughout the hair thoroughly. Then rinse.
Leave the conditioner on the hair for 3 to 5 minutes for extra hydration.
Step 6 – Finish the last rinse with cold water
Before stepping out of the shower, do your final rinse with cold water. Rinsing with cold water can help seal the hair cuticles and give hair a better chance of staying shiny, healthy and frizz-free.
Step 7 – Do a natural hair treatment once a week
There are two great natural and sustainable options, depending on your hair type: Aloe Vera or Virgin Coconut Oil.
If you tend to have thin or oily hair, an Aloe Vera treatment straight from the plant is a perfect way to hydrate and moisturise the hair. The enzymes in Aloe Vera can help dissolve dead skin cells and excess sebum on the scalp and assist in treating dandruff. It can also help in keeping the scalp moisturised and PH balanced.
Extract the thick, gel-like substance from the plant and rub it onto dry hair and scalp. Let it penetrate the hair follicles on the scalp by leaving it on for 30 minutes. Then rinse off with water and wash with a natural shampoo.
If you tend to have dryer hair, a Virgin Coconut Oil treatment can help soften, add sheen, and help repair dry hair. Coat dry hair with a glob of Virgin Coconut Oil, avoiding the scalp. Start applying from the bottom of the hair and work your way up to the middle section of your strands. Leave it on for 30 minutes, then shampoo and condition as usual.
The bottom line
A healthy scalp leads to healthy hair, so paying attention to your scalp is essential. If you notice any itching, redness, flakiness, irritation, pain, or excessive hair loss and these symptoms bother you, see a dermatologist. They can help determine if there is an underlying health problem or if you should change your hair care routine. You can also support a healthy scalp through everyday habits. This includes using gentle, natural and PH balanced products and being kinder to your hair with less washing, gentle brushing and natural scalp and hair treatments.