How are you? I hope you all had a great week!! We have a super long weekend here in Lagos (we get Friday and Monday off) so I’ll be sleeping and eating as usual – happy days!! Do you guys have any weekend plans??
This week’s post, as you can tell from the title, is allll about the important of scalp health and how it impacts the health of your hair. To cut a long story short: HEALTHY SCALP = HEALTHY HAIR. I mean, your hair grows from your scalp so it seems pretty obvious that if your scalp is damaged or unhealthy, your hair will suffer too.
NB: this is gonna be a slightly long post because scalp health is SO important so grab a cup of tea (or coffee or a matcha latte – my new fave), get comfy, whip out your glasses (if you’re blind like me) and read on!
As we know, the ends of our hair are the oldest parts of our hair therefore we know we should give the ends a little extra love and attention I.e. adding more product (deep conditioner, moisturiser, oil etc) to our ends, keeping our ends tucked away, being extra gentle with them. For this reason, we often neglect our scalps. But a neglected scalp can lead to excess build up, damaged follicles, hair loss, scalp tenderness, dandruff and a host of other issues. The first three things I mentioned can/do severely hinder hair growth – not so good if length is one of your hair goals.
Scalp neglect comes in soooo many different forms, including:
- Leaving a relaxer/texturiser on for too long – sis, it’s not supposed to burn your scalp and leave scabs! Wash it out! (I still have an extremely tender area of my scalp from where the relaxer used to burn my head in my relaxed days. Till today, the hair there grows slowly compared to the rest of my head)
- Not cleansing your scalp properly – I know us naturals like to co-wash but sometimes your scalp needs a good clean (sidenote: I used to be ALL about co-washing and only shampooing once a month like many naturals. However, when I started cleansing every week, either with a shampoo or a cleansing conditioner, I saw a HUGE improvement in my hair growth. Meaning that my hair follicles were probably really clogged up, prohibiting growth. Read my post about it here)
- Excessively and/or wrongly protective styling – it may help with length retention but it can put enormous strain on your scalp and lead to pain and tenderness
A messed up scalp can be painful and annoying so here are a few things you can do to optimise scalp health:
- Scalp massages with or without natural oils – these are super relaxing, they nourish the scalp (if you use natural oils e.g. coconut, castor, olive, jojoba etc) and they can increase hair growth by increasing blood flow to the scalp
- Make sure you keep your scalp clean – whether you choose to use shampoo, cleansing conditioners or clay washes, it’s important your scalp is kept clean
- Exfoliate your scalp if needed – you exfoliate your skin, don’t you?? (Well I hope you do!) So your scalp deserves the same treatment from time to time! You can use a scalp massage brush (like this one from Vitagoods), you can buy exfoliating products (e.g. this one from Kiehls or this one from Briogeo) or you can make your own scrub (with sugar and olive oil).
- Don’t make your protective styles too tight
- Avoid applying deep conditioners and creams to your scalp as they can cause build up
- When washing your hair, don’t scratch/scrub your scalp with your nails. Use the pads of your fingers – scratching can cause damage to your scalp and follicles.
- Add essential oils to your shampoo and/or scalp oils – essential oils such as lavender, peppermint, rosemary and tea tree are excellent for reducing dandruff, promoting growth and soothing the scalp (NOTE: PLEASE don’t use essential oils ALONE on your scalp – be sure to mix a few drops into your shampoo or oils. Applying plain essential oils to your skin can result in some pretty bad skin irritation because of how concentrated they are.)
There we have it guys!! These are my tips and tricks for keeping my scalp healthy. In general, when it comes to my scalp, I keep it simple to avoid any issues. If I wouldn’t do it to my skin or body, I’m most likely not doing it to my scalp. AND just one more thing: if you have alopecia, scalp psoriasis, extreme dandruff or extreme hair loss, it might be worth popping in to see your doctor. I believe in nipping things in the bud!!
Good luck guys!!