Healthy hair comes from a healthy scalp. This body part is often overlooked as we wash our face or shampoo our hair. Taking good care of your scalp by keeping it clean and full of moisture will benefit hair growth, eliminate dry skin issues such as dandruff, and prevent hair loss. Your scalp is an extension of your face so using products such as masks, scrubs, and conditioners that you can easily create at home should be part of your healthy hair and skin regime.
Remember the old-fashioned beauty tip of brushing your hair one hundred strokes a night? The purpose of this was to boost your circulation, distribute skin oils, and clear your scalp of dead skin cells and surface debris. Today we have access to much more than a simple boar bristle brush, but the idea of keeping the scalp clean, conditioned, and clear is still a good one. We are also a bit harder on our hair than pioneer people were. We rarely air-dry our locks in favor of the faster method of using a heated hairdryer. The same goes for styling. People used to sleep in rag or pin curls. Today high heat tools and styling aids are used to create or straighten waves. These not only dry out our hair but also can stress the skin on our scalps. This is also true for harsh shampoos and soaps. You wouldn’t use a strong detergent on your skin, yet we often fill our heads full of sudsy soaps and shampoos that dry out our scalps. Look for gentle shampoo products that are also moisturizing. You can create your own natural shampoo using equal parts mild castile soap and water or herbal tea. Using a gentle shampoo with scalp hydrating glycerin or natural oils will make a difference. The temperature of the water used also will help preserve natural skin oils, try and use warm or lukewarm water rather than hot water when shampooing or rinsing.
You can create rich conditioners or masks that only take a few minutes to apply and can be used weekly when you wash your hair. These masks are meant to improve circulation and keep your scalp clean. Giving yourself nightly head massages also helps, much like hair brushing with a natural bristle brush. You can also create simple scrubs to exfoliate dead skin and styling product buildup. Your skin functions best when it is clean and clear. Clean skin can absorb more moisture and this will help boost your hair follicles and new hair growth. Often times with just a few simple changes to your hair care routine and focusing on the health of your scalp, you will see immediate results. Here are some simple at-home beauty recipes for you to try. Enjoy!
Scalp Sugar Scrub
Makes 2 oz.
Dry skin and styling products can not only lead to dandruff but are also very uncomfortable. If you find yourself scratching your head more than normal, you may want to try a scalp scrub. This one is simple and uses all-natural sugar and baking soda to get your skin super clean. You can also mix in your favorite herbs for a bit of aromatherapy and their bacteria-fighting properties. Try energizing mint, relaxing lavender, or soothing calendula.
- 1/4 cup raw sugar
- 2 Tbsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. fresh or dried organic herbs (mint leaves, lavender buds, calendula petals)
- Mix all ingredients and spoon into a clean container.
- Massage into scalp for 1-3 minutes using small, circular motions.
- Rinse well and condition as usual.
Simple Scalp Massage
The purpose of a scalp massage is to boost blood flow and circulation. The result is stronger hair and it is also a great way to unwind and relax. Research has shown that a four-minute daily scalp massage powers cells at the base of your hair follicles to grow thicker and stronger. Start at the top center of your head, use the pads of your fingertips to apply firm pressure, and massage your scalp in circular motions over the crown and down toward the base of your neck for at least 2 minutes. Then massage from temples toward the back of your head, for 2 minutes. Repeat daily, and you’ll start seeing results in six to eight weeks.
Rosemary Scalp Spray
Makes 8 oz.
Rosemary is a well-known hair care herb. It is used in shampoos and rinses to keep hair healthy. It helps promote new hair growth by boosting the circulation of your scalp. You can create a simple spray or toner that can be used after working out or shampooing to refresh and tone the skin on your head.
- 1 Tbsp. organic dried rosemary leaves or 2 Tbsp. organic fresh rosemary
- 1 cup water
- In a small saucepan on the stovetop, heat the rosemary and water until it just begins to boil.
- Turn off the heat and allow the mixture to cool completely. You have just made a rosemary infusion or tea.
- Pour this mixture into a clean spritz bottle or amber glass container with a tight lid.
- Spray lightly over hair and use your fingertips to massage all over scalp.
Pro Tip: It is best to store this product in the refrigerator and make in small batches.
Dandruff Control Treatments
Dandruff is the most common of all scalp problems, characterized by dry, flaky, skin on or about the hair roots. The causes of dandruff are many—lack of proper hair care, poor diet, stress, fatigue, climate, and heredity are all factors. For serious causes of scalp dryness, you should consult your physician. These two recipes are for a “pre-shampoo” treatment.
Dandruff Control for Oily, Flaky Scalp
Makes 3 oz., enough for one treatment
- 2 Tbsp. organic apple cider vinegar or fresh lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp. water
- 2 Tbsp. organic olive oil
- Mix all the ingredients and massage into your scalp.
- Leave on for 20 minutes before shampooing.
Dandruff Control for Dry, Flaky Scalp
Makes 1 oz., enough for one treatment
- Combine the two oils and massage into wet hair.
- Leave on for 10 minutes, then shampoo out.
Detox Scalp Mask
Yield: 2 oz.
Hair and scalp masks are used to draw out impurities that can weaken or damage hair roots. They also tend to give your hair more volume by absorbing dirt and oils. This mask will help detox your scalp, promote hair growth and deep cleanse your hair. Natural clay such as rhassoul, which is a bit more “soapy” in texture, can be used to cleanse and treat your scalp and hair.
Depending on the length of your hair you may need to double this recipe.
- 2 Tbsp. rhassoul clay
- 1 tsp. organic castor oil
- 1 tsp. organic jojoba oil or argan oil
- 1-2 tsp. water
- Mix all ingredients in a small bowl.
- Add just enough water to form a smooth, creamy paste.
- Apply to your hair starting at the ends and working your way up into the roots and your scalp.
- Let the mixture sit for 20 minutes then rinse your hair with warm water.
Pro Tips for Creating Healthy Scalp Routine
The best way to have healthy hair is to start with a healthy scalp and the use of scrubs, shampoos, rinses, and masks can help you achieve that. Also, a healthy diet rich in zinc, iron, and protein will help your hair grow. Here are some simple steps and tips:
- Exfoliate weekly: Dead skin cells stay on your scalp between washes, which can lead to breakouts at your hairline and flakiness at your roots. If you use styling products such as gels or hairsprays they also can build up on your scalp. Mix up a simple scrub using cornmeal or sugar and massage into your scalp before shampooing. The same products you use on your complexion for exfoliating dead skin can safely be used on your scalp.
- Switch to a natural shampoo: Using a gentler cleanser for your hair will not only benefit your hair but will also help your scalp. Shampoos with strong sudsing agents or detergents can strip your scalp of helpful natural skin oils. It is also more drying to both your hair and skin. If you do not want to switch shampoos you can dilute them with water or try shampooing every other day.
- Detox Monthly: Do a detoxing treatment once per momth. Mix up a clarifying rinse using apple cider vinegar and water, and also treat your scalp to a deep cleaning mask made with natural clay. This will help keep your skin clean, clear, and hydrated. Super clean skin absorbs more moisture which will equate to healthier hair at the roots.
- Scalp Massages: Massage a light natural oil such as jojoba or argan oil into your scalp nightly to help condition and clean your scalp and boost circulation. This is best done before bedtime and will also help relax you before bedtime.
- Sunscreen: Wearing a hat with a large brim when outdoors is best to protect your skin and hair, but if this is not possible then protect your scalp from a burn by using the same sunscreen product you use on your face around your hairline and where your hair is parted. If you have areas where your hair is thinning, make sure the skin is protected. This is a good practice year-round.
*These tips and recipes are excerpted from Natural Beauty from the Garden (Ogden 2018).
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