Rules are an important part of just about everything in life. A game of Monopoly? Crucial; free parking is fair game. Buying Taylor Swift tickets? Essential; no more than four, please, people. Keeping your scalp healthy? Absolutely; there are several select rules everyone with a thriving scalp follows to a tee, and for very good reason.
The scalp is a highly sensitive area of the body, with the ability to affect everything from how your hair grows to whether your itch-factor is through the roof or not. And considering scalps put up with a whole lot, we need to do everything we possibly can to help them maintain ‘healthy’ status. There’s skin under the hair, let’s remember, and so adhering to advice that keeps both happy is essential.
So how can you follow suit and transform yourself into one of these very people with these fabulous healthy scalps? By following this set of five non-negotiable rules for keeping your scalp in the best, healthiest shape possible…
Rule #1: Cleansing with an anti-dandruff shampoo
When it comes to scalp care, dandruff can be the biggest issue that crops up along the way. So what’s the big secret of people with healthy scalps?! Using haircare that focuses on skin as well as hair - after all, your shampoo choice should be as much about what your scalp needs as what your hair needs. Everything starts with the scalp! Clear your scalp of congestion, itchiness and flakes by working a clarifying anti-dandruff shampoo into your routine. DERCOS Anti-Dandruff DS Shampoo is the formula you can trust to take care of your scalp and hair in one hit. Not only is it a dermatologist-backed formula able to eliminate 100 per cent of visible dandruff from first use* (as backed by a very impressive consumer test), but it also offers two variants tailored to different hair types.
If your hair is dry, try the DERCOS Anti-Dandruff DS Shampoo for Dry Hair ($21.49 at Chemist Warehouse), and if your hair runs oily, reach for the DERCOS Anti-Dandruff DS Shampoo for Normal to Oily Hair ($21.49 at Chemist Warehouse). These tailored formulas are able to leave your hair feeling as fresh as your scalp with every wash (unlike other anti-dandruff shampoos, which can leave it stripped and brittle).
Rule #2: Rinsing hair with cold water
It’s long been said that a final blast of cold water is the way to lock in shine and softness for your hair, but rinsing with a cool shot rather than the hot kind is a great call for scalp health too. Just the way that scalding water can dry out and aggravate the rest of your skin, it can also do the same to your scalp, leaving it itchy, dehydrated, and irritated. Opting for cold water when rinsing your hair and scalp is the best way to keep moisture levels balanced across the board.
Rule #3: Working richer products from mid-lengths to ends
It might seem counterintuitive to leave your scalp free of product when it’s in need of some TLC, but a congested scalp is simply not a healthy one. There’s a reason most heavier hair products specify ‘apply from mid-lengths to ends’ instead of advising taking over your scalp and roots as well. Product buildup can be a major issue when it comes to keeping your scalp clean and healthy, so limiting the products applied to the area is key. Your favourite rich nourishing formulas are all A-OK for the rest of the hair, just make sure to only work from the bottoms of your ears down to keep that scalp safe.
Rule #4: Prioritising antioxidant-rich foods
Diet is a major factor in just about every area of health, scalp health included. As your scalp is covered in skin, it’ll benefit from the same types of foods that will get your complexion glowing. To ensure you’re helping to strengthen your scalp health from within, try to consume a diet rich in antioxidant-loaded options such as berries, nuts, vegetables, and even delicious dark chocolate. Win!
Rule #5: Taking time out for a scalp massage
If you’re not committing to frequent scalp massages, you’re seriously missing out. On top of being incredibly relaxing (and a total sensory treat), scalp stimulation is great for getting circulation moving. In fact, it can actually help to promote hair growth (which starts with a healthy scalp, as just about everything does), as it works to stretch the cells of your hair follicles, allowing them to produce thicker hair. Practical benefits aside, why should you only enjoy a good scalp massage session at the hairdresser? As for whether you use your fingers for gentle pressure, or switch to a scalp-massaging brush or device, that’s completely your call!
Delaney Loane is BEAUTYcrew's Editor (and resident cateye connoisseur). An expert in everything from sensitive skin solutions to lip oil options that won't leave your hair permanently attached to your face, her words have also appeared across mastheads such as ELLE and marie claire.