How to choose a haircare routine your hair and scalp can agree on

Compromise *isn’t* key here

Editor / November 28 2023

You know how they say compromise is a major player in every relationship? Well, when it comes to the relationship between your hair and your scalp, it long has been. One always seems to get forgotten about when it comes to choosing a care routine - a sad tale, we know.

Need a clarifying shampoo that can purify and de-flake your scalp? Great; but we’ll bet it isn’t designed to be particularly kind to your hair. Or on the other hand, you might be prioritising smooth, shiny hair, and that’s just fabulous! Until your scalp starts to show the signs of congestion and buildup from all that heavy product, that is. In a nutshell, anything applied to your scalp ends up affecting your hair, and vice versa, thus it’s a routine that really has its work cut out for it.

So what’s the secret to success? Choosing a lineup of products that keep both your hair and your scalp’s needs in mind. And we’re here to help you do just that! Here’s how to choose a care routine your hair and scalp can agree on. It’s simpler than you might think; just follow these three easy steps… 

Step 1: Assess what your scalp needs 

It’s no secret that scalp care has become a major focus in the beauty game in the past few years, and luckily we’re all now far more in tune with what our scalps are after. Of course, the most tricky-to-address scalp concern is dandruff, an issue which can really throw a wrench in your general haircare journey. There’s not much use having swishy, flowing strands worthy of a slow motion hair flip, if it’s accompanied by a flurry of white flakes, now is there?

If your scalp is showing any symptoms of dandruff (think tightness, dryness, itchiness, flaking, etc.), then you’re definitely in need of an anti-dandruff shampoo. Thanks to congestion-clearing, purifying ingredients such as salicylic acid, a good anti-dandruff shampoo will be able to address both the scalp’s individual microbiome (a major factor when it comes to scalp health), as well as the concerns caused by an unbalanced one. 

Step 2: Assess what your hair needs 

Before going in with any random haircare formula, it’s important to assess what your hair is looking for, based on its type and condition. Seeing the bad type of shine (AKA oil), dealing with flatness, and looking like you could star in a production of Grease? Chances are your oily hair could do with a purifying routine that helps to put some life back into it. Or if you’re noticing frizz, a brittle feel, and constant developments in the ‘breakage’ department, we’d venture a guess that you’re dealing with a dry hair type. If so, options able to bolster shine, softness, and overall hydration will help.

Step 3: Find formulas that cater to both 

We know what you’re thinking: you’ve assessed the needs of both your hair and your scalp and the briefs simply don’t have any overlap. Say you select an anti-dandruff shampoo in an effort to salvage your scalp health, only to realise that it does your hair completely dirty. Considering the clarifying effects of these styles of formulas, they can often be too harsh on hair, especially if your hair type is on the dry or damaged side. Maybe a dandruff shampoo that improves the condition of dry hair seems like a pipe dream. But fear not; there have been major steps forward in the anti-dandruff game, and DERCOS is the brand leading the charge.

While the dandruff-banishing, microbiome-balancing benefits of their Anti-Dandruff DS Shampoo formulas are trustworthy across the board, they actually offer different variants tailored to different hair types to ensure both the scalp and hair are left happy. Nourish your hair as it needs and ditch dandruff in one hit by simply selecting your best hair type fit. DERCOS Anti-Dandruff DS Shampoo for Normal to Oily Hair ($26.99 at Chemist Warehouse) is your best bet for (you guessed it) normal and oily hair types requiring a refresh, and DERCOS Anti-Dandruff DS Shampoo for Dry Hair ($26.99 at Chemist Warehouse) is the variant to try for a scalp reset that will nourish, not nix all of hair’s hydration. 

Proven to eliminate up to 100 per cent of visible dandruff from first use*, plus provide six weeks of anti-relapse dandruff relief (as proven by a wildly impressive consumer study)**, the DERCOS Anti-Dandruff shampoo range will keep the peace between your scalp and hair, ensuring neither need to compromise along the way. We love an overachiever that makes our hair healthier, our scalps glossier, and our lives easier. 

*Consumer test on 262 subjects after 2 weeks of regular use

**Cosmeto clinical study on 45 subjects after 4 weeks of use and 6 weeks of remanence


Main image credit: Getty

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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.