10 Things Your Scalp Has BEEN Waiting For You To Do

10 Things Your Scalp Has BEEN Waiting For You To Do

If someone were to ask me about the part of my body that I have neglected the most over the years, I would probably have to say that it was my scalp. Hell, with the amount of permanent hair dyeing and texturizing that I used to do once upon a time, that would be enough “scalp abuse” to prove my point.

I know this to be the case because once I stopped applying harsh chemicals to my hair (which includes my scalp), I went through about a year-and-a-half of scalp flaking that was totally out of control. A hairstylist told me it was my scalp actually recovering from all of the trauma that I had sent it through. Then, when I started scalp detoxing (check out “Treat Your Scalp To A Little Bit Of Detoxing This Weekend”) — that’s when I knew that I had to get better about taking care of the foundation of my hair: my scalp.

If that’s something that you’d like to get better at doing as well, I will share with you some of the things that I’ve been intentional about doing that have done a world of good as far as scalp maintenance is concerned. If you do these things consistently, whether you deal with dry scalp, dandruff or you simply want to see your hair thrive more, I can almost guarantee that you will see a noticeable improvement in a matter of a couple of months.

1. Eat More Antioxidants

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Whenever you hear someone talk about the importance of having antioxidants in your system, it’s probably in the context of relying on them to boost your immune system. However, there are several reasons why they’re also really good for your scalp and hair as well. Antioxidants help to fight off free radicals, boost blood circulation to your scalp, protect your hair and scalp from UV damage, reduce hair shedding, promote healthy hair growth, and even make your hair appear fuller.

Foods that are full of antioxidants include citrus fruit, berries, spinach, broccoli, carrots, kale, cabbage, sweet potatoes, onions, and cinnamon…so, the next time you’re at the grocery store, do your scalp a solid and pick up a few of ‘em.

2. Up Your Vitamin B12 Intake

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As I’ve gotten older, something that I’ve been intentional about doing is taking a vitamin B12 supplement. Holistically, it’s a nutrient that’s beneficial because it helps to preserve the health of blood and nerve cells. Also, vitamin B12 is good for you because it can reduce depression-related symptoms and give you more energy.

Your scalp and hair will enjoy you getting more B12 into your body because there is a direct connection between having a vitamin B12 deficiency and experiencing hair loss. Since it also has been known to soothe eczema-related symptoms (and scalp eczema is indeed a thing; it’s usually called seborrhoeic dermatitis) — that’s all the more reason to take a supplement yourself and/or eat more B12-enriched foods like eggs, salmon, yogurt, turkey and mushrooms.

3. Try All-Natural Shampoo Bars

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Something that I’ve been shampooing my hair with, for a few years now, is shampoo bars. They tend to have more natural ingredients in them. They are gentler on my hair. They last longer than the kind of shampoo that comes in a bottle. They take up less space. They also seem to keep more moisture in my hair, which is always a major perk. And since so many of them do not have the same kind of harsh ingredients that many commercial brand shampoos have, this means that your scalp doesn’t have to stress out on wash day.

If you’ve never gone this cleansing route, my two cents would be to do some online window shopping on Etsy. If you go to the site and put “Black-owned shampoo bars” in the search field, you’ll be amazed by how many all-natural ones you will have to choose from.

4. Do an Herbal Scalp Rinse

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If you’re looking for a quick and inexpensive way to pamper your scalp and hair, how about an herbal rinse? It’s probably the most effective way to get the herbs that come from teas into your hair. For instance, nettle tea is great for treating hair breakage, ginseng tea strengthens hair, green tea stimulates hair growth, gooseberry tea fights off free radicals, and lavender tea is great at promoting a healthy scalp. Based on whatever your scalp and hair needs at the time, you can apply one tea or create a combination.

My advice would be to get some loose-leaf teas, steep them for like 30 minutes, allow them to cool and sit for a couple of days in mason jars (don’t pour the tea into the jars until after the tea has become lukewarm in temperature) and then rinse your hair with it after shampooing and conditioning it. Let the mixture sit on your hair for 10 minutes, and rinse with cool water. You can find some more info on herbal rinses here. Etsy is also a place where you can find just about any loose-leaf herb that you can think of. Again, go to the site, put “loose-leaf herbs” in the search field, and be prepared for your mind to be blown.

5. Wash with Lukewarm or Cool Water Only

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Very few things feel better than hot water running from the scalp to the feet while taking a shower. Problem is, hot water can be very drying to your skin, and your scalp is no exception — and a dehydrated scalp can cause all types of issues in the long run. That’s why it really is best to wash your scalp and hair in lukewarm water and then rinse it in cool or cold water. Cooler temperatures will keep the natural sebum that’s on your scalp in balance, add moisture, reduce dandruff, increase blood circulation, and add shine to your hair strands from your roots to your ends.

6. Make a DIY Tea Tree Oil Serum

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If dandruff is something that you struggle with or you simply have moments when your scalp is itchy, and it’s irritating the entire crap outta you, try some tea tree oil. Its super potent antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antifungal properties make it great for treating acne and dermatitis, and it is a powerful ingredient in all-natural deodorant and mouthwash, too. Because tea tree oil is so good at treating fungal issues, that’s why it can reduce dandruff irritation and flaking.

What I personally like so much about it is that, even though this oil will help to get rid of inflammation, itching, and fungus-related drama, it doesn’t dry out my scalp in the process. In fact, it actually helps to moisturize it; just make sure that you add a carrier oil to it because, again, it’s potent and nothing to play with.

7. Create a Scalp Scrub Too

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Okay. Sit and think about how many hair products you use in just a week’s worth of time. Then, think about how much sweat probably transpires as well. Those two things alone should make you want to scrub your scalp on wash day, right?

Something that’s awesome about applying this particular tip is scalp scrubs are a wonderful way to exfoliate your scalp, remove product build-up, unclog your scalp’s pores/hair follicles, soothe an itchy scalp, and get rid of any dandruff flakes that you may have.

There are plenty of scalp scrubs on the market that you can use (like the ones thatInStyle provided here and Byrdie offered up here). Personally, I like to make my own. A homemade scrub that I can cosign on is featured right here. Also, if you want to learn more about scalp scrubs and why they are super beneficial overall, check out the YouTube video on Curly Chemistry’s channel here; she breaks it all the way down.

8. Massage with Peppermint Oil

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Did you know that if you have a headache or any type of muscle or joint discomfort, applying some peppermint oil can bring about some much-needed relief? Not only that, but it’s the kind of oil that’s good for treating coughs, shortening the lifespan of colds, and reducing stress (via aromatherapy). Your scalp could definitely benefit from a peppermint oil massage because the menthol that’s in it helps to increase blood circulation to your scalp so that your hair follicles are able to receive more of the nutrients that they need.

Also, if you happen to be like me and you struggle with a dry and itchy scalp from time to time, peppermint oil can moisturize and soothe itchiness simultaneously.

9. Use Grapeseed Oil for Oily Scalp and Jamaican Black Castor Oil for a Dry or Itchy Scalp

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The people who say that you shouldn’t oil your hair or scalp? Yeah, I totally ignore them. Scalp is still skin, and if the skin on the rest of my body needs moisture, why wouldn’t my scalp require it, too? The key is to use the kind of oils that will benefit your scalp the most. For instance, if your scalp is naturally oily, grapeseed oil is a lighter oil that’s full of vitamin E that will moisturize without weighing your hair down. Another benefit is it helps to fight frizz; plus, it’s a great complement if your hair happens to be on the finer/thinner side.

On the other hand, if your scalp is dry (and/or your hair is thick), the omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids that are found in Jamaican black castor oil can do wonders when it comes to deeply nourishing your scalp, increasing blood circulation to it and strengthening your hair while reducing breakage on a pretty significant level. Yeah, your scalp and hair oil can definitely go hand in hand — the type of oil and not going overboard with the amount are the keys to making oil work in your favor.

10. Read Product Labels

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You’ve probably heard somewhere that 60 percent of what you put onto your skin can be absorbed into your bloodstream. While many health and skin professionals agree that it’s a conclusion that is an exaggeration, what is irrefutable is your skin does take in some amount of what you put onto it — I mean, you do have pores, after all. So, for the sake of your scalp, your hair, and your health overall, put in a bit of time to check out the labels of the hair products that you’re considering before purchasing them. Sulfates and alcohol will dry out your hair and scalp.

Parabens have been linked to cancer (because they mimic estrogen). Synthetic fragrances can irritate your scalp. Phthalates, which oftentimes create the fragrance in products, can increase your risk of heart disease. Yeah, it might take a couple of more minutes to read the fine print on hair care bottles — oh, but think about the good you’ll be doing, from head to toe, if you do. Especially as far as your scalp’s health and well-being is concerned. And isn’t it deserving? Indeed.

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