Treat Your Scalp To A Little Bit Of Detoxing This Weekend

When's the last time you showed your scalp some love?


As I've been on this journey to grow out my natural hair, something that I've been learning to pay more attention to is my scalp. After all, it's the foundation for my tresses, so if it's not in good shape, my hair won't be. And as I've been discovering how to give it the TLC that it deserves, a practice that I've been putting into play more and more is scalp detoxing. If you're already deep sighing at the mere thought of having something else to put on your to-do list, you can stop. I promise you that it's a really easy thing to do. Plus, the way your scalp will feel immediately after you do it makes making the time totally worth your while.

So whether you like to use lots of hair products, you've got a chemically-treated or sensitive scalp, or you want to get rid of dandruff or dead skin flakes, this article will easily break down just why scalp detoxing is the route to take, along with the steps that you can implement, as soon as this weekend.

Why You Should Detox Your Scalp


I recently read an article that said what we purchase beauty products at a rate that is a whopping nine times greater than white women do. The reason why that is nothing to "Kanye shrug" about is because if those products contain toxic ingredients, including hormone disruptors like parabens and phthalates, that's a big problem.

Especially since our skin has a tendency to absorb 60 percent of what we put on it, within 26 seconds of putting it on. Not only that but get this—our scalp and forehead absorb chemicals about four times faster than our forearms do. If you let that, pardon the pun, penetrate, how could you not want to detox your scalp once a month?

Especially if you add along with all of this the fact that the chance for product build-up which could lead to clogged hair follicles, an itchy irritated scalp and stunted hair growth.

In a nutshell, detoxing your scalp can help to remove leftover toxins that are sitting on it; it can also help to rebalance your scalp so that your hair is better able to thrive. So yeah, there is simply no reason why it's not a good thing to do on a consistent basis.

5 Different Scalp Detox Methods to Try


Now that you know why you should do a little scalp detoxing, you might wonder, just how you should go about doing it. I've got a few ideas.

If you want to remove product build-up. If you use any sort of product on your hair, some sort of build-up is sure to follow. One way to get a handle on all of that is to mix two tablespoons of baking soda with one cup of lukewarm distilled water. After shampooing your hair, apply the mixture and gently massage your scalp. Allow the solution to remain for 10 minutes, then rinse thoroughly and condition your hair.

If you want to treat dandruff or any fungi growth. It really can't be said enough that dandruff and dry scalp are not the same thing. Dandruff is the result of an overgrowth of a yeast known as Malassezia. Something that you can do to better manage dandruff is to detox your scalp with the help of some grapeseed oil and cinnamon powder. As the grapeseed oil works to fight off free radicals, the antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial compounds in the cinnamon powder will help to prevent fungal and bacterial infections. Mix two tablespoons of grapeseed oil with a teaspoon of cinnamon powder to clean damp hair. Massage it onto your scalp, let it sit for 20 minutes, then rinse.

If you want to repair any skin cells that you may have. Something that you can do to help restore any dead skin cells that may be on your scalp is to apply some pure Aloe vera gel to it. The proteolytic enzymes will soothe and repair the cells while other properties of the gel with help to deep condition your scalp. Simply apply 1-2 tablespoons on freshly washed damp hair. Let it sit for 30 minutes and then rinse and style as usual.

If you've got relaxed or color-treated hair. If you want to detox your scalp after a chemical treatment, an oil-based detox can prevent your scalp from drying out. Mix a tablespoon of olive oil (it deeply moisturizes), a teaspoon of jojoba (it soothes an irritated scalp) and 3-5 drops of peppermint oil (it kills germs and increases blood circulation) together. Apply the oil to freshly washed hair and massage your scalp. The menthol from the peppermint will provide an immediate tingling sensation that will soothe your scalp as the detox oils cleanse and heals your scalp simultaneously. Let it sit for 20 minutes, then thoroughly rinse and style as usual.

If you want to rejuvenate your scalp. Do you feel like your scalp could use a bit of a pick-me-up? One way to do just that is to combine a half cup of bentonite clay with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, a fourth cup of distilled water and 3-5 drops of lavender oil. The properties of the clay will help to purge any impurities from your scalp while the vinegar serves as an anti-inflammatory agent. As a bonus, lavender oil is antimicrobial, plus it helps to promote healthy hair growth. Apply this combination all over your scalp (and hair) right after washing it. Let it sit for 45 minutes, then rinse thoroughly with warm water. Then follow that up with a deep conditioning treatment and style as usual.

How to Maintain Your Scalp in Between Detoxes


Trust me when I tell you that, if you get into the habit of detoxing your scalp on a monthly basis, you are already going to be way ahead of the game when it comes to scalp care. But if you'd like a few more tips on how to keep your scalp in great condition, even between detoxing, here are some other things you should do.

Massage your scalp a couple of times a week. A good scalp massage is not only a wonderful way to relieve any stress that you may have, it can also increase blood flow to your scalp so that your hair is able to grow healthy and strong. You can massage your scalp with your fingers or with a portable scalp massager. A couple of years ago, Naptural85 did a pretty thorough video on the best ones for natural hair. You can check out here reviews here.

Cleanse on a bi-weekly basis. A clean scalp is a healthy scalp; that's why it's important to wash yours no less than a couple of times a month. The kind of shampoo that you use is gonna vary, based on what your scalp's specific needs are, but a shampoo that is paraben- and sulfate-free is wise. I'm a fan of shampoo bars myself. Black soap, specifically, is the complete and total truth.

Rinse with lukewarm water. Hot water might feel really good, but it can also dry out your scalp too. So, on wash day, avoid the "hot as you can bear it" approach. Lukewarm is far better and healthier overall.

Wash your hair care tools. Dirty combs and brushes are not only gross, they can irritate your scalp. That's why you need to make sure to wash them with a mild shampoo, no less than a couple of times each month.

Limit the amount of chemical treatments that you use. Oh, I love a head of jet black hair more than most, but I've come to accept that it's not healthy (plus, permanent hair dye tends to do the health and well-being of my hair more harm than good in the long run). And with articles on hair chemicals warning us of things like "permanent hair dye increases a black woman's risk of breast cancer by 45%", you are doing yourself a real favor by laying off of as many chemical treatments as possible. (Oh the dye tip, go with henna or at least a semi-permanent option; it's easier on your hair and better for your health.)

Keep your scalp moisturized. Sometimes our scalp is "mad at us" simply because it is super dry. You can make this less of an issue for you if you drink lots of water, eat plenty of fresh fruits and veggies, tie your hair up at night (so that your bedding doesn't strip your hair of its natural oils)—oh, and if you take a B-complex vitamin. Why B-complex? Because, believe it or not, there is a direct correlation between dry scalp and us not having enough of vitamins B6 and B12 in our system. By upping the B and lowering your sugar intake (which can dry out your scalp), you will be on your way to a great-feeling scalp and, ultimately, a healthy head of hair too!

Our scalp doesn't get seen much, so it gets ignored fairly often. But I am a living testament to the fact that if you take care of your scalp, your hair will truly flourish. Your health ultimately will too. Get to detoxing. It's a total game-changer!

Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:

This Is Why Your Natural Hair Ain't Growin'

Looking For Hair Growth? It Might Be Time To Bring 'Blue Magic' Back

I Detoxed My Uterus

The Ugly Truth: Here's What Detox Teas Are Really Doing To Your Body

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You may not know her by Elisabeth Ovesen – writer and host of the love, sex and relationships advice podcast Asking for a Friend. But you definitely know her other alter ego, Karrine Steffans, the New York Times best-selling author who lit up the literary and entertainment world when she released what she called a “tell some” memoir, Confessions of a Video Vixen.

Her 2005 barn-burning book gave an inside look at the seemingly glamorous world of being a video vixen in the ‘90s and early 2000s, and exposed the industry’s culture of abuse, intimidation, and misogyny years before the Me Too Movement hit the mainstream. Her follow-up books, The Vixen Diaries (2007) and The Vixen Manual: How To Find, Seduce And Keep The Man You Want (2009) all topped the New York Times best-seller list. After a long social media break, she's back. xoNecole caught up with Ovesen about the impact of her groundbreaking book, what life is like for her now, and why she was never “before her time”– everyone else was just late to the revolution.

xoNecole: Tell me about your new podcast Asking for a Friend with Elisabeth Ovesen and how that came about.

Elisabeth Ovesen: I have a friend who is over [at Blavity] and he just asked me if I wanted to do something with him. And that's just kinda how it happened. It wasn't like some big master plan. Somebody over there was like, “Hey, we need content. We want to do this podcast. Can you do it?” And I was like, “Sure.” And that's that. That was around the holidays and so we started working on it.

xoNecole: Your life and work seem incredibly different from when you first broke out on the scene. Can you talk a bit about the change in your career and how your life is now?

EO: Not that different. I mean my life is very different, of course, but my work isn't really that different. My life is different, of course, because I'm 43. My career started when I was in my 20s, so we're looking at almost 20 years since the beginning of my career. So, naturally life has changed a lot since then.

I don’t think my career has changed a whole lot – not as far as my writing is concerned, and my stream of consciousness with my writing, and my concerns and the subject matter hasn’t changed much. I've always written about interpersonal relationships, sexual shame, male ego fragility, respectability politics – things like that. I always put myself in the center of that to make those points, which I think were greatly missed when I first started writing. I think that society has changed quite a bit. People are more aware. People tell me a lot that I have always been “before my time.” I was writing about things before other people were talking about that; I was concerned about things before my generation seemed to be concerned about things. I wasn't “before my time.” I think it just seems that way to people who are late to the revolution, you know what I mean?

I retired from publishing in 2015, which was always the plan to do 10 years and retire. I was retired from my pen name and just from the business in general in 2015, I could focus on my business, my education and other things, my family. I came back to writing in 2020 over at Medium. The same friend that got me into the podcast, actually as the vice president of content over at Medium and was like, “Hey, we need some content.” I guess I’m his go-to content creator.

xoNecole: Can you expound on why you went back to your birth name versus your stage name?

EO: No, it was nothing to expound upon. I mean, writers have pen names. That’s like asking Diddy, why did he go by Sean? I didn't go back. I've always used that. Nobody was paying attention. I've never not been myself. Karrine Steffans wrote a certain kind of book for a certain kind of audience. She was invented for the urban audience, particularly. She was never meant to live more than 10 years. I have other pen names as well. I write under several names. So, the other ones are just nobody's business right now. Different pen names write different things. And Elisabeth isn’t my real name either. So you'll never know who I really am and you’ll never know what my real name is, because part of being a writer is, for me at least, keeping some sort of anonymity. Anything I do in entertainment is going to amass quite a bit because who I am as a person in my private life isn't the same a lot of times as who I am publicly.

xoNecole: I want to go back to when you published Confessions of a Video Vixen. We are now in this time where people are reevaluating how the media mistreated women in the spotlight in the 2000s, namely women like Britney Spears. So I’d be interested to hear how you feel about that period of your life and how you were treated by the media?

EO: What I said earlier. I think that much of society has evolved quite a bit. When you look back at that time, it was actually shocking how old-fashioned the thinking still was. How women were still treated and how they're still treated now. I mean, it hasn't changed completely. I think that especially for the audience, I think it was shocking for them to see a woman – a woman of color – not be sexually ashamed.

I hate being like other people. I don't want to do what anyone else is doing. I can't conform. I will not conform. I think in 2005 when Confessions was published, that attitude, especially about sex, was very upsetting. Number one, it was upsetting to the men, especially within urban and hip-hop culture, which is built on misogyny and thrives off of it to this day. And the women who protect these men, I think, you know, addressing a demographic that is rooted in trauma that is rooted in sexual shame, trauma, slavery of all kinds, including slavery of the mind – I think it triggered a lot of people to see a Black woman be free in this way.

I think it said a lot about the people who were upset by it. And then there were some in “crossover media,” a lot of white folks were upset too, not gonna lie. But to see it from Black women – Tyra Banks was really upset [when she interviewed me about Confessions in 2005]. Oprah wasn't mad [when she interviewed me]. As long as Oprah wasn’t mad, I was good. I didn't care what anybody else had to say. Oprah was amazing. So, watching Black women defend men, and Black women who had a platform, defend the sexual blackmailing of men: “If you don't do this with me, you won't get this job”; “If you don't do this in my trailer, you're going to have to leave the set”– these are things that I dealt with.

I just happened to be the kind of woman who, because I was a single mother raising my child all by myself and never got any help at all – which I still don't. Like, I'm 24 in college – not a cheap college either – one of the best colleges in the country, and I'm still taking care of him all by myself as a 21-year-old, 20-year-old, young, single mother with no family and no support – I wasn’t about to say no to something that could help me feed my son for a month or two or three.

xoNecole: We are in this post-Me Too climate where women in Hollywood have come forward to talk about the powerful men who have abused them. In the music industry in particular, it seems nearly impossible for any substantive change or movement to take place within music. It's only now after three decades of allegations that R. Kelly has finally been convicted and other men like Russell Simmons continue to roam free despite the multiple allegations against him. Why do you think it's hard for the music industry to face its reckoning?

EO: That's not the music industry, that's urban music. That’s just Black folks who make music and nobody cares about that. That's the thing; nobody cares...Nobody cares. It's not the music industry. It's just an "urban" thing. And when I say "urban," I say that in quotations. Literally, it’s a Black thing, where nobody gives a shit what Black people do to Black people. And Russell didn't go on unchecked, he just had enough money to keep it quiet. But you know, anytime you're dealing with Black women being disrespected, especially by Black men, nobody gives a shit.

And Black people don't police themselves so it doesn't matter. Why should anybody care? And Black women don't care. They'll buy an R. Kelly album right now. They’ll stream that shit right now. They don’t care. So, nobody cares. Nobody cares. And if you're not going to police yourself, then nobody's ever going to care.

xoNecole: Do you have any regrets about anything you wrote or perhaps something you may have omitted?

EO: Absolutely not. No. There's nothing that I wish I would've gone back and said to myself, no. I don’t think at 20-something years old, I'm supposed to understand every little thing. I don't think the 20-something-year-old woman is supposed to understand the world and know exactly what she's doing. I think that one of my biggest regrets, which isn't my regret, but a regret, is that I didn't have better parents. Because a 20-something only knows what she knows based on what she’s seen and what she’s been taught and what she’s told. I had shitty parents and a horrible family. Just terrible. These people had no business having children. None of them. And a lot of our families are like that. And we may pass down those familial curses.

*This interview has been edited and condensed

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Feature image courtesy of Elisabeth Ovesen

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