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!
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at email@example.com. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
Exclusive: Gabrielle Union On Radical Transparency, Being Diagnosed With Perimenopause And Embracing What’s Next
Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find, there’s no denying that she is that girl.
Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.
In a xoNecoleexclusive, the iconic actress opens up about embracing this season of her life, new projects, and overall being a “bad motherfucker.” Gabrielle reveals that she was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with perimenopause and is still going through it at 51 years old. Mayo Clinic says perimenopause “refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.”
“I haven't crossed over the next phase just yet, but I think part of it is when you hear any form of menopause, you automatically think of your mother or grandmother. It feels like an old-person thing, but for me, I was 37 and like not understanding what that really meant for me. And I don't think we focus so much on the word menopause without understanding that perimenopause is just the time before menopause,” she tells us.
Photo by Brian Thomas
"But you can experience a lot of the same things during that period that people talk about, that they experienced during menopause. So you could get a hot flash, you could get the weight gain, the hair loss, depression, anxiety, like all of it, mental health challenges, all of that can come, you know, at any stage of the menopausal journey and like for me, I've been in perimenopause like 13, 14 years. When you know, most doctors are like, ‘Oh, but it's usually about ten years, and I'm like, ‘Uhh, I’m still going (laughs).’”
Conversations about perimenopause, fibroids, and all the things that are associated with women’s bodies have often been considered taboo and thus not discussed publicly. However, times are changing, and thanks to the Gabrielle’s and the Tia Mowry’s, more women are having an authentic discourse about women’s health. These open discussions lead to the creation of more safe spaces and support for one another.
“I want to be in community with folks. I don't ever want to feel like I'm on an island about anything. So, if I can help create community where we are lacking, I want to be a part of that,” she says. “So, it's like there's no harm in talking about it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change. I'm just getting better and stronger and more intelligent, more wise, more patient, more compassionate, more empathetic. All of that is very, very welcomed, and none of it should be scary.”
The Being Mary Jane star hasn’t been shy about her stance on therapy. If you don’t know, here’s a hint: she’s all for it, and she encourages others to try it as well. She likens therapy to dating by suggesting that you keep looking for the right therapist to match your needs. Two other essential keys to her growth are radical transparency and radical acceptance (though she admits she is still working on the latter).
"I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change."
Gabrielle Union and Kaavia Union-Wade
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images
“I hope that a.) you recognize that you're not alone. Seek out help and know that it's okay to be honest about what the hell is happening in your life. That's the only way that you know you can get help, and that's also the only other way that people know that you are in need if there's something going on,” she says, “because we have all these big, very wild, high expectations of people, but if they don't know what they're actually dealing with, they're always going to be failing, and you will always be disappointed. So how about just tell the truth, be transparent, and let people know where you are. So they can be of service, they can be compassionate.”
Gabrielle’s transparency is what makes her so relatable, and has so many people root for her. Whether through her TV and film projects, her memoirs, or her social media, the actress has a knack for making you feel like she’s your homegirl. Scrolling through her Instagram, you see the special moments with her family, exciting new business ventures, and jaw-dropping fashion moments. Throughout her life and career, we’ve seen her evolve in a multitude of ways. From producing films to starting a haircare line to marriage and motherhood, her journey is a story of courage and triumph. And right now, in this season, she’s asking, “What’s next?”
“This is a season of discovery and change. In a billion ways,” says the NAACP Image Award winner. “The notion of like, ‘Oh, so and so changed. They got brand new.’ I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
"I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
She continues, “So I'm just trying to figure out what's next. You know what I mean? I'm jumping into what's next. I'm excited going into what's next and new. I'm just sort of embracing all of what life has to offer.”
Look out for Gabrielle in the upcoming indie film Riff Raff, which is a crime comedy starring her and Jennifer Coolidge, and she will also produce The Idea of You, which stars Anne Hathaway.
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Feature image by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images
Victoria Monét has had an incredible year. Thanks to the success of the widely popular “On My Mama” that went viral, the singer/ songwriter’s Jaguar II album debuted in the top 10 of Billboard’s Top R&B Albums chart. She also went on to headline her own sold-out tour. So, when the MTV VMAs happened in September, everyone was surprised to learn that Victoria’s team was told that it was “too early” for the “Smoke” artist to perform at the award show. However, a couple of months later, the mom of one received seven Grammy nominations, including “Best R&B Album” and “Record Of The Year.”
Victoria is currently in London and stopped by The Dotty Show on Apple Music and shared how she feels “validated” after being dismissed by the VMAs.
“It really does feel nice and validating because, in my head, the reason why I wanted to be a performer at the VMAs or award ceremonies like that is because I felt like I am at the place where I should. I would work really hard to put on the best show that I could, and I was excited to do so,” she said.
“And I guess the best way to describe it for me is like when you're like on a sports team, and the coach is like, ‘No, you gotta sit this one out.’ When they finally put you in, and then you score all these points, and it feels like that feeling. You're like, yes, I knew it wasn't tripping, but I knew I worked hard for this, and so it's been super validating to just have these accolades come after a moment like that, and I know the fans feel vindicated for me.
While her fans called the VMAs out on their decision, the “Moment” singer kept it cute and is still open to performing at the iconic award show. “I feel no ill towards them because it's just maybe that's just truly how they felt at the time, but I hope their mind has changed,” she admitted.
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Feature image by Amy Sussman/WireImage for Parkwood