It is my sworn duty as a beauty journalist to bring readers the hardest hitting news in beauty, no matter the personal cost. So it is with carefully moderated embarrassment that I tell you, dear reader, that I have flakey scalp problems. Perhaps not surprising, given that my skin is dry year round, from neck to nape. However, I could use my scalp like a weather vane – every winter like clockwork it begins to itch, and I know flakey trouble is on the way. Usually, this means grabbing a bottle of Selsun – it works but at what price? In my experience medicated shampoo takes its blood price in soft locks and costly colour.
This season something is different. A few products fortuitously crossed my desk, and by way of strange hair product alchemy, I have finally been able to rid myself of my seasonal hair woes. All it took was applying lessons I had learned from skincare to my scalp. Read on if you want my guaranteed formula for flake-free winter hair!
Step 1: Resurface With a Scrub
Scalp exfoliants have been cropping up recently. With skincare the fastest growing category in the beauty marketplace, it’s not surprising that we’re starting to apply skincare lessons to hair care. I’ve been a scrub-skeptic for a while now – I just didn’t see how they would end in anything other than tangled roots for my already fine hair.
The R+Co Crown Scalp Scrub has made me a scalp-scrub convert. “Crown” uses salicylic acid to chemically exfoliate the scalp, loosening dry flakes on contact. It then follows with Ecuadorian Ivory Palm Seed Powder to manually exfoliate and Kaolin to detoxify. I use the scalp scrub twice a week in place of shampoo. As you massage this product into your scalp, you can feel the natural exfoliants dissolving into a satisfying, creamy lather. The fragrance is invigorating – perfect for winter mornings with its blend of Sicilian Lemon, Tangerine, Eucalyptus and Amber. But the best thing about it is how unbelievably shiny it leaves your hair.
All my doubts about dissolved (along with the magical Ecuadorian Palm Seed Powder) when I saw how soft and glossy my troublesome mane had become with just one use. Because the exfoliating action focuses on the scalp – where the issue is, it doesn’t strip your tender ends. It also means I am cutting down on shampooing – usually, I wash my hair every day but with the scalp scrub twice a week, I am only shampooing once a week.
Step 2: Sooth and Smooth With Conditioner
I wouldn’t dream of skipping moisturiser on my face during winter. So why do I stringently avoid moisturising my scalp? Like many, I worry that applying conditioner to my roots will make my limp hair limper. Maybe in the old days of thick, silicone conditioners, this was true. But it isn’t any longer. A few months ago Remington Schultz at Edwards and Co, Surry Hills, introduced me to the skincare-inspired Pantene Pro V Micellar range. Ever since I’ve been loving it! The lightweight conditioner is completely silicone free, meaning you can apply it to the scalp without weighing down your strands.
After I use my R+Co scrub I follow with this cooling conditioner. Coating my scalp and working it through the ends seemed counterintuitive. Usually, I avoid the scalp entirely. However, following a thorough rinse, my scalp no longer feels dry and itchy and my rogue flyaways are sleek and hydrated.
Step 3: Replenish and Balance With a Serum
I’m a serum adherent in my beauty regimen – but I have always considered hair serums as something for stressed ends rather than rogue roots. Goldwell’s Kerasilk Range has just introduced its first skincare inspired “anti-aging” scalp-care range “Revitalize.” The symptoms the range aims to address? Dehydration, excess oil, and weak thinning hair. It is almost like my hair stylist sent them my report card.
The Kerasilk Revitalize range addresses these issues by soothing the scalp. I opted for the detoxify range based on my oily scalp issues. One of the key ingredients that make this formulation so clever is Ectoin. A naturally sourced compound Ectoin cocoons scalp cells shielding them from oxidative stress and helping it to retain moisture. Rather than adding a humectant layer to the scalp (my limp hair senses are tingling), it supports the scalps ability to boost it’s own moisture levels. Additionally, the detoxifying range combines red algae and zinc to remove dandruff and soothe.