Our poor old scalps tend to get overlooked when it comes to skincare. Probably because your scalp is less visible under all those strands. It only really gets noticed when there’s a problem – like itchiness or flakiness. But your scalp needs just as much care as your hair. Your skincare and hair care routines are on point, and so should your scalp care be.
Not least because your scalp health is essential to healthy hair growth.
Winter brings with it central heating, warmer showers and frosty weather, all of which can strip away natural oils and moisture from your skin and hair. The perfect conditions for creating a dry, flaky scalp. Your natural oils are what keeps it protected, so a little oil on your scalp is important.
A dry scalp will produce less sebum. Sebum is produced in the hair follicle and is dispersed all over the surface of the scalp and hair, which creates a seal to prevent moisture loss. Hair that lacks moisture becomes brittle and breaks off easily.
So, contrary to what you may have been told by the shampoo manufacturers of old, a bit of oil on the scalp is good for growing a healthy mane of hair.
Winter hair care tips for a healthier scalp and hair:
1. Use a pre-shampoo treatment to replenish lost oil
Top up your sebum level by applying some oil to your scalp before you shampoo. Make a particular day of the week your ‘treatment day’ to get into the ritual of oiling your scalp on a regular basis.
We recommend putting some oil onto your scalp, massaging it in and then brushing it through to the ends of your hair. Allow it to soak in for as long as you can. You can even apply it before going to bed if you're a morning shampoo-er. Just wrap your hair in an old t-shirt or hair towel and then shampoo it out in the morning.
Our Pre-shampoo Treatment Oil is a blend of argan, olive, fractionated coconut and pomegranate seed oils along with bay, clary sage, lavender and ylang ylang essential oils. All of these natural plant oils are known for their calming and nourishing properties for the scalp, the follicles and for hair.
Hairy Jayne Scalp Saviour Bundle – Pre-shampoo Treatment Oil + Shampoo Bar
2. Steer clear of harsh shampoos to maintain your scalps natural sebum levels
Use a gentle shampoo in the winter to make sure you’re not stripping away all of your protective oils. Sulphate free shampoos are best for this as they are milder and less astringent. Avoid clarifying shampoos if you tend to have a dry scalp as they are meant for a deeper cleanse.
If your scalp is flaky and very dry (not at all oily) but your hair lengths need freshening up, you could try co-washing. This means rinsing as normal and then using only conditioner through the mid-lengths and ends. Conditioner does have very mild surfactants in, so it ever-so-gently cleanses the hair (if it has oil in, as oil attracts oil) – freshening it up somewhat and making it smell lovely again.
Our refillable Light Conditioner is great for co-washing as it's oil content is low and it rinses out very easily.
3. Massage your scalp when you shampoo to enhance circulation
When washing your hair, the best practice is to concentrate on cleansing and massaging the scalp. Massaging it with your fingertips (in small circles all over your head) will not only loosen any excess oil and dirt, it also stimulates blood flow to your follicles, which means stronger hair growth.
The hair itself doesn’t need to be ‘washed’. Any shampoo you use only needs to be applied directly to your scalp and lathered up. When you rinse, the shampoo picks up any dirt and unwanted smells as it runs down the hair strands.
4. Use a leave in mask to rehydrate your hair strands
Whether you’re snuggled up inside by the fire or outside in a blizzard, your hair can’t win. In both scenarios, air loses its normal levels of moisture and becomes very dry. This is drying on your hair, whatever your hair type.
Using a weekly hair mask, like you would a weekly face mask, will help to keep your hair moisturised and feeling soft and shiny. Comb it though thoroughly with a Detangling Comb, and leave it on your hair for at least 20 mins (again, you can sleep with it in) for it to be most effective.
5. Never go outside with wet hair in winter – especially if it's tied up
Wet hair is more vulnerable and more prone to breaking. Water droplets left in hair can expand and swell the shaft which makes the cuticles rough and jagged. A damaged cuticle leads to more tangles and a higher likelihood of breakages and split ends.
As a hairdresser, I have even heard of hair freezing in extreme cold and completely snapping off.
Excessive blow-drying can be damaging also, so be sure to use a heat protector before doing so. The most damage is done by a hairdryer to the hair when it’s almost dry, so if you have time, blow-dry your hair until it’s about 80% dry and then allow it to air dry before you leave the house. Better still, avoid blow-drying altogether and use a Quick Dry Hair Towel to help it along.
6. Don’t wear a hat for the whole of the winter to give your scalp a break
Woolly hats will keep you warm in winter, but take a break from time to time when the weather is a little milder. A very warm head will make your natural oils more fluid, meaning greasy looking hair, which might make you shampoo more regularly than is necessary. Getting you into the oil stripping-and-replacing cycle that you want to avoid.
Hat hair is also more likely in winter due to the lack of moisture in the air. Dry air plus the friction between the hat and hair wreaks havoc on static levels. So make sure you keep it moisturised!
Following these tips for a healthy scalp will mean your hair has the best foundation to grow from! They will help to regulate your natural sebum production over time, too. Remember to treat your scalp as you would the rest of your skin and your growing hair will be primed for good health.