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Healthy red hair starts at the roots and is the #1 reason why it’s so important to have a healthy scalp. Scalp health is something that isn’t talked about enough, but it can have a huge impact on the overall health of your red hair. A healthy scalp will lead to longer, stronger, healthier hair which is something we all want, right?
Let’s talk about how to determine if your scalp is healthy and some tips for keeping your scalp in tip-top condition:
Determine the health of your scalp before you start treating it:
The first thing to figure out is what shape your scalp is in now. Healthy scalps are free of flakes, redness, irritation, acne and cause no pain. It’s normal to have a sensitive scalp, but you shouldn’t have any excessive pain. If you’re struggling from one of these issues, or are experiencing excess oils or hair loss it’s time to change the way you care for your scalp. If you’re unsure what your scalp issues may be, but feel it might not be the healthiest, you can have a hair consultation done where they will look at your scalp under a microscopic camera.
If your scalp is in need of some TLC, these tips should help you get back to a healthy place. If your scalp seems like it’s in good health, these 5 tips can be used as preventative measures to keep it that way.
1. Avoid irritants
Redheads have sensitive skin and sensitive scalps. You want to avoid using products with harsh irritants on your scalp, just like you would your face. Alcohol, fragrance, sulfates, parabens, and other allergens should be avoided.
To ensure you’re not using products with harsh irritants on your scalp, follow these guidelines:
- Begin by carefully reading product labels to identify ingredients like sulfates, parabens, fragrances, and alcohol, which can trigger irritation.
- Opt for shampoos and conditioners specifically designed for sensitive scalps, and prioritize fragrance-free or hypoallergenic options.
- Seek out products with natural ingredients such as aloe vera, chamomile, or tea tree oil.
- Before fully applying a new product, perform a patch test on a small scalp area to check for any adverse reactions. Avoid overwashing your hair and minimize the use of styling products.
- Thoroughly rinse your hair and scalp to eliminate all product residue, using lukewarm water to prevent stripping natural oils.
- Post-wash, gently detangle your hair with a wide-tooth comb. If persistent scalp issues arise, consult a dermatologist for personalized advice.
Keep in mind that finding the right products for your scalp may require some experimentation, as individual responses can vary.
2. Use a clarifying shampoo
One of the leading causes of an unhealthy scalp is build-up. If you go long periods between washes, use a lot of heavy products, or sweat a lot you probably have build-up on your scalp. Normal shampoo can help to remove this build-up, but it usually leaves some behind. Use a clarifying shampoo at least once a month to help remove any build-up on the scalp and get a fresh start.
A clarifying shampoo is a special type of shampoo designed to remove buildup, residue, and impurities from your hair. It’s used occasionally to deeply cleanse your hair and scalp, helping to remove product buildup, excess oil, minerals, and pollutants. Clarifying shampoos can leave your hair feeling refreshed and can also be useful before certain hair treatments or chemical processes to ensure better results. However, due to their deep-cleaning nature, they’re not meant for everyday use and should be used sparingly to prevent excessive dryness.
To use a clarifying shampoo effectively, start by wetting your hair with lukewarm water. Apply a small amount of shampoo to your scalp, gently massaging it in without vigorous scrubbing. Let the shampoo work its magic, and then gently distribute it down the length of your hair. Rinse thoroughly to ensure no residue remains. Consider using a lightweight conditioner on your hair’s length if needed, but avoid applying it to your scalp. After rinsing, gently towel dry your hair and proceed with your usual styling routine. Remember, clarifying shampoos should be used sparingly, about once every 1-2 weeks, to prevent excessive dryness and damage.
3. Stay sun safe
Keeping your scalp safe from the sun is a good way to maintain its health. Wear a hat, use a scalp SPF or stay in the shade. Overexposure to the sun can lead to irritation and risk of skin cancer.
To safeguard your scalp from the sun’s harmful effects, consider adopting these protective measures. Don a wide-brimmed hat for ample coverage and choose a specialized sunscreen for the scalp, applying it generously and reapplying as necessary. Seek out shaded areas when outdoors and explore protective hairstyles like braids, twists, or scarves to shield your scalp. Incorporate hair products with UV protection and avoid the sun’s peak hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Staying hydrated supports scalp health and self-examine regularly for any unusual changes. With these practices, you can effectively shield your scalp from sun damage and maintain its well-being.
4. Stimulate and exfoliate the scalp
For healthy blood flow, it’s important to stimulate and exfoliate the scalp.
An easy was is to use a silicone scalp scrubber and try a scalp scrub. This will loosen any particles, increase blood flow and reduce flakes. You can also stimulate the scalp while reducing excess oils by brushing with a boar bristle brush.
You can also begin by selecting a suitable exfoliating scrub or shampoo designed for this purpose. Wet your hair thoroughly, and then apply the exfoliating product directly to your scalp, ensuring even coverage by parting your hair into sections. Gently massage the product into your scalp using circular motions, using your fingertips without applying excessive pressure. After massaging, rinse your hair and scalp thoroughly to remove the exfoliant. If desired, you can follow up with your regular shampoo and conditioner. It’s recommended to exfoliate your scalp once every 1-2 weeks to avoid overdoing it. After exfoliation, consider applying a lightweight moisturizer or conditioner to your hair’s lengths for added hydration. Remember to be gentle and attentive to your scalp’s reaction, especially if you have any existing scalp concerns, and consult a dermatologist if needed.
5. Avoid a dry scalp
A big issue many of us deal with is dryness of the scalp, this is especially prevalent during cold or dry months of the year. Dryness leads to itchiness and flaking. Avoid this by oiling the scalp before washing, reducing the use of heat close to the scalp, and avoiding products with drying agents like hairspray.
To prevent a dry scalp, adopt a few key practices:
- Choose a gentle, moisturizing shampoo and use lukewarm water for hair washing to avoid stripping natural oils.
- Limit washing to every 2-3 days and stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Combat dry air by employing a humidifier, especially in dry climates.
- Reduce heat styling, shield your scalp from the sun, and opt for hair care products tailored for moisture and hydration. Regular scalp massages and occasional oil treatments can improve circulation and moisturization.
- Prioritize a balanced diet and consider supplements for overall scalp health.
By integrating these strategies, you can effectively steer clear of a dry scalp and promote a healthier head of hair. If concerns persist, consulting a dermatologist can provide personalized solutions.
Want to learn more about scalp health? Listen to H2BAR Podcast S5 EP10: Scalp Health 101 for Redheads or listen directly below:
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