In the winter, you might start to see some flakes on your shoulders. From snowfall? Maybe, but those aren’t the flakes we’re talking about.
We’re talking about the flakes that come from a dry scalp. Many people experience dry and sensitive skin in the winter months, as the cold air makes it harder to retain moisture. With less of a barrier between your scalp and the elements, it’s often desperate for some hydration.
That’s where we come in. This is your guide to moisturizing your scalp to keep your hair and your head happy and healthy.
Our scalps are first and foremost, skin. So why do we so often forget that when going through our skin care routine? We can spend minutes and minutes on body butters and face masks and totally forget about the top of our heads.
We say, enough is enough.
It’s time to make moisturizing and caring for your scalp a priority. If you don’t care much for your scalp health but do care a great deal about how your hair looks, you’ve got things backward. Beautiful, strong hair starts at the roots.
Think about your scalp like soil. The hair follicles that produce your precious strands are the seeds and the roots. A healthy root can produce beautiful locks. Meanwhile, a dry, irritated, or damaged root, will create a fragile, weaker plant.
Your scalp craves hydration. In fact, the scalp is uniquely vulnerable to damage from external elements. Sun damage, an unhealthy diet, and lifestyle choices like smoking can all impact the health of our scalps.
Studies show that the skin on our scalp ages faster than the skin on our faces, losing its efficacy for retaining moisture over time. As we age, we have to do more to restore balance and health to our scalps. That is if we want to stimulate hair growth and strength. Spoiler alert: We do.
The good news is that the solution to getting a hydrated, moisturized scalp is not all that complicated. Everyone’s skin is different, but for most people, small changes to their hair care routine are more than enough to help soothe and hydrate their scalp.
Most of us know what a dry, irritated scalp feels like, but we may be less familiar with the actual cause. It’s essential to start by figuring out what’s actually happening on top of your head because the answer will dictate what you need to change or do.
First, let’s make a distinction between a dry scalp and dandruff, because people often get them confused.
A dry scalp and a case of dandruff both result in itching and flaking. That said, the quality and texture of these flakes tend to distinguish themselves. Dry scalp flakes will be smaller, whitish flakes. Dandruff flakes tend to be more oily and yellow.
Why the difference? Well, these are actually vastly different conditions.
A dry scalp is due to a lack of hydration in the skin on top of our heads. This could be due to a number of factors, from how often we’re blow-drying our hair, to the products we’re using, to the time of year. A dry scalp typically means an itchy one. There are a variety of solutions for dryness, but the chief among them is moisturizing and hydration.
Dandruff is not related to dryness but is tied to an imbalance of the scalp’s microbiome.
Dermatologists have found that people experiencing dandruff are also experiencing a fungal overgrowth of a yeast called Malassezia. Don’t get grossed out, some fungus on our skin is normal and expected. There are lots of fungi all over your skin right this second.
Dandruff happens when, for one reason or another, Malassezia takes over, and our hair follicles produce extra sebum (natural oil) to try to keep up with the building demand. This sebum collects and builds up, and before long, you’re seeing oily flakes.
The only solution to dandruff is to use an antifungal shampoo that helps curb the growth of fungi like Malassezia and restores balance to your scalp’s microbiome.
Jupiter’s Balancing Shampoo is formulated with the active ingredient Zinc Pyrithione, which has been proven to treat the underlying cause of dandruff.
While moisturizers may help soothe some of the symptoms of dandruff-like irritation and itchiness on your scalp, they won’t treat a case of dandruff.
With the right information about your scalp and its specific needs, you can give it exactly what it needs.
A dry scalp is due to a lack of hydration in the skin on top of our heads.
The next tip for moisturizing your scalp is to take a closer look at the products you’re using as a part of your baseline hair care routine. Resist the urge to add another product to the mix to address dehydration. The cause of your dryness is likely sitting right there on your shower shelf.
Take a look at the back of your products and see if the ingredients label includes any mention of sulfates. Nine times out of ten, drug store shampoos do.
Did you find any? That’s what we thought.
Sulfates are so prevalent in hair care products, especially in cleansing agents. It’s hard to believe when you consider how damaging they can be for our scalps. You see, sulfates are actually too good at their job when it comes to cleaning away dirt and oils.
While they get rid of the stuff we don’t want, they also remove all the stuff we need, like the natural oils that keep our scalp hydrated and happy. After a wash, it takes days for our scalps to restore balance, and by that time, we’re probably reaching for the shampoo bottle again.
Do yourself a favor and toss your products that include sulfates. While you’re at it, take a closer look at your hairstyling routines. How often are you blow-drying your hair or using a straightener? How often are you curling your hair? Even with a heat protectant, you should consider cutting back or using more protective styling techniques if the answer is often.
Heatless curls are possible, people!
Damage from harsh chemicals and heat tools are some of the top reasons people experience a dry scalp. If you want to reap the rewards of a hydrated scalp, you have to start treating it better.
Essential oils have been all the rage in the beauty and hair community over the last few years, and it’s not hard to see why. Mother Nature provides us so much when treating our bodies’ many flare-ups.
Essential oils and carrier oils have unique properties that can help moisturize and tend to the scalp. Tea tree oil can help soothe inflammation and has antifungal and antibacterial properties, making it a favorite ingredient for dermatologists.
Coconut oil also has antifungal and antibacterial properties. A more mild carrier oil, it’s also excellent at soothing irritation on the skin and restoring the barrier of the skin’s surface to better retain moisture. Jojoba oil has a similar effect that quickly soothes dry scalp.
These oils are derived from plants and can do wonders to hydrate your scalp and leave your hair smelling incredible.
That said, a word to the wise. It can be tempting to hear of all the positive effects of essential oils and go the DIY route, applying them directly to your skin. You’re better off searching for products that include these oils as part of a professional formulation, which have gone through testing and processing.
Even when you’ve selected a product that includes these oils, rather than just applying them directly to your head, make sure you do a test patch first, so you can see how your skin reacts to it.
Did you know that buildup is actually preventing your scalp from being properly moisturized? Yes, the build-up can be as damaging as a dry scalp, believe it or not.
When we have leftover hair care products, excess sebum, or dirt collecting on our scalps, we’re creating a barrier between our conditioning products and our scalps.
The skin there can’t reap the benefits of moisturizing agents if there’s too much gunk in the way. That’s why regularly exfoliating your scalp is so important. It helps your shampoo and conditioner go so much farther.
One of the best ways to exfoliate your scalp is to use a scalp brush. These simple tools go a long way to clear away our scalps’ build-up and grime.
Use the scalp brush on dry hair about once a week, before a shower where you plan on washing your hair. In small, circular motions, gently brush the roots of your hair, massaging your scalp and breaking up any debris and buildup.
While you clear away build up, you’ll also be stimulating blood vessels under your scalp, helping to increase circulation to the area. Once you’ve exfoliated and cleansed, you can use a leave-in conditioner or hydrating mask that actually moisturizes your scalp.
If there’s one thing we hope you take away from this article, it’s this: Make a hair mask a part of your routine. If you do a weekly face mask, just tack a hair mask on as well. Your scalp needs all that hydration too.
Is this your first time hearing of the wonders of a hair or scalp mask? Don’t worry, we’ll walk you through it.
A hair mask is generally a thick, pasty product that you apply to the roots of your hair when it’s dry. The trick here is to work the product into your entire head, which can be tough for people with thick or curly hair.
Trust us, your scalp will thank you. Work the product into the roots and crown of your head as much as possible. Wait as directed before hopping into the shower and rinsing out.
There’s nothing like the feeling of your hair straight out of a mask. It’s silky, smooth, and hydrated, and your scalp is soothed, refreshed, and itchless. It is heaven and it’s our favorite part of the week.
Are you ready to make a change to your scalp routine? Regularly moisturizing your scalp can feel like a chore at first but once you see how it can positively impact your hair’s look and feel, you’ll be switching up your routine to incorporate exfoliation, a rich conditioner, and a purifying mask.
At Jupiter, we believe the most important thing is to listen to your scalp. When you’re experiencing dryness, itching, and irritation, it’s your scalp calling out, asking for hydration. Answer the call and make moisturizing a priority.
Built for those looking to address constant or moderate to severe flaking, redness, or irritation and want their mane left looking refreshed and silky smooth.