You must've heard, a happy, healthy scalp = happy, healthy hair. And, it's true. Haircare experts suggest that healthy hair growth begins at the roots; hence, if you take care of your scalp, you'll automatically make way for a glossy, fuller mane. If you've exposed your tresses to years of heat styling, highlighting, and bleaching, the trick is to start from scratch. While your mind may move to focus on the lengths of your hair, shift the attention towards your scalp—that's where it all begins!
Now that we've established that the ticket to stronger, longer, healthier hair is scalp care, let's guide you on how to go about it.
A head massage to stimulate blood circulation
Each hair follicle has its own blood supply, hence, stimulating the blood circulation in the scalp can give way to healthy hair growth. "A light head massage with an onion oil will not only increase blood circulation, but the onion seed oil will further strengthen the hair follicles, thus preventing hair loss and promoting hair growth. Note that the head massage should be gentle since brisk, aggressive massaging or scratching can cause the hair strands to loosen," explains Smita Baishakhia, Cosmetologist and Head of Product Development, MyGlamm.
Balance the sebum in your scalp
An overly oily as well as a super dry scalp can disrupt the skin, often leading to dandruff. Dandruff, in turn, can cause excessive itchiness, forehead and back acne. While most people believe that an oily scalp can be corrected with frequent washing of the hair, it is actually one of the primary contributors to an oily scalp, along with irregular oiling and poor scalp hygiene. Smita suggests, "Wash your hair every 2-3 days depending on the humidity and how much you sweat. Pick a shampoo that is mild and suits your scalp type. Get into the habit of regularly oil your hair as well. This will help heal your scalp and regulate the imbalanced sebum levels."
Be gentle with your scalp and hair
Avoid aggressively detangling your hair—dry or wet—as it will loosen the hair from the roots. Instead, use your fingers to sort out any knots and then comb your hair. An aggressive head massage will also promote hair fall and breakage. Part your hair into sections while oiling and dilute your shampoo with water before applying it to the hair. To dry your hair, gently pat a towel to absorb excess water. And if you often blow dry or heat style your hair, STOP. If necessary, use a heat protectant serum or spray before exposing your hair to external heat.
Use the right hair care products
According to Smita, the proof is in the products that you use. Avoid opting for hair products that contain sulfate, alcohol, or fragrances. Use those products that are specific to your scalp needs—coconut oil (carrier) with neem oil is ideal for dandruff, coconut oil (carrier) with lavender and chamomile oil is suited for an inflamed scalp, and onion seed oil is good for hair growth. "Add a serum and conditioner to your hair care routine to help detangle more easily and reduce the stress on your scalp. Prior to application, perform a patch test on your elbow to ensure that the product doesn't cause any reaction on the skin."
Besides this, it all boils down to maintaining a healthy lifestyle; eating right, and sleeping well. "Eat foods rich in antioxidants, omega fatty acids, and biotin. Antioxidants are the secret saviour of your hair that helps boost hair growth by maintaining the collagen in the body and the connective tissues of the hair follicles. They also protect the scalp cells in the blood vessels and prevent the destruction of melanin in the cortex of our hair strands, thus improving colour retention and making the strands stronger and healthier," informs Baishakhia.
Elucidating the benefits of a healthy scalp, Mehul Gangotra, Technical Educator, Enrich, says, "A healthy scalp means healthy hair growth, superior blood circulation, and increased density of the hair. You will be free from scalp concerns such as dandruff, greasiness, and dryness and hair thinning will reduce as well. To avoid your hair follicles from getting clogged—and to allow the scalp to breath better—exfoliate your scalp with a scalp scrub once a week, getting rid of impurity build-up.