It’s winter. Which means the air is dry, both outside in the freezing cold, and inside where our heaters are working overtime. Unfortunately, this can do a number on our scalps, drying them out and giving us those dreaded, embarrassing flakes. This winter, for some reason, my scalp was extra dry. I would find flakes along my scalp which were definitely noticeable next to my brown hair. I spent the last few weeks looking for solutions and reading up on what causes it. I’ve come up with a routine that’s helped me a lot, so I thought I would share for anyone experiencing a similar problem.
The first step is identifying if you have a dry scalp or dandruff, which are completely different. Dandruff is characterized by big, yellowish flakes, and is usually (but not always) caused by too much oil in the hair. Dry scalp, on the other hand, is smaller white flakes, characterized by not enough moisture or oil on the scalp.
(Also, small disclaimer: this is just what worked for me. If you have a persistent problem, see a doctor for advise. I’m not a doctor nor am I a professional hair stylist.)
So the product that I’ve been using is the OGX TeaTree Mint Shampoo ($7.99 at Ulta). This is not specifically designed for dry scalp, however it has tea tree mint in it which is soothing for the scalp. It also is sulfate free, meaning it won’t strip your hair of the oils that it needs. I wash just my scalp with this using warm water. Anything too hot or too cold will dry your scalp out even more. Focus this on just the scalp, massaging this in like they do at the salons, don’t apply this to the lengths of your hair or you could dry out your ends (this goes for all shampoos, not just this one). After rinsing, avoid putting conditioner on your scalp or it will become oily faster.
Washing your hair less also helps. It allows your body to naturally add the oils that it needs. I aim to wash my hair about every 4 days or so. Between washes, make sure to brush your hair, including the scalp. This will help to brush out any small flakes you may have so there isn’t a buildup all at once.
I’ve definitely noticed a difference in my hair. Although I still get some flakes, they’re usually gone by the time my hair dries after showering, or they’re so small they aren’t noticeable. This shampoo also smells delicious, sort of like mint chocolate (yum).
The first product that I tried was the Head & Shoulders Dry Scalp Shampoo. I found that although this did help a lot, it also made my scalp really sensitive, to the point where even the loosest ponytails felt like it was pulling my hair and hurt a lot. I did a lot of reading up on this, and found out that they do use a lot of harsh chemicals in this shampoo. A lot of people even said that they experienced hair loss using Head & Shoulders. I decided to immediately stop so not to risk it. I know a lot of people have found that Head & Shoulders works for them, but this was just my experience.