Quick question — how healthy is your scalp? Not sure? You're not the only one.
We know you're a pro when it comes to caring for your curls by keeping them moisturized, defined and nourished from the inside out with good-for-you curly hair products. And you’re up-to-date on the latest skincare must-have ingredients (like jojoba oil, vitamin E and avocado oil — which, by the way, are all found in LUS’ Elixir Oil). But like many people, you may be neglecting the intersection of hair care and skincare that is scalp care.
But did you know that the health of your scalp directly impacts the health of your curls? If scalp care and scalp health haven’t exactly been at the top of your list of priorities, no worries! We’ve covered everything you need to know about how to care for your scalp below — including expert insights from our Director of R&D (aka the brains behind all of our product formulations that you know and love!).
Why do I need to care for my scalp, anyway?
We get it; it's easy to assume that the skin on your head is drastically different from the skin on your face.
After all, your scalp is thicker and denser (it’s made up of five different layers while the skin on your face is made up of three), has hundreds of thousands of hair follicles, and produces way more oil than the skin on your face. How similar can they be?
Actually, pretty similar. The scalp is an extension of your skin, so just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean you shouldn't care for it like you do your face — by cleansing, exfoliating and moisturizing. The most important element of scalp care? Getting rid of buildup.
Got it! Wait — what buildup?
When we say buildup, we mean excess hair product buildup that naturally, uh, builds up over time, as well as “loose skin flakes that accumulate on the scalp, any sort of debris, dirt, environmental particulates or pollution,” says LUS Director of R&D, Michael Ajayi. It’s not the prettiest visual, but whether you like it or not, dead skin flakes and tiny little particles of dirt and pollution from *gestures broadly at everything* existing in the world, do indeed just find their way to your scalp and sit there.
Ew. So how does buildup on my scalp affect my hair?
“Healthy hair starts at the scalp,” says Michael. “If your scalp is healthy, then your hair will be healthier.” What does a healthy scalp look like? One that’s clean and moisturized. “To ensure you have an adequate amount of moisture, and you don’t have an excess buildup of oil, which can cause scalp conditions like dandruff and flaking, you have to cleanse your scalp,” explains Michael. You know the wonderful buildup of skin, oil and debris on our face that causes acne? (Who doesn't?) On the scalp, it causes dandruff and overall a pretty difficult environment for your curls to grow. (Not sure which scalp issue you're dealing with? Learn the difference between dandruff and dry scalp.)
So what does a scalp care routine look like?
So glad you asked! Your best bet for keeping your scalp clean and free of buildup is by shampooing (obviously), but particularly with a physical exfoliator like the brand new LUS Scalp Scrubber, if you want to really get in there and do some deep cleaning. “The most important thing is that the scalp is clean,” explains Michael. That’s why LUS doesn’t do the whole “no ‘poo’ thing” (hello — we’re famous for our cult-fave 3-Step System, and the first of those steps is shampoo). “Especially within the curl community, where there are extended periods of time where you’re not washing your hair—which is totally fine—it’s important that when you cleanse your hair, you’re really cleansing it,” suggests Michael. And there's no better way to really cleanse your hair than with our new gentle, in-shower silicone Scalp Scrubber. It removes dirt, debris and excess buildup on your scalp for the deepest clean ever, so your curls can thrive.
Better yet, the new LUS Scalp Scrubber does its thing without adding an extra step to your routine. Just apply shampoo as you normally would, bring the scrubber’s gentle silicone bristles to your scalp and with medium pressure, massage all over your head in small circular motions to break up any product buildup, residue or excess oil. Rinse out the shampoo and continue with your usual hair routine. Not a wash day but you want to experience that luxe salon feeling at home? Use the silicone Scalp Scrubber on dry hair for a good ol’ relaxing scalp massage.
Oily scalp care tips
If you have very fine waves, you're more likely to notice your scalp getting oily (even if technically you're producing the same amount of sebum — aka oil — as someone with very thick or curly hair). That's because oil from the scalp needs to make its way down a strand of hair, which is harder to do on type 3 or 4 curls than it is loose waves (or type 2 curls). If your scalp is on the oily side, though, regularly washing to cleanse the scalp of any buildup should be your top priority. Breaking up and lifting any excess oil and buildup using our Scalp Scrubber and shampoo will help you get the squeaky clean feeling you're after.
How to care for dry scalp
If a dry and itchy scalp is your main concern, you can also use the Scalp Scrubber on freshly washed (or dry) hair to work in our Elixir Oil, which is chock-full of seven pure oils and vitamin E, to nourish your scalp and contribute to its overall health. This is especially great to do if you’ve just used the Scalp Scrubber in the shower to remove excess buildup before treating your scalp with oil. “If you want something to do what it’s supposed to do, it needs to get to where it needs to get to,” says Michael. (Fair enough.) “You don’t want to layer products on top without cleansing first and creating a blank canvas.”
Blank canvas? Because my curls are art?
Daily Scalp Care
Scalp care is skin care. And like your skin, you should give your scalp special attention and TLC. A good scalp care routine can prevent dryness, irritation, and flakes, which lead to healthy, nourished hair and a place for your curls to grow and thrive.
Our Healthy Scalp Serum has powerhouse ingredients like Hyaluronic Acid, Turmeric, and Basil Extract to instantly hydrate your scalp and help reduce the appearance of thinning for fuller, thicker, healthier-looking hair over time.
The best part (in our opinion) is that it's a super lightweight, oil-free formula, so you can use it daily (or nightly!) without worrying about build-up.
Have some Qs about scalp care? Sound off in the comments below or follow us on Instagram to stay up-to-date on all things curl health.