Everything You Need to Know About Detoxing Your Scalp
This process will rid your scalp and hair of sweat, oil, and dirt.
Renewing your strands involves more than selecting the correct shampoo and conditioner. Better hair actually starts with the scalp, which you should occasionally detox to achieve the ultimate refresh. "A scalp detox is essentially a deep cleansing of the scalp and hair to help remove build-up from product, processing, dermatitis, dirt, hard water, sweat, and oil," says Dr. Naissan Wesley, MD. What's more, according to Nick Stenson, an ambassador and celebrity stylist for L'ORÉAL and Matrix and the senior vice president for store and service operations at Ulta Beauty, this process will not only help relieve your scalp and follicles of debris, but it will also help rebalance your skin's pH along the way. Here, our experts explain how to detox your scalp properly.
Detox when you notice visible build-up.
The main way to tell if you need a scalp detox is by looking at and feeling the crown of your head. "You'll want to do this when you visibly notice or feel build-up on the scalp," Stenson says. And if the area is also very oily, itchy, dirty, or covered in product? Dr. Wesley explains that these are also telling signs that your scalp is in need of a refresh. "It should not be overdone, however. You do not want to strip the skin and hair too much of its natural oils, which are protective," she says.
Time it right.
How often you detox your scalp truly depends on your hair health and type. "It could be anywhere from two to six weeks," Stenson says. "For those with naturally oily hair, a high intensity exercise routine, or heavy product users, you'll notice that you tend to feel the need for a detox sooner." Since this process eliminates excess oils from your scalp and hair, take caution if your strands are dry or damaged, he notes; your detoxes should be six weeks apart at a minimum. The frequency of your detoxes will also depend on the product you are using. "Some products are gentle enough to use with each wash, whereas others are meant to be applied as needed when experiencing the above symptoms; instructions should be followed as per the product label," Dr. Wesley says. But if you have naturally sensitive or broken skin, avoid scalp detoxes altogether.
Use the best ingredients.
If your scalp is in need of some care, stock up on products with apple cider vinegar, which can rid this area of excess dirt and oil. Dr. Wesley suggests the Arbonne True Smooth Apple Vinegar Hair Rinse ($20, arbonne.com), as it is packed with exfoliating enzymes and chelating agents, such as tetrasodium EDTA, to remove buildup. From there, cleanse normally. Stenson explains that an effective detox should include a refreshing, cleansing shampoo, preferably one with mint or menthol for the ultimate refresh. Consider one of his favorites, the Biolage Scalpsync Cooling Mint Shampoo ($32, ulta.com).
If you're looking for a set? Try the Arbonne True Hair Daily Shampoo ($26, arbonne.com) and its conditioning counterpart ($26, arbonne.com). "[The] plant surfactants help to gently cleanse hair without stripping it of essential moisture, or from leaving behind residue that contributes to buildup, are helpful for maintenance," Dr. Wesley shares. Those with natural curls can turn to products specific to their hair type, like the Curl Rehab Scalp Care Tea Tree & Green Tea Dual Treatment ($5.43, walmart.com), which soothes dry, flaky scalps while renewing every strand.