There is literally nothing worse than walking around every day with white flakes snowing down from your head onto your desk, your black cashmere sweater, the face of the cute guy who makes your coffee in the morning… Ok, maybe I’m being a touch dramatic. There are worse things in the world, sure, but there is something particularly irksome about a sore, red, itchy scalp that seems to sprout an army of zombie-skinned clones every time you touch it.
Once upon a time, our only options were Head & Shoulders. It was absolutely ground-breaking, do you remember? But when a colourist told me that you could also use it to strip unwanted colour pigment from your hair, I thought about looking into products that weren’t going to wash the balayage, I insist on paying so much for, straight down the drain. So I did a little research. I looked into the causes behind dandruff and irritated scalps and this is what I found.
If you’re suffering from a flaky scalp, you’re not alone. It’s an incredibly common skin condition and can be caused by a number of unfortunate circumstances – both genetic and environmental. Generally to do with the balance of your skin, untreated it can lead to an unwelcome excess of yeast, bacteria and other fungi. These, in short, are the culprits behind that itch and flake.
Remember: dandruff and a flaky scalp are not always the same thing, so if you’ve tried everything to no avail, seek out a doctor or naturopath to properly diagnose you. The great news though is that it’s easy to get rid of. Think about providing your scalp with nourishing ingredients that fight bacteria, restore pH and physically buff away that dead skin, so that everything can breathe and heal itself.
Here’s the go-to, fungi-fighting hair heroes we turn to during flaky times.
See you later hair snow!
Christophe Robin Sea Salt Scrub
You combat dry, flaky skin with a powerful exfoliator, right? Well, the same goes for a flaky scalp. It’s no secret that we are big fangirls of Christophe Robin here at THE FILE (both his self-titled haircare line and the man behind it). When Christophe was a kid growing up in the South of France, he’d watch his mother’s friends mix DIY sea scrubs to combat oily roots and flaky scalps. Years later, he formulated this godsend of a product to detoxify, balance and soothe skin overloaded with toxins, synthetic color, and bleach. Hot tip from the man himself: tip your head upside down while you scrub to boost circulation.
Briogeo Scalp Revival Micro Exfoliating Shampoo
As above, the same principle applies. But if you’re particularly plagued by a scalp that’s both oily and dry (lucky you), you want this. You really want this. Briogeo swaps out irritating toxins for a soothing, oil-sucking blend of Binchotan charcoal and coconut oil, plus a nourishing concoction of vitamins and panthenol to repair hair from root to tip. If I’m wanting to go for a bouncy, full-bodied look without weighing my mane down, I’ll use this, skip the conditioner and apply a touch of serum at the ends to seal in shine. It’s a real power combo.
Aesop Sage & Cedar Scalp Treatment
Yes, like everything else from Aesop this pre-shampoo oil smells like you’ve just rolled around on a very expensive forest floor. Breathe it in and weep sweet tears of natural, bougie joy for Rosemary, Cedarwood and Sage, which have long been used to soothe and purify a scalp on the verge of a nervous break down. Try massaging this super serum into your scalp and mid-lengths once a week. Leave it in over night. Wake up in the morning and wash it out with one of the above scrubs.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Who doesn’t love the idea of grabbing something out of the pantry to concoct a very cheap and very effective clarifying treatment? One that also fights bacteria and balances your skin’s pH. You may not love the idea of smelling like a freshly tossed salad, but hey, I’m cool with it if you are. All you need to do is mix 3 parts Apple Cider Vinegar to 1 part purified water. Pour the solution over damp hair, leave it in for a few minutes, and rinse before following with a conditioner. While you’re at it, take a swig out of the bottle – ACV is a natural probiotic and liver cleanser, which, incidentally, addresses such related scalp issues as inflammation and excessively oily skin.
Goody Clean Radiance Paddle Brush
If you’ve got more snowflakes forming on your head than the streets of New York at Christmas time, you’re going to want a really good street sweeper (for your hair, that is). Coated in fungus-fighting copper, Goody’s ball-tipped bristles not only encourages blood flow, it also physically sweeps away unwanted flakes along with bacteria living on the surface of the skin. It’s the hairbrush equivalent to an orgasmatron, an itchy, flaky head massager par excellence. There’s also this added bonus: it smoothes down unruly lengths like nothing else.