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Style: We Spoke To Trichologists And Here’s Their Scalp Advice For Your Healthiest Hair Ever

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What does your everyday haircare routine look like? For most, it used to be a quick shampoo and rinse before applying a dollop of conditioner through mid-lengths to ends. Yet now, according to sales figures, lots of us are adding in serums, toners, oils, masks and even scrubs to our hair-washing regime.

best scalp products and treatments © Credits: Jason Llyod-Evans best scalp products and treatments

Why? In the past couple of years, haircare experts have been focusing on the scalp. Now, a new generation of sophisticated products specifically formulated to treat the skin on our heads have hit the market. Cult Beauty has noticed significant growth in the haircare category, with sales of scalp treatments up a whopping 421% year on year. ‘Consumers understand that the skin on their forehead doesn’t stop at the hairline,’ says Alexia Inge, co-founder of Cult Beauty, ‘we are all skintellectuals now, but we’re looking to become expert tricologistas!’

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The thing is – hair is dead. You can make it appear healthy, but you can’t actually make it healthy, except for down at the root’

Jumping on the ‘skinification’ of haircare, skincare brands like The Inkey List, Drunk Elephant and Dr Barbara Sturm have all recently expanded their remit to formulate scalp-savvy staples. ‘My haircare line is really all about the scalp, and that’s a direct extension of the same skin-first philosophy that has resonated so well with my customer,’ says Tiffany Masterson, founder of Drunk Elephant. ‘The focus of the haircare industry seemed to be all about making hair smoother, shinier and nicely scented. But the thing is – hair is dead. You can make it appear healthy, but you can’t actually make it healthy, except for down at the root.’

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  We Spoke To Trichologists And Here’s Their Scalp Advice For Your Healthiest Hair Ever © Jason Llyod-Evans

Why Is It Important To Treat Your Scalp?

'Your scalp is the bedrock of your hair follicles,’ adds Anabel Kingsley, consultant trichologist and brand president at Philip Kingsley. ‘If you think of each hair as a flower, and your scalp as the soil supporting it, it makes complete sense to nourish and care for your scalp.’ And this applies to every scalp – whether it’s dry, irritated, or generally happy. The scalp is just an extension of our skin. ‘It sweats, secretes sebum and sheds dead skin cells,’ says Anabel. ‘It also faces daily attacks from our environment and lifestyle so can easily become unbalanced.’

SHOP: The Best Scalp Hair Care Products Here

Vita Coco Scalp Scrub, £12.99

Best scalp hair products © Provided by Grazia Best scalp hair products

Best exfoliator for irritated scalps...

Tiny particles of coconut and walnut shell naturally buff away dead skin and stimulate blood flow without being too abrasive, and the high concentration of coconut and guava act as an anti-inflammatory to go gently on stressed out skin.

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The Inkey List Salicylic Acid Exfoliating Scalp Treatment, £11.99

Best scalp hair products © Provided by Grazia Best scalp hair products

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Kérastase Soothing Scrub, £43

Best scalp hair products © Provided by Grazia Best scalp hair products

Best exfoliator for dry scalps...

Kérastase's Soothing Scrub boasts a lightweight gel texture that should be massaged into a damp scalp to remove product build-up while hydrating the skin with jojoba and sweet orange peel.

Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Happi Scalp Scrub, £30

Best scalp hair products © Provided by Grazia Best scalp hair products

Best exfoliator for flaking/itchy scalps...

Supercharged with AHA and BHAs, this exfoliator dissolves dead skin cells, while marula and passionfruit oils soothe.

L’Oréal Professionel Pure Resource Shampoo, £13.40

Best scalp hair products © Provided by Grazia Best scalp hair products

Best shampoo for oily scalps...

This shampoo lifts away residue and stubborn styling products with purifying citramine and nourishing vitamin E.

Gallinée Soothing Cleansing Cream, £23

Gallinée Soothing Cleansing Cream, £23 © Provided by Grazia Gallinée Soothing Cleansing Cream, £23

Best shampoo for combination scalps...

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This cream meets shampoo is a rich anti-dandruff cleanser that supports the scalp microbiome for happier skin with less shedding.

Christophe Robin Hydrating Shampoo with Aloe Vera, £25

Best scalp hair products © Provided by Grazia Best scalp hair products

Best shampoo for dry scalps...

Christophe Robin's Hydrating Shampoo gently cleanses the scalp to remove daily dirt without stripping the follicles of essential oils.

Oribe Serene Scalp Balancing Shampoo, £45.50

Best scalp hair products © Provided by Grazia Best scalp hair products

Best shampoo for flaking/itchy scalps...

Oribe's chic shampoo is formulated with salicylic acid to prevent dandruff and soothe itchiness while orange and lemon extract maintain moisture.

Dr. Hauschka Hair Tonic, £18

Best scalp hair products © Provided by Grazia Best scalp hair products

Best toner for oily scalps...

Dr Hauschka's Tonic balances an excessively oily scalp with arnica and birch bark extract.

Living Proof Restore Dry Scalp Treatment, £25

Best scalp hair products © Provided by Grazia Best scalp hair products

Best toner for dry scalps...

This scalp treatment delivers an intense shot of hydration with hyaluronic acid and vitamin B3. Simply run the nozzle through damp hair and massage in before drying.

Philip Kingsley Scalp Toner For Flaky & Itchy Scalps, £22

Best scalp hair products © Provided by Grazia Best scalp hair products

Best toner for flaking/itchy scalp...

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Philip Kingsley Scalp Toner For Flaky & Itchy Scalps targets dandruff with an antimicrobial formula to reduce yeast and prevent itching.

Dr Barbara Sturm Scalp Serum, £80

Best scalp hair products © Provided by Grazia Best scalp hair products

Best treatment for dry scalps...

A pre-bed scalp treatment that moisturises skin with hyaluronic acid while very gently resurfacing with papaya extracts.

Omorovicza Revitalising Scalp Mask, £57

Best scalp hair products © Provided by Grazia Best scalp hair products

Best treatment for flaking/itchy scalps...

Omorovicza Revitalising Scalp Mask works wonders on an irritated scalp.

Sunday Riley Clean Rinse Clarifying Scalp Serum, £42

Best scalp hair products © Provided by Grazia Best scalp hair products

Best treatment for oily or dry scalps...

A concentrated dose of glycolic and salicylic acid to gently exfoliate the surface of your scalp and dissolve excess sebum. Simply squeeze on and rinse off this vitamin enriched formula for a soothed, and smoother, finish.

The Body Shop Ginger Scalp Serum, £15

Best scalp hair products © Provided by Grazia Best scalp hair products

Best treatment for oily scalps...

The Body Shop Ginger Scalp Serum regulates excess oil production with ginger essential oil, white willow and birch bark.

Here’s how to up your scalp-care ante...

Step 1: Exfoliate

Regular and gentle exfoliation is beneficial from top to toe. ‘For the scalp – flaking, redness and excess oil can be alleviated with regular exfoliation,’ says Tiffany. ‘It removes the top layer of dry, dead skin as well as product build-up for a smooth, fresh surface and barrier to the elements,’ says Ricardo Vila Nova, hair expert and trichologist. ‘It’s also a good way to empower the absorption of treatments and tonics that follow.’ Use a scrub once or twice weekly, before shampoo.

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Step 2: Cleanse And Condition

Anabel recommends daily shampooing if you have a scalp condition, such as dandruff or seborrheic eczema. ‘It’s also important if you have fine hair, as this hair texture has more sebaceous glands and quickly becomes oily at the roots.’ For those of us with coarse, long or thick hair – you can leave it a little longer but no more than three days between shampoos. ‘Doing so is likely to cause itching and flaking – and a flaky scalp can cause hair loss.’ Post-shampoo, apply your go-to conditioner before rinsing out.

Step 3: Toner

A toner (otherwise known as a leave-in treatment) might sound like a scalp care step too far, but according to the pros it’s an essential product to clean and clear the skin in between washes. ‘It’s a really good step in your routine to get an active product onto your scalp that you can leave on,’ says tricologist Lisa Caddy. ‘A toner will close the pores, reduce oil production and won’t leave your hair feeling sticky or tacky as they’re mainly water-based.’ What’s more, depending on the active ingredients in your chosen toner, you can soothe, exfoliate or stimulate the scalp.

Step 4: Treatment

‘Treatments are a huge support for the hair – making it stronger and healthier,’ says Ricardo. Anabel recommends extending that self-care Sunday skincare ritual to your hair and applying a weekly intensive scalp mask as well as a conditioning hair mask.

Step 5: SPF

And finally, the skincare step we would never forgo – sunscreen. ‘Your scalp can burn, peel and become really sore and sensitive from prolonged sun exposure,’ states Lisa, ‘particularly around the hair line and parting.’ Apply a sun-protective spray, like Clarins Sun Care Oil Mist SPF30, £22, that doubles up for hair and body, liberally, to lightly coat each strand. ‘On holiday, by the beach or pool, you get the best protection from using a water-resistant moisturising cream that contains UV filters,’ says Anabel. Try Philip Kingsley Swimcap Water Resistant Mask, £19, to protect from sun, sea, water and chlorine.

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