Hair-Care Tips

When Your Follicles Need an Up-Close Cleanse, Try an At-Home Scalp Facial

Mary Grace Garis

Back in the pre-pandemic times of 2019, producer and What the Wellness host Ella Dove got a full-blown, in-person scalp-detoxifying treatment at Blow Me Away salon in Los Angeles to, as you may guess, detoxify her scalp from buildup of products and other treatments. But given that many of us are in quarantine, abiding by social distancing guidelines, and/or not ready to visit an IRL salon due to health concerns, it seems that the hour-long detoxifying treatment isn’t possible to replicate right now. Or, so you thought…because the most recent episode of What the Wellness investigates how to do a DIY at-home scalp treatment that removes buildup from your follicles.

But first, why is it even worth it to clean your scalp? Think about follicles in the same way you think about pores. That is, follicles can get clogged with sebum, the oil pockets that are essentially the foundation for blackheads and other fun blemishes. That means we want to pay attention to cleansing our scalp follicles in a similar way to how we cleanse our pores.

“We’re very conditioned to understand that pores can be clogged—and that’s the same for the scalp. An unhealthy scalp can lead to hair loss or change the quality of your hair or hair growth.” —dermatologist Melissa Levin, MD

“You have a higher concentration of pores in the center part of your face, and we are so conditioned to think about cleaning our pores. We’re also very conditioned to understand that pores can be clogged—and that’s the same for the scalp,” says board-certified dermatologist Melissa Levin, MD. “Actually, an unhealthy scalp can lead to hair loss or change the quality of your hair or hair growth.”

It’s worth noting that everyone produces a different amount of sebum, which is why hair, like skin, can be extremely oily or extremely dry or somewhere in the middle, depending on the person. But across the board, it doesn’t feel like a bad idea to give those follicles a little TLC, right? But, again, how exactly do you do that?

Aside from grabbing a steaming-hot hand towel for a hair wrap, you’ll need a blow-dryer, a hair brush, and a chemical hair scrub that works like a skin exfoliator, such as Drunk Elephant TLC Happi Scrub ($36). Oh, and maybe most significantly, an actual scalp scrubber.

“Just like your face, you want to do your chemical scrub before your physical scrub, because the chemical scrub works to kind of loosen the dead skin cells, and loosen anything you want to pull off your scalp,” Dove says. “And then this works to actually physically remove that and work it out.”

So, does the at-home scalp treatment ultimately work for Dove? Watch the full video above to see for yourself, then try your own hand at it.

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