Whether you want super-defined curls or straight and shiny strands, there are plenty of "miracle" products and hacks out there that promise to deliver the hair of your dreams. But according to Michele Green, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City, none of these will get the job done better than following a consistent routine that puts hair wellness at its forefront.
Think of "hair wellness" as going above and beyond your typical hair care—instead of prioritizing quick and easy results, it focuses on the long-term health and longevity of your scalp and strands. This type of proactive regimen is all about preventing problems before they start, so the question isn't just, "How can I fix my split ends," but rather, "What can I do to prevent split ends from happening in the first place?"
Unlike your usual reactive solutions, which tend to zero in on your lengths and ends, hair wellness starts at your scalp. "A healthy scalp is the foundation for having healthy hair, so it's important to consider the health of the scalp when evaluating the overall wellness of hair," says Dr. Green. Because your scalp changes as you age and can be the main culprit behind issues like dryness, breakage, and hair loss, caring for it shouldn't be an afterthought in your routine—it should be the main event.
First things first, you'll want to ensure you've got a solid set of basics (think: shampoo and conditioner), which you can then level up with ingredients and treatments that promote your hair's long-term health. Below, Dr. Green shares her tips for crafting a hair wellness routine that does exactly that, and will keep your hair healthy—and looking great—well into the future.
1. Invest in a scalp serum
Just as skin serums can help target specific needs on your face, scalp serums can do the same for your hair. They deliver concentrated ingredients directly to the (literal) root of the problem, and can help to address issues like hair loss, dryness, flaking, and grease.
"Incorporate a hair serum for strengthening and revitalizing hair that also benefits scalp health," says Dr. Green. "The scalp is the foundation for long, healthy, luscious, hair and using a serum that helps to nourish the scalp can make all the difference." Shop two great options below.
This revitalizing scalp serum from Bread Beauty Supply contains mandelic acid and gluconolactone to gently exfoliate, Chinaberry extract to help neutralize damaging free radicals, and eucalyptol (a derivative of eucalyptus oil) to cool and soothe. Apply a generous amount at before bed and wash out in the morning for a deep treatment, or apply small amounts to the scalp where treatment is needed without washing out.
This serum from Briogeo is great for anyone managing an oily scalp. Charcoal draws out buildup and excess oil that can clog hair follicles while peppermint, spearmint, and tea tree oils reduce itchiness, irritation, and inflammation.
2. Give yourself a weekly scalp massage
"No matter your hair type or texture, massage your hair and scalp with hair oil once a week," says Dr. Green. "This step in a hair care regimen helps strengthen hair follicles and promotes scalp and hair health." When you massage your scalp, you're increasing blood circulation which promotes the distribution of nutrients throughout the scalp and hair. Plus, it can also help thicken your hair by stretching the cells of hair follicles, which stimulates them to produce thicker hair. This pre-shampoo treatment from Moroccan Oil is perfect for your regular scalp rub.
3. Consider in-office scalp treatments
Dr. Green recommends two in-office treatments to supplement your at-home hair wellness routine. First up is platelet-rich plasma (PRP), which can promote the thickening and strengthening of the hair. The process (which is often referred to as a "vampire facial") works by "drawing a sample of the patient’s own blood, spinning it in a centrifuge to separate the plasma, and then injection of the plasma into the scalp," says Dr. Green. "The growth factors that are present in the plasma nourish the scalp, promoting scalp and hair health and encouraging hair to enter the growth phase."
Next, there are Keravive HydraFacials, which also promote hair growth. This type of treatment involves "a unique three-step procedure that promotes hair growth by cleansing, stimulating, and hydrating the scalp," says Dr. Green. "During a Keravive treatment, impurities and dead skin cells are gently cleansed from the hair follicles. Nutrients and antioxidants are then infused into the scalp, stimulating circulation and providing nourishment to the foundation of the hair."
Paired with the right at-home practices, these will help to create an optimal environment for your best hair yet to grow.
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