Want Healthier Hair? Think About Your Scalp As Part of Your Skin-Care Routine

Photo: Getty Images/Martin Novak
Despite the fact that I adopt a more-is-more philosophy when it comes to my complexion (seriously, you should see my bathroom shelves, which are overflowing with serums, creams, and body products galore), when it comes to my hair I'm a decidedly wash-and-go kind of gal. All I do is cleanse and air dry. Boom, done.

And while many people have more complicated hair regimens than my own (it wouldn't be hard), I've been considering lately that hair deserves as much adoration as skin. The reality: The scalp is a continuation of the complexion, and it's the foundation of hair. So, why does hair care rarely get the skin-care finesse? That's precisely what the brand-new brand Act+Acre has set out to remedy. "Hair should be included in the wellness category," says Helen Reavey, co-founder of the brand and former hair stylist. "If you're having a bad hair day, that's because of your scalp—it can so easily get weighed down with silicones and dry shampoo."

Essentially, the hair-care brand—which uses a unique cold-pressed formula to preserve the integrity of its clean ingredients—is pivoting the anti-aging focus to your scalp. Delivering a single, on-point message: Don't ignore the health of your scalp. Here's how to create a regimen that you can stick with for happier hair that gets all the love.

how to have healthier hair
Photo: Getty Images/Gilaxiais

The scalp-friendly hair-care regimen

Watch the clock: It's actually really important to not have a product sit in your hair for too long. "It's okay to use dry shampoos, but if you're going to use a product, make sure to fully remove it afterwards so that you're not blocking the follicle," says Reavey. "Don't go a week without washing your hair." Also key? Using a scalp treatment at least every 2 weeks to keep the skin clarified.

Cleanse after working out: Ya know how gross your hair feels after a seriously satisfying sweat sesh? Yeah, that's gotta be washed out. "If you work out a lot, it's really important to cleanse your hair again," says Reavey. "Of course, use a cleanser that's not stripping your hair of natural oils. Look for something gentle. But sweat and dead skin cells build up in your hair follicle so they really need to be removed."

Incorporate massage: Just as facial massage is really good for stimulating your skin and blood circulation, scalp massages are essential for scalp health. "Massage is really important—people should take the time to do it," says Reavey. "While you're putting on a scalp treatment or even while cleansing, take a couple of minutes to actually massage—it brings up the blood supply to your hair follicle and helps shift any dead skin cells. It's also nice and relaxing and good for the mood."

Use nourishing ingredients: As you're tending to your hair-care regimen, make sure you're skipping drying ingredients like sulfates and loading up on essential vitamins. "It's all about oils in products. Once you've removed buildup, allowing blood circulation to come up to the hair follicle, feed your scalp nutrients so that your follicles don't weaken over time," says Reavey. "Having a healthy hair follicle means your hair grows in healthier, stronger, and thicker." Look for ingredients like antioxidants, fatty acids, and botanicals like rosemary that increase circulation.

Eat your vitamins: "What you put into your body is also beneficial to your hair," says Reavey. "Eat lots of avocados. And ingredients like baobab, moringa, and amaranth are good. Lots of vitamins C, D, E all help in making hair follicles stronger and healthier. You want to look for the more nutritious foods."

It's also helpful to try these supplements for thicker, fuller hair. And here are dry scalp remedies—AKA the most common hair woe of wintertime.

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