Hair-Care Tips

3 DIY Scalp Detoxes To Really Clean Your Roots When Regular Shampoo Isn’t Enough

Zoe Weiner

Photo: W+G Creative

Healthy hair starts at the scalp. If you’re noticing that your strands are looking drier, duller, and frizzier than normal (or if your strands have suddenly started to stink), product build-up may literally be at the root of the problem. Hair-care products are often made with “sticky” ingredients like heavy fragrances, butters, resins, silicone, oils, and alcohols. These can leave behind a residue that even the most thorough shampoos won’t be able to bust through, but scalp detoxes are the most efficient way to get rid of all that gunk.

“Product fatigue can come as a result of build-up due to harsh chemicals and heavy-hitting oil molecules,” says Lorraine Massey, owner of Spiral (x,y,z), and founder of the CurlyWorld. “I would recommend a scalp detox in order to rebalance the scalp.”

Instead of adding yet another hair-care product to your arsenal, it’s possible to get the job done using natural ingredients you already have in your kitchen, by way of an at-home scalp detox. Things like apple cider vinegar and lemon, for example, are comprised of acids that will help break down the build-up. The best way to use these DIY detoxes is by massaging your scalp with the pads of your fingers. “By using friction to massage your scalp, you not only help dislodge and remove particles, but you also stimulate the blood vessels in the scalp, which promotes circulation,” says Massey. “These also remove impurities, such as silicone buildup, oil residue, and salt deposits from suds, which can trap dead skin and clog the pores on the scalp.”

Here, three at home scalp detox recipes that you can mix up the next time you’re headed to the kitchen for a snack.

1. Ginger and lemon scalp detox

What you need

2 lemons
Large chunk of ginger
Mint leaves (optional)
Water

How to use

1. Blend the ingredients and strain the pulp.
2. Combine two tablespoons of the mixture to a pint of spring or distilled water.
3. Pour the mixture over wet hair.
4. Massage your scalp for about a minute (the longer, the better).
5. Rinse the mixture, and follow with a sulfate- and silicone-free shampoo and conditioner.

“This detox is the perfect solution for someone who is just coming off using heavy or hard to remove silicones, oils, or butters from their hair, or for people who need to reboot from a trusted formula that no longer works,” says Massey. Lemon is highly acidic, which can help to break down and dislodge any leftover product gunk.

2. Apple cider vinegar scalp detox

What you need

Apple cider vinegar
Water

How to use

1. Mix one cup apple cider vinegar with three cups water.
2. Put this mixture in a bottle that you can take to your shower.
3. Shampoo your hair with clarifying shampoo and then rinse it out.
4. Apply the ACV mixture to your hair and scalp.
5. Tie your hair in a bun and leave the mixture in your hair for 12 to 15 minutes.
6. Rinse and apply conditioner.

With only two ingredients, you can get rid of whatever dirt and dry shampoo has been lingering on your scalp after days without washing. “The acidity in the vinegar will remove build-up, dirt and oils,” says Merian Odesho, founder of Bounce Curl.

3. Yerba mate tea DIY scalp detox

What you need

Yerba mate tea
Water

How to use

1. Brew yerba mate tea in hot water for 10 minutes, and strain the liquid.
2. Allow it to cool until just warm to the touch (test a drop on your wrist to check the temperature before applying elsewhere on the body).
3. Pour the warm tea on your scalp and massage for five minutes, allowing it to run through your hair. Then, rinse it out.

“Yerba Mate is a powerful antioxidant that topically works as an antimicrobial to the scalp since it’s rich in polyphenols such as chlorogenic acid, as well as vitamin A, B, saponins, and natural silicon that are great for the hair and scalp,” says celebrity hairstylist Ricardo Rojas. In addition to helping cleanse your scalp, it will leave strands shiny and smooth.

Did you know you can also get *professional* scalp detoxes? Watch what happened when Well+Good’s Ella Dove tried on for herself:

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