Elle Woods was right when she told us, “The rules of hair care are simple and finite,” but her infamous soundbite left something very important out—the scalp! You know, that thing covering our brain that our hair grows from? There are a million TikTok tutorials and words of advice on taking care of our tresses, but scalp care has been neglected like an influencer past their prime.
Caring for your scalp isn’t just important for overall cleanliness. It’s necessary for vanity, too. Robby LaRiviere is a hair expert and stylist with 15 years of experience who currently performs bespoke scalp and hair treatments at Biologique Recherche in Los Angeles. He adamantly states, “A healthy scalp = healthy hair. Your scalp is the foundation for your hair health.”
In addition to keeping your scalp clean and moisturized, there’s a financial incentive to keep it in tip-top shape. “[It] allows your styles to last longer. We pay top dollar for a blowout, but if your scalp is oily, you will be washing your hair the next day,” Robby says.
Below, he shares his ultimate tips for taking scalp care as seriously as skin care.
1. Get in there with a scalp massage.
People with fine hair or who struggle with hair loss have tight scalps that do not get any blood flow. You need to get in there and get the blood flowing. When you wash your hair, give your scalp a nice massage for a few minutes. This will get the blood and oxygen flowing.
2. Just say no … to conditioner on the scalp.
Do not put conditioner on your scalp. A clean scalp is a healthy scalp, so a thorough washing is most important. Then, follow up with conditioner on the ends only.
3. Fight flakes with tea tree oil.
Using tea tree oil to reduce dandruff and soothe dry scalps is especially helpful during cold weather. When we crank the heat in our homes, it dries out the air, our skin, and our scalps.
4. Brush it out.
When brushing your hair, make sure to stroke from the scalp to the ends. A nice boar bristle paddle brush feels lovely and is non-abrasive to the scalp. It also spreads the natural oils from your scalp to the tips for healthier hair.
For Robby, adding a scalp care routine is nonnegotiable. But you don’t need to worry that it will impede your already busy life. “We should be tending to our scalps once a week with treatments such as tea tree oil or leave-in conditioner,” he says. “In between, you should give your head a massage every time you wash your hair.” Talk about a fast happy ending.