If you’ve ever been troubled by dryness, dandruff, or dermatitis, you’ll know very well how quickly an itchy scalp can turn even the sunniest of moods. Having a scratchy scalp has got to be one of the most annoying things out there, second only to potholes, paper cuts, and people who don’t pick up after their pup. A scalp that’s screaming for a scratch can make it hard to concentrate at work, relax on a dinner date and even sleep at night. On top of all that, treating an itchy scalp is an irritation in itself, and can often become quite the hairy situation. Get it? Hairy?
Lucky for you, we know all about soothing scalps and ditching the itch. But we want to give you the heads up that satiating your scalp is about more than just settling the symptoms, it’s also about addressing the root cause of your head hardships. So, if you’re serious about your scalp's serenity, get your head in the game and follow these simple steps to bid adieu to your scratching saga and say farewell to flakes.
1. Break Up with Sulphates
When looking for a shampoo, most people look for something foamy and big on bubbles. However, bubbles can often bring scalp troubles as this means it’s full of synthetic sulphates like SLS or SLES (or other common culprits that end in –fate). These can leave hair dry and damaged, and scalps freaking with flakes. The amount of foam your shampoo creates has nothing to do with how well it cleans. In fact, shampoo tends to be less foamy when it's busy getting down and dirty with your hair grease because the cleansing ingredients are attaching themselves to your excess hair oils. That’s why the suds tend to be bigger when you wash your hair for a second time, because there's less oil for the cleansers to cling to.
Shampoo Without the Stress
Since we skip on sulphates, you may notice that our Milk Shampoo doesn’t get super foamy. This is because we use a blend of gentle (but effective), naturally derived cleansing ingredients instead of cheap, sudsy sulphates. This means a little more elbow grease and agitation is required to build up the lather. Think of it as a great excuse for a head massage.
Shampoos that claim to “wash away the flakes” are usually made with a high percentage of detergents like SLS and simply strip the scalp of the symptoms (aka flakes), but they inevitably return, often with a vengeance, and the cycle repeats. This heavy-handed approach doesn’t do your scalp any favours as it further dries it out causing irritating itchiness and can end up exacerbating the problem in the long run. Our Milk Shampoo takes a more causational and holistic approach to scalp problems, fighting flakes by diminishing dryness and infusing invigorating ingredients that revive and rebalance the microflora of the scalp. Isn't that a mouthful? It’s no wonder that it’s our 2nd best-selling product year after year (our Fresh Cream Deodorant is #1).
2. Say Sayonara to Silicone
Most conditioners work by coating your hair (and scalp) with silicone-based ingredients (usually big words ending in –cone) that make it feel soft and slippery. But what’s wrong with silicone? While they detangle knots and make your hair feel like heaven, over time it can start sticking around on the hair and scalp and be difficult to get rid of. Even a little bit of silicone build-up on the scalp can start to cause irritation, blocking hair follicles and its overall ability to breathe and regulate - not the best environment for healthy hair, in our humble hair opinion. As silicone builds up, mixed in with dead skin, sweat and excess oils, chunks or bits of the build-up can slough or break off, causing flakes to appear on your scalp, hair and clothing. These flakes are often confused with dandruff or scalp dryness, but they are three different things, although it’s quite common for them to go hand-in-hand-in-hand. But silicone is not just a culprit of conditioners. It can also be found in high amounts in shampoos with claims like “less breakage” or formulas for “dry and damaged hair”. And, like a broken record, we repeat: always read ingredient labels!
Condition with Care
Thankfully, silicone isn’t the only option out there to achieve soft strands. Instead of slapping on slippery silicone, our Cream Conditioner only uses natural ingredients like Jojoba Oil that gives hair the same silky feeling and detangling action without the bummer of build-up. Silicone is one of those outdated ingredients that just keeps sticking around, literally. Update and upgrade your hair care by kicking silicone to the curb and make way for natural and superior ingredients to condition your coif and spoil your scalp. Haven’t yet tried a conditioner without silicone? Give it a go and we promise you and you and your scalp will never look back. Also, do you ever think about what happens to your hair care products after they’re washed down the drain? We do. If saying bye-bye to itchiness and build-up wasn’t enough, natural ingredients break down quickly in our waterways while silicones don’t (they’re not biodegradable).
3. Keep Your Cool
We've yet to meet anyone that loves an ice-cold shower, and what's better than a nice, hot shower after a long, hard day? Absolutely nothing. But sadly, hot water can seriously dry out your skin, and that includes your scalp. Very hot water can strip your scalp of its protective oils and essentially boil it, making it red, raw, and ready to kick up a fuss. On the other side of the dial, cold water stops your hair follicles from opening and doesn’t allow for a deep, thorough clean. We know ice baths are trending, but we'll leave those to Wim Hof. So, that leaves us feeling lukewarm...
Be Kinder to Our Caps
Since our scalps are often hiding under a head of hair, we tend to forget about them. Since a dry scalp is the first step to an itchy scalp, and moisturising in the traditional sense can be a tricky task with a headful of hair, the best way to keep your scalp cool, calm, and collected (exactly how we like it) is to stop stripping it with sulphates and scalding water. But your scalp is a clever little thing and produces moisturising oils to protect itself. Stripping these oils away with harsh detergents and hot water can kickstart your scalp into oil-producing overdrive, leading to an unideal gamut of grease, unless you’re into that wet look. So, save your scalp from hairy situation and keep things lukewarm.
4. Avoid All Aerosols
Dry shampoo is almost as popular as Adele and Ed Sheeran combined (that’s really popular!), but most of the ones out there come in spray cans. Aerosol sprays contain fine chemical particles, and since dry shampoo is used around the face, they can be easily inhaled which is particle-ly (see what we did there?) concerning. These typically contain volatile hydrocarbons, such as propane, n-butane, isobutane, Dimethyl ether (DME), methyl ethyl ether, and supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (that last one is a joke, of course). Aerosol-based dry shampoos also tend to be a bit wet upon application and can coat the hair and scalp causing build-up, irritation and itchiness, all things we’d prefer not to put our heads through.
Kick the Can and Get Shaking
Dry shampoo has become a real lifesaver (metaphorically speaking) for anyone who’s hit the snooze button too many times or wants to skip the time-consuming wet wash. Since aerosols were off the table, we went ahead and made a natural, aerosol-free, powder version – lazy people rejoice! It works by absorbing the excess oils on your hair and scalp so you can get a few more days out of a curated coif. Our natural powder formula refreshes hair no matter what you’ve been up to. Other than absorbing oils, it also leaves your locks smelling lovely, as well as throwing a bit of va-va-volume into the mix. Now you’ll have clean, luscious locks in two shakes of a lamb’s tail...or a dry shampoo bottle. And the best bit? It’s a non-irritating formula that won’t build up on the scalp and rinses right out as soon as you decide to shower. This will keep even the most sensitive scalps smiling.
5. Soothe Your Scalp
Our scalps are often the most neglected part of our skincare routines – why does the face get all the love? They get scrubbed, covered with hats, coloured and bleached, and sometimes sunburned. It’s no wonder so many of us have itchy, flaky, and even sore scalps. Let’s not forget about daily heat styling, weather changes, tight and high ponytails, braids and more! A scalp out of balance can lead to a plethora of problems and irritating issues. Amid life’s busyness, it’s important to show your scalp a little love from time to time. This can come in the form of a rejuvenating massage, a gentle scrub with a scalp brush, or a hydrating hair and scalp mask with a healthy dose of our Cream Conditioner or Protein Shot Leave In Conditioner. The longer you leave these on, the better, and they pair perfectly with a cup of herbal tea, a warm (natural) bubble bath and a relaxing playlist on a Sunday afternoon.
What About Serious Scalp Situations?
When things get really hairy, our tried, true and trusted Scalp Cream (AUST L 196715) can bring relief to dry and inflamed skin around the scalp, hairline and face. These areas tend to be oiler and can easily become irritated, so this formula was designed to soothe and protect the scalp, returning skin to a healthy condition.