Here’s something I never thought I would spend so much time thinking about as a child: my scalp! If you have an autoimmune disease, you know that they typically come with a friend or two (because why have one chronic illness when you can have several!? BOGO y’all!).
Even if you don’t have a medical condition — because of weather, hormonal changes, a once-in-a-generation pandemic, etc., — most of us go through periods of time where our scalp could use some R&R. Personally, my scalp sitch is actually psoriasis of the scalp, a lovely condition that makes itself known whenever it damn well pleases, leaving my scalp itchy, and worst of all, oily. There are times where I wash and blow-dry my hair and it looks like I rolled half my head in a deep fryer, which is just delightful. It has taken a long time to get this under control (I still have my flare-ups, of course) but a combination of medicated drops from my dermatologist + these at-home products have really helped. Here are the products I swear by…
01| R+Co Shampoo Bel Air Smoothing Shampoo & Conditioner
I have frizzy, thick hair (think Anne Hathaway pre-makeover in The Princess Diaries), so R+Co Bel Air Smoothing Shampoo (also at Saks) is a great product for me. One of its ingredients is Okra Seed Extract, which moisturizes your hair and scalp. For conditioner, I use R+Co’s Bel Air Smoothing Conditioner. One of the reasons I love them is their commitment to making clean, cruelty-free hair products. I don’t eat gluten, I certainly don’t need it showing up in anything I put on my body. It’s the #1 culprit for flare-ups and “can’t even” days.
Speaking of flare-ups, when I’m having one that impacts my scalp, I mix it up and alternate dandruff shampoos. (I know there is some stigma attached to the word dandruff, but it’s not a bad thing! It’s just a sign that your scalp needs some love.) Neutrogena T/Gel is always in my shower caddy, (yes, it smells like tar, but it works!) as well as Nizoral Anti-Dandruff Shampoo.
02| Hair Scalp Massager Shampoo Brush
The best part of any hair appointment is having your hair washed. Scalp massages are incredibly relaxing and can promote healthy hair. This hair scalp massager shampoo brush delivers all of that at home, plus it deep cleans your scalp. I’ve had mine for 3 years now. One of the best purchases under $10, ever.
03| Static Free Fast Flow Brush by Cricket + The Intuition Glosser Boar Bristle Brush
After showering I use the Static Free Fast Flow Brush by Cricket to detangle and speed up the blow-drying process. The vents in it allow your hair to dry faster, so less heat on the scalp. The Intuition Glosser Boar Bristle Brush I use when my hair is dry. It’s great for thicker hair and the boar bristles help rid the hair shaft of hidden dust and debris, plus distribute natural oils from the scalp along the hair to avoid build-up.
04| R+Co Chiffon Styling Mousse
The reason I included this R+Co Chiffon Styling Mousse because it’s a styling product and heat protectant all-in-one. It not only meets my hair goals by making it silky smooth, but it also keeps my hair safe from the elements. Plus, like all R+Co products, it’s made with ingredients I feel good about.
05| BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Hair Dryer Blow Dryer
A few months ago I was “this” close to pulling the trigger on a hairdryer that cost the equivalent of a one-month car payment. I just couldn’t do it, and instead went with the recommended BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Hair Dryer Blow Dryer. What I love about the BaBylissPRO (besides it being under $100) is that it has three heat settings. I find the middle one is ideal, warm enough to dry, but not so hot that it irritates my already sensitive scalp. That middle option is clutch. Plus, it dries fairly quickly so I’m not applying heat for too long on my hair (and I have thick hair so drying time is important).
06| Silk Pillowcase
Silk pillowcases like this extremely popular one by Slip or this one by Brooklinen have less friction, which means less damage to your hair. Cotton is more porous than silk, so if you already have dry skin and a dry scalp, it will zap any of the moisture you’ve added into your face and hair. To keep products where they should be, I sleep on silk. Plus it doesn’t give you any weird line wrinkles on your face when you wake up.
A few other honorable mentions are this Briogeo Scalp Revival Mask and this R+Co Acid Wash: ACV Cleansing Rinse that I’ve heard amazing things about. You can also make your own ACV rinse using a couple tablespoons of Bragg’s with the ‘Mother’ mixed with water. Leave on wet hair for a few minutes and then rinse it out!
Those are just some of my tips and tricks to keeping a healthy and happy scalp. Obviously, none of this supersedes the advice of a doctor. My dermatologist in particular has been a lifesaver with this ailment, and I have medicated drops for when things are “code red.”
Here’s to turning those “can’t even” days into “can even” ones!