Sunday, September 26, 2010

How a $2 item revolutionized my scalp routine.

Normally, I would dread this time of year. You guys all know the feeling of finding tons of your precious strands on the floor, in your comb, in the shower. Yes, I'm talking about seasonal shedding. Not too long ago, I took the time to trace my most recent setbacks to the root cause. After careful thought, I determined that my root cause was linked to my hair's roots. More specifically, the health of my scalp.

Excessive shedding, for me, consistently created a chain of events that worked against the health of my hair. Case in point:

heavy shedding ->>tangles ->> breakage as I would try to remove tangles ->> thinning of hair based on amount of shedding experience.

In my case, the shedding I experienced was not seasonal. I had to deal with this issue month after month because of an unhealthy scalp due to scalp condition I have called sebhorric dermatitis. It's like dandruff on crack. You guys may remember a previous post where I shared pictures that really opened my eyes to the ills of an unhealthy scalp. I really got serious about my scalp health once I realized how thinning and an uhealthy scalp are inter-related. All the deep conditioning in the world couldn't help me with this one. I had to find a solution to help deal with the problem once and for all.

When I sat back and analyzed my behaviors and routines, I realized that I have a pretty good system to treat my scalp (with ACV and dry scalp shampoos) on wash days once a week. The problem was I would find myself scratching my itchy scalp just days after I treated it. I had to find a solution. Since my schedule doesn't afford me the opportunity to wash more frequently, I had to figure a way to "cleanse" my scalp between washes. My salvation can in the form of tiny $2.00 spray bottles!

I can't tell you how long I've been looking for a spray bottle that truly produces an extra-fine stream. I wanted to spray my scalp without dealing experiencing run-off down my neck. These sprayers are absolutely perfect! Sally's sells them in a pack of 2 for $1.99. So once I got the min-sprayers in hand, I got a bunch of scalp healthy potions that I could spray directly to my scalp using my nifty sprayers.

So far I've experimented with:
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Eucalyptus Oil
  • Peppermint Oil
  • Tea Tree Oil
  • Neem Oil

Many of the essential oils listed above are quite strong so most people recommend you dilute them in carrier oil. It's been several weeks now since I've created the habit of spritzing my scalp one or twice a week (between washes) and, I've just gotta tell you all how positive my experience has been. Not only am I dealing with less itching throughout the week, I now can wear black without fear of sporting flakes on my shoulders. I'm also lovin' the feeling of a tingly scalp after applying the essential oil. But the absolute best result I've experienced, without a doubt, is the dramatic reduction in shedding. So now my scalp experience looks something like this:

light shedding->> minimized tangles->> easier detangling->> controlled breakage levels->> thicker hair->>increased stimulation->> healthier growth.

So now I eagerly wait for "shedding season" to begin. So far I see no signs of it. I'm crossing my fingers together in hopes that this method will be effective enough to impact the cycles of nature. In the mean time, I'm enjoying every second of this new experience. I feel like my hair has been given a second chance now because of the healthier condition of my scalp. Of all the oils I've experimented with, so far my favorites are the eucalyptus and peppermint. After applying the oil, I'll sometimes finish up by using my trusty scalp massager to help distribute the product throughout the hair. So far, this routine has worked for me beautifully.

Hopefully this will help someone out. Do you guys have any healthy scalp tips to share? I'd love to hear about it!

  1. i think i'll have to revisit this solution. i too have SD n used ACV and oils but in a color applicator bottle it worked for a while but i found my shedding increased overtime, maybe i wasnt diluting the ACV enough. But i'm happy that u r sharing this healthy scalp routine cuz mine is driving me nuts. good to know that there r other people out there looking for remedies also keep up the good job.

  2. You may also want to try rosemary oil. I recently learned that it's great for dandruff, so it may provide some relief. And I'll be heading to Sally's for those spray bottles; I'm so tired of the dripping down my neck!

  3. I mix Jojoba oil and a few drops of tea tree oil in an applicator bottle and apply it to my scalp. I allow it to sit for 20 minutes, while massaging my scalp, and then shampoo. Also, a few times a week, I apply a little Jojoba oil to my scalp. I may need to purchase a spray bottle for my, during the week, Jojoba application.

  4. thanks for sharing this. My scalp is always a mess after a relaxer or sitting under a too hot dryer. I have been using tea tree oil and my hair oil mix to keep my scalp calm. Will try your mixx and see if it works for me this winter if my scalp flares up.

  5. This was very helpful! I've noticed increased shedding & a slight itchy scalp and thought it was just the weather change. never occurred to me that my scalp was just dry. I am going to try the oils you suggested and see how that works out.

  6. This is the second place I've seen this and I'm def gonna try with coconut or castor oil because I hear they work wonders with new growth...

  7. Oh! I forgot! ...I nominated your blog for a sunshine award (just some fellow blogger support). Feel free to spread the love by going over to my blog, reading the instructions and sharing with your blogger friends :)

  8. Thanks for this post? Are you using the ACV as your only carrier product or are you also using carrier oils? Are you using all of the essentials oils at one time in your mix? My scalp is acting a fool right now and I will do anything to get some shedding and itching relief.

  9. @ Jyvette-I actually use the essential oils straight after first mixing in my shampoo for a couple of weeks. Once my scalp got use to it, I started applying straight with the mini-sprayers.

  10. Hi Nadege, just got my two spray bottles from Sally's (& whole lot of other stuff...very excited) & wanted to check in with you about your post. Are you mixing ACV with the oils in your spray bottle? Or are you using a diluted ACV in one spray bottle & mixed oils in another?

    Thanks a ton :)

  11. Hi Anon,
    I use ACV in a separate bottle than my essentail oils. Actually, the essential oils have been working so effectively that I've leaned more towards using them over the oils. One benefit of the ACV, though, is the low pH which also helps both the scalp and the hair.

  12. Ok, so I went and bought all of the products. Now what? I bought grapeseed oil to dilute the stuff with. Now do I wash my hair as regular and add this stuff? Please help. My head is sooooo itchy and its annoying.

  13. Alright Staci, you've got a couple options. One is to apply the grape seed oil/essential oil blend directly to the scalp at night before bed. If you scalp tends to get oily, you may chose to use this method closer to wash days. Another way is to add a few drops of essential oil to your shampoo. I would pour shampoo on my hand, then add the essential oil right to it. Finally, as my scalp became accustomed, I began spritzing essential oil, in small amounts, directly to the scalp. I did this 2-3x a week depending on how much itching I was experiencing.

  14. Nadege, thanks a lot for the help. I will be picking up my essential oils this week.

  15. @Nadege, I have not made it out to the organic food store as yet to get my essential oils, however, this week I tried the Braggs ACV on my scalp before I deep conditioned (I then applied dc on top of it), then I applied a little more to scalp after I rinsed and detangled. It has helped a lot! It has been 3 days and no itching, excessive shedding scaling as yet. Thanks!

  16. @ jyvette- I love it!!!! I'm so glad you're getting some good results.

  17. Hey,

    This blog was probably the one that has done the most for my hair in my journey of 'trial and error'. I've actually learnt that for me, my hair doesn't like too much product at all. It's shunned castor oil, coconut oil, a number of leave-ins, conditioners etc. Overload with products actually flares my scalp up pretty badly, and pre-poos and co-washes are also best avoided for me.

    I've now stripped things right back to the basics, with a few additions from following you.

    Apple cider vinegar is now a staple - for some reason this seems to really work for my hair; it gives it good strength, helps with dandruff (particularly when I'm deep into a stretch), and generally feels like it helps 'repair' my scalp (can't help the itching sometimes which I know is bad). This actually works a lot better for me than Aphogee's Kertain Green reconstructor which seems to aggravate my hair as well.

    Then I tried a mix of virgin olive oil, tea tree, eucalyptus and lavender as a spritz and this has also worked wonders. My hair, and scalp, get very very dry, and a spritz of this after a wash (thoroughly sectioning my hair) and during the week, seems to do wonders - granted, I smell like a large mint /cold remedy, but my hair is repeating the rewards.

    I've also listened to one of your other blogs and started taking Silica tablets so let's see what happens.

    Chi silk also really helps and this week for the first time so deep into a stretch, my hair felt a lot softer and manageable for it.

    Lastly, I'm an avid juicer and have noticed a difference in the general feeling of well being. Although it's hard to attribute this directly to it I'm not stopping!

    Someone I'd seen only about two months ago commented on how thick my hair has gotten - 'is it all yours?' she said.

    So thank you for taking the time to share your little tips and tricks with us. I'm discovering that not all work for me, but I'm definitely repeating the benefits of others.

    J x

  18. @ Jumoke- I'm so glad your scalp is reaping the rewards of the essential oils and ACV. I think scalp health is absolutely a must for healthy hair to occur. Keep us posted with your progress.

  19. General comment - You have one of the best blogs on the subject of black/relaxed/hair health. It is so well written that it's refreshing! It's informative, thorough and a pleasure to read. Keep up the great work!!

  20. Thanks Tasha! I really appreciate your kind words. You made my day.

  21. um, sorry something's not clear... do I apply the ACV on my scalp and leave it? or could I use it alone, then wash? or use with shampoo? And also with the essential oils, do I apply them after the wash? or together with ACV? o_o Thank you, and sorry for the bother...

  22. @Anon-I have different "sprayers" one with eucalyptus oil, one with ACV. Both are used as leave in. But feel free to use prior to washing if your scalp doesn't agree. The eucalyptus can leave a strong scent. I usually use one or another based on how my scalp is behaving.

  23. What are some good carrier oils for itchy/irritated scalp to dilute the essential oils in? I have the rosemary, lavender, tea tree, & eucalyptus essential oils all ready to be mixed. My scalp has been a mess to deal with between the itchy/burning sensation I feel & growing out my thinner spots, so Im willing to try anything! lol