Almost a year ago my little cousin Jennifer had an extreme hair tragedy after taking down her microbraids, which caused matting and breakage in several areas. To preserve her length while restoring her hair’s health we have been protective styling with various crochet braids. Between installs, I have been teaching Jennifer how to properly care for her natural hair but one problem we constantly face is her flaky scalp especially due to product buildup from wearing long-term protective styles. For us, scalp exfoliation is the best thing we could have starting doing!
The best way to achieve healthy, strong, long hair is to create a healthy environment for it to grow, which starts with your scalp. As often as we exfoliate our bodies and lips, its a wonder scalp exfoliation hasn’t become more popular even for those without specific scalp conditions. Winter months, those with naturally dry skin, travel, dehydration are all things that could cause scalp issues. Scalp exfoliation also makes clarifying your hair more effective.
Getting back to my cousin, we removed her protective style which she was wearing for about five weeks and as you can see in the photo, she definitely had some product buildup flakiness. To exfoliate her scalp, I mixed together 1 cup of water, 1 tablespoon each baking soda, tea tree oil and sulfate-free clarifying shampoo. We used Kinky Curly Come Clean but I typically use Shea Moisture African Black Soap Cleansing Shampoo for her scalp and Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strength Grow & Restore Shampoo for myself. Due to a Shea Moisture sale I couldn’t find either of the ones we normally use (ya’ll scooped all the Shea Moisture products!) but there are lots of great sulfate free clarifying shampoos and I love that they are typically available right at my local Target for around $10. Next I applied the mix directly to her scalp and gently scrubbed with a toothbrush.
As soon as I treated one section of her scalp, I could immediately see the improvement and I moved the mixture down the length of her hair to clarify. She hopped in the shower and washed twice before conditioning and unlike before we began scalp exfoliation treatments, I didn’t have to go back and scrub areas of her scalp that weren’t quite clean.
Since I have also been protective styling, I follow the same routine when I take down my hair and even use a massaging shampoo brush – I mentioned this previously – while washing to help clean my scalp even deeper. I recommend everyone begin to incorporate regular scalp exfoliation into their healthy hair routine, at least as often as you need to clarify your hair.