Now that winter’s here, my scalp is beginning to flake. How can I keep my hair and scalp from drying out?
When winter comes, so does a common, annoying hair problem: dry scalp and dandruff. The dryness of the air, combined with indoor heating systems found in homes and offices, robs your hair of much-needed moisture, resulting in a dry scalp and those annoying flakes.
The best way to fight dandruff is to add moisture back to your hair, in the form of a moisturizer shampoo and a heavy-duty conditioner. Be sure to avoid shampoos that contain too much detergent; they will only dry out your hair more. A good way to tell how detergent-y your shampoo is by the amount of lather it produces. If it produces a lot of lather, it has a lot of detergent; less lather, less detergent. Even if you don’t get a big lather, your shampoo will still be cleaning your hair thoroughly. If you feel as if you need more cleansing, shampoo twice with a low-detergent shampoo rather than using a harsh shampoo once. It’s also good to massage your scalp as you shampoo your hair; that should help increase circulation and decrease flakes.
In terms of conditioner, a deep conditioner is great for helping to get rid of dandruff. If your problem is persistent, I recommend a once-a-week deep conditioning treatment. One of my favorite remedies is to comb shea butter (make sure it’s the water-soluble variety) through damp hair. Leave it in for about a half-hour and then shampoo it out. Many health food and beauty supply stores now carry shea butter, but if it’s not available in your area, a deep-conditioning mask made with natural ingredients is a great alternative. One caveat: don’t do a deep-conditioning treatment on a day when you want your hair to be full, because it will weigh down the hair a bit and make it flatter than you may be used to.
As for styling products, stay away from anything with too much alcohol, particularly mousse. They will only dry out your scalp more and exacerbate the problem. Instead, look for conditioning styling balms and lotions, which can hold a style but condition at the same time.