We all could do with a little exercise, but scratching away at your scalp is certainly nobody's desired workout. Switch up your haircare routine to provide nourishment to your scalp if you find that your scalp is itchy and dry. Sometimes scalp issues are simply the result of harsh chemicals in shampoos and styling products, so you could just need a little pampering every once in a while. Even if you don't have dandruff or itching, nourishing your scalp can give your hair more shine and manageability -- it can even stimulate hair growth, helping you achieve the long, lustrous locks of your dreams.
Break a vitamin-E capsule into a bowl of olive, jojoba, coconut or avocado oil and warm the oil in the microwave for 10 seconds.
Pour the mixture over your scalp immediately and use your fingertips to massage the oil into your head in small circles.
Cover your hair with a shower cap to retain heat, which may help the oil penetrate more easily. Wear the cap for at least half an hour, or leave it on all day or night.
Wash your hair with sulfate-free, moisturizing shampoo that contains nourishing oils when you do wash your hair. If your hair isn't oily -- and especially if it's dry -- reduce the number of times you shampoo to once or twice a week. Follow each shampoo by massaging your scalp with a nourishing rinse-out conditioner.
Brush your dry hair gently -- when dry -- with a natural-bristle brush to massage your scalp and distribute your natural skin oils through your hair. Start at the scalp and run the brush through to the ends of your tresses. For added nourishment, spritz your brush with oil before brushing.
Rub aloe vera gel into your scalp to moisturize dry skin, especially if you have braids or dreadlocks. Aloe nourishes the roots of your hair as well as softens the hair itself.
Increase the amount of scalp-nourishing foods in your diet, including egg yolks and foods rich in omega fatty acids, such as salmon, olive oil and walnuts.
Sip water throughout the day -- instead of sugary or diet drinks -- to hydrate your body and skin.
Check with your doctor about taking a multivitamin formulated for hair and skin. Be sure to ask about the supplement biotin, which has been found in studies to strengthen hair and nourish the scalp.
- If you spray the bristles of your brush with oil, wash the brush weekly with baby shampoo and allow it to air-dry.
S.R. Becker is a certified yoga teacher based in Queens, N.Y. She has a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and has worked as a writer and editor for more than 15 years. Becker often writes for "Yoga in Astoria," a newsletter about studios throughout New York City.