Think of the scalp and often dandruff is one of the first things that comes to mind. Yet there’s so much more to a healthy scalp than flakes, or the lack of flakes, on the surface.
A balanced scalp should work seamlessly behind the scenes to facilitate healthy hair growth. But the best way to support a fertile ground for hair follicles is by starting a regular scalp care routine.
Call it the ‘skinification’ of hair.
Research from Center for Dermatology and Hair Diseases has found by attending to the scalp specifically it not only supports a reduction of dandruff, dermatitis and psoriasis occurring, but, when paired with active ingredients that target the overgrowth of malassezia bacteria (a source of oxidative stress on scalps) it works to keep hair strong and prevent hair loss.
A healthy scalp isn’t just about being anti-dandruff and preventing scalp conditions either. It will also promote: healthy root-to-tip strands, glossy hair, a shame-free hair part and invite a delicious in-shower head massage routine.
Rather than turning to an anti-dandruff shampoo when seasonal flakes transpire, it’s about adopting a mindset shift that attends to your scalp from the get go. More self care, less self fear.
As Elle Australia explains, “in the past we've taken for granted that the role of the sebaceous gland secreting oil is enough for the growth and wellbeing of hair, but in reality, it’s not.Just like skin, hair and scalp needs differ from one person to another. Hence, the scalp sometimes may need a little push with the help of topical treatments to function better.”
In the very same way skincare takes a targeted approach and works into the deep layers of the dermis to balance the skin’s microbiome, a good scalp care routine should work the same.
By using active ingredients, similar to ones you’d find in skincare products, that improve scalp wellbeing you can “fix problems like limpness, frizz and build-up,” common side effects of an imbalanced scalp, as explained in Elle.
We talked to our in-house formulating chemist Sarah to get to know the intention behind the ingredients we use at Straand and how each one works to provide you the ultimate scalp care.
5 Common Scalp Care Questions
1. Why is scalp care important?
“The scalp is the home to diverse microbial communities (bacteria and fungi) that need to coexist harmoniously, which means we need to ensure they have an optimal environment for the scalp to stay in a healthy condition. A healthy scalp should consist of up to 22 per cent microbiota and be almost exclusively made up of Malassezia species.”
“The reason this matters is that when there is a higher percentage of Malassezia that’s when dandruff can appear. Dandruff results from a hyperproliferation of Malassezia, most often due to imbalances between the sebum production on the scalp and the immune defence system.”
2. How do scalp care products combat imbalances occurring?
“Often people commonly search for products designed to fight the Malassezia species from proliferating by opting for anti-fungal hair care products that contain ingredients like - climbazole, piroctone olamine, zinc pyrithione. While they are effective at combating dandruff, their high anti-fungal properties often eliminate Malassezia completely, imbalancing microbiome equilibrium and leading to further irritation.”
The Crown Cleanse shampoo balances the scalp in three ways: “it reduces dandruff, keeps sebum levels stable and decreases inflammation markers while also keeping the Malassezia species balanced.”
3. What Ingredients Do STRAAND Use That Make It Different From Other Anti-Dandruff Shampoos?
“STRAAND is unique as each product is based on naturally plant derived ingredients (no nasty chemicals).”
The Crown Cleanse shampoo features the following ingredients:
Surfactants - “The shampoo contains two mild surfactants derived from coconut - Sodium Lauroyl Methyl Isethionate and Cocomidopropyl Betaine. Surfactants are cleansing agents which pick up oil, dirt and grime often built up on the hair shaft and scalp. They force the oil to detach from the hair or scalp and then washes it away as you rinse out the shampoo from your hair.”
Angustifolium Flower and Leaf Stem Extract - key components in Defenscalp™. Extracted from rosebay (or fireweed) a common plant of the Onagraceae family. Native to the Northern hemisphere, fireweed has been traditionally used to soothe skin irritation.”
Salicylic acid - a beta hydroxy acid (BHA), an oil soluble ingredient that breaks down excess oil on your hair and scalp (much like how it breaks down oil and sebum in your pores on your face). It also breaks down the bonds between dead skin cells, assisting with scalp flaking and build up.”
Vitamin B5 - “Also known as panthenol, vitamin B5 is a hydrating ingredient that pulls moisture from the atmosphere into the deeper layers of the scalp to hydrate and soften. It also increases hydration within the hair shaft which strengthens the hair against breakage.”
Defenscalp™ - “Beyond soothing skin irritation, Defenscalp™normalises excess sebum production to decrease Malassezia growth (i.e. limiting excessive proliferation) and works to decrease inflammation markers and downregulate the immune response which decreases overall inflammation.”
PENTAVITIN® - “Ensures instant, deep hydration to strengthen the scalp surface and promote a harmonious interaction between scalp skin and its microbiome.”
4. What About Those With A Sensitive Scalp, Will A Scalp Care Routine Further Irritate It?
“Scalp sensitivity is extremely important to keep in mind when I formulate any hair care or scalp care product, as a healthy and happy scalp is essential for healthy looking hair. Much like the face, avoiding ingredients which are known irritants are important for creating a successful scalp sensitive product.”
“In general, all scalps should avoid interacting with harsh surfactants, preservatives and allergens (commonly found in fragrances).”
“For STRAAND there are unique key ingredients in The Crown Cleanse Shampoo that support scalp sensitivity. A few notable ingredient profiles that support sensitivity include the following:
- Gentle surfactants - to ensure scalp isn’t stripped of moisture after washing)
- Salicylic acid - an anti-inflammatory that reduces swelling and redness
- Glycerin and panthenol - hydrating ingredients that draw moisture into the the scalp to hydrate and soften
- Sweet almond oil and jojoba oil - which moisturise the scalp and create a barrier that limits water loss and hold hydration
- PENTAVITIN® - to ensure deep hydration, works to strengthen the scalp surface and promotes a harmonious interaction between scalp skin and its microbiome.
Use as the product label advises to keep your scalp happy and balanced.
5. How Can I Start A Scalp Care Routine I Will Actually Enjoy?
Much like a skin care routine, a scalp care routine should take a similar balanced approach that considers cleansing, moisturising and scrubbing.
Taking inspiration from Vogue and the rise of ‘scalp care facials,’ why not adopt the same salon worthy ritual from home.
With just a few new tools added to your beauty arsenal you can up your scalp activating ante at home and find joy in hair washing again.
A scalp massager that’s shower-proof, the scalp brush helps bring that luxe-spa scalp vibe at home.
Designed to stimulate the scalp with its gentle silicone spikes, the brush will support hair untangling while exfoliating the scalp skin and de-stressing a stiff scalp so you can leave the shower ten times lighter.
To begin a scalp care ritual we’ve curated a STRAAND ‘Scalp care rituals’ pack with all your essentials: The Crown Cleanse, Exfoliating Scalp Brush and Microfibre Hair Towel to make self care effortless.
Shop the Scalp Rituals pack here.
Words by Sam Bailey