When I first began the switch to natural hair cleansing methods, I noticed some flaking and itching of the scalp. This is the famous “detox phase” your scalp goes through as it cleanses and gets rid of months, sometimes even years, of build-up.
It’s the stuff you notice as you scratch your head and pull out some white goop under your fingernails. It’s pretty awful stuff, and it can sometimes even smell! (Now don’t go scratching and sniffing now… eww!)
The scalp produces sebum, those natural oils that can protect your hair, but also sometimes make it look greasy. Sebum is a good thing, but we’ve become so accustomed to stripping it away every time our hair looks a bit oily, that too many of us now complain about having dry hair. Then we try to fix that by adding conditioners to it, and it’s a vicious circle, really, as conditioners are only masking the issue while making it worse since they too contain harsh detergents!
Remember watching those old movies, where girls would brush their hair fifty times before bedtime? There was a reason for that: Sebum needs to be pulled away from the scalp and onto the strands of your hair – it’s the best conditioner! By pulling it using a good quality brush – like a boar brush – you can deter the natural oils away from the scalp and down to the hair, leaving it shiny, non-frizzy, and moisturized.
Now that you’ve naturally moisturized your hair length, let’s re-learn how to actually wash your scalp. Forget everything you learned when you were three years old and started washing your hair on your own!
Stop 'scrubbing' your scalp.
The one important thing to remember about washing your scalp, is that you should not scrub hard using your finger pads! I can't stress this enough. This old method does not only harm delicate hair follicles long term, but it also creates more sebum! (It drives me crazy when commercial shampoo bottles instruct you to "scrub" and then REPEAT... Just don't do it.)
The simple act of massaging your scalp will stimulate the sebaceous glands to secrete these oils. Remember, sebum is the natural hair oil that you do want, but it’s very easy to over-produce sebum causing you to have that next-day greasy hair.
This is how to wash your hair and scalp.
The proper way to wash your scalp is to pour your hair wash or shampoo cleanser on your hand, then SLIP it under your hair on your scalp... I repeat: SLIP, not SCRUB... use your whole fingers to slide the mixture inside until it reaches the scalp (you can watch our video tutorial HERE).
After that, and if you are able to, flip your head upside down and repeat this method to cover the areas you want cleansed. Contrary to what you were probably taught, your whole head of hair length does not need to be cleansed, as the simple trickle of water will wipe off sweat and dirt; however, this is up to each person.
How often to wash
It’s unfortunate that we have become accustomed to washing our hair on a daily basis. It’s highly unnecessary to do this, and it only disrupts the natural pH level that should balance our scalp. It’s a vicious circle: The more we wash, the more sebum (oil) our scalp produces, so we have greasier hair and have to wash again. Wash, repeat. Wash, repeat. Do you really think your great-grandma washed her hair daily? Pschhh... NOT! And look at her photos: gorgeous hair!
Don’t you sometimes wish you could skip a day from washing your hair? How about skipping a whole weekend? Good news! YOU CAN!
It’s easy to retrain your scalp to accept a few days between washes, especially once you have learned the correct method to wash, as described above. It’s very important to use as natural a hair cleanse mixture as possible in order to properly detox your scalp. Detoxifying your scalp of months, possibly years, of build-up can take some people a couple of weeks, and some a couple of months. The normal time to detox the scalp is 4 to 6 weeks.
Once your hair is detoxified, pores will be unclogged and the skin on your scalp will be able to “breathe” easier, allowing you to gently wash the scalp about once every three to five days, if you wish to go that long, and depending upon your stress level and exercise routine.
In turn, your hair will grow faster, possibly even thicker as some of the older hair follicles rejuvenate. I was able to experience a growth of approximately one inch per month, after just six months of this method… and counting! After three years, I was able to cut my hair enough times to now have a whole head of new hair… and it’s long! And still growing!