Healthy Hair: Exfoliate and Show Your Scalp Some Love

Renee Trilivas, Allure magazine

We buff our feet so they're silky soft, take rotating brushes to our faces until they glow, and scrub our bodies smooth with sugar and salt, but where's the love for the skin above our hairlines? Recently, I took my dry, winter-battered curls to the Alex Anthony Salon in New York City for a little TLC and got the scoop on scalp exfoliation.

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It may seem obvious that healthy hair starts with a healthy scalp. But as many of us now shampoo less frequently to avoid drying out our hair, that translates to serious buildup of oil and dirt. "Just like you exfoliate your skin to remove these from your pores, you should be doing the same for your scalp," says salon co-owner Alex Mnayarji. She gave me a sinus-clearing peppermint scrub treatment to stimulate blood flow and remove product buildup, followed by a vanilla-and-cinnamon deep conditioning treatment to repair and boost shine (and, yes, it did make me crave Cinnabon). My scalp was refreshed without feeling too squeaky clean or stripped of moisture, and I didn't have to shampoo for three full days instead of my usual every-other-day routine. This might just be my new favorite treatment.

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You can try at-home scalp exfoliants, such as Kiehl's Deep Micro-Exfoliating Scalp Treatment or Rescue EMS Exfoliating Shampoo, or if you're feeling crafty, you can also create your own. Start with a clarifying shampoo (we like Fekkai Apple Cider Clarifying Shampoo) mixed with an equal amount of natural exfoliant such as cornmeal or ground almonds. Add a few drops of your preferred essential oil-peppermint stimulates blood flow, lavender and vitamin E soothe, and tea tree acts as an antiseptic to fight dandruff. Massage the mixture into your scalp for three minutes, rinse, condition, and voilà! If you don't shampoo frequently or have oily hair, exfoliate every other week. Otherwise, you just need to do it once a month to maintain a healthy scalp.

Have you ever tried a scalp exfoliation?

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