Friday, March 7, 2014

Oils Well: How to Fix a Dry, Itchy Scalp

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The Agony of the Itch:

As a hair colorist as well as a stylist, I have noticed that a lot of women, particularly those who are dying their hair darker, can get red, irritated scalps from color treatment.  I picked up a trick from my sister, who also owns her own salon, using our favorite health food store find (you can also find it online):  pure argan oil.  She adds a dropper-full to her color mixture before applying to the hair, which significantly cuts down on the irritation to the scalp, as well as conditions the hair during treatment.  In fact, some of the most expensive hair color treatments in the world incorporate natural oils into their mixtures to the same effect, creating lustrous color and enhancing the health of the hair.  You could even do this yourself with an at-home kit.  Just add a judicious amount---not more than a dropper-full, less if it’s your first time trying---because too much oil can inhibit proper chemical development of the color. 

If you’ve already had the color treatment and you feel like your scalp is on fire, get thee to the health food store and pick up a vial of pure jojoba oil.  This is an after-treatment miracle worker, soothing and cooling irritation from chemical treatment without making the hair greasy.  Simply apply a dropper-full directly to the itchy, red areas, particularly the top of the crown and the temples.  Massage the oil into the scalp and leave on for 20 to 30 minutes and wash out.  Or, you can leave it in over-night and wash in the morning.

An Oil Primer:

People are afraid of oils because they think they will be too greasy.  Not true!  The right kind of oils can be amazing for skin and scalp in lieu of creams.  Even if you have acne, a good pure argan oil can balance the skin and get rid of the bacteria that causes the condition.  How to know a good oil from a bad oil?   The right oils will absorb into the hair and scalp in right away.  My favorites for beauty are argan, jojoba and almond oil.  These can cost no more than $20 per vial in a good health food store but the key is to use only 100% pure cold pressed oils.  Cold pressing insures that the oil is at its highest potency.   The wrong oils simply sit on top of the scalp or hair.  Olive oil, while great for eating, can be too heavy used alone.   In addition, many of the drugstore brands dilute their oil products with additives such as silicones or petroleum based ingredients which can occlude the scalp, aggravating the condition more and even increase hair loss.  These are better used as styling aids, applied lightly to the surface of the hair from the mid-shaft down, never at the roots. 

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