Why the Health of Your Scalp Matters and its role in Natural Hair Growth

IG @lolamonaija

by Rochelle Farquharson via blacknaps.org

The state of your scalp dictates whether or not your hair grows! Say Whaaaaaaaat? But my hair is always growing! Yes it grows, but only if you maintain a healthy scalp.

I want you to think about your scalp and hair, and compare it to growing and maintaining a plant. If the soil is watered and is weed free then that plant is destined to thrive. The scalp is the foundation of healthy hair, and to achieve length you must maintain a regimen that caters to keeping the hair and scalp clean and healthy. Scalp health is not just about maintaining the skin that is visible through your strands, but it’s also about preserving what’s underneath. I’m referring to the hair follicle.


Top Ingredients to Fight an Itchy Scalp


If you suffer from an itchy scalp, you’re not alone. Our delicate scalps become itchy and irritated for a huge variety of reasons, making this issue extremely common. But that doesn’t make it any easier to deal with.

Scalp Treatments

IG @glowprincess 

by Mary Wolff

When it comes to keeping your curls, kinks, and coils looking their best, don’t forget what’s underneath. We all pay attention to our strands, but the scalp is sometimes forgotten. The scalp is the foundation for great hair! If the scalp is unhealthy, the hair is unhealthy. Whether dealing with dryness, a lack of hair growth, or an overall oiliness, your scalp is just as important as your strands.
There are many different scalp treatments out there. No matter what scalp issue you are dealing with, there’s one that can help heal your foundation and keep those curls gorgeous.


Does "the tingle mean it's working", or nah? #PeppermintOil

"The tingle means it’s working.” Have you ever heard that before? Two tingling oils that are popular with curly girls are peppermint oil and tea tree oil, and while they both sound like great natural oils to use for hair and scalp what do we actually know about their tingling effects? Let’s first find out what they are and can do.

Read On!>>>

Is Dandruff Causing Your Dry, Flaky Scalp? #OrNah

by Audrey Sivasothy of The Science of Black Hair

Think it’s Dandruff? Think Again!

Everyone has had to deal with dandruff at one point or another. And let’s face it, those flakes are just never welcome! For most of us, a quick washing with Head and Shoulders, Nizoral, Selsun Blue, or some tea-tree inspired something is enough to clear up most flake flare ups— but sometimes dandruff can be, well . . . not really dandruff. If you’ve used every dandruff treatment in the book and still can’t seem to beat the flakes, it might be that you are really fighting something other than dandruff.

How do you know if your dandruff is just dandruff, a false alarm, or a real symptom of something else entirely?

Read On>>>

Is It Really Bad to Grease Your Scalp?

by Nicole Hollis of Hair Liberty

If you grew up in a traditional African American household, a jar of hair grease was never too far away. Oiling the scalp with thick grease was thought to be a staple of any good hair care regimen. Today, experts advise against oiling the scalp, but many African American women still believe that hair grease is a part of obtaining healthy hair. But is it really helpful? Or can it cause more damage than good?

Read More!>>>

Combat Dry Scalp This Fall and Winter

by Michelle Thames of HappilyEverNatural.com

Now that Fall is upon us and winter is approaching, I have began to notice my scalp becoming dry because of the cold weather. I have always dealt with dry scalp issues, even while I was relaxed. I want to focus on the health of my hair and scalp so I look for healthy, natural ways to help combat the issues I have with my hair.  So far, I have found three, effective ways that have helped me combat my dry and itchy scalp.

 Read On!>>>

Should I Oil My Scalp?

  by Kanisha of BlackNaps.org

Scalp care is a very important part of natural hair care. Sometimes we tend to focus on the health of our strands and neglect paying close attention to scalp health and maintenance.

Read On!>>>

The Reason Braid Extensions Make You Itch

by Ariane of BlackNaps.com

Everyone loves the beauty and the ease of braid extension styles, but what isn’t so cool is the terrible itching! Thankfully there is a solution to prevent this from happening so you can enjoy your braids without having that unpleasant itch.

Read On!>>>

How I Improved My Mortifying Scalp Condition...

 by Naila Carter, TheWeaveWhisperer

Itchy, flakey, noticeable and embarrassing are some adjectives you could use to describe my scalp. 

Shampoo’s didn’t work.  Coconut oil didn’t work.  Right after a shampoo, you could part my hair and find a scalp fully covered in an itchy, white substance.  I began fearing my hair would begin thinning and fall out. It was time to pay the dermatologist a visit. 

4 Home Remedies for Healthy Scalp and Hair Growth

Why has there been such focus on the crown of one’s head? It appears that people from all cultures experience scalp tenderness, excessive oiliness, dryness, flakiness, itchiness, and even thinning at the crown of the head more so than any other area of the scalp. Let's take a deeper look into the significance of the crown to discover what is beneath the surface.

Read On!>>>

Dandruff or Dry Scalp?- Natural Hair Care Remedies

Question: What’s the difference between dry scalp and dandruff?

Prima asks…A stylist told me the cause of dandruff is sulfur in shampoos and conditioners. Is this true? If it is, why do people also say that weather has an effect on dry scalp?


Let’s just start by explaining the difference between the dandruff and dry scalp.

What is dandruff?

Dandruff is not just a flaky scalp. In fact, your scalp flakes ALL the time but you usually don’t see it because in a healthy scalp the flakes are microscopic. Dandruff occurs when the flakes are large and are accompanied by itching and inflammation.

Scalp Massage for Healthy, Natural Hair Growth

by Nicole Harmon of Hair Liberty

You can massage your scalp to slowly stimulate hair growth. It's a great technique for areas that have thinned due to weaves and braids. The key to seeing results is consistency. Massaging your scalp a couple of times a week may not make a difference. Commit to a daily massage for at least a month for your best chance at success.

Read On!>>>

Can Natural Oils Make Dandruff Worse?

Duchess Gummy Buns says:

I saw on this hair blog that if you have dandruff you should avoid putting natural oils on your scalp because it would make it worse. If this is true, I am so sad because I really loved massaging oil into my scalp but I wonder if that’s why my dandruff is still in a certain spot on my scalp and won’t be relieved by any dandruff shampoos that I have been trying?

The Beauty Brains respond:

Natural oils like coconut, shea butter, and others contain a chemical known as oleic acid. To understand the effect of oleic acid on your scalp we have to talk a little bit about the causes of dandruff.

Causes of dandruff

We know from the technical literature there are three key factors that determine if you’ll have dandruff: the activity of Malassezia fungi, the presence of sebaceous secretions, and your own individual sensitivity.

These fungi break down the triglycerides (fatty oils) from your scalp and release fatty acids. Recent research by P&G has shown that the fungi prefer saturated fatty acids which means they leave behind the unsaturated fatty acids, like oleic acid. The structure of these unsaturated fatty acids allow them to penetrate the skin’s natural barrier where they trigger an irritation response that leads to flaking and itching.


Do You Exfoliate Your Scalp?

via Just Curlz

Most of us exfoliate our face, our hands, our feet, our neck... but have you ever considered exfoliating your scalp? We all tend to buy the requisite shampoos, conditioners and various stylers. But how often do you think about your scalp? Do you massage it? Exfoliate it? Most of you would answer a 'NO' for this. Did you know that our scalp is one of the most neglected parts of our body? Our hair is rooted in the scalp, so it's kind of important.  Neglecting your scalp can result in severe hair damage and premature hair loss. After all, it's the scalp that provides all the necessary nutrients to the hair root to make your hair more healthy and strong. So let's give it some TLC!

The purpose for exfoliating your scalp is the same as exfoliating your face, which is to remove the dead cells, which tend to accumulate and cause problems. The funny part, is that the most common reason behind dead skin and gunk on the scalp is the use of products which supposedly are used for boosting good hair health! Usage of hair gels, and not thoroughly rinsing away shampoo and that delicious deep conditioner, can all result in the accumulation of left over sediment on the scalp. This can create problems like itchiness, dandruff, flakiness, and dryness; which ultimately results in preventing the hair from receiving proper nourishment for continued hair growth. Gently exfoliating your scalp at least once a week can also increase circulation to the hair follicles which will definitely prove to be beneficial for healthy hair growth. The process is very simple and can be done before, during, or after you shampoo or condition your hair.

On the market, there are scalp exfoliating treatments and scalp exfoliators such as-

1. Carols Daughter Scalp Exfoliating Treatment
2. My Honey Child's Honey Bee Sweet Scalp Exfoliater
3. Organic Root Stimulator Scalp Scrub
4. Jane Carter Scalp Renew

Or you can choose to create your own scalp scrub. The most popular do it yourself (DIY) recipe is the brown sugar scalp scrub (look for fine granules!) but there are other DIY recipes as well- 

1. White sugar and Jojoba Scrub
2. Molasses Sugar scrub
3. Crushed Almond Scalp Exfoliator
4. Oatmeal Scalp Scrub

Keep in mind that when you do exfoliate your scalp, that it must be done gently. Whether you are using a store brought scalp scrub or using a DIY mix, you can cause tears and damage to the scalp when you scrub aggressively or roughly with fingernails. Always scrub gently with the pads of your fingertips.

Do you exfoliate your scalp?
If so, do you use a store bought scalp scrub or do you prefer to create your own?

You Reap What You Sow - Caring For The Scalp

You reap what you sow, and if this is completely true, then I hope you are sowing on fertile ground. What am I talking about? Your scalp of course! A healthy scalp is the origins of healthy hair journey and it's extremely important for optimal hair growth. 

Define A Healthy Scalp
A healthy scalp is a clean and stimulated scalp. Skin that  is toned, pliable and stimulated much like the skin on your face is also a indication of a healthy scalp. 
  • A toned and flexible scalp indicates a healthy arrangement of connective tissue and nourishing blood vessels.
  • A pliable scalp skin allows for better circulation to the hair follicles. 

How Do I Maintain A Healthy Scalp? 


Maintain A Balanced Diet
Did you know that your hair and nails are the last parts of your body to receive nourishment? Once the major organs of the body such as the brain, heart and kidney have received their nutrition, then and only then is the hair given some love. So maintaining a healthy well balanced diet is imperative for a healthy scalp since the hair will be leaving the follicles. The follicle supplies your hair with all of the nutrients available from the left over storage in your blood stream. Once your hair leaves the follicle, it is no longer living, and no longer continues to receive any benefit from a late change to a healthy diet. Without the continued nourishment from the follicle and scalp, the hair is on its own at this point. If your diet is lacking in one or two areas, consider adding supplements such as biotin, msm and a b-complex.

Avoid Extreme Heat
The heat from blow dryers and even hooded dryers can deplete the moisture from the scalp and hair. Proper use of the blow dryer is key to avoiding major damage. Be sure to point the blow dryers heat down the hair shaft and not directly towards the scalp. This technique will avoid the roughing of the hair cuticle.   

Keep Products Gentle
Avoid shampoos with ammonium and sodium lauryl sulfate for your weekly shampooing session. Sulfate and paraben free shampoos get the hair very clean without stripping and irritating the scalp. Clarifying shampoos should be reserved to once to twice a month at the very most, and they should always be followed by a moisturizing conditioner. If you are a swimmer, all traces of chlorine should be removed from the scalp and hair with a chelating shampoo. Those who work out and sweat heavily should take care to rinse their scalps with warm water to remove all drying salts from the sweat. Some find it necessary to thoroughly rinse co-washing conditioners and deep conditioners from the scalp as they can cause irritation and itchiness. 

How do you care for your scalp? Let me know in the comment section below.

Summer Dry Scalp Remedies for Natural Hair

There are numerous causes for dry scalp, but some of the more common ones include:
  • Fatty acids deficiency
  • Sudden and stressful change in diet
  • Use of a hair dryer
  • Air condition
  • Gels/sprays containing alcohol
  • Excess shampooing
  • Dehydration
  • Excessive use of caffeine or other diuretic foods or drinks
Summer brings with it cause for many of these factors, so below are a list of remedies to heal your dry scalp woes for the warmer months!

Dry Scalp Remedies:

  • Spritzing- Make a simple hair spritz. This spritz can be as simple as water and tea tree oil (rose oil is great too) or your can use a store bought spray leave-in conditioner. Just spritz your scalp throughout the week, when your scalp looks dry or gets itchy. Make sure, whatever you use doesn't have heavy oils that could cause build up, you want it to be a light spray that your scalp can absorb. (this may also be a great alternative to greasing the scalp.) 
  • Balanced Diet- Eat a well balanced diet with lots of fresh fruits and raw vegetables. Limit the amount of starches, fatty and processed foods and drink plenty of water. 
  • Scalp Massage- Using the pads of your fingers, apply oil little by little to different parts of your scalp, parting your hair as needed. Also work some oil along the length of your hair. Then, using the pads of your fingers, work the oil into your scalp, using circular motions. Slow, deliberate movements are relaxing while steady but vigorous movement helps enhance energy and circulation. 
  • Co-Washing- Co-washing is simply washing the hair with conditioner (usually something inexpensive like Suave or even WhiteRain). This allows you to hydrate your scalp and rinse some oils and dirt off of your hair. The amount of times you need to co-wash a week depends on your hair needs. 3 to 4 times a week is a great start, just increase or decrease from there.
Effective Oils:
  • Grapeseed oil- Grapeseed oil is rich with antioxidants and has many beneficial properties for the hair and scalp. It is easily absorbed into the body and is good for people with sensitive skin because of its non-allergenic properties. 
  • Jojoba oil- Jojoba oil is great for hair that is dry or damaged, and it helps to moisturize and protect hair follicles against factors that cause hair loss. Apply jojoba oil after washing and towel drying your hair. Leave in the hair for at least 20 to 30 minutes, then rinse. 
  • Coconut oil- Coconut oil works to condition, protect and moisturize your scalp, helping to promote healthy, growing hair.  
  • Rosemary oil- Rosemary is an excellent herb for hair health. It can promote hair growth. Research reveals its cancer-inhibiting effect, in addition to being a natural circulatory stimulant. In a bowl, put 2 tablespoons dried rosemary and 1 / 2 cup olive oil. Heat it in microwave for 2 minutes. Let it stand for 2 or 3 days. Strain and pour into a bottle. Massage the scalp with this oil after shampooing.


How are you keeping your scalp happy this summer?

Remedies for Flaky Scalp in the Winter

Tisha asks, Have any suggestions for how to keep your scalp from flaking up during the winter?

Make sure it's not product buildup
- I'm guilty of feeling like I have to over moisturize my hair with products in the colder months...make sure the flakes you see aren't just from too much product application close to your scalp. Give you hair a good cleansing, paying close attention to get rid of build-up near your roots.

Keep it covered- if you have the luxury, protect your tresses and scalp from the harsh winter elements by donning a satin bonnet and covering with a cute knit hat. This got me through Freshman year, and I recommend it for anyone able to rock a more informal look during the winter months.

Cut back on drying shampoos- A lot of shampoos (not all) contain Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, an ingredient that can be drying if used in excess. Opt for co-washing, making sure to gently massage your scalp with your fingers to loosen any build up you may have.

Scalp Massage
- Moisturizing oils such as coconut oils can be enhanced further as a scalp treatment by adding essential oils such as lavender, rosemary, tea-tree, and peppermint, all of which help combat dry scalp. Using the pads of your fingers, apply the oil little by little to different parts of your scalp, parting your hair as needed. Using the pads of your fingers, work the oil into your scalp, using circular motions. Slow, deliberate movements are relaxing while steady but vigorous movement helps enhance energy and circulation. (Read more about the benefits of scalp massage here)

Manage from the inside out
- Make sure you're drinking enough water, and consider taking supplements (I love my Trader Joe's multivitamin) to ensure you're body is getting the nutrients it needs to look and feel your best!

How do you manage dry, flaky winter scalp?

Scalp Eczema- How To Soothe That Itch!

Via DrPhoenyx.com

I decided to write about eczema today because I've been hit up in the past couple weeks by quite a few ladies who are dealing with scalp eczema and other forms of dermatitis. I truly empathize with these women because years ago I suffered from a case of eczema and it was truly a frustrating experience. Fortunately it was just a one-time flare up. But that one time flare-up was enough to make me upgrade my hair products, skin products, and even change certain aspects of my diet. If you’re dealing with eczema or chronic dermatitis then hopefully the suggestions I offer may help with alleviating your symptoms. But before we get to that, let me take a minute to share some general information about eczema and dermatitis.

Dermatitis itself just means skin inflammation-- “derma” meaning skin and “itis” meaning inflammation. The term dermatitis is very broad and encompasses many types of skin conditions. Eczema is just one type of dermatitis.

Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a chronic allergic skin condition. It can occur on almost any part of the body and is characterized by areas of itchy, scaly, leathery and blistering skin that worsens when scratched. In many cases the cause of eczema can be traced back to an allergen or allergens. In some cases, the allergen can be a harsh chemical found in cosmetics, soaps and detergents. In other cases eczema can also be caused by dust mites or even pet dander. Symptoms of eczema can also be worsened by temperature changes and stress. And when located on the scalp, eczema and dermatitis can even lead to hair loss.

When treating dermatitis/eczema I suggest that women do 3 key things:

1) start using more natural or hypoallergenic hair care and skin products
2) do a clean sweep of their households as well as their household products
3) revamp their diets

Oftentimes ingredients in commercial products can be very aggravating to certain skin types. So switching to more natural or organic hair care products will help to alleviate symptoms of dermatitis. If you still want to use commercial products, I suggest that they only be hypoallergenic products. A product will be labeled as hypoallergenic if it is formulated without harsh chemicals and ingredients that can irritate the skin. After changing products, I also suggest that you thoroughly vacuum your home, toss the vacuum bag, immediately rewash all clothes and linens with a hypoallergenic brand of laundry detergent, and if you don’t have one already, seriously consider getting a water filter/softener. Lastly, you should try the topical remedies and dietary recommendations I have listed below. Try these all of these things for a few weeks and see how they work. It may take some time to get to the root cause dermatitis. And if all else fails there are other medical treatments such as prescription strength steroid creams and ointments that can be obtained from your doctor.

Topical Remedies for Dermatitis

Ayurvedic: neem, aloe vera

jojoba oil, emu oil

Essential oils: lavender, chamomile

Other topical treatments:
topical vitamin E, calendula lotion/cream

When using these topical remedies, apply immediately to affected area after a warm shower or bath.

Dietary Recommendations for Dermatitis

Take a gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) supplement. GLA is a fatty acid found in evening primrose oil, black currant oil and borage oil. Take 500 mg twice a day. It may take six to eight weeks to see results when taking supplements. You should not take evening primrose oil while pregnant.
Remove all dairy products from your diet (i.e. cheese and milk)

Avoid processed grains (i.e. white bread or white rice)

Consider switching to a gluten free diet

Avoid soy products

Remove hydrogenated oils and margarine from your diet

Cut back on beef, pork and chicken consumption.

Dealing with eczema? share your story below!

If you’d like to send a comment/question to Dr. Phoenyx Austin, you can find her on Facebook and Twitter. Dr. Phoenyx is a writer, media personality, and physician.

The Pros and Cons of Oiling Your Scalp

Timi Komonibo of Naturallycurly writes:

When was the last time you oiled your scalp? We habitually engage in dangerous hair practices that strip our hair of its essential oils and nutrients. Applying excessive shampoos, excessive hair washing and not applying enough conditioner are unhealthy practices for your scalp. Hair oils can moisturize the scalp and stimulate its pores to produce more healthy, natural oils. But keep in mind that however beneficial oiling the scalp may be for many people, it might not be right for everyone. Check out these pros and cons to help you decide if oiling your scalp is for you!

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