My Itchy Scalp Secret Weapons

 

Boy look up and scratches his head
Photo by Igor Stepovic

I have struggled with itchy, flaky scalp for a significant portion of my life. Heck, my parents have even said that I had the worst cradle cap as an infant. Then to add insult to injury, I was diagnosed with scalp psoriasis (on top of the dandruff I already have) when I was 30. Needless to say, I’ve gone through a lot of products marketed for itchy, flaky scalps. And I do mean A LOT.

Another part of the challenge of having itchy scalp issues is finding products that won’t completely dry me out. It wasn’t until recently that companies have come out with sulfate and silicone free dandruff products. I really had to look high and low.

So, here are some products and techniques that have worked for me to keep my scalp healthy and keep the itching/flaking at bay.

Jason Dandruff Treatment Shampoo

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Image from jason-personalcare.com

When I was first diagnosed with scalp psoriasis, my dermatologist recommended a clinical strength shampoo from a popular dandruff shampoo brand. Because I prefer not to have sulfates and silicones in my shampoos, I looked into alternatives. I looked up the active ingredients in the clinical strength shampoo and did a search for sulfate free shampoos that had it. Lo and behold, this Jason Dandruff Shampoo was on top of the list and at the time I could find it at my local Kroger. I used it religiously for a few months, and now I use it as a periodic clarifying shampoo, since it is a little drying.

Shampoo Brush

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Image from MySoigne.com

Don’t have a shampoo brush? Get one! My favorite is this one from My Soigne. I love it because it’s all one piece and the bristles are the perfect balance between firm and soft. Also, it’s lavender.

Witch I Love Your Hair Magic Hair Mist

I tried a lot of scalp oils and all they really did was make my hair look greasy, cause breakouts on my forehead, and just didn’t make much difference. I know scalp oils can work great for many other curly haired folks, but unfortunately I am not one of them. I had seen Witch I Love Your Hair all over Instagram, but hadn’t tried it for whatever reason. I finally took the plunge and ordered a bottle and I was immediately impressed. It has peppermint, lavender, and rosemary essential oils (all great for scalp health) in addition to Jamaican Black Castor Oil and Argan Oil. I like to spray it directly on to my scalp and massage it in for the best results.

My Soigne Hair Cleanser

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Image by MySoigne.com

The My Soigne Hair Cleanser is probably the ONLY co-wash I have ever liked on my scalp. It has aloe vera, apple cider vinegar, turmeric, jojoba oil, jojoba esters, tea tree oil, and peppermint oil. The little jojoba esters help clean the scalp without drying it out. Also, the esters rinse out pretty easily. I’ve tried some scalp exfoliating scrubs that took me FOREVER to get completely rinsed out.

I even gave this cleanser AND the scalp brush to my mom for Christmas, and she loves them.

Also, the owner of My Soigne is amazing and super sweet. She also has a baby girl who is so cute that my ovaries explode every time she shares pictures of her.

Coal Tar Shampoo Hack

Coal Tar Shampoo is one of those necessary evils for those of us with scalp psoriasis. It smells nasty and can be extremely drying, but it can help. I don’t have to use it very often now, but when I do, I do this to keep it from drying my hair out:

Use it with my deep conditioning treatment.

You see, the instructions on the coal tar shampoo bottle say to leave it on for “several” minutes for it to be effective. What else do we curly girls do for several minutes every so often? Deep condition!

So…how do I do this?

Apply the coal tar shampoo to the affected parts of my scalp. Then I work the deep conditioner into the rest of my hair, and leave it in for however long I decide to leave it in.

Then I rinse the deep conditioner AND coal tar shampoo out. My scalp gets what it needs AND my hair doesn’t get dried out.

T-Sal Shampoo

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Image from neutrogenamd.com

In my research for sulfate free shampoos, I found out that the Neutrogena T-Sal Shampoo is sulfate free. It does have sodium C14-16 olefin sulfonateĀ in it, which is one of the more cleansing surfactants in sulfate free shampoos. This shampoo is meant to be a clarifying shampoo, so not meant to be used everyday, but we curly girls don’t usually wash our hair everyday.

How about you?

These are a few of the things that have been working for me. If you’ve had luck with these products, or you have other products that have worked well for your own itchy scalp issues, let me know! I’m always looking for something that itchy curly girls can love.

 

 

Roots and Boots Review

This was my first time receiving a hair product free for review, and yet my original interactions with the people behind Roots and Boots LLC were not hair related at all. I met Katie in a Facebook group completely unrelated to haircare, but the topic of curly hair came up and she offered to send me some of her products to try out.

Roots and Boots does not exclusively sell hair care products. In fact, it’s only a small part of what they sell. They sell handmade soaps, skincare products, lotion bars, pain relief lotions/oils, bath bombs, etc. They even have a section called “Jacob Friendly”; these particular products are safe for those who have allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, dairy, soy, and melons. As the mother of a child with food allergies, I think this is extremely thoughtful.

The women behind Roots and Boots are Anna and Katie: two moms who struggle with chronic health conditions. They started Roots and Boots to help other people like them. Their philosophy behind their products: if they won’t use the products on their families, they won’t sell it.

I chose to try out the Lemon and Lavender Shampoo, Lemon and Lavender Conditioner, and Lemongrass and Ginger Detangler.

First off, I want to rave about the customer service. When my products arrived, the conditioner pump did not work and they sent me a new pump right away! There is even an option when you are ordering to let them know if you have any sensitivities or allergies so they can accommodate you. I had questions about the ingredients in the detangling spray and they answered them right away. Also, the products came wrapped in pretty fabric rather than paper and plastic! I love me some pretty fabric.

Katie told me that she loved how lightweight the products were on her hair. I have to admit, I was a little skeptical of this because I normally want ALL THE MOISTURE. My hair is naturally dry, after all. I also don’t normally use detangling sprays.

The shampoo and conditioner both smell lovely: citrusy and floral. Nothing too overwhelming. The shampoo has a liquid gel consistency while the conditioner is very liquidy.

I felt like the shampoo cleaned my scalp enough without drying me out, and it didn’t seem to aggravate my flaky scalp issues. It lathered up pretty nicely too.

As I previously said, the conditioner is very liquidy. Normally, the conditioners I use are super creamy, so this was a new experience for me *laughs*. I had to use a fair bit to get the right amount of slip, but this is par for the course for curly haired folks. But the nice thing about this conditioner is that if you have dry hair (like me), you don’t have to rinse it out completely.

I mentioned above that I don’t normally use detangling sprays because they tend to be too light for me.

The spray has kind of a spicy citrus smell that I didn’t care for at first, but it has grown on me. I tried using this on my daughters’ hair, but neither of them liked the fragrance. Otherwise, the detangler worked great in their hair.

The slip isn’t amazing in my own hair, but since I do almost all my detangling in the shower, I don’t need a ton of slip in my leave-in conditioners

For my first time using the Roots and Boots line, I decided to use just the shampoo, conditioner, and detangling spray without any other stylers just to get a baseline for how my hair would look. I was expecting my hair to be completely frizzy by day three with no styling products. Remember my skepticism about how “lightweight” the products were?

These pictures are how my hair looked for three days without any styling products besides the detanger. I was pleasantly surprised. While yes, my hair was on the frizzy side by the third day…it was the voluminous, beachy waves kind of frizz.

I admit that volume wasn’t a big priority for me when I first started embracing my curls fully. In fact, I wanted nothing to do with volume. Because to me, volume meant frizz and frizz was to be avoided at all costs.

But thanks to these products, I am starting to embrace my volume as a natural part of my texture. Even if there’s a little frizz.

The only improvement I would suggest is a wider range of scents and maybe some thicker, creamier products for those who want extra moisture.

All in all, I enjoyed trying the Roots and Boots hair products out and I learned even more how to embrace my waves. If you’re looking for sulfate free, silicone free, natural hair products that are reasonably priced AND you want to support a small business, then you want to try out Roots and Boots.