-

We have been trained to grab products in the salon that moisturize dry hair or dry skin. When thinking of skin, though, are you remembering the scalp?

Healthy hair starts at the scalp. For hair to grow properly, follicles need to be cleared and surrounding skin needs to be in good condition for regular cell turnover. This means, the skin at the top of the head should be exfoliated, cleaned and maintain just as the skin on his face should be. Not properly caring for the scalp can cause irritation, itchiness and even hair loss.

We asked salon pros what causes dry, itchy scalps and how they combat this both in the salon and once clients leave their chair. 

1. Dry conditions. Winter weather is characterized by lack of moisture in the air, which can dehydrate hair and skin. Whether it be unfavorable weather conditions or dry air blasting through heating or cooling systems, such environments seem to zap the moisture out of everything in their path.  

“After we turn on the heat to stay warm, it's a lot of hot dry air that can dry out the skin,” says stylist Brendan Buoni of Tacoma, WA. “I recommend my clients drink more water, use hydrating shampoos and conditioners, and use an apple cider vinegar rinse to help control dandruff and flaky skin.”

“I recommend a nice oil for him to include in his routine when styling,” says stylist McKenna Anzaldua of Colorado. “This helps give them that extra moisture their hair craves especially in those winter months!”

Stylist Liz Cook of Phoenix also recommends scalp rebalancing products and a boar bristle brush, which will slough away dead skin.

2. Excess heat when styling. If he uses a hair dryer in his grooming routine, ask him about his heat settings. If it’s too hot, it likely can cause scalp irritation, even damage. The Dyson Supersonic™ Professional Edition offers Intelligent Heat Control technology. The device is armed with a microprocessor, which receives data from the thermistor monitoring the exit air flow temperature 40 times per second, and transmits calculated instructions to the heating element to timely regulate the temperature. This Intelligent Heat Control ensures that the Supersonic does not exceed 293°F.

It’s when temperatures exceed 302 degrees that real damage can happen—it can cause hair keratin denaturation and can cause inner structural damage like cortex loss and medulla pores. With the velocity of the Dyson digital motor, hair dries faster and more effectively while protecting it from extreme heat damage. As a result, your client’s hair and scalp don’t get scorched

3. The wrong products. You can’t control what clients do at home, but urge them to only use professional products.

“I would emphatically recommend clients purchase a professional, salon-grade shampoo,” says stylist Trevor James of Chicago. “Clients should never, under any circumstances, use a drug-store shampoo or conditioner. They will strip hair and scalp of any moisture it has and I promise you that you will experience a dry, flakey scalp. You don’t want that.”

Additionally, if your guest has aversions to certain ingredients in any product, that can also cause scalp irritation and they should switch to something else immediately.

4. Over washing. “A lot of times I feel men wash every day, so the scalp tries out quickly,” says stylist Amanda Ludwig of Philadelphia.

Beyond a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner, have him alternate days he uses product during his shower. A rinse will do the trick and keep healthy oils on the scalp.