How to Fix a Dry, Flaky Scalp in Under 5 Minutes
Confession: We'd be lying if we said that dandruff didn't completely freak us out. In fact, we liken it to the rather unfortunate scenario of noticing pesto in our teeth mid-date—unavoidable, albeit totally cringeworthy. And while we know we shouldn't let an innocent sprinkling of flakes on our favourite black sweater send us into a tailspin of worry and frustration, a dry, flaky scalp is not our preferred accessory this fall. (We're more into plush lips and hair colour.)
However, as annoying as dandruff is, it's one of those pesky problems that at one point or another happens to just about everyone. And according to dermatologist Dr. Elizabeth Tanzi, the founder and director of Capital Laser & Skin Care, there's not a lot you can do to actually prevent it—especially when winter's cooler temperatures are still lingering. (According to Tanzi, the frigid air will exacerbate a dry, flaky scalp, which is an annoying side effect of dandruff, scientifically known as seborrheic dermatitis.) The key, as it turns out, is all in how you manage it. Tanzie explained to us that the best thing you can do is look for a shampoo or scalp treatment that specifically targets dandruff and the accompanying dry, flaky scalp. If you go with a scalp treatment, Tanzi recommends letting it sit a while prior to rinsing, and if you continue to have problems, it might be time to go in and see a dermatologist for a prescription.
In the meantime, however, Byrdie HQ has some suggestions in the form of a master list featuring our favourite, tried-and-true remedies for a dry, flaky scalp. Keep reading for the six products that never fail to save our skin.
Christophe Robin Cleansing Purifying Scrub With Sea Salt ($62)
Great for any hair type, this purifying scrub is infused with sea salt and specially formulated to detoxify and hydrate even the most sensitive of scalps. The sea salt supports healthy blood circulation while simultaneously nixing product or chemical buildup. You can use it in lieu of your normal shampoo, but be sure to follow with a moisturising conditioner on your ends.
True Moringa Face, Hair, and Body Oil ($45)
Intensely moisturising, albeit surprisingly lightweight, this nourishing oil is thoughtfully made from pure moringa oil and is one of nature’s best natural moisturisers. Remember those hot oil treatments from back in the day? Think of this as the 2.0 version. While still in your warm, steamy bathroom post-shower, massage a generous amount (three to five drops should be ample) into your roots and work gently down through your ends. Your dry, flaky scalp will thank you for it. Feel free to leave it in or wash it out after a daylong Netflix binge.
Aveda Pramasana Exfoliating Scalp Brush ($49)
Nothing feels better than a scalp massage, and when your schedule or your S.O. is unwilling, this exfoliating scalp brush from Aveda does the trick beautifully. In fact, it’s basically dry brushing for your head. Intrigued? Before you shampoo, work the brush over your scalp and through your strands. Not only does it feel ah-mazing, but it will increase circulation and effortlessly loosen any buildup or impurities.
Lush Superbalm Scalp Treatment ($15)
The Rolls-Royce of scalp treatments, this supremely nourishing ointment specifically targets even the most stubborn scales and dandruff-ridden skin. Simply massage into your scalp, leave on for 20 minutes (may we also suggest a face mask?), and then shampoo it out. Infusions of coconut oil, candelilla wax, and chamomile blue oil help calm irritated skin while naturally forming salicylic acid softens buildup pre-cleanse.
CAKE Restorative Scalp Tonic ($105)
Borderline legendary, this restorative scalp treatment is worth the investment. It's a Byrdie cult-favorite and has just shy of 2,000 'loves' on Sephora's US website. Not only will it hydrate dry skin, it will also restore a balanced pH and promote hair future growth. Plus, it smells amazing (with notes of frankincense, sandalwood, and ylang ylang) and since it's a leave-in, the application couldn't be more effortless.