A Pro Hairstylist On the Top Scalp Care Mistakes to Avoid

Dry shampoo works wonders on three-day (or even five-day!) hair, especially if you find that your scalp tends to get itchy after a day or two without a wash. And when it comes to treating a dry scalp, some people use hair oils to rehydrate— but as pro hairstylist and makeup artist Brian C. Hawkins explains, this solution may not work for everyone.

“There’s a misconception that placing oil on the scalp as well as the hair keeps them from getting dry,” he says. “What this actually does is cause the pores and follicles on the scalp to close, which not only dries and damages the scalp, but also prevents healthy hair growth.”

Another no-no? Using products that don’t actually moisturize and rubbing them onto the scalp, says Hawkins. He recommends using Canviiy, an organic itch-calming scalp care line that uses natural botanicals like aloe vera, lavender, jojoba and peppermint oil, and manuka honey to treat and soothe the skin about two to three times a week. “A little goes a long way to not only soothe dry scalp but also medicates the scalp and helps promote healthy hair growth as well. It must be massaged into the scalp — don’t just apply and rub; truly massage [the product] in to the scalp,” he says.

Then there’s the topic of shampooing correctly. “Shampoo the scalp and then your hair,” says Hawkins. “Most give a light massage in the scalp and more on the hair but in reality the scalp must be properly cleansed in order to be healthy.”

And while it seems a no-brainer to avoid using sharp objects near your noggin, try not to reach for that No. 2 pencil on your desk the next time you need to satisfy an itch on your head. (Plus, it’s kinda gross.) Don’t use your nails, ink pen tip, or anything sharp or pointed directly on your scalp,” Hawkins says. “Once you cause an abrasion to the scalp, it is now damaged and prone to infection as well. So should your scalp itch, simply use your finger tip and massage what itches — don’t directly scratch.

When it comes to hair extensions, Hawkins recommends allowing your scalp and mane to breathe for at least a week or two before getting new ones.

“Your scalp and natural hair need a break. If you’re getting braided in extensions, avoid getting braids that are so tight that they damage the scalp and your hair,” he says. “Once that happens, that prevents your scalp from healing. Using Canviiy — whether you have extensions or color-treated hair — directly to the scalp not only moisturizes the scalp but also has active ingredients to keep the scalp healthy and nourished.”

Now that you know how to properly care for that itchy scalp, watch the episode of The Cut below to find out how to go five days without washing your hair: