What Should I Do About My Scalp?


People talk about trying too many products and ‘messing up their skin.’ Until recently, I thought that only applied to the face—surprise, surprise, it doesn't. Lately, I did try too many things...but they were hair things, and the skin I messed up was on my scalp instead of my face. My whole head?! Yes, my whole head.

The main culprit was cleansing conditioners. For some reason, I started skipping shampoo and cowashing instead. I'll admit it: I bought into one too many marketing schemes, so I started reading into ingredient lists, getting paranoid, and ironically, using the wrong things. Trying to be safe got me screwed.

The root of the problem is this: My hair doesn't like shampoo, but my scalp does. When I shampoo too little, my hair looks great—there's a little bit of curl, but not too much. It's the kind of styling I don't have to think about. The dream. The downside is dandruff. For a while, I figured it was the result of stress and not my incredible new hair routine, but I was wrong. When I went back to regular shampooing (I’m talking with sulfates and suds and not just once or twice a week) everything resolves itself.

So what I’ve got here it seems is an incredibly oily scalp (it is adjacent to my face so I shouldn’t be too shocked) paired with brittle, dry, sad, fluffy hair. Currently I shampoo regularly and just douse my hair with a mix of Shu Uemura oil, Kiehl's Creme de Corps, John Masters Sea Spray and the Rene Furterer serum in the hopes of it looking like "one week" hair; alas, it never does. I think my solution may be some type of super shampoo that might not be invented yet (cleansing conditioners still leave my scalp oily!). It could also be a magic styling product that goes in on your hair. If I had long hair it could shampoo the scalp and leave the rest but that doesn' work with short hair.

I think this deserves a good, long ITG group think. How do you keep your scalp crystal clean and exfoliated but make your hair as dirty as possible? Do you even have this problem? Am I the only one?

—Tom Newton

Photographed by the author.

For a good, clean feeling—no matter what: Eva has recommendations for the very best in clarifying shampoos over here.