There’s a great deal of talk about healthy hair, but Bridgette Hill, a Philip Kingsley–trained trichologist and one of New York City’s top colorists, advises that the bigger issue can be an overlooked scalp. “Simply put, our hair formation and growth begin below the skin,” she says. “By the time the hair protrudes from the hair follicle, it has already been formed.”
She adds that the scalp is the root connection between internal health and external beauty. “The quality of the hair follicle is dependent upon the quality of the tissue, cells, and blood that fuel the follicle which makes our hair fiber. If there are deficiencies in vitamins, minerals, nutrients, declining health, intake of toxic medications, or high cortisol levels due to [stress], the hair follicle may be negatively affected and compromise hair growth. If there is an overproduction or underproduction in certain hormones, the hair follicle may be negatively impacted leading to hair shedding, thinning, and a problematic scalp.”
Also known as the “Scalp Therapist,” Hill advises a proper scalp routine that mirrors a skin care regime, but without the daily commitment. “Depending on the condition and health of the scalp, a weekly, bimonthly, or monthly regimen should be adhered to,” she says. For a healthy to normal scalp, Hill suggests monthly pre-shampoo scalp treatments at home as well as quarterly in-salon scalp treatments for maintenance. Hill is available for consultations and appointments locally at the Paul Labrecque Salon and Spa in Palm Beach.
Below, Hill outlines her recommended scalp routine.
A Pre-shampoo Scalp Treatment
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- Begin with an appropriate scalp mask or oil that addresses your scalp condition.
- Apply the scalp pretreatment to dry, uncleansed hair.
- Activate the scalp muscles and improve circulation by massaging the scalp. Start your massage at the nape of the neck, using both hands and working your fingers up the head to the crown. Then work from the base of the ear to top of the head on both sides. Spend three to five minutes massaging the appropriate oil into the scalp to soften skin cells, exfoliate, and remove debris to encourage blood flow.
- Sleep in your pre-shampoo scalp treatments for optimal results (invest in a scalp pillow and pillowcase to avoid ruining your linens) or follow the product’s recommended processing time.
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- Use a detoxifying shampoo or a shampoo with active ingredients specific to your underlying scalp condition.
- Apply the cleansing agent directly to the scalp and not to the hair fibers. Pour the shampoo into a plastic hair color applicator bottle and use the nozzle of the applicator bottle to distribute the shampoo directly onto the scalp.
- Massage the shampoo into the scalp allow it sit for five minutes. Then step into the shower, completely wet the hair, and emulsify.
- Rinse thoroughly and condition with conditioner for your specific hair type and texture.
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- Finish with a topical water-based serum or lotion that promotes hair health or addresses your specific scalp concern.