Our body contains many organs with differing functions, but our skin, which includes the scalp (i.e., our protective covering), is the largest organ within the body’s integumentary system.
The scalp is one of many places on the body where hair grows. The uppermost layer of the scalp is called the stratum corneum, and it renews every couple of weeks. This renewal process occurs a lot quicker than other skin on the body.
Typically the scalp’s skin renewal process is unnoticeable, but if there are issues such as irritation of the scalp, the flakes of skin may not fall off so easily and elongate the process of cell regrowth.
If you’re like most of our blog readers with textured hair, some of the common scalp conditions reported are:
- Alopecia areata
- Androgenetic alopecia
- Scalp Tenderness
- Seborrheic dermatitis
- Traction alopecia
Our process of using scalp massages for hair growth starts with a healthy scalp.
So, let’s get started.
How to Get a Healthy Scalp
For starters, we recommend that you treat your scalp as gently as you would treat your face. We talk to a lot of women about natural hair and this tip is often very eye-opening.
Just like the pores on your face, the pores of your scalp can be clogged. The follicles surrounding the hair can also be clogged by hair products (e.g., oils, butters, greases).
The continuous build-up of products on your scalp can cause issues with your ability to maintain proper protein-moisture balance, leading to excessive dryness and potentially impact your hair growth goals.
The scalp has its own moisturizing capability as it produces sebum. Sebum is an “oil” (i.e., oil-like substance) from the sebaceous glands.
There are people who may find that their scalp is always dry and flaky, but adding additional products to alleviate this dryness can be counterproductive, as the products might prevent the scalp’s natural oils from producing and create an imbalance.
As a result, even more flakiness and dryness will be experienced due to the lack of natural sebum and oil production.
People often want to put more products on their scalp when they notice that it’s dry because they think it will alleviate the issue. However, adding additional products can cause product build up on the scalp, clogging the pores, and not allowing the scalp to respire.
Just like any other area of your skin, the scalp’s pores need to be clean and clear so that sweat can get through, otherwise, you’ll have issues with product build-up. Hair products can clog your pores preventing the scalp from thriving.
The best way to care for your scalp is to maintain a consistent regimen for washing and conditioning your hair.
When you’re using moisturizing and styling products, we recommend applying products starting at the ends of your hair and working your way up the hair strand. The purpose is to minimize applying hair products to the scalp unnecessarily.
Use Gentle Hair Products
When you’re creating a natural hair regimen designed to promote hair growth, don’t regularly use harsh shampoos or other hair products that include primary ingredients like ammonium and sodium lauryl sulfate.
Clarifying shampoos should be used sparingly, at the most twice a month. For day to day washing, use moisturizing shampoos. For people who swim often, ensure that you are cleaning your hair with a chelating shampoo directly after swimming.
Chelating shampoos are strong enough to remove chlorine, although you’ll want to follow-up by using a moisturizing deep conditioning treatment. People who sweat a lot while working out should rinse their hair with cool water post workout to remove salt deposits on the scalp.
Stay Away from Excessive Heat
In general, don’t allow your scalp to be exposed to extreme heat. Heat styling tools, like flat irons, hair dryers and hair steamers are examples of tools that can be incredibly damaging when used incorrectly.
When drying your hair, avoid aiming your blow dryer directly at your scalp. The hot air can cause unnecessary dryness. Instead, aim the blowdryer (down) towards the hair strands.
Aiming your hair dryer downward will also mitigate follicle damage which can occur when your hair is blown in multiple directions.
Maintaining a Healthy Hair Diet
A healthy nutritional diet is essential for overall health, but it’s also important for the overall health of your hair. Your hair and nails receive nutrients only after your body has received what it needs.
Once your hair leaves the follicle, it no longer has access to the nutrients your body is releasing.
So maintaining a healthy nutritious diet will help you grow healthier hair, as it will have received the nutrients it needs while it was in the hair follicle. Learn more about the best foods for hair growth and thickness.
Scalp Health Utilizing Vitamins
As with any part of your body, vitamins and minerals play a huge part in scalp health. Without adequate nutrition in our diets, scalp health will suffer and therefore the overall strength and health of hair will suffer.
Fad diets and crash diets can have disastrous effects on your hair as they sometimes lack the structure of a well-balanced diet, thus not allowing your hair to receive the appropriate nutrients.
When your hair does not receive the necessary nutrients it needs to thrive, the overall strength of the hair strands will be impaired. When considering what foods to eat, aim for a diet with a lot of fresh produce, including fruits and vegetables.
Another component that encourages scalp health is regular exercise, as it is a stress reliever and improves the blood circulation throughout your body. Also, someone who is concerned about their scalp health should not smoking, as it constricts blood circulation.
Do Scalp Massages Stimulate Hair Growth?
Yes, scalp massages are effective at stimulating hair growth (or increasing hair thickness).
Regular scalp massages aid in providing steady blood circulation and allow for nutrients to reach the scalp. When the hair follicles receive a steady supply of blood they will remain active and healthy.
At the end of a long day, scalp massages can also double as a stress reliever. Scalp oil is distributed during massages. Massaging areas with thinning hair will aid in jump-starting hair growth (source).
The Perfect Scalp Massage
Scalp massages feel great; some women even say that their scalp feels warm and tingly after a good scalp massage.
We recommend that all women incorporate scalp massages into their natural hair regimen, especially if they’re trying to promote hair growth.
It’s common to use essential oils when you massage your scalp. We think it’s best to either massage your before washing your hair or after your hair has been washed, moisturized and sealed.
In this video, NappyFu TV, demonstrates 3 different DIY scalp massaging techniques. Products used in the video or mentioned include sweet almond oil, a handheld scalp massager, virgin hair fertilizer and wild growth light oil moisturizer.
Scalp Massaging Step-by-Step
- Part your scalp so that there are two sections in the front and two sections in the back. You’ll have four sections (parts) altogether.
- Start your scalp massage with the front two sections by pressing your finger pads (not your fingernails) onto the front edge of your hairline. Note that your finger pad is the fleshy underside of your finger.
- Spread your fingers along the entire front two sections of your scalp.
- Press your fingers firmly onto your scalp, so they are planted.
- Rotate your fingers so that they are rubbing the skin in a clockwise motion (right hand) or counterclockwise motion (left hand) maintaining your fingers in the same anchored spot. Massage the skin around beneath your fingers, but don’t use your nails, don’t slide your fingers and don’t mess with your hair. You want to mitigate the possibility of causing scalp irritation.
- Massage in the same spot for roughly 60 seconds.
- Move your fingers back about an inch and then repeat step 5 for another 60 seconds. You will continue to move your fingers back an inch until you have massaged the front two sections of your scalp. You should end up at the crown of your head.
- Next, start with your fingers at the nape of your neck. Use the same steps mentioned above and work your way up the back of your scalp, repeating step 5 until you have finished with the back two sections. Scalp massages have many benefits. They’re relaxing and they stimulate hair growth. Give it a try using the process outlined above.
Essential Oil Recipe for Scalp Massage
We encourage you to experiment with different essential oils but remember the more concentrated the essential oil recipe (i.e., “mixture”), the higher the likelihood of scalp irritation.
If you are new to essential oils, we recommend starting with the recipe below:
- 5 drops of rosemary oil
- 7 drops of peppermint oil
- 5 drops of thyme oil
- 4 tablespoons of sweet almond oil
Again, adjust these ratios to meet your specific preferences as you experiment with your hair.
Why Is It Good to Massage Your Scalp?
A healthy scalp is stimulated and invigorated, and regular scalp massages are important to maintaining a healthy scalp. Essential oils are an additional component that can increase the effectiveness of your scalp massages.
Essential oils are not only great for scalp massages, but they can also be added to shampoos and conditioners. They stimulate your sense of smell and touch by providing a lovely fragrance as well as a tingling, warm sensation upon contact with skin.
The warming sensation increases circulation which brings extra nutrients to the scalp. Although, essential oils do not seal in moisture due to their absorbance and evaporating properties.
Pregnant or nursing women should consult with their doctor before using essential oils in their beauty routine, as some are not recommended while pregnant or nursing. Examples of essential oils and carrier oils.
- Ylang ylang
These are just some of the essential oils and carrier oils you can use, there are many different blends and other oils you can use. With proper care, your essential oils will last for years. Make sure they are stored in a dry, cool, dry place.