How to Get Healthy Hair: Exfoliate!

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We are constantly seeing exfoliating products for every inch of our skin — they even make exfoliating lip gloss now! But, why is it that no one considers exfoliating above the neck? After all, our hair and scalp are absolutely part of the same integumentary system and deserve the same type of special treatment. Some of you may think exfoliating your hair sounds silly… but you won’t think that once you try it! Some of our favorite high end hair product lines have also caught on to this trend including Aveda’s Invati exfoliating shampoo and Redken’s Nature’s Rescue Refining Sea Polish. They are awesome and if they are in your budget they are definitely worth a try! If they’re not in your budget or you don’t want to switch off your normal shampoo, that’s okay too. We’ve thought up some our favorite super easy home hair remedies to turn your shampoo into exfoliating shampoo AND the rules of exfoliating. Let’s start with what you’ll need:

  • Shampoo of your choice (we prefer moisturizing and highly recommend avoiding a clarifying shampoo for this type of treatment)
  • A small color bowl and waxing stick for mixing
  • 1 large kitchen freezer bag (big enough to fit both hands in)
  • 2 disposable (cheap) pumice stones, presoaked in water for a few hours
  • and/or a generous amount of brown sugar

How to make it: If you are just going to make a pumice exfoliating shampoo, take your 2 presoaked and towel dried pumice stones and with one in each hand start grinding the two stones together inside of the freezer bag. You’ll notice the stones are starting to rub away and break down into tiny little pumice beads. Once you have a decent amount in the bag, seal it and crush any larger clumps that you suspect will not mix into your shampoo or hurt your hands. The consistency should be similar to that of sand. Set aside if you are adding this to a brown sugar mix. If you are solely using pumice as your exfoliator, measure out a generous amount of shampoo (approximately double the amount that you usually use for daily shampooing) and for every 2 parts shampoo add 1 part pumice and mix well. Begin applying to your hair. 

If you are using brown sugar in place of pumice, measure out a generous amount of shampoo (approximately double the amount that you usually use for daily shampooing) and for every 2 parts shampoo add 1 part brown sugar. This should leave you with a gritty but smooth consistency. If you are doing a brown sugar & pumice mixture, add the same amount of a 50/50 pumice/brown sugar mixture to your shampoo and begin applying.

How to apply: On wet hair, begin applying to hair in 4-6 sections to assure you are getting equal exfoliation all over your hair and scalp. I recommend shampooing the hair 1 section at a time while you are applying the mixture by placing the hair between both of your palms and rubbing your palms together gently from root to tip remaining over each subsection for 3-5 seconds. Once you have worked through all of the sections from root to ends, begin your scalp exfoliating by shampooing your scalp as you normally would with a medium-firm pressure and continue this type of head massage all over for a total of about 3 minutes. Rinse hair completely until no grittiness remains in hair.

What to do after rinsing: Although a second shampoo is not mandatory, I recommend it for those who have used any brown sugar in making their exfoliator. A second shampoo would just serve to rinse any remaining sugars from lingering on the scalp which could lead to an unwanted break out. Condition as you normally would, rinse and style as usual. If you really want to take note of the results, do a before and after air-dry photo. Although this will not eliminate all frizz if you have naturally frizzy hair, you will notice the hair is lying much smoother with far less uncontrollable hair.

How frequently you should exfoliate your hair and scalp: Exfoliating your hair is not something you want to do as frequently as you exfoliate your lips, face and other skin. Because there is not a cell turnover for hair that is like that of the skin (where you are constantly producing new skin cells in place of the dead ones), you want to limit how many times you are exfoliating. Too much can lead to the exact opposite of what you are trying to achieve. I recommend doing this once every two weeks for those with medium-thick hair and once a month for those with fine, thin or fragile hair. You will love the results!

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