This article originally appeared on MIMI.
Calling all mane addicts… You may be spending hours upon hours using conditioning masks and heat protectant, luxurious shampoos, and leave-ins to keep your hair in good condition, but you're probably missing one crucial step: exfoliating your scalp. Sure, you cleanse it when you shampoo, but the oft neglected area happens to be the soil from which the grass on your head grows, so to speak, and it turns out that special attention needs to be paid.
We've all been told that it's not good for your hair to wash it every day, but we've also learned that using too much dry shampoo can cause clogged hair follicles in your scalp, which in turn can attribute to hair loss and *gasp* bald spots. So what's a girl to do? Exfoliate her scalp, that's what.
We spoke with Anabel Kingsely of Philip Kingsley Hair, who specializes in scalp analysis to get the skinny on the hair-care step we've all been accidentally missing.
You're probably wondering, why is scalp exfoliation so important? Firstly it cleanses, tones, and moisturizes the scalp to make it suppler, optimizing the condition of the skin. "Hair grows its best from a clean and healthy scalp environment," said Kingsley. " This can help support the growth of new hairs."
But that's not all. Scalp exfoliation also soothes the scalp and gently lifts away dead skin cells and flakes. This is important, because those dreaded flakies— they're known to worsen or possibly trigger hair loss in certain individuals.
So, if you suffer from dandruff, according to Kingsley, weekly scalp exfoliation is vital. She explained that, "Dandruff causes excessive production and shedding of skin cells which can impact the growth and appearance of the hair." She added that weekly use of an exfoliating scalp mask removes this accumulation of cells and helps to normalize skin cell turnover.
[READ: When Should I Wash My Hair?]
You're probably wondering, does your hair type or dryness of your scalp influence how often you should exfoliate? Or perhaps how often you need to exfoliate if you use a ton of dry shampoo (guilty as charged)? According to Kingsley, the scalp should be exfoliated once a week, irrespective of your hair texture. HOWEVER, if you are someone who washes you hair less than four times a week, you should be exfoliating your scalp twice weekly.
And what if you already are experience hair loss? Will this help? "Research has proven that a flaky, itchy scalp can cause hair loss," said Kingsley. "Therefore, weekly exfoliation can help promote normal, healthy hair growth as well as reduce excessive loss in those who suffer from dandruff and seborrhoeic dermatitis."
Just to help you get on board, we picked out some of the best products on the market for you to buy so you can get your scalp in tiptop shape and grow gorgeous. Check 'em out!
1. Philip Kingsley Stimulating Scalp Mask ($30; philipkingsley.com)
2. Philip Kingsley Exfoliating Scalp Mask ($30; net-a-porter.com)
3. Aveda Invati Exfoliating Shampoo ($29; nordstrom.com)
4. Christophe Robin Cleansing Purifying Scrub with Sea Salt ($51; saksfifthavenue.com)
5. Philip Kingsley Scalp Toner ($34; net-a-porter.com)