Getting a scalp massage is one of the best parts of going to a salon - while your stylist is shampooing, any doubts over that big chop or color change are quickly forgotten.
Relaxation is the obvious benefit to getting your scalp massaged, but it’s not the only reason hairstylists do it.
In addition to feeling so zen you may doze off a little bit at the shampoo bowl, scalp massages also cleanse hair from dirt, oil, and product build-up, plus can even promote thicker hair growth.
In fact, a study published in the January 2016 issue of ePlasty, found that a daily four-minute scalp massage increases activity among genes linked to hair growth, and decreases the activity of genes known to increase hair loss and inflammation. Participants in the study also noticed their hair became thicker.
"Massaging your scalp once a day is important for your scalp health because it increases circulation to the area," says Dr. Estee Williams, assistant professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. "Simply brushing your hair on days you aren’t washing it can count as a massage for your scalp."
In-between salon appointments, you can experience the benefits of a scalp massage by giving yourself one at home. Gwen Von Hoten, stylist at Frédéric Fekkai Salon, Mark Hotel, recommends a DIY massage every time you shower — even if you aren’t shampooing your hair.
When you’re massaging your scalp, start at the temples, similar to how you would rub your head if you had a headache. Move your fingertips in circular motions inwards and then back outwards towards the temples.
On wash days, she says to double up on the massage. Before you shampoo, give yourself a 30-second massage to really lift any product, dandruff, and oils out of the hair. “You really want to clean the hair to get the benefit of the products you’re going to be using and stimulate the scalp,” she says.
Then, go in with your shampoo and give yourself a one to two minute massage. To really cleanse the scalp, Von Hoten likes using a clarifying shampoo, or the Pure Collection Shampoo, a clean formula powered by superfoods. Swapping your usual shampoo for a weekly wash with this sulfate, paraben, phthalate, synthetic fragrance, and silicone-free cleansing formula will help purify the hair and scalp.
While a massage can help rebalance the scalp, don’t wait until there’s build-up in your hair to give yourself one. “People generally only treat their hair when it starts to get bad,” says Von Hoten. "Do this every day — even if you’re using dry shampoo instead of wetting your hair. It’ll give your hair a little bit of extra volume, plus prevent any product, dirt, or oil from really building up."