Keeping A Clear Head

Autumn traditionally brings with it darker clothing and damp days, so it’s important to keep your shoulders flake-free.

The modern style-conscious gent will often spend good money on all the latest hair tools and styling products – to ensure their quiff is perfectly coiffed or they have just the right amount of texture in their ‘bed head’ look – yet the majority will completely neglect the condition of their scalp.

Looking after your scalp not only helps combat and control embarrassing problems such as flakes, but it also increases the vitality and overall appearance of your hair. In the end, this means that the new hairstyle you have picked as part of your signature style looks even better.

Common Problems: Flaky And/Or Itchy Scalp

There are generally two main reasons for a flaky, itchy scalp: dandruff, or a mild reaction to a product you are using.

There are other causes, of course, but these are the most common and it’s important to determine which one is troubling you so you can follow the right hair cleansing routine.

What Is Dandruff?

Courtesy of Wikipedia: “Dandruff is the shedding of dead skin cells from the scalp. As skin cells die a small amount of flaking is normal; about 487,000 cells/cm2 get released normally after detergent treatment. Some people, however, experience an unusually large amount of flaking either chronically or as a result of certain triggers, up to 800,000 cells/cm2, which can also be accompanied by redness and irritation.

Dandruff is a common scalp disorder affecting almost half of the population at the post-pubertal age and of any gender and ethnicity.”

It is important not to confuse dandruff with simply having a dry scalp. Dandruff is caused by excess oil (sebum) production, meaning the flakes produced are greasy and yellowish white in colour. It can also cause itching and irritation (along with red patches), and usually produces scalp odour.

Dry scalp, on the other hand, is caused by loss of moisture from the skin and will produce small white flakes that aren’t as noticeable. Dandruff flakes are larger than dry scalp flakes and are harder to come off the scalp.

The reason that it is important to note this difference is because a lot of men think they have dandruff, when really they are just suffering from dry scalp. In this scenario, you would simply benefit from a scalp cleansing routine and gentler products that help remove build-up and push moisture back into the scalp.

Dandruff, unfortunately, cannot be cured, but it can be controlled through specialist dandruff products/shampoos (often medicated) and careful monitoring of internal factors such as diet, stress/anxiety levels and getting enough rest. If you suffer from dandruff (see below for a simple test), the best course of action would be to seek professional advice or speak to your GP.

Basic Test For Dandruff

A simple test you can do, if you have noticed the above symptoms, is:

  1. Wash and shampoo your hair thoroughly.
  2. The next day, with dry hair, firmly massage your scalp with your fingertips for about thirty seconds.
  3. Inspect your fingertips. If they have an oily residue on them and yellowish white flakes then, chances are, you have dandruff.

Although this is an extremely basic test, it should work for most individuals. As previously highlighted, dandruff tends to leave the scalp oily, which is why using a moisturising routine won’t necessarily help.

Instead, cleansing the surface of the scalp gently and keeping away infection is the way to go – this means shampooing your hair regularly and treating both your scalp and your hair.

Allergic Reaction To Products

Having a mild reaction to a product won’t normally cause you any great harm or have any long-lasting effects, but the problem will continue if you don’t stop using the product in question.

It can be very difficult to diagnose scalp problems, particularly without seeing them first hand, but I will list some of the ingredients that may cause issues for some: Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulphate, Cocamide DEA, TEA or MEA, and Cocamidopropyl Betaine.

Often, a switch to more natural and/or organic products will help those who have sensitive skin or are prone to irritation.

6 Of The Best Scalp Cleansing Products

With all the above in mind, today we bring you our favourite products currently on the market for controlling dry, itchy or flaky scalp. These six products will help ensure your scalp remains in its very best condition all year round, improving both the appearance of your hair and, hopefully, your confidence levels.

So without further ado, and in no particular order…

1. Green People Organic Homme 10 Itch Away Shampoo

If you only like pure, organic ingredients then this is the shampoo for you. Not only that, Green People is a completely ethical company too:

FashionBeans Tip: If you suffer from itchy, dry scalp, rinse with cool to tepid water to prevent drying it out further.

2. Redken Nature’s Rescue Detox Shampoo

This product will leave your scalp feeling fresh and clean and will also help stop any nasty build-up:

3. Aveda Scalp Benefits Conditioner

This high-end conditioner is as about as good as it gets and will help relieve the tightness that can occur from having a dry scalp:

4. Privé Daily Shampoo

Herbal ingredients, as well as being sulphate and paraben free, ensure this product is not only good for your hair and scalp, but good for your health too:

5. Kerastase Homme Bain Vita-Energetique Shampoo

Takes care of your hair as well as your scalp and will not leave your hair feeling dehydrated or fly away:

6. Kérastase Homme Bain Capital Force Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

This superb product from a well established hair brand will reduce the appearance of dandruff and care for your scalp, preventing it from drying out:

Styling Products

If you want to maintain a healthy scalp, it’s important to use a finishing product that won’t cause irritation. There are actually a few pomades, clays and pastes around that, from experience, deliver control but are gentler than others on the market.

My favourite clay for this purpose is one that I have just recently discovered: Privé Extended Texture Clay. In fact, I like this product so much I am going to be stocking it in my salon soon. This is a carefully blended product with Shea butter and kelp – it works great for definition on thick, course or textured hair and is perfect for lifting or slicking.

Another recommended product is Kérastase Homme Capital Force Densifying Modelling Paste. This one is science in a tub and much more than a paste; it helps thicken hair, promotes healthy growth and has low irritation on the scalp. For best results, apply to towel dried hair – it’s great for smoothing or creating soft, defined texture.

FashionBeans’ Current Most Popular Hairstyles

Finally, here are FashionBeans‘ current trending hairstyles, based on popularity, because we know you guys are always on the lookout for inspiration:

Final Word

So there you have it, a complete guide to dandruff and flaky scalp and some great products you can introduce into your routine in order to combat these common problems. Let’s make this a flake-free autumn/winter.

If you have any concerns or questions about what we have covered today, please just drop me a comment below…