Most of us desire strong luscious locks, and yet, due to poor lifestyle habits or stress, it continually eludes us. However, getting better hair doesn’t mean buying a mountain of hair products or going for newfangled treatments – it can be as easy as a few simple tweaks.
We gathered three millennials with different scalp types – oily, sensitive and balanced – and asked them to tweak their haircare routine for a week, based on specific recommendations for their scalp type. Here’s whether these small changes actually reaped huge returns.
Jessica Fang is a new mum with an adorable kid aged nine months old, and has always had a balanced scalp till motherhood beckoned. “I had quite severe postpartum hair loss a few months back, which has now since balanced out. But I do want to make sure my scalp is in tip-toe condition moving forward!”
For a busy working mum like Jessica, her usual haircare routine is bare bones: shampoo, conditioner and voila. But her balanced scalp actually requires more care than meets the eye: research for such scalps recommend the use of a tonic to keep it healthy.
Besides using serums, another tip to upgrade her haircare routine was to stop switching up shampoos and spend longer actually shampooing. “Oops, I always just pick up random bottles on my bathroom shelf and rush the process,” Jess confessed. With this new info in her arsenal, she attempted to spend at least 30 seconds massaging shampoo in before washing off.
The tweaks extended beyond just shower times. As someone navigating the challenges of both work and motherhood, Jess also had to think about making lifestyle changes to take her constant stress – a major hair loss cause – down.
To that end, she also practised five minutes of meditation daily to keep her scalp and mental state in tip-top shape.
As an F45 enthusiast, Lery often finds himself sweating up a storm after an intense session. However, the constant washing off of this gunk leaves his scalp dried out, with subsequent overproduction of oil.
“Yeah, my hair is sometimes so oily it sticks to my forehead, you know,” he sighs. Occasionally, he also sees flakes dropping off and is concerned over the possibility of dandruff.
For someone with an oily scalp, you don’t want to trigger even more oil production when massaging your scalp. Thus, one bit of advice for Lery was to avoid using fingernails when massaging the scalp, and to instead rub it in gentle, circular motions.
Oil is also something that accumulates in an often overlooked spot: hairbrushes. As such, it’s best to clean your hairbrushes regularly – ideally, once a week – to prevent oil from gathering and being combed back onto your locks.
Last but not least, to avoid loading up the scalp with excess product – such as styling creams and gels – while using clarifying shampoo to clear up any oil that does pile up without overdrying.
As someone with a compulsion for dying and perming her hair to follow the latest hair trends, Jessica Lai’s hair is often dry, with her scalp getting extra sensitive over time. “My scalp often itches, and sometimes, it even has a burning sensation.”
She has also reported flakes from her hair, which she mistook as dandruff till a hair consultation revealed that it was due to an overly-dry scalp.
For Jess, one possible culprit that led to scalp sensitivity was overly harsh shampoos. As such, she swapped out her usual drugstore ones for gentler shampoos.
Pro tip: Find shampoos which have ingredient lists free of paraben, preservatives and silicones!
She was also advised to let her hair dry naturally instead of using high-heat hairdryers, which can hurt the scalp. If one really has to dry hair fast, sensitive scalp sufferers should set blow dryers to the lowest heat setting, in a downwards direction at least 5CM away from the roots.
Another styling no-no: backcombing.
“As someone with naturally fine hair, I’ve tried adding volume to my hair by backcombing,” Jess explains. However, the bad news is that this volume comes at a price – your hair and scalp are prone to damage due to pulling on the follicles.
Pro tip: Instead of depending on volumising products or backcombing, blow dry your hair from underneath in the opposite direction of where they naturally grow. The result: va-va-voom lift.
After a week of trying out these new habits, our
guinea pigs friends reported a difference in the way their hair and scalp felt.
Jess Fang felt that switching up the method and duration of shampoo massaging made her scalp feel a lot cleaner. “The menthol feel of the shampoo was welcome, and I think the serum helped with hair loss as well as my baby hair has been sprouting out more prominently.”
Lery was also surprised at how cleaning his brushes was such an overlooked, yet practical hack. “Bye bye, oil,” he joked, while also confessing that a clarifying shampoo and tonic helped to cleanse sebum pile-ups and dandruff, leaving him feeling fresher even after a hard workout.
As for sensitive scalp sufferer Jess Lai, she was surprised that she could go a whole week without any tell-tale tingling or itching. “I didn’t see as much flaking when I brushed my hair.”
Turns out it’s truly different strokes for different folks – customised hair tips and hair products do have the power to unlock strong, healthy hair if done right.
And if someone who’s always complaining about their hair pops to mind, why not give them the gift of better tresses this Christmas? To that end, PHS HAIRSCIENCE has released limited edition Christmas Discovery Sets which are tailored to different scalp types.
For example, someone with an oily, dandruff-prone scalp like Lery will enjoy the ADV Purify Discovery set, which has ingredients like salicylic acid that clears up gunk like oil and bacteria ASAP, while normalising overactive sebum production for the long-run.
Those with dry, sensitive scalps will also get much-needed relief with the ADV Soothe Discovery set, with flower and fruit extracts to naturally relieve itchiness while strengthening scalp circulation.
And if you don’t know a person’s hair condition that well, a safe bet would be the ADV Nutrition Discovery set that’s suitable for all scalp and hair types. Besides boasting rice stem cells – an excellent natural cleanser present in all the sets – this one is also packed with Patent 5 Complex, a proprietary blend of botanical extracts that’ll give your locks some TLC.
All sets come with shampoo (50ML), conditioner (50ML) and tonic (15ML), and retails at $45 each.
Whether you’re fretting over Secret Santa exchanges, or just intent on pampering a family member or other half, PHS HAIRSCIENCE has a whole slew of Christmas-themed kits and bundles for your gifting needs. These are also paired with buy now, pay later platform Atome – so it’s no problem even if your bonus rolls in next year.
This post was brought to you by PHS HAIRSCIENCE.
Photography by Clement Sim.
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