Now, About That Dandruff

As much as we all love our hair, there is one very annoying issue that 90% of people are going to deal with in their lifetime. I'm talking about dandruff. It manages to be uncomfortable, annoying, and flat-out embarrassing all at the same time. I know all-too-well the fear that came with working jobs that required wearing a black shirt. Here in Orange County, we don't really get to use the "it's snowing out" excuse. After enough time spent trying to find clothes that would effectively hide the flakes covering my shoulders, I realized that it was time to finally do something about it. And so my journey to find the perfect dandruff cure was underway.

It started out simple enough with a trip to my local drugstore to pick up an anti-dandruff shampoo bottle. Every morning I'd take a shower and pour a liberal amount of shampoo into my hair, scrubbing away vigorously. Success! Or so I thought. And then like clockwork, one hour later I looked at my shoulders and saw the flakes. And then came the dreadful itching, which further irritated my scalp and caused more flakes to get all over my clothes. Clearly I hadn't given it enough time. And so the process continued for another few weeks until I was hit by the cold hard fact that the shampoo wasn't working for me. Another trip to the drug store resulted in another revelation. Sitting next to the anti-dandruff shampoo was dry scalp shampoo. That's what I needed! I bought the bottle and eagerly brought it home knowing that I'd found the real cure.... only to find out that it wasn't helping either. And so I decided to check the internet during my quest to find the magical dandruff treatment. Surely something there would help. The first thing I came across was a social media post from someone claiming that their dandruff completely disappeared after deciding not to use shampoo daily, instead using it once per week and giving her hair a thorough rinse with cold water the other days. Yeah, that's right. Cold water. We all love our warm showers, but they can indeed dry out skin. It's been scientifically proven that cold water helps control dandruff. So I tried that. Maybe there was a slight improvement? Or was it a placebo effect? I have no earthly idea, but I do know that shampooing once a week and rinsing the other days didn't work out for me like I'd hoped. Then it was time to try something different. The internet provided an enormous list of at-home remedies that all claimed that they would effectively help treat my dandruff. So I tried those. I filled an empty spray bottle with half water and half apple cider vinegar and sprayed my hair with that before showers. I rubbed coconut oil into my scalp. I tried baking soda. Aloe Vera was also attempted. And when that didn't work, I tried crushing aspirin and mixing that with my shampoo. Every single time I tried something new, I felt for a moment that I'd finally found my cure. And then an hour later, I was met with disappointed as the flakes made their presence known. It wasn't fair. Those remedies helped other people. Why was I still unable to wear a black t-shirt in public? And that's when I figured out something very important, and it's the point of everything I've written above: We are all different, and that applies to our bodies. The people that said that apple cider vinegar was an effective treatment, for instance, weren't lying. Same with those that tried more questionable remedies such as aspirin. It did help them. But it didn't help me. I realized that I needed to find something that worked for me. That lead me to doing research on dandruff itself, in an attempt to figure out ANYTHING that would help my situation.

I won't get into the scientific aspects of dandruff, although at this point I know enough to write an entire novel and some sequels. I will say that the most important thing I learned is that there are different types of dandruff. For instance, when I was in high school I got it when I used gel in my hair and it would be gone after washing. Some time after I grew older and stopped using styling products though, the problem resurfaced. Why? Well, the dandruff had begun coming from the scalp itself. For the sake of keeping it simple, I'll divide the scalp issue into two categories: Dry and oily. A good way to tell is by the texture of your actual hair. An excessively dry scalp will leave your hair feeling dry and prone to breakage, while an overly oily (say that five times fast) scalp would make your hair feel greasy. To make matters worse, some of us deal with a combination of both! Ahhh!!!! So did I eventually find a treatment? Thankfully, yes. A few, in fact. Certain lifestyle changes helped a ton. A healthy diet, drinking plenty of water, exercising more, not scratching my head when I felt an itch, and keeping my stress levels in check all contributed to less flakes. I also started to consistently shower with cold water and made exfoliating part of my routine, both of which were very beneficial. That's all well and good, but I still needed to wash my hair. I did research on the shampoos and conditioners that I was using and found that they were actually contributing to the problem. Wait, so why would an "anti-dandruff" shampoo do more harm than good? To be fair, the products I was using did what they advertised... technically. They cleaned the dandruff from my hair but also dried out my scalp! When it comes to products, quality matters. I finally found a few that worked for me, thanks to our favorite product company Aveda! What makes the quality of these products better than what I was using? To put it simply: the ingredients. Better ingredients make for a better product. It's also important to note is that it's not always what ingredients are in a product, but what ingredients AREN'T in a product that can make a huge difference. All the following products that are great for your hair and scalp are free of silicone, petrolatum, formaldehyde, and other ingredients found in many products that can actually damage your hair! As far as Aveda, I use their Rosemary Mint shampoo and conditioner every other day and couldn't be happier with the results. The shampoo itself works to remove product build up and other impurities. The conditioner finishes the job with the same level of quality, and both leave your hair smelling amazing. And considering how close our hair is to our faces all day, that can't be understated! Another shampoo and conditioner combo that I really enjoy is Aveda Scalp Benefits. They allow you to easily clean your hair down to the root and removes excess sebum and buildup.

It's not just shampoos and conditioners that can make a difference though. Another Aveda product that I've had success with is their Pramasana Purifying Scalp Cleanser. After washing my hair, I'll massage this onto my scalp. It gently exfoliates the scalp, and protects the natural barrier to create a clean, healthy scalp foundation. I also like their Invati Advanced Scalp Revitalizer. Not only has it helped with the dandruff, but it comes with other benefits. It helps prevent hair loss, supports the hair's natural keratin, and lifts hair at the root when rubbed in to allow the product to more easily invigorate the scalp. That's all my personal journey, and the moral of the story is that I had to find my own way of dealing with a very frustrating problem. Dandruff is something that all too many of us experience, and with so many different types and causes it would make sense that a miracle cure for one person might not work with someone else.

Point is, after a lengthy process of trial of error, I was finally able to achieve victory over those annoying white flakes. If you've dealt with dandruff at some point and found a treatment that works, we'd love to hear about it! If it's something that you're currently struggling with, our stylists are more than happy to give advice and recommend some products that may help. Don't be afraid to ask. Remember that 90% of people deal with it at some point in their lives. Great treatments are out there, and it's a matter of finding out what works best for you.