Head Case

If a client has dry, brittle or dull hair, your inclination is to suggest a moisturizing or shine treatment as a solution. According to Nioxin International Corporate Trainer Linda Norris, however, that sort of quick fix isn't really worth much. "It's about more than just shampooing and shining hair," she says. "Until you address scalp issues, you're only putting a Band-Aid on your clients' hair problems."

Ray Civello for Aveda encourages all salon owners to incorporate scalp care into their service menus.
Ray Civello for Aveda encourages all salon owners to incorporate scalp care into their service menus.

A healthy and balanced scalp environment is crucial to achieving healthy hair. If the scalp isn't kept clean and isn't given enough oxygen or nutrients, the hair cannot get what it needs to grow. "It's like nurturing soil for a plant," says Norris, who is also a stylist and an esthetician. She points to external factors like the environment, chemical services and product buildup as things that can pollute the scalp and cause all sorts of problems.

"Stylists are often the first ones to notice scalp concerns," Norris says. "They need to be aware of the differences in the hair between visits." Symptoms of an unhealthy scalp include shorter hairs, which indicate breakage or a hormonal shift that is affecting hair's life cycle; excess hair in the drain while shampooing; thinning along the hair line; dull-looking hair, often a sign that the scalp is out of balance; an oily scalp, which means there are overactive sebaceous glands; and dryness, redness or flaking that could lead to dandruff or seborrheic dermatitis.

Ray Civello, president of Civello Salon-Spas and Collega in Canada, part of the Aveda network, suggests that each hair appointment start with a scalp analysis. "Look at your clients' scalp and ask them questions," he says. "Change your basic shampoo experience to include a consultation and scalp treatment." Civello encourages all salon owners to incorporate scalp care into their menu or services and encourage clients to come in for a treatment each season (or more frequently for people with extreme scalp conditions). It can be as simple as an add-on to a basic shampoo or a full stand-alone treatment. "This is a great revenue-generating opportunity," he says. "Plus, if the scalp and hair are in better condition, all of the work you do on your client will ultimately look better."

The Botanical Scalp Therapy treatment from Aveda is customized with different Scalp Remedy Balancing Concentrates based on the client's individual needs. The aroma-therapeutic blends are based on the principles of Ayurveda and include Infinity/Air Scalp Remedy for normal to dry scalps, Fire Scalp Remedy for sensitive scalps and Water/Earth Scalp Remedy for normal to oily scalps. The concentrates are applied during a Balancing Touch massage to improve circulation and bring elements into balance.

Nioxin Scalp Renew, billed as the first microdermabrasion product for the scalp, exfoliates to remove toxins and increase circulation, promoting cellular turnover. It also fights the aging process. "As hair thins or texture changes, cellular activity slows down and hair becomes dry and not as full of life," Norris explains. "Once you remove the dead skin cells and clean the follicle, hair will grow healthier and faster because of the improved environment." She also notes that the intense moisture deposited into the scalp during the treatment will give hair strands greater elasticity.

Bumble and bumble offers two in-salon treatments to target different problems: Density Therapy for clients experiencing thinning hair or hair loss and Scalp Rebalancing Therapy for clients with flaky scalps. Density Therapy de-stresses the scalp environment by stimulating cellular energy, regulating irritation and ensuring fertile collagen within the follicle, while Scalp Rebalancing Therapy calms hyperactive and itchy scalps, regulates the natural shedding of dead skin cells, and gently exfoliates.

Along with in-salon treatments, stylists can send their clients home with products to help them soothe, cleanse and treat their scalps. Nioxin 1 offers eight three-part systems that work to provide an optimal scalp environment for specific hair types and problems. Each system includes a cleanser, conditioner and daily treatment.


Alterna 2 Life Restore Scalp & Follicle Extra Strength Serum for thinning hair is a leave-in treatment that combats hair loss and promotes fuller hair, while Goldwell 3 InnerEffect Regulate Calming Lotion soothes and conditions sensitive scalps to calm irritation, while prolonging the hair's color intensity.

Bain de Terre 4 Sugar & Fig Scalp Massage Scrub gently exfoliates dulling impurities, dead skin cells and product buildup to leave the scalp refreshed and create an optimal environment for shiny hair. Moroccanoil 5 Treatment nourishes the scalp to heal, repair and relieve dry conditions. René Furterer 6 Complexe 5, applied to a dry head before shampoo and conditioner, purifies the scalp. Steam 7 Scalp Oil, which comes in two different aromatherapy scents, uses jojoba oil, pomegranate, açaf and moringa to heal hair follicles and moisturize the scalp to create a vibrant place for hair to flourish and grow. AAetó Botanica 8 Detoxer Scalp Oil balances the scalp's pH to strengthen hair from the root. Intelligent Nutrients 9 Hair & Scalp Treatment Oil is made with nutritious certified-organic food ingredients to feed the scalp. —LORI MORRIS




Something as simple as the water you use in your shampoo bowls can effect how the scalp functions and responds to treatments. Saiseiko Cera Ionic Shower Heads, which come in several different styles, use a combination of water pressure and patented ceramic balls made of 100-percent mineral matter to create water that is better for your head. The Cera Ionic Shower Heads activate water, reducing water clusters to allow the water to deeply penetrate the scalp and hair cuticles and wash away sebaceous oil and DHT, a primary cause of hair loss. saiseikousa.com





White flakes can be embarrassing, but it's the irritation and itching associated with dandruff that really make clients uncomfortable. Dandruff is caused by a fungus and affects 50 percent of the global population, according to Procter & Gamble. With so many consumers falling victim to flakes, haircare brands are introducing dandruff-fighting products, many of which contain antifungal ingredients like pyrithione zinc and selenium. These take-home solutions will not only soothe the scalp, but will also leave hair soft and shiny.