It starts with just one itch. Then I start raking my fingernails across my dry, prickly scalp. Next, my head is covered in small flakes. Gross, I know, but I also know that I’m not alone in my dry scalp struggles: In a survey of 735 people, 39 percent reported having experienced scalp flaking, and nearly 50 percent complained of scalp itch.
Not to be confused with dandruff, dry scalp is literally a scalp that lacks moisture. Its causes include weather, nutritional deficiencies, sunburn, infrequent or too frequent shampooing, or hair care products that contain drying ingredients such as alcohol.
I can link my extremely dry scalp directly to climate extremes — when it’s hot and humid or blistering and cold outside, I expect my head to itch and shed skin cells.
After visiting a renowned dermatologist, trying countless over-the-counter shampoos, and playing mind games commanding myself to resist the urge to scratch, I’ve finally found dry scalp care that works for me.
The Mizani Scalp Care system features a pre-treatment, shampoo, conditioners, serums, and a calming lotion. These products target shedding, clogged pores, and lack of moisture with ingredients such as salicylic acid, pyrithione zinc, and avocado oil. According to Mizani hair artist and educator Wura Kolawole (aka Miss Wu), what makes this collection different from other dry scalp solutions is that it not only treats the scalp, but it conditions the hair as well.
Wearing a navy Zara turtleneck yet again covered in teeny-tiny flakes, I placed my trust in Mizani Scalp Care and Miss Wu.
Before washing my natural hair, Miss Wu applied the exfoliating pre-treatment to help lift dead skin cells. I instantly relaxed, simply from the fragrance and soothing tingling sensation of the formula’s peppermint oil and cucumber extract blend. Then, she used the shampoo to rinse away flakes, product buildup, and bacteria. My scalp felt dramatically better after the first rinse. Miss Wu followed up with two other shampoos.
The third step in the system involved sectioning my strands and massaging on the Soothing Serum. Loaded with rich sweet almond, avocado, and safflower oils, the combination locked in moisture and made itchiness obsolete.
To complete my salon experience, Miss Wu applied a deep conditioner to the midshaft and ends of my hair. Allowing it to penetrate for five minutes before washing out made my kinky, curly locks super-soft to the touch.
Once my hair was blown dry and straightened, I noticed how incredibly clean and shiny my scalp looked. To say the products made my head feel lighter would be an understatement. Miss Wu de-gunked my scalp’s pores and washed away layers upon layers of dead skin cells. Not to mention, the lingering aroma of peppermint oil added a nice touch to the whole experience.
Normally after washing my hair, I’d see small flakes start to appear along my hairline with three days. However, I went nearly two weeks without having awful shedding. It’s worth noting that during this time I vacationed in Jamaica, where I was exposed to the blazing UV rays. Packing the Calming Lotion in my carry-on to keep my scalp and hair hydrated and protected before hitting the beach was the best decision I made.
So if you’ve been silently (or not so silently) suffering with dry scalp, I highly recommend giving this dry scalp care line by Mizani a try.
Mizani Scalp Care Shampoo, Conditioner, and Calming Scalp Lotion ($20-$28) are available for purchase at ulta.com.