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Is Shampoo Effective Without a Scalp Treatment? We Asked the Experts

It was only about a year ago when a simple shampoo and conditioner rinse seemingly did the trick for our standard shower routine. As long as there were no parabens or sulfates in our products, we were good, right? Now, however, we’re stuck with the burning question, does shampoo work without a scalp treatment?

The message of scalp care importance has grown immensely since Shaz & Kiks’ Back to Your Roots Scalp + Care Prewash took off in popularity. Since then, brands have emerged with their own scalp care systems or standard products with packaging that emphasizes the importance of the scalp. This seems like a no-brainer, given that hair grows from the scalp. Yet, for some reason, there’s always been a focus on our ends.

Now that the message is out there, we decided to get to the bottom of our question. After all, people have been flaunting luscious locks for decades, so clearly our tresses can survive without this added step. But even so, there’s got to be some kind of noticeable difference. So, once and for all, does shampoo work without a scalp treatment? We went straight to the experts! Keep reading for what they had to say.

does shampoo work without a scalp treatment | Mane Addicts
(via Unsplash)

What Is the Point of a Scalp or Prewash Treatment?

“Scalp treatments can definitely amp up the effectiveness of your shampoo, and act as a complement,” Natanel Bigger, founder of Monpure, tells Mane Addicts. “The things that make up our day-to-day lives. For example, applying styling products to the hair and scalp and living in polluted cities can contribute to product buildup on the scalp, subsequently leading to congestion and irritation. So, your products aren’t able to perform how they were intended.” 

Nathanel suggests his line of scalp treatment because, “With its gently exfoliating jojoba beads and healing shea butter and argan oil, it sloughs away product buildup, dirt, and debris. Thus, it leaves the scalp skin clean, nourished, and prepared to receive the benefits from subsequent products in your routine, including shampoo.” 

While Shaz & Kiks‘ cofounder Shaz Chauduri says, “scalp treatments can improve a shampoo’s effectiveness because the product treats dryness, sensitivities, and excess oil production.” She suggests a prewash in conjunction with them. “A lot of scalp treatments are designed to reactively solve a problem, rather than proactively addressing any potential problems.”

Sister Kiku Chauduri explains, “A prewash treatment will help balance your scalp’s oil production and keep the necessary natural oils intact. The treatment will cleanse your scalp of excess oil, dirt, and buildup that you want to get rid of. This process helps your shampoo work easier and with less vengeance, which means you can opt for a gentler shampoo, free from harsh sulfates. Think of it like double-cleansing your face. A prewash treatment can work harmoniously with shampoo to help keep your scalp balanced and clean, without stripping it of its natural oils and misbalancing it.”

Does Shampoo Work Without a Scalp Treatment?

“You should take care of your scalp skin like you do your face,” Kiku says, reiterating the above. “With your face, you use cleansers, exfoliants, serums, and moisturizers, but on your scalp, most people only use shampoo and conditioner. Shampoo can clean your scalp just fine. But ultimately, your scalp needs more than just a cleanser for maximum health.”

Adds Nathanel, “Using a clean, really good quality silicone and sulfate-free shampoo is a good start! But the overall key to preventing hair from becoming dull and unhealthy is to look after the scalp and hair with a little more sophistication in the first place. Monpure’s Strengthening Silk Protein Shampoo was formulated to lift away dirt and debris without stripping the scalp of its natural oils and moisture. It also features a high amount of vegan silk peptides, which are clinically proven to repair damage and create a breathable ‘second skin effect’ on both the scalp and hair. This creates an invisible barrier to protect against the effects of pollution, irritants, and bacteria by more than 35%.”

Are Scalp Treatments and Pre-Washes for Everyone?

“Prewash treatments are something everyone should use, no matter your hair type,” Shaz says. “Your scalp is a part of your face and has more sebaceous (oil) glands than anywhere else on your body. This is why it’s that much more important to keep it balanced. Your scalp is more sensitive because it has a lower barrier function, meaning it has a more difficult time retaining moisture and is prone to oiliness and dryness. Whether or not you face scalp problems, it’s so important to recognize that it’s deserving of its own proper care and maintenance.”

Nathanel echoes Kiku’s earlier sentiments about treating your scalp like your skin.

“Oxidative stress has been widely reported with regards to the skin over the years. However, little emphasis has been placed on its role in scalp and hair health,” Bigger explains. “When the body is unable to detoxify free radicals in the system, age-related damage can occur over time, which can directly impact the growth of the hair follicles. Most people are more familiar with how for example, oxidative stresses can lead to loss of elasticity of the skin and wrinkles. Sources of oxidative stress include smoking, UV radiation, microbes, pollutants, and even some cosmetic products. Given that these oxidative stresses can cause problems with the scalp and hair, it’s more important than ever for everyone to have a good scalp care routine. Modern studies show that a healthy dermatological condition of the scalp strongly impacts the natural growth and retention of hair. In other words, maintaining a healthy scalp will help you achieve fuller, thicker hair in return. An unhealthy scalp is likely to have a negative effect on hair follicles.”

Now that you better understand the importance of exfoliating and treating the scalp, HERE’s how to properly moisturize it!

2 minutes

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