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Scalpcare: The beauty trend that is here to stay

Simone Gannon: After years of being sidelined in our beauty routines, the health of our head is now front and centre

An explosion of #scalpcare content on social media and a growing awareness of overall hair health has led to scalpcare becoming a beauty category in its own right, and for good reason.

Consider for a moment how much time and money we spend on the skin on our face. We cleanse, treat, moisturise, exfoliate and protect it without a second thought. The scalp, an extension of the skin on our face, deserves the same care because it ages at a much faster rate (six-times faster, in fact).

“You need a well-balanced scalp to have healthy hair,” says Helen Reavey, trichologist, celebrity hairstylist and founder of scalpcare brand Act+Acre.

“There are so many factors, including sweat, pollution, oil, and product build-up, that can all cause bacteria to fester on our scalps. This can lead to discomfort, dryness, and itchiness.”


When left untreated, an unhealthy scalp can result in severe dandruff, thinning hair, and, in more serious cases, psoriasis, eczema and hair loss.

“So many skin conditions can affect the scalp, and they vary in severity,” says Prof Caitriona Ryan, consultant dermatologist and associate clinical professor at University College Dublin.

“For example, the itch associated with scalp psoriasis, eczema and seborrheic dermatitis (dandruff) can greatly impact the quality of life. Sometimes patients cannot sleep due to the terrible itch.”

Skincare meets haircare

“Would you ever layer on make-up and leave it on your skin for three or more days without washing it?” asks Reavey. “It would leave your skin more prone to breakouts and feeling extremely dry – and the same goes for your scalp.”

Brands such as Act+Acre, The Inkey List, Virtue and Briogeo are making a skincare-meets-haircare routine easy.

“My top tips are to shampoo gently and less often, and as much as possible, try to use gentle hair products,” says Dylan Bradshaw, owner and creative director of Dylan Bradshaw Salon and global ambassador for Dyson Hair. “Exfoliation is important, too, as product build-up and residue are detrimental to healthy hair growth.”

When it comes to exfoliation, once a week is more than enough, says Reavey. “Before you hop in the shower, use a gentle exfoliating treatment, such as Act+Acre Scalp Detox (€50 from, to break down oil and remove product build-up,” Reavey says.

“I recommend steering clear of scalp scrubs as the beads can create tears in the scalp, leading to inflammation or infection”.

Which brings us to serums. We use specialised facial serums to nourish and hydrate our skin, and our scalp deserves the same treatment. When used consistently, scalp serums can soothe, repair and deeply moisturise, creating an optimal environment for hair growth. Act+Acre Stem Cell Serum (€88 from has sold out several times since launch with thousands of positive reviews online, extolling the benefits of its unique apple stem cell formula and non-greasy texture.

Hair tools

A well-meaning scalp routine can easily be undone with heat. Worse still, it can lead to hair loss, split ends, dandruff, dull, lifeless hair and colour fade.

“I love Dyson styling tools,” says Bradshaw. “They strive to create machines which avoid excessive heat with precise engineering technology for your hair type, enabling you to create great styles while avoiding damage.

“Dyson Supersonic Hairdryer (€399.99 from gives you a controlled airflow with a diffuser attachment that helps reduce frizz and simulate natural drying. There’s also a gentle air attachment for drying fine hair and sensitive scalps.”


Prof Ryan says a poor diet can affect skin, scalp and hair health, particularly if it leads to nutritional deficiencies.

“A healthy, well-balanced diet, rich in protein, will help to support optimal scalp and hair health. Supplements containing vitamin D, zinc, Omega-3 fatty acids, and oral hydrolysed collagen can also be helpful for skin, scalp and hair health,” Prof Ryan says.

Lastly, seek medical attention for serious scalp problems. “Too often, I see patients with severe scalp conditions or hair loss who have spent a fortune on expensive, complex regimens and procedures in non-medical settings,” Prof Ryan says. “If your scalp is itchy and flaking, or you’re dealing with persistent inflammation and hair loss, see your GP or dermatologist.”

This week I’m spritzing… Skin Mist by Skin Formulas

I say spritzing, but the correct phrase is probably “lashing it on”. Skin Formulas’ Skin Mist (€45 from is a light, refreshing, multi-use spray containing a roll-call of good-for-your-skin ingredients, including ceramides, hyaluronic acid and squalane. It refreshes the skin, acts as a primer before make-up, and helps with absorption of your serums. Gorgeous.