Professional Beauty
Professional Beauty

5 mins


The ‘skinification of hair’ trend has led to a growing interest in treatments such as scalp facials, according to industry experts

These days, scalp care is the new skincare, following a rise in clients’ desire to maintain a healthy, rejuvenated scalp, and an awareness of the positive impact it has on their hair. Accelerated hair growth and improved thickness are just some of the benefits that come from keeping up a good scalp care routine. “Certain scalp conditions can result in hair breakage and even hair loss, so it’s vital to take signs such as redness, irritation and itchiness seriously, and to invest in a scalp care routine,” says Andrew Jose, editorial ambassador for Revlon Professional.

According to Nioxin trichologist Mark Blake, clients should be encouraged to understand the importance of scalp health. “Most clients exfoliate and moisturise their face, spending time and money on holding back visible signs of ageing,” he says. “But above that line on their forehead, they do and spend very little on it. They don’t care for it and wonder why their hair isn’t in good condition. Likening a skincare regime to a scalp care regime is the way to start the conversation around scalp care.”

“In our salon, we see scalp care as the skinification of haircare,” says Tina McBride, owner of Pello Hairdressing in Letterkenny, Co Donegal, which offers a range of Aveda scalp facials. “A person’s scalp ages just like their face – their scalp skin gets thinner, flatter and drier, and the sebaceous glands that produce oil become less effective. In addition, hair becomes dull, frizzy, damaged and thinner, and the hair follicle becomes less supported and nourished as it moves from the hypodermis to the dermis. A weakened barrier function leads to dryness and irritation, which makes the scalp more susceptible to damage.

‘A person’s scalp ages just like their face – their scalp skin gets thinner, flatter and drier, and the sebaceous glands that produce oil become less effective’

“So, consistent care is critical, as is making scalp care a priority. Exposed to the same oxidative stressors and environmental aggressors as the face, the scalp needs regular exfoliation, purification and protection to target signs of premature ageing. With this, a client’s scalp can become soothed, balanced, hydrated and protected, and they will experience healthier hair growth.”

This is where scalp facials come in. As the industry begins to include these treatments in their service offerings for clients, hair professionals are seeing an increase in demand. “As scalp care becomes a more talked about subject, the rise of the scalp facial is very apparent,” says Joana Neves, editorial director, Alterna Europe. “A more modern take on the facial, this is a service that focuses solely on the scalp, so it involves cleansing and exfoliation, followed by moisturising to provide exceptional results, all with the condition of the scalp at the forefront of the ultimate hair vision.”

“Scalp care treatments are gaining popularity in Ireland, mirroring the trend seen in the UK and other countries,” says Lisa Cantwell, owner of Plush Hair in Waterford, which has Kemon Actyva scalp facials on its menu. “Clients are becoming more aware of the benefits of scalp care and are seeking effective solutions to address scalp issues and enhance hair health. Social media gets the word out quicker nowadays and people are a lot more curious and often turn to apps like TikTok and Instagram to find a solution to their problems.”

So, what is the science behind a scalp facial, and what does it involve? “The science lies in the treatment’s ability to stimulate blood microcirculation, enhance oxygenation, and deliver nourishing ingredients directly to the scalp and hair follicles,” explains Cantwell. “Our oxygen machine gives a concentration of 96% pure oxygen through a high-quality airbrush gun, which creates a fine spray of product mixed with oxygen to penetrate deeper into the scalp and hair shaft, giving faster results.”

Like any treatment, an initial consultation is imperative. “Our scalp facials involve one of our haircare experts taking the client through a personalised consultation, where they ask some simple questions to understand the client’s current haircare routine and any concerns they may have,” says McBride. “We then analyse the hair by doing two quick tests. The first is a porosity test to see how well the hair holds moisture, and the second test examines elasticity, which tells us if the hair is damaged.

“We then use our scalp camera – which magnifies the scalp by 600% – to look at overall scalp health, hair density and pores. This gives us an in-depth view of the hair and scalp health, and provides an analysis of the results, which will show any scalp imbalance. After giving the client a stress-relieving head and shoulder massage, we review the results and help them to find the best products for their hair and scalp needs.”

As well as improved hair growth and thickness, there are many benefits to having a scalp facial. “Scalp care helps to remove build-up, toxins and excess oils, preventing clogged follicles and promoting a clean, balanced scalp environment,” explains Cantwell. “The act of massaging the scalp during cleansing or treatment also enhances circulation, improving nutrient delivery to hair follicles. Furthermore, scalp care can reduce scalp irritation, soothe inflammation and balance sebum production, resulting in a healthier, more comfortable scalp. Overall, maintaining a consistent scalp care routine leads to healthier, stronger hair.”

‘Scalp care treatments are gaining popularity in Ireland, mirroring the trend seen in the UK and other countries’

It’s important to understand the condition of the scalp before making any recommendations to ensure the correct technique and products are used, which is why scalp facials are completely customisable and should be tailored to each individual’s needs. “Clients with dry hair and a dehydrated scalp will require a hydrating facial, whereas those with oily hair may require a tailored treatment to reset their sebum levels,” says Paul Watts, Joico European Design Team member.

Training and education in the area is also important. “While any hairdresser can perform a scalp facial, specialised training is recommended to ensure that the treatment is administered correctly and effectively,” says Cantwell. “Our team undergoes extensive training to deliver scalp care treatments tailored to each client’s needs.”

So, as scalp facials continue to rise in popularity, it’s important to educate yourself and your staff so that you can effectively raise awareness by sparking the conversation around scalp care habits, in-salon scalp facial services and at-home scalp aftercare. “Maintaining a healthy scalp is paramount, it’s not a passing trend,” says Jose.

Adding treatments such as scalp facials to your menu can also help boost business and profits. “Offering scalp facials sets us apart from the competition as we provide a holistic approach to haircare that prioritises scalp health and overall wellbeing,” says Cantwell.

“Not only do scalp treatments enhance the overall salon experience for our clients, they also contribute to client satisfaction and loyalty, ultimately benefiting our business in the long run. They are a fantastic talking point, especially the oxygen machine, and they are a great add-on to our salon services. Clients travel from all parts of the country for our scalp rituals, which is a great testament to our salon and staff.”

This article appears in the MAY/JUNE 2024 Issue of Professional Beauty & HJ Ireland

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This article appears in the MAY/JUNE 2024 Issue of Professional Beauty & HJ Ireland