We're not afraid of a little TMI here at Who What Wear. Kat Collings has chronicled her experience with Thinx period underwear, Caitlin Burnett has written about her experience with micro-needling and IPL, and Erin Jahns has been honest about her skin battles as a pimple-prone beauty editor. So in the spirit of my co-workers who bared it all before me, I present you with an insanely close-up look at my (sort of disgusting) scalp. Let me explain.
I've struggled with dandruff and a dry, itchy scalp for years. Scratching my head often releases a flurry of snowlike flakes on my collar. Embarrassing. No matter how much dandruff shampoo and Scalpicin I use, I've never seemed to be able to conquer my itchy scalp. So when I read about Blow Me Away, a "head spa" in L.A. and Tokyo that specializes in the Japanese method of scalp revitalization, I was immediately intrigued. The owner, Keiko Uehara, kindly set me up with an appointment, and to say I was excited would be an understatement.
I received the Dry Scalp Care service from Blow Me Away's head spa technician, Sayaka Lee. It included a 15-minute consultation, a 45-minute treatment session, and a 30-minute blow-dry. The consultation was first. Lee sat me down in front of a computer and used a magnifier to look at my scalp and assess its condition (resulting in the jarringly close-up photos below). This was when she stressed the importance of lifestyle habits when it comes to your scalp and hair health. She told me that plenty of sleep, a healthy diet, ample water intake, and minimal stress are all vital to your scalp health and, in return, your hair health.
After the consultation, Lee led me into a private treatment room to shampoo my hair, apply the salon's signature organic mask made of thyme and rice wax, massage my scalp, and put on a steaming cap. The process was incredibly relaxing, and I'd argue that a great scalp massage could be even better at de-stressing the body than a back massage (but maybe that's because I personally hold so much tension in my jaw). Oh, and it certainly helped that the chair reclined flat, as opposed to upright chairs at most salon shampoo stations. Finally, I got a blowout and some product recommendations and was sent on my merry way. Keep reading for more details about what I discovered during this process.
Lee explained that the splotchiness you see here is product buildup, not dandruff, because the patches are attached to the hair as opposed to sitting on my skin. (For reference, I wash my hair about two to three times per week and hadn't washed my hair in four days when I visited Blow Me Away.)
After using the magnifier to look at my scalp, Lee determined that most of my dryness is at the top and front of my scalp, while the back of my scalp was quite healthy. Lee partly attributed this to the fact that I have bangs and use heat styling on them pretty regularly, whereas I often let the rest of my hair air-dry.
As opposed to the first image, which showed product buildup, this snapshot shows my scalp's flakiness and dryness.
To me, this photo was the most jaw-dropping because you can see how my pores literally opened up after the steaming and mask treatment. I've heard the term "deep-cleaning pores" before, but I've never seen it so up-close-and-personal. The steaming is meant to open up the hair follicles, stimulate circulation, and promote hair growth—and it certainly appears to have done its job. I've dabbled with exfoliating and detoxing shampoos in the past, but I've honestly never had my scalp feel as clean as it did after visiting Blow Me Away.
This is me immediately after the treatment and blowout, feeling squeaky clean.
Shop the Best Products for Scalp Health
This is the brand used at Blow Me Away. I usually don't get suckered into buying the products that hairstylists recommend, but I was super excited about this product and bought it on the spot. I currently use Head & Shoulders shampoo for my dandruff, but Lee recommended using this once a week and only reverting to my Head & Shoulders for emergencies. This product is organic and boasts rosemary oil, willow bark extract, Almeth, and biolin.
I didn't buy this product after my treatment, but Lee used it on my hair during the blowout, and I was very pleased with the softness of my hair. This is a heat protectant that's made with ethical marula oil, among other organic ingredients.
If you've ever battled with a dry or itchy scalp, you know how coveted a "serene" scalp really is. This is a great bet if you're looking for a high-end solution for your dandruff.
You might as well splurge for the coordinating conditioner as well. As a bonus, it will look beautiful in your shower.
This exfoliating shampoo is great for healing itchy scalps and removing product buildup.
This leave-in treatment has a dropper so you can apply it directly to your scalp. The charcoal detoxifies, while the peppermint and spearmint address itchiness and inflammation.
Don't take my word for it: This clarifying shampoo has over 1800 positive reviews on Nordstrom's website.
Made with purifying ingredients like cedarwood oil and rosemary leaf oil, this treatment is designed to be used 15 minutes before you shampoo.
Sugar crystals gently exfoliate your scalp, while almond and coconut oils, among other ingredients, nourish your skin.