WHAT THE F*CK IS A SCALP FACIAL?
by Tara Ciccone
Skincare has reached a cultural high as a late. We are more knowledgeable and aware of what we put on our faces, we take pride in our minimal or not so minimal routines. We share products and tips with our friends and social media followings and we preach the importance of caring for and protecting our skin, but what about the skin on our head? Most of us wash our hair, sparingly, but never think twice about the skin underneath it and the buildup that occurs from years and years of treatments, dyes, product, and natural oils, to name a few. The solution to this relatively common phenomenon? A scalp facial.
The scalp facial, or head spa, as it’s called in Japan, has been helping to remedy the above the forehead skin of its country of origin for over 15 years. Though the scalp facial has an ethereal, relaxing, sound to it, chilling out is surprisingly not the main purpose. Those with oily and dry hair, as well as dandruff, find refuge in the head spa, and women are calling upon its miraculous faux facelift inducing massage to perk up their appearance. Overall, the goal of a scalp facial is to cleanse the fatty acids from the hair follicles, increase circulation, and help to promote stronger and healthier hair growth.
When I first sat down with stylist Yoshie Sakuma of the Pierre Michele Salon to begin my scalp facial journey she explained to me the steps she would take to give my scalp the deep clean it so desperately needed.
First, Sakuma took an extremely magnified photo of my scalp as a ‘before’. When I looked, I saw some redness and blurriness surrounding some of my hair follicles. I’d soon come to realize that the blurriness was build up latching on to hair and hindering it’s overall appearance.
Before heading over to the sink to start my cleansing, I was asked to choose an aromatherapy scent. The options included rose, citrus and vanilla – I chose rose since floral scents are my favorite. The wash was more intense than a regular shampoo, it consisted of some massaging to stimulate blood flow to my scalp and a rinse process where a hot towel was put over my hair while Sakuma rinsed over it, creating a ‘waterfall’ like effect to remove the cleansing gel.
Then I was brought back to Sakuma’s station where she sprayed my scalp with what she compared to a facial moisturizer. She pointed out that in skincare we place so much emphasis on moisturizer and ensure that all of our products are keeping our skin hydrated, so why wouldn’t we do this for our scalp as well?
From there, I was treated to lengthy scalp and neck massage. By massaging the two large muscles on the side of the head, Sakuma is able to get the circulation flowing, which is said to help grow thicker and longer hair.
Sakuma also mentioned that a scalp massage can do wonders for our faces, like a mini, natural facelift, as I mentioned before. The massage allows us to relax from the top down, releasing pressure from our head which leads directly into our face. We can then forgo our natural furrow that creates pesky forehead wrinkles and crow’s feet.
When the massage was finished we took a follow-up photo of my scalp, my ‘after’ photo, where I saw noticeably large decrease in redness and aforementioned ‘blurriness’ around my follicles. My head and neck fight lighter, and my hair had a bounce I had not seen in years. Since then, styles have held better and my hair has never looked healthier.
Feature Image via Victoria Morris