Should You Double Cleanse Your Scalp?

Your scalp is some of the thickest skin you have (via HowStuffWorks), yet you likely don't give it the same amount of attention as you do the skin on your face and body. When shopping for shampoo, do you usually look for ingredients and taglines that promise luscious hair, rather than a healthy scalp? Scalps are usually on the back burner until they start begging for attention.

Like your face, the scalp also produces oil to keep it moisturized, but too much of it can cause itchiness. Some other tell-tale scalp issues include dandruff, ringworms, cradle cap, and head lice. Scalp infections, if left untreated, can trigger hair loss that becomes permanent, board-certified dermatologist Dr. Sharleen St. Surin-Lord warns (via Healthline).

While these symptoms are not life-threatening, they can make you feel uncomfortable and take a toll on your confidence. The way to keep your scalp healthy, according to All Things Hair, is to regularly treat it with a deep cleanse to remove dead skin cells, excess oils, and hair product residue. Another highly recommended scalp care method that you can introduce into your routine is double cleansing, meaning you wash your scalp twice to make it extra clean. Here's how to do it.

How to double cleanse your scalp

Pointing out that the scalp is exposed to a lot of debris and contaminants on a daily basis, New York-based trichologist and hair expert Shab Reslan tells Refinery29 that "you can't effectively cleanse your scalp without double cleansing: You need the first shampoo to break up all the build-up, and the second to actually wash it all away."

According to Briogeo, the first cleanse is to loosen and break up pollutants, dead skin cells, and excess oil. For this first wash, consider using an oil-based cleanser to dissolve the waxy buildup. For the second cleanse, follow up with a water-based cleanser to wash away any loosened substances, dirt, and sweat. Don't forget to massage your scalp gently to stimulate blood circulation.

A double cleanse is like a detox. It gives your scalp a strong, clean foundation that makes it easier for follow-up hair treatments, such as serums and lotions, to penetrate. A healthy scalp also reduces the risks of inflammation and stimulates hair growth. Aside from treating your scalp with a double cleanse every once in a while, attending to it daily with the following habits also helps to maintain its health.

Other ways to maintain a healthy scalp

Brushing your hair is the simplest and most effective way to detox your scalp, Diana Pratasiewicz, director of education at hair brand Ouai, tells Byrdie. "Brushing your hair before bed, a shower, or a workout is a great start to removing debris and [starting] the exfoliation process." Another way to dislodge product buildup from your scalp is to massage it with apple cider vinegar or sugar for 3 to 5 minutes and rinse thoroughly with warm water.

Hair products containing alcohol, sulfates, and fragrances are known to drain moisture from your hair and leave you with an irritated scalp. Avoiding products with these harsh chemicals is a good rule of thumb. If your scalp constantly feels dry and produces dandruff, you might also want to cut down on the shampoo time. Shampooing your hair too often removes your scalp's natural oils, forcing an overproduction of oil to keep it hydrated. According to dermatologist Dr. Sanusi Umar, you should wash your hair no more than three to four times every week (via Healthline).

If your hair is a tree, then your scalp is the fertile soil in which the tree grows. Simple changes to your hair care routine, such as double cleansing your scalp, using gentler products, and brushing your hair daily can help you achieve and maintain a healthy scalp.