If you think your water pressure is way too harsh for your scalp, try to replace your shower head with one that has a gentler, rain-like setting. Certain shower heads and water softeners can also help remove minerals from the tap, if you’d like to address hard water head-on. Reavey says you can even “tip your head upside down to wash it” every couple of rinses, just so the spray isn’t continuously coming down on one spot. Additionally, turn down the heat, or if you can’t bear the thought of no hot water, take shorter showers so your scalp isn’t exposed to the high temperature for too long.
If you’ve exhausted all shower tweaks and still face a parched scalp, it might be time to try some proactive maintenance. For example, you can apply a pre-shampoo oil to add a coat of protection before your shower. “You always want to pretreat the hair dry with some type of nourishing oil,” trichologist Bridgette Hill tells us on an episode of our beauty podcast Clean Beauty School. “You always want to put moisture into the hair fiber: Think of it like a sponge before you get into the shower. It absorbs those nutrients and can help protect the hair fiber when you wash.”
Simple oils, like coconut and olive oils, are fabulous options that you can get relatively inexpensively—or if you’re looking for a market option, we love Act+Acre’s Cold Processed Hair Oil, which calls on argan oil, meadowfoam seed oil, and squalene to nourish the strands and lock in moisture.
Hydrating hair and skin supplements can also work wonders, and you have a few options. First up: Collagen can support a healthy scalp by promoting your body’s natural collagen and elastin production.* Hyaluronic acid also helps your skin naturally pull in and retain water (fun fact: you have a natural supply of HA in your body, but of course, high-quality supplementation can also provide some targeted HA support, too).*
Additionally, most experts recommend vitamin E for the scalp. Vitamin E is “one of the best nutrients for the scalp,”* says trichologist Shab Reslan. We’d also be remiss not to mention biotin, as the B vitamin aids in the keratin-making process if you want healthy, strong strands alongside a hydrated scalp.*