When it comes to hair wellness, it all starts at the scalp. Your scalp literally can stop successful hair growth at the root because it's a place where product residue buildup, dead skin cells and other adverse scalp conditions can form a barrier that new hair growth finds difficult to penetrate. Scalp condition is the key to healthy strands for all hair types, so it's important to perform regular scalp detox treatment for the optimal health of your scalp and hair.

Here's how to tell if your scalp is in need of a detox, plus helpful tips and tricks to get it done.

6 Signs Your Scalp Needs Detoxifying

So how can you tell if it's time to detox your scalp? While performing regular scalp care is important regardless of the conditioner of your hair, here are some signs that might indicate that product buildup and excess oils are beginning to cut your healthy hair growth goals off at the root, and it's time to detox.

1. Your Scalp Itches

Scalp itchiness is often the first sign of buildup trouble. Often an itchy, flaky scalp is a sign that shampoo or another hair product has begun to build up at the roots.

2. Your Scalp Is Oily

An oily scalp is a sign of imbalance. Overreactive sebum glands on your scalp produce too much oil, which can cause buildup at the roots of your hair strands, attracting dirt that clogs the pores.

3. You Notice Increased Hair Fall

If you seem to be shedding hair more frequently than usual, it might be time for a scalp detox. Your hair's roots might be suffering from the decreased circulation of the scalp's blood vessels, causing it to shed.

GRO Scalp Detoxifying Serum & GRO Scalp Massager

Related: 5 Reasons to Massage Your Scalp Daily (Including Hair Growth!)

4. You Have Dandruff

Dandruff can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. So if you notice visible flaking and falling skin, it's likely a sign that there's some serious pore-clogging going on at your scalp. But don't despair, with regular scalp treatments, you can get relief from dandruff.

5. Your Scalp Smells

This is a gross one, but a healthy scalp should never smell. If you notice an unsightly odor, it could be a sign of oil buildup that needs to be removed by a comprehensive scalp detox.

Also: This Is What a Healthy Scalp Looks Like

6. Your Scalp Hurts

If you're noticing pain or sensitivity when you touch your hair, it's definitely time to detox your scalp. Hair and scalp pain is often caused by a buildup of excess dead skin but can also be a sign of more serious scalp ailments. If you're still hurting after your scalp detox, make sure to contact a dermatologist or a trichologist for a closer look.

Try It: 5 Homemade Hair Masks

Supporting Scalp Health

There are a few different ways to detox your scalp, depending on your hair type and what kinds of products you tend to use. All scalps are different! It's important to respond to your scalp's individual needs and find out what method of scalp detox works for you. Before you begin your detox, you need to check in with your hair habits and make sure they're not damaging your hair health, leading to the need for further detoxing down the line.

Also: Itchy Scalp and Hair Loss? Read This

Avoid Overprocessing Your Hair

The most important aspect of doing a scalp detox is making sure you have a hair care routine that isn't damaging your hair health. After all, there's no point in going through the work of doing a scalp detox if you're just going to reverse your progress with your routine.

To avoid overprocessing your hair, stay away from harsh chemical ingredients and heat products as much as possible. You might turn to these products every once in a while, for a special occasion or to create a show-stopping look, but they shouldn't be part of your regular product rotation.

Learn: Can Seborrheic Dermatitis Cause Hair Loss?

Make Sure You're Using the Right Shampoo

Before you begin the scalp detox process, take time to examine the ingredients on your shampoo label. Many commercial shampoos contain harsh ingredients like sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate, which can damage your hair and scalp. Here are a few key terms to look out for when choosing a shampoo:

  • Sulfate/Sulfonate: Indicates an ingredient that performs a deep cleaning function, which can be useful for removing unwelcome buildup but harsh if used too frequently. Be especially careful with products containing these ingredients if you have damaged or delicate hair.
  • Chloride/ions: Indicates an ingredient designed to support and soften the hair structure. It acts as a mild cleanser, so it's more appropriate for regular use. However, make sure your product contains a milder chloride, like behentrimonium chloride, cetrimonium chloride, or stearalkonium chloride--there are less naturally derived chlorides that can be harsh when overused.
  • Alcohol: While it sounds drying, ingredients that end with "alcohol" are simply mild cleansers, often used in conditioning shampoos to support the health of damaged hair. These can have a softening effect.

Reading your labels can help you avoid overwashing your hair, leading to the increased production of sebum which can clog the pores of the scalp. Consider investing in a more gentle shampoo — it's the best way to prevent future scalp problems before they arise and also get the most out of your detox. VEGAMOUR's GRO Revitalizing Shampoo is free from the parabens, phthalates, sulfates, silicones, mineral oils and synthetic fragrance that many drugstore shampoos contain. By using a gentle shampoo, you can help support your scalp's natural functions, avoiding the need for future detoxing.

Shop: GRO Revitalizing Shampoo & Conditioner

Check Your Brush Type

Using an incorrect brush type can also cause scalp damage. But the right brush can help massage the scalp and distribute oils throughout the hair, making them a critical component of a scalp care routine. Here are a few of the best brushes for scalp health:

  • Finger combing: A classic in natural hair care for a reason — finger combing allows you to massage the scalp as you gradually work your way through those pesky knots.
  • Wide-tooth combs: A wide-tooth comb provides the least damaging detangling method for wet hair. Start at the snarled ends, and work your way up.
  • Boar bristle brushes: Densely bristled brushes are a great option for distributing oil throughout the hair for maximum sheen and decreased dryness. Just make sure to start with detangled hair because the dense bristles can catch unhelpfully on knots.
  • Brushes whose bristles have rounded or polished ends: A softer end means these brushes won't snag or damage the scalp.

Whatever method you use to detangle your hair, make sure to be gentle and not press too hard, especially if you suspect you already have a dry or damaged scalp.

Also: This Dry Shampoo Was Formulated With Thinning Hair in Mind

Try a Deep-Conditioning Scalp Massage

Scalp massage is an excellent way to exfoliate those pores while helping the ingredients of the products you use penetrate more deeply into the skin. Fingers work well, but to get an even better effect, try using a scalp stimulating massager like the GRO Revitalizing Scalp Massager. The massager's bristles stimulate the scalp and help assist with the removal of problematic buildup.

Pair your scalp massager with a deep-conditioning mask for maximum hydration. Chose an oil, such as coconut, olive or marula oil, and massage it deeply into the scalp to hydrate and support hair growth. Then, use a cleansing shampoo to clear away excess oil once you've finished.

Also: Smelly Scalp? Here's What You Can Do

Use Professional Scalp Detox Products

GRO Revitalizing Scalp Massager

When it's time to detox your scalp, using a professionally formulated scalp product is the best way to start. VEGAMOUR's GRO Scalp Detoxifying Serum is an incredibly comprehensive scalp health treatment, actively targeting dandruff-causing fungi and pro-inflammatory cytokines while promoting a healthy reduction in sebum production. Apply it to your scalp and leave it on for approximately 10 minutes before a shower, or for a more intensive treatment, you can leave it on overnight. You can also use your fingers or the GRO Revitalizing Scalp Massager to work the serum in for extra coverage.

Based on natural ingredients, including our proprietary vegan silk protein, it's a great way to target several potential scalp issues at once so you can reset your hair health. Bonus: Try our new GRO+ Advanced Scalp Detoxifying Serum with CBD for an added boost of hair wellness.

GRO+ Advanced Scalp Detoxifying Serum

Also: How to Moisturize Your Scalp

Try a DIY Hair Detox

While you wait for your serum to arrive, preparing a do-it-yourself scalp detox mask or scalp scrub is a great way to clear out scalp buildup so you can apply your serum right to the scalp's skin for a more targeted effect. Here are a few of our favorite methods for at-home scalp treatment, using ingredients you probably already have at home:

Make a Mask

Mix equal parts bentonite clay powder, aloe vera gel and apple cider vinegar. Apply your DIY hair mask to your strands and let sit for 20 minutes under a shower cap to prevent drying. Rinse out with white vinegar, and follow with a clarifying shampoo to remove residue. You can wash your hair with a baking soda paste to remove oil buildup for an extra-clean effect.

Scrub Up

Blend two tablespoons of coconut oil with two tablespoons of sugar or sea salt and a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. Or, for an even simpler scrub, blend together baking soda and coconut oil with a few drops of water to form a paste. Massage the scrub deeply into your scalp to remove the buildup of oil and hair products.

Read: Why Does My Scalp and Hair Hurt? A Doctor Explains

Prioritize Your Scalp Health

All of these steps are a great way to begin your scalp detox process and, in most cases, should clear up your symptoms immediately. However, if you have more serious scalp problems that persist after trying at-home scalp detox treatments, it might be time to make an appointment with a licensed trichologist or dermatologist for prescription-strength products.

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Photo credit: VEGAMOUR

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