Deep Scalp Cleansing: What Is It and How to Do It in 6 Easy Steps

Say goodbye to excess oil, dirt, and product buildup. Here's how to deep cleanse your scalp at home.

We are all guilty of focusing too much on how our hair feels and looks that we forget to pay attention to the health of our scalp from time to time. In as much as we make an extra effort in giving our hair that extra boost with luxurious treatments or premium hair products, we should also give attention where attention is due — and that’s in our scalp’s health. And one of the best ways to do it is by doing a deep scalp cleansing. 

Deep scalp cleansing helps in removing dirt, grime, and product residue that have been trapped on your scalp and hair follicles. In this article, we’re showing you how to do it properly right at the comfort of your own home. But first, it’s important to understand what scalp cleansing is all about.

Deep scalp cleansing is essentially the process of massaging your scalp and using a brush or exfoliating scrub to help remove dead skin cells, unclog the pores, and wash away product buildup from the hair follicles. We can liken it to getting a facial. Even if we wash our faces everyday and night, we still need that deeper cleansing treatment for our face once in a while. The same goes for our scalp to ensure the health of our hair as well. Even if we wash our hair on a daily basis, your scalp will still need that deep detox and cleansing every so often.

We cannot emphasize how important it is to make more of an effort in looking after your scalp’s health and achieve a truly clean hair and scalp. It’s like laying out the foundation for the overall health of your hair by tending to its “roots” — and by doing so, you’re also preventing a lot of other serious hair concerns from popping up.

The frequency of how often you should deep clean your hair can depend on several factors but mainly on the condition of your scalp and hair, plus your habits and lifestyle. However, if you’re looking for a more general answer, most experts recommend doing it at least once a month or every four to six weeks.

We’re going to show you easy steps on how you can do scalp and hair cleansing from the convenience of your own home. On top of that, we’re also adding in some important steps on how to keep your scalp hydrated and nourished to avoid other issues like dry scalp, dandruff, itchiness, and so on.

1. Rinse your hair

Asian woman with long wet hair ready to deep cleanse her scalp
Do a preliminary cleansing by washing your hair and scalp with water. Credit: Hariono Halim

Wash your hair thoroughly with water first. Massage your scalp and finger-comb through your hair while rinsing to remove dirt and product buildup.

2. Apply oil to your scalp

Closeup shot of an Asian woman deep cleansing her scalp
Tea tree oil can help remove impurities from your hair and scalp. Credit: Dennie Ramon

Give your hair and scalp an oil treatment that helps get rid of the buildup on your scalp and roots. Don’t know what oil to use? Go for tea tree oil, which has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. Mix 10 drops of tea tree oil with 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and apply it to your scalp. Cover your head with a shower cap to allow the oil to be properly absorbed by your scalp.

Editor’s tip: Want to incorporate tea tree oil in your daily hair care routine? Try Love Beauty and Planet Tea Tree Oil & Vetiver Radical Refresher Shampoo. It is infused with Australian tea tree oil and it gently cleanses and detoxifies your hair. 

3. Steam your scalp

How to deep cleanse your scalp: Asian woman with shower cap on her head wearing a white robe
Steaming your scalp can help unclog pores. Credit: Dennie Ramon

Steaming your scalp helps open up your pores and unclog it. You don’t need fancy equipment for this. To steam your scalp at home, all you need to do is soak a towel in warm water, wring it to squeeze out water, and heat it in your microwave oven for two minutes. Wear a potholder or gloves when taking out the towel to protect your hands. Put the towel over your shower cap and cover it with another shower cap or a piece of plastic. Leave it on for 30 minutes. If your towel loses heat, you can put it back in the microwave to warm it again.

4. Shampoo your hair

Asian woman shampooing her hair and and deep cleansing her scalp in a bathroom
Use a shampoo that can help bring back lost nutrients to your hair. Credit: Dennie Ramon

After steaming your hair, proceed to rinse to remove excess oil, then apply an exfoliating shampoo. Gently massage your scalp as you shampoo to promote good blood circulation and stimulate hair growth. Shampoo your hair thoroughly from roots to tips for a more effective hair cleansing.

Editor’s tip: Wash your hair with TRESemmé Detox & Nourish Shampoo to remove impurities from your hair and replenish lost nutrients. It also doesn’t have parabens, colorants, or dyes, and it gently cleanses your hair.

5. Apply a conditioning mask

Closeup shot of an Asian woman wearing a white robe and putting hair mask on her long hair
Don’t forget to treat your hair with a hair mask to keep it nourished and moisturized. Credit: Natasha Estelle

End your deep scalp cleansing session with a hair mask treatment to keep your hair nourished and moisturized. Apply the mask, then cover your hair with  a warm towel for the nutrients to be absorbed better. Leave it on for five minutes, then rinse out the mask with water.

Editor’s tip: Keep your hair deeply moisturized with TRESemmé Keratin Smooth KERA10 Smoothing Mask. It is formulated with KERA10 Protein Complex that goes up to 10 layers deep into your hair. It gives your hair 10 salon benefits in just one wash, and these include making your hair soft, smooth, and shiny, detangling your hair, and keeping it from getting frizzy.

6. Bonus Tip: Consider Using Apple Cider Vinegar for Deep Scalp Cleansing

If you’re looking for an alternative at-home product that you can use, then we recommend that you cleanse your hair with Apple Cider Vinegar. ACV is said to have great antimicrobial properties that can help in controlling the bacteria or fungi that lead to various scalp and hair problems like dandruff and itchiness. It also contains a good amount of acetic acid, which helps to balance your hair and scalp’s health. This is because dull, brittle, or frizzy hair is said to have more alkaline and is positioned higher on the pH scale and ACV can help bring it down to achieve balance with its acidity.

To use ACV, start by mixing a few tablespoons (5 or less) of it with water. After your regular shampoo and conditioner, pour the mixture evenly throughout your hair and gently work through it on your scalp. Let it sit for a couple of minutes then rinse it off. If the vinegar scent is a little much for you to take, you can also mix it in with an essential oil of your choice. The scent should wash off with it after rinsing.

And there you have it! Deep cleansing your hair and scalp is easy. Schedule a deep scalp cleansing session at home once or twice a month, and you’ll be on your way to cleaner scalp and healthier hair.

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