One in two people deal with dandruff – the human being writing this article included (well, hey there 👋) – which is a lot of people suffering unnecessarily!
Dandruff affects what you wear, how you show up in the world and your levels of awkwardness at the hairdresser (“please excuse my scalp! It’s never usually this flaky…”). To make matters worse, no one can agree on precisely what causes it.
The anti-dandruff dead end.
Whether your dandruff is triggered by dryness, chemical irritation, fungal overgrowth, seasonal allergies or some combination of them all, chances are you’ve tried a lot of things to make it go away.
And if you’re anything like me, the “solution” you just keep coming back to is nuclear-grade anti-dandruff shampoo and conditioner. Because let’s face it, it works – and pretty rapidly too. Well… most of the time, and not without some serious consequences.
Let’s look at the dark side of anti-dandruff treatments, shall we?
They dry out your scalp and smell like a hospital.
Anti-dandruff shampoos contain ingredients such as salicylic acid, coal tar, and zinc pyrithione that can dry out the scalp and cause irritation. If you have dry or sensitive skin, these shampoos exacerbate the problem, stripping the scalp of its natural oils leaving it dry, itchy, and flaky. Oh, and they don’t exactly smell like roses either.
They increase hair breakage and fade your colour.
Anti-dandruff shampoos can damage your hair. The active ingredients are harsh, weakening the hair shaft and making it liable to snap. If you have a coloured or chemically-treated mop, anti-dandruff shampoo will increase the rate of fade which ultimately costs you money and places more burden on your already-stressed tresses.
The ingredients are toxic to you and our waterways.
There are so many ingredients in commercial shampoos that are now under scrutiny as skin irritants and potential carcinogens: harsh sulphates, synthetic fragrances, petroleum based thickeners and parabens to name a few. It takes just 10 seconds of contact with your skin for a chemical to cross into your bloodstream, so do you really want to be regularly lathering up with these notorious nasties? Sending synthetic substances down the drain pipe and into the great blue beyond does untold harm to local marine environments, too. Gulp.
They don’t align with your values.
If you’re a health conscious, environmentally aware person who likes to keep a chem-free household (oh hey, it’s me again! 👋), those bottles of anti-dandruff shampoo and conditioner stick out like a sore thumb. When you’re all about natural solutions, low-toxic living and tending your health from the inside out, relying on a chemical-laden band-aid is going to cause massive cognitive dissonance. Ouch.
They trigger dandruff whiplash and nuclear fallout.
Have you found that your anti-dandruff shampoo occasionally stops working, and the itchiness and flakes return with even more force, seemingly out of nowhere? We call this Dandruff Whiplash (with associated Nuclear Fallout). Over time, your scalp becomes resistant to the active ingredients in anti-dandruff shampoos making them less and less effective. To combat this, you need to switch to a different type of anti-dandruff shampoo or use a stronger formula. Sustainable? We think not.
They create a dependency rather than healing the root cause.
Anti-dandruff shampoos are famously co-dependent. If you stop using them, your dandruff says, “hey, gimme attention!” – and starts right back up again. This is because anti-dandruff treatments only ever address the superficial symptoms with strong fungicides, fake moisturisers or harsh exfoliants, for example, not the root cause which is actually an unhealthy scalp.
Dandruff = your scalp’s cry for help.
What if prioritising the health of your scalp could make topical anti-dandruff treatments totally obsolete? That’s what we, (me! 👋) and so many of our customers have experienced.
We know it’s scary to consider coming off anti-dandruff shampoo. The trauma of snow-dusted black jumpers and falling flakes (especially on a date) is real. But if, deep down in your heart of hearts, you know that healing dandruff is worth doing (see: all of the above reasons), adopting a healthy scalp routine can free you, at last, from fear and dependency – not to mention, a lifetime of toxic chemical exposure.
Sure, it requires a routine shake up and a little bit of work, but what good thing doesn’t?
The joys of a happy scalp.
Your scalp is where cells regenerate, moisturising sebum is released and vibrant strands of hair are born.
When your scalp is healthy, it has a naturally acidic pH which stops yeasty fungus beasties (like malassezia) proliferating.
Oil and sebum production are regulated (not too little, not too much), maintaining optimum levels of moisturisation for supple skin and nourished follicles.
And a well-tended scalp can breathe; it’s not congested or infected, and new cells and hair grow as nature intended.
Heal dandruff in five simple steps.
Our Healthy Hair Care Routine is our tried, tested and true method for mending scalps and making dandruff a thing of the past.
It’s foundational to beautiful hair, based on traditional principles of proper brushing, scalp massage, gentle exfoliation and the healing power of nature.
Want to see what’s involved? Check out the full routine here.
If you’re dealing with dandruff, we suggest completing the routine twice a week, with hair brushing and scalp massage between times.
Take the 30 Day Dandruff Challenge.
While anti-dandruff shampoos have their place, they also come with serious drawbacks like dryness, irritation, hair damage, resistance, and harm to the environment.
If you feel like you’ve tried everything to treat your dandruff to no avail, why not have one last hurrah with our Healthy Hair Care Routine?
Give it a proper crack for 30 days and report back – we love hearing your experiences, especially because so many of them are positive. And if you’re still unsure about which products will best suit you, reach out to us. We’re hair to help.
Yours in scalp-healing solidarity, The Bees.
In terms of products, we recommend
2. Healthy Scalp Shampoo
Bee Shiny for Normal Hair – pH Balanced Shampoo Bar
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Bee Smooth for Dry / Frizzy Hair and Scalp – pH Balanced Shampoo Bar
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Bee Clean for Oily Hair and Scalp – pH Balanced Shampoo Bar
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Bee Healthy Scalp Scrub – pH Balanced Shampoo Bar
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