My Scalp Is Still Itchy And Flaky And I Can't Live Like This: Salt Wash Edition

Shampoo + Sea Salt = Miss California Hair?
Publish date:
March 8, 2013
hair, shampoo, salt, dandruff

My hair is bumming me out.

I've been nostalgically looking at old pictures of my healthy, shiny, flake-free mane lately, the way I used to look at pictures of hot ex- boyfriends or Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits. My hair has lately fallen into that category of sexy little things that used to bring me visceral pleasure, and are now dull, greasy and tend to give me a stomachache.

Have you ever had hair anxiety? Fear that all people are judging your dry and oily, flaky, limp locks? That they look at you with a mix of pity and superiority? Do you fear that shaving your head is your only recourse since your hair is so mangled that the homeless woman on the corner of the street who regularly screams, "Get me my lawyer, Piano Man!" and has involuntary dreadlocks might be more follicly successful than you?

I'm there.

My days are basically divided into stretches between hair checks. I'm like a parakeet. If there's a mirror I will find it and I will be discreetly or not so discreetly checking to see if a) there are rogue flakes delicately dotting my head, or b) I need to reposition my "bun of not sexy" so as to better conceal the clumps, chunks and static flyways that are plaguing my dry and oily hair.

And yes friends, I did try many of the tips and tricks you recommended. And some worked…briefly. Nizoral, Head & Shoulders, tea tree oil, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, massaging, brushing, coconut oil, etc. I have an appointment with a derm but I can't get in for almost two weeks. Typically with the above treatments, my hair and scalp would improve for about a day or two, then the hair horror would return in full force -- and it would be pissed off that I had attempted to stage a coup.

I can't live like this.

On the airplane yesterday, I felt so sorry for the girl crocheting next to me. Yeah, I've never seen anyone crochet with quite such flourish -- elbows akimbo, encroaching on my airplane space -- but I decided to forgive her, as she had to sit next to me. Me, who was constantly trying to disguise a flake check in my compact mirror or computer screen as a contact lens check (YOU'RE WEARING GLASSES, HUNG!), or a desperate head scratch as the ol' "Stretch and Look Around the Cabin" routine.

Humans do not function this way.

So in my, "I'll Try Anything!" state, this washing your hair with salt thing was brought to my attention. Detoxify? Deep cleanse? Exfoliate? Don't mind if I do!

Shampoo + Sea Salt = Miss California Hair (so says the article).

Could it be so simple? I'm such a sucker for this stuff. I'm already having visions of gaily laughing, like a woman with a salad, as I suds my hair up. Stepping out of the shower and tossing my magically already dry hair, as I turn to face myself in the mirror, flake free and with more body, shine and bounce than a Baywatch babe (my gold standard for body and bounce).

So I'm going to do it. Here is my sad, flaccid haired before picture:

The salt shampoo mix is supposed to, "get all of the 'gunk" out of your hair and "remove all the old product build-up in your hair." Yes! Get out the gunk! My hair is 80% gunk right now! Visions of cleanliness dance in my head.

But honestly this is the line that sold me: "'Do not wash your hair with this more than once a month because you'll end up cleaning it TOO good".

I love warnings like this: "It could work TOO WELL." The idea that something is SO good and SO effective that you take your life in limb in hand when exploiting its efficacy? YES, PLEASE!

So off I go now. I'm going to take a shower and report back. That crystalline tintinnabulation you hear? That's just me GETTING MY WASH ON.


Well I'm not gonna lie, my hair does feel cleaner.

I mixed up the 2:3, shampoo to salt ratio, and really worked it in. There were little to no suds, so I used quite a lot of the mix to make sure all parts of my head were covered. It's a little like washing your hair with baking soda or clay -- it takes a little more kneading and massaging into the hair and scalp than usual. After working it in for about a minute, I rinsed it out with warm, then cold water. It rinsed out surprisingly easily, and I don't feel any residue left on my hair. Oh, and keep your eyes closed! Coarse salt in your eyes SUCKS.

How does my hair feel?

There is a softness and smoothness to my hair that I haven't felt in weeks. It does feel as if my hair was exfoliated. I'm actually enjoying running my fingers through my hair.

I can understand why they said to only do this once a month -- it does seem like doing this more often could really dry out your hair and scalp.

Does my hair feel thicker and volumized? Eh, Sort of.

I already have pretty thick hair, so I don't really feel or see a difference in the thickness of my hair. Though with less gunk weighing it down, it does feel fuller.

I do see some difference in volume. My hair feels lighter and certainly less limp. Do I have that Vidal Sassoon bounce every lady longs for? No. Though I think the state of my locks was so bad to begin with that it may take a few washes with this salt mix to really see a difference.

Honestly, I was hoping this would be some sort of Golden Ticket to flake-free hair. Not so, but at this point I see fewer flakes than I normally do post hair washing. The top layer of my hair if flake free! So is my hairline!

I do find the usual suspects if I do some digging near my scalp, and there is still some itching, but it's better. I think with the massaging and increased blood flow to the scalp with all that coarse salt that this may be a great tool in my dandruff battle. It's not going to cure my dandruff -- or whatever it actually is -- but then again, it was never promised that it would. My greasy little heart just hoped it might.

Will I try this salt shampoo again? Yes. It's so easy to do and actually felt really good on my itchy scalp. Plus, it really appeals to my cheap 'n' crunchy, hippy-dippy side. Though I'd highly recommend avoiding this treatment if you pick your cuticles to death (like I do) or have a cut on your finger. Surprise! Salt in a wound hurts like a bitch.

So the search continues for my miracle product. This salt and shampoo concoction did a lot of what it said it would do, but I don't think it's the answer to my hair-prayers. Hopefully, this treatment will stave off my hair anxiety for the next couple days.

At the very least, I have hope for my hair.