I don’t know exactly how it started: were there too many chemicals in my shampoo? Too much pollution in the air? Was I wearing beanies or attaching my hair too often? Probably a little bit of all that. About two years ago, I realised that my scalp had become very itchy, irritated and sometimes flaky. I was scratching my head day and night, whether my hair was clean or not. I was going crazy because it never stopped. I was putting my hand in my hair and I would feel with my fingers that my skin was irregular and dried out.

In those two years, I’ve tried a crazy amount of products, hoping every time that I could get rid of my problems: expensive, natural, purifying, pharmaceutical products, that would fail one after the other. Until, during one of my many skins.nl wanderings (yep, I’m still very addicted), I came across my two life savers: Kiehl’s Scalp Purifying shampoo and Aesop’s Sage & Cedar Scalp Treatment.

scalp treatment products best

And after eight weeks of regular and diligent use, I can tell you for sure: they work!

Both products are great, but it’s the combo that truly changed my life – from the first use, which is crazy enough to be mentioned.

A decisive addition to my routine was the Aesop oil: its role is to treat my scalp while I sleep, in anticipation of the next morning’s shampoo. After thoroughly brushing my hair, I apply a few drops and gently massage my scalp with the tips of my fingers. I make sure to get some product everywhere, and insist on the dry/itchy spots.

aesop sage cedar scalp treatment

On top of its irresistible scent, I love this oil for its soothing properties, and its rich texture that makes it super easy to apply. But that’s not all: I believe the key to Aesop’s efficiency is its natural formula, based on essential oils of cedar, almond, sage and rosemary. The only drawback is the price, approximately 27€ per bottle, which isn’t too crazy for Aesop, but still more expensive than most of what you can find in pharmacies. Thing is, I’d rather put 30 bucks into something that works and almost got me crying from happiness, than 20 into a worthless mix of chemicals that I won’t be able to finish anyway. So excuuuuuse me for splurging :)

The morning after, I get under the shower and wash my hair – that’s when Kiehl’s dandruff shampoo comes in. 

kiehls scalp purifying

The first thing I noticed about this shampoo is its texture: it’s very thick and creamy, nothing like the other products I’m used to. It doesn’t make a lot of foam, but it “sticks” to the scalp when you apply it and has a slightly exfoliating effect, which really helps purifying the head. The main active components are zinc, which helps regulating sebum and is known to have anti-inflammatory benefits, and rosemary (again!), which contains strong antioxidant activity. In general, I apply the shampoo twice in a row: a first time, I take enough product and make sure to cover my whole head, massage a bit and leave it in for a minute. After that, I thoroughly rinse my head and put a tiny bit of shampoo on my clean head. The shampoo makes more foam the second time, no idea why though, but you really don’t need a lot of it to cover all your scalp. I took the habit of the two shampoos when I realised it was recommended on pretty much every anti-dandruff product I used. I don’t really know how science explains it, but it just works better than once.

Like all Kiehl’s products, the purifying shampoo is pretty expensive (18€ for 250ml) but it’s worth every penny, given the efficiency of the treatment.

I know this wasn’t the most glamorous article I’ve published here, but since I’ve had these problems, I’ve come across a considerable amount of people who were going through the same thing and thought it would be stupid and selfish not to share my experience. I hope it helps some of you!

Finding your miracle products is a life-changing experience (seriously), but some simple habits can also make a difference:

  • brush your hair gently, don’t pull like a maniac if your hairbrush gets stuck! Your patience will be worth it.
  • don’t pull too much on your hair when you make a ponytail or a top knot: your scalp needs to breathe, and your hair needs to be treated with care, so don’t forget to leave it alone from time to time.
  • if you live or work in an urban environment, protect your head when it’s raining: the drops that land on your scalp are far from being pure H2O and contain some pollution, so it can’t hurt to protect your scalp from them.