Basic shampoos and hair gels can leave your scalp feeling inflamed or dry. Certain hair products can even contribute directly to flaking. It’s a pretty common problem that some guys aren't sure how to stop. As a barber, I've seen many distressed heads in front of me and I can boil it down to a few basic remedies depending on a few factors.
Expensive shampoos, first of all, aren't top priority for most guys. But, treat yourself fellas. We need the good stuff too. If you're buying the cheap $6 bottle of shampoo, you're basically putting a bar of soap in your hair. Washing both your scalp and hair requires something a little more complex than your hands do. If you have some cheap stuff at home check the label and try to identify some of the following negative ingredients.
I'm sure you've all heard of Parabens. They're included in shampoos as a preservative and you might think they’re sliding into your hair unnoticed but you would be wrong. They’re pretty easy to spot. They are going to be somewhat hard to go without entirely but here are some examples of parabens: methylparaben, proplyparaben, isopropylparaben, isobutylparaben, butylparaben, and sodium butylparaben. The real sneaky thing about parabens is that they can actually enter your body through your scalp (what are they doing in there? I don't know, i'm not a doctor!) and make your hair dry out and frizz. These must be less than 1% of the total makeup of a product and are regarded as generally being safe according to the FDA so don't freak out if you see some of them but “less is more”.
Silicones and sulfates are also on the naughty list. Silicones basically cover the hair strand to make it feel smooth and soft but it’s just a filler that won't actually moisturize your hair. Trickery! Sulfates help create the bubbly lather as you wash but can build up on your scalp over time. Sulfates usually end in "-ate" and silicones usually end in "-cone", "-xane", or "-col", watch out!
Now if you have a decent shampoo, are using it regularly and still see these problems it’s time to turn to your hair styling products. Most of these products have alcohol in them but there are actually good alcohols and bad alcohols. The good alcohols will attract water and the bad ones will evaporate it, quickly. Some of the good ones include: Cetyl alcohol, Stearyl alcohol, Myristyl alcohol, Lauryl alcohol, Behenyl alcohol and Cetearyl alcohol. The ones that will dry your hair and scalp out are Ethanol, Ethyl alcohol, Propanol, Alcohol denat, Isopropyl alcohol and Isopropanol alcohol. Most styling products with these bad alcohols will give you a crispy hold and eventually break throughout the day. This causes the flaking of the super dried product. You can always just use Level Headed Pomade for great results too!
LASTLY, if you are still experiencing dandruff problems, it’s time to get a medicated shampoo. For some of us this is the only way. Luckily there’s a great one I recommend that’s sold over the counter with no prescription necessary. It’s called Mg217 and it’s for psoriasis, dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis. Its magic ingredient is coal tar. Coal tar is a “keratoplastic” (worth a google) and it helps to relieve this buildup as well as ease itching.
(Disclaimer: the shampoo I mentioned DOES contain a limited amount of negative ingredients mentioned here, mainly to create a lather which acts as a better delivery of the active ingredients. Those negative ingredients aren't meant to be completely excluded just watched out for in high amounts.)
Thanks for reading! Have a great day.