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November 02, 2020 3 min read

Hopefully you know the feeling of a good scalp massage. Your skin tingles, you get goosebumps along the back of your neck. You forget that list of errands. Problems fade into the background. Your mind clears. You are in the moment.

I recently had sat down with Abigail Kuehl, master stylist, to talk about the benefits of a good scalp massage. She’s made the scalp massage part of her guest regimen for over 10 years. Her technique is legendary among her clients.

Is scalp massage good for you?

You bet!  Here are just 3 reasons why you should carry this salon practice home.  

  1. Scalp massage removes dirt that can clog pores and follicles - things like dead skin, product build-up, and environmental debris
  2. Scalp massage stimulates blood flow to the scalp and hair follicles - that means that it creates an environment that promotes hair growth
  3. Scalp massage helps create thicker hair by stretching hair follicles

"According to research, scalp massage increases hair thickness by stretching the cells of hair follicles. This, in turn, stimulates the follicles to produce thicker hair. It’s also thought that a scalp massage may help dilate blood vessels beneath the skin, thereby encouraging hair growth,"  Healthline.

There are 2 main types of scalp massage: dry and wet.  

The Dry Massage

At the salon, Abigail shared the psychological side of the dry scalp massage, “I like to help my guests make the transition from the busy outside world to the restorative space of the salon, but it’s much more than just about making my guests feel good.” 

Kuehl explains that there are physical benefits that come from a good scalp massage too. “A good massage increases blood flow to support the body’s natural internal cleansing process, and reveals healthy skin cells."

"I like to enhance the process with a high quality plant based oil blend, the combination promotes healthy skin and improves hair texture. My favorite blend is ANTIDOTE 1848 NOURISHING OIL with organic avocado, grape seed, jojoba, and grapefruit oil. These are great for soothing skin and strengthening the hair and this product doesn’t have harsh additives.”

Kuehl’s explains her dry massage approach

“Step 1: I like to start by brushing the hair in multiple directions to expose the scalp, remove dead skin cells and stimulate circulation. 

Step 2: Then I rub a few drops of a good hair oil into my fingers and start taking long strokes across the scalp from back to front and side to side to transfer the oil onto the scalp and hair. For people with long hair, I also apply hair oil to the ends of their hair. 

Step 3: Starting from the forehead and moving to the back of the neck, I use gentle circular motions across the crown and then from the temples.”

You can enjoy the benefits of a scalp massage by giving one to yourself. “Find a quiet spot and give yourself 5-10 minutes. Even a couple of days a week can make a difference. Feel free to mix it up – so you don’t have to do the same thing each time. Nature sounds can be fun to use. The National Park Service has some great options.  And don’t forget to take deep slow breaths to make sure you get lots of fresh air!”

For a good dry massage, use a high quality nylon and boar bristle brush that works for your hair type.

The Wet Massage

At home, we recommend a wet massage.  It's easier to do on yourself and the running water will automatically wash away dirt and build-up.

For all hair types, a nubby silicone brush works well.  Silicone is best because it doesn't tangle the hair.

Step 1: super saturate your hair and scalp to get the best lather from your shampoo 

Step 2:  apply the brush against your scalp, moving it around in gentle, circular motions. start in the back and move up the neck to the top of the head

Step 3: go from the back of the neck and move up the sides of your head

TIP: Don't apply too much pressure -  a little goes a long way - it should feel good. too much pressure can irritate your follicles.

 “If you want to get more adventurous, find a scalp massage buddy! It’s good for you, fun and a great way to improve your technique!”

Looking for more tips?  Check out Sandra Roldan's "How to Give Yourself a Salon-Style Scalp Massage - a former shampoo girl shares her secrets."

  -- Abigail + David, ANTIDOTE1848

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