I would not do well in prison.
I don’t know how my wife does it. She has thick, long, curly hair (that I’m quite fond of). And yet, she can shampoo the entire thing without closing her eyes. For me, the instant I put shampoo to head, my eyes remain closed until it’s all rinsed away. A sharpened spoon could be coming my way and I’d never know.
I live in the land of winters so dry it turns your skin to dust. You can slather yourself in cream, but when you go to bed at night, and lay your head against the pillow, you’re tempted to leap up, dash into the bathroom, and shave your head just so you can coat it in a thick layer of Vaseline Intensive Care. It drives me bugshit.
At least, it used to.
I’ve seen one “solution” for this being to shower less frequently because it strips the natural oils away from your scalp, but I’m ostensibly still something of a fitness guy, and some people who are interested in fitness still read this site. And people who exercise need to shower. When you smell so bad you could knock a buzzard off a gut pile, the idea of showering every few days is not an option.
Speaking of things that smell, there is that tar shampoo stuff you could try to alleviate your dry scalp. I mean, if you hate yourself and want to make your daily shower a wholly unpleasant experience you could, because if you crack the bottle and take a whiff, it smells like road work being done next to a pig farm.
A less offensive method is to get the Selsun Blue “Itchy Dry Scalp Formula.” It helps a little, but in my case, it means three minutes of standing in the shower with my eyes closed and fumbling around while it does its thing. What’s more, my wife, who is a family physician, looked at the ingredients and said, “There are a lot of hormone disruptors in this stuff.”
Or, you could buy this product I’m about to recommend.
I am not being paid by anyone to recommend this product. I’m not getting any free samples from the company. I might get a bit of ad revenue, but that’s it. It’s a Canadian company, so I guess I’m supporting my country’s economy too. That’s all I get out of it. I’m telling you about it because it works.
And it’s not a “cure,” as the title implies. It’s a solution. A dry and itchy scalp solution!
Rather than treat dry and itchy scalp, it prevents it. It’s not a shampoo, it’s a bar of soap. It’s this bar of soap from the Rocky Mountain Soap Company (they ship internationally).
It’s a little weird washing your hair with a bar of soap at first, and it’s more of a challenge for people with lots of hair (my wife manages). It can also make her thick and curly hair a little frizzy, but conditioner manages that.
It doesn’t lather as much as regular shampoo, but that’s not necessary. I’m going to quote from the book The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg: “Foaming is a huge reward,” said Sinclair, the brand manager [for Procter and Gamble]. “Shampoo doesn’t have to foam but we add foaming chemicals because people expect it each time they wash their hair … There’s no cleaning benefit.”
So, you take this bar of Rocky Mountain soap that acts as a shampoo, rub it all over your head in the shower (and I can keep my eyes open – yay!), and then rinse. What’s the magic?
The “magic” is that it washes your hair, not your scalp. It doesn’t strip all those oils away that makes it dry as hell and drives you bonkers. After three showers, I could feel it made a significant difference. I thought, Well, I’ll still use shampoo once a week to strip away those nasty oils because I need to be righteously clean and having oil on my head is gross and whatever.
And I did do that for a couple of weeks, then realized I kept forgetting to do it. My habit quickly became just this bar of soap on my head, and I notice no difference. My hair is clean and looks the same. Nothing smells bad (the soap smells nice—it has rosemary in it). My scalp doesn’t feel like an oil slick.
The only difference in my scalp I notice is, IT DOESN’T ITCH ANYMORE!
Got dry, itchy scalp? Try the damn soap.
James S. Fell, MBA, writes for the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Women’s Health, Men’s Health, AskMen, the Guardian, TIME Magazine and many other fine publications. His first book was published by Random House Canada in 2014. He is currently working on his next book, which is about life-changing moments.