Admittedly, it's physically impossible to enjoy the same type of purr-inducing creature comforts as you experienced in the reclining chair under your hairstylist's tender ministrations during the shampooing process, but there's no harm in trying to recreate the experience. A salon-style scalp massage while you're washing your hair can be quite a treat to start or finish the day. This is how it's done:
Before you've even made it into your shower cubicle, massage oil into your scalp. Oil attracts oil, so when you rub oil into your scalp and hair, especially when both feel dirty after a work-out, the applied oil will remove some of the grease and grime before shampoo is applied. Hair is also more fragile when wet, so oil prevents your hair from being damaged under the shower. Hair tonics made from fig and harrow are useful for this, as are energizing compositions.
When your scalp and hair feel rather dirty, it may be tempting to scratch at your scalp under the shower when you're washing your hair. Resist this urge! Scratching can cause irritation and burning sensations and any bacteria or dirt under your fingernails can lead to a nasty infection. Use the pads of your fingertips and apply as much pressure as you feel comfortable with while shampooing your hair.
Scrub every single inch of your scalp thoroughly, which is of course easier when somebody else is shampooing your hair. They can see the top of your head! Using a little strategic "mapping" of your scalp will allow you to catch every spot though. Once your hair is totally wet, begin with the back of your head and your temples, where humans sweat the most. Then work your way around your head in a circular motion, making your way towards the centre with vigorous scrubbing applied by the pads of your fingers. Shampoo can penetrate and shift grease far better this way, leaving you with squeaky clean hair.
Pay particular attention to your hairline, where residual makeup and sweat can lurk longer than in other parts of your head. At your local salon, the hairdresser's assistant washing your hair would concentrate particularly on this spot, scrubbing and massaging this area to make your scalp feel cleaner, but also to relax you more. Massaging your temples, for example, stimulates blood flow, which in turn eases tension. Begin with your temples, then massage in small circular motions, which should move upwards on both sides toward the crown of your head, before repeating this downward and back to your temples.
The spot where your neck meets the base of your skull can sweat a lot and be the source for tension. Place both your hands on either side of your head, placing your thumbs at the base of your head and your fingers around the top of your head. Now apply some light pressure at the base of the skull, while massaging in a circular motion. Pull the skin on your scalp slightly upwards using your thumbs.
Using shampoo will strip your hair of much of its natural oils, so you might feel that all this massaging and scrubbing will damage your fine hair. Simply wait with your massage until after you have rinsed out your shampoo and have applied conditioner to your ends if you have concerns over damaging your hair with a scalp massage during the shampooing process. Using conditioner will allow you to separate hair more easily and this way, your fingertips can access your scalp with minimal pulling. Use cooler water to rinse out your conditioner as this will seal the cuticle of your hair for maximum shine.
The final thing is to make the most of your massage. You should be nice and relaxed so it’s probably best to do the massage on a non class/no work day because you want the benefits to last as long as possible. Also, because the massage is beneficial to the health of your scalp and hair as well as making you feel good, enhance that by having a product free hair day. No mousse, de-frizz serum, heat spray, gel and that means no heat tools either. Your hair will enjoy the day off.
Are you now ready to treat yourself to a salon-style massage?