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Nothing will make you feel more exposed or free than a buzzcut (or something close to it). It’s scary and exhilarating. It feels shocking and completely sane. A big chop is all of the things. After a lot of snips and fading, your face is suddenly, like, out there, and for a couple of minutes, you stare in the mirror wondering if you’ve made a huge mistake. I definitely had a panic attack the first time I did it, but this time around, I’m mostly concerned about finding the best scalp products and finally mastering faux lashes.
I knew ahead of time that my edges were going to look like a struggle fest because I went overboard with the braids and twists until they literally snatched some of them away. Thankfully, I’ve gotten over caring about how they look to other people and am concerned with simply treating them better. So for the past couple of weeks, I’ve tried a hefty amount of products whose purpose is to directly address scalp health. And no, I’m not just talking about scalp scrubs. My top favorites are a mix of cleansers, stylers, oils and one very pricey serum.
Ultimately, you don’t have to have short hair to use any of these. Your scalp needs love regardless of how much hair is covering it, so keep scrolling to get schooled.
Bosley Professional Strength Bos-Renew Rejuvenating Scalp Scrub
Admittedly, I envision balding men whenever I see this brand, so I wasn’t necessarily hesitant about using. It however just felt…..weird? Nonetheless, I am determined to get my edges all the way together, so I knew the “professional strength” was necessary to my routine. This stuff looks a bit like sludge when you squeeze it out of the applicator, but it feels like heaven on the scalp.
There’s just enough physical exfoliation (bamboo charcoal) to scrub away styling products without causing irritation and you can definitely feel the cooling effects of the plant oils and extracts. I recommend using once a week, especially if you don’t put a ton of product in your hair day-to-day.
$19.99 at Ulta
Cantu Apple Cider Vinegar Root Relief
First of all, let’s zero-in on the most important benefit of this product: no. rinse. I am almost always running late because I love hitting the snooze button. This is my go-to when I don’t have time to wash my hair, but need some relief before running out the door. You probably know by now that apple cider vinegar is a godsend for addressing inflammation and itching, so I love to regulate my scalp by keeping this in regular rotation. (In other words, I address the problem before it actually becomes a problem.)
This is also a must-have for when you’re wearing a sewn-in or extensions. Trust me–there aren’t enough head pats in the world to match the reach and relief of the nozzle when it spews out that cooling, peppermint oil-infused formula.
$4.97 at Walmart
Chi Curls Defined Aloe Vera Oil
Before I went to a short cut, I let my curls grow out a little more and fell in love with the Leave-In Conditioner from this same line. I found that since it delivered so much definition with so little product, I only needed a little of my go-to hairspray to keep it in place. It also forced me to get better at using a little product instead of going overboard; something I loved doing regardless of how long or short my hair is.
The oil is the same in terms of the amount needed. I use less than a dime-size amount on my scalp after I’ve used a scrub to replenish some of the moisture I lost while cleansing. It feels incredibly lightweight and if you spend a lot of time in the sun, it’s especially helpful in combating dryness on the scalp and strands.
$25 at Ulta
Dove Dermacare Coconut & Hydration Anti-Dandruff Shampoo & Conditioner
Dove’s Dermacare line has been around for a while, but they just added this “Coconut & Hydration” version into the fold. More often than not, I use a co-wash or scalp cleanser, but what convinced me to give traditional shampoo another go is the main ingredient in Dove’s anti-dandruff line: pyrithione zinc.
It specifically tackles flaking, which I’m normally not too bothered by. However, given the fact that my scalp is completely exposed with such short hair, I wanted to make sure it’s staying clean and clear; especially since I love running outside where the weather is so unpredictable.
$4.88 at Walmart, $4.88 at Walmart
EDEN Bodyworks Papaya Castor Foam Conditioner
Believe me when I tell you that foam conditioner is that girl; specifically for anyone with really short or really fine hair. She’s crazy lightweight, but still strong enough to soften and define whatever you’re working with. This is one of two products I use every single day because it just gives my hair that shine it needs to look undone in the most put-together way.
This one specifically is also infused with castor oil, so I know my edges are getting the nourishment they need to grow back full and strong. I can also confirm that it cocktails nicely with a light hold hairspray if you’re worried about humidity messing up your vibe.
$9.29 at Target
Mielle Organics Mint Almond Oil
It’s been years since I didn’t have a bottle of this cooling oil in my bathroom. When I had long hair, I loved cocktailing it with my styling cream on wash day and massaging into my edges before bed. Now, I use just a small dot throughout my entire head; otherwise, I look super greasy in the sun.
The ingredients and their benefits are also straightforward. Almond oil handles locking in moisture while mint oil gets the blood pumping in your scalp to promote fast, consistent growth. If you have short hair like me, I don’t recommend using every day because it can feel heavy, but every other day or a few times a week is perfect.
$12.79 at Target
NatureLab Tokyo Perfect Shine Clarifying Scalp Scrub
Whenever I look in the mirror (or my phone) and my hair just looks dull and flat, I know it’s time to use this scrub. Everything about it, including the look and smell (almond and violet), screams “clean” and “effortless.” The sugar crystals do act as a physical exfoliant, so tread lightly if your scalp is easily irritated, but otherwise, the formula’s hyaluronic acid definitely gives my hair a nice sheen and healthy glow.
$16 at Urban Outfitters
Ouai Scalp & Body Scrub
I packed a travel-size version of this multitasker for my sister’s wedding and after driving from New York to Atlanta in 100+ degree weather, I can’t tell you how good it felt on my head and body. If I close my eyes, the scent makes me feel as though I’m in a spa and coconut oil formula feels so soft and luxurious after I’ve rinsed off. Given the price tag, I’m happy it’s something that can actually be used from head-to-toe.
$38 at Sephora
Grande Cosmetics Grande Hair Rejuvenation Serum
I started applying this to my scalp a couple weeks before cutting my hair and I’m convinced it’s why my hair is growing in fast and full. It doesn’t smell like anything and the liquid is pretty thin, so you have to get strategic about head placement so it doesn’t drip down your face and into the eye. If you’ve ever used a Grande Cosmetics product, you know that their products are pro-level, meaning that the ingredients have been dermatologically-tested and put through clinical trials.
With that being said, I’m expecting my edges to look a bit fuller in a couple months once I’ve used for the recommended amount of time. Stay tuned!
$125 at Grande Cosmetics
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