I dread it every year. I know it’s coming, but I never know when.
Sometimes it arrives when summer days wane and the first signs of fall
are just one leaf away. Other times, the frigid winters of South Florida
where most days are in the 70′s bring on this condition. My hair goes
from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde and I hide my head under hats, headbands,
and scarves. I’ve come very close to cutting a few holes in a paper bag
and putting it over my head.
Dandruff is an annual adversary that I contend with without any
reinforcements or relief. This summer was different, however. My
situation got worse. Actually, “worse” cannot even describe the turmoil
I’ve experienced for the past three months. The problem began at the end
of June. I was brushing my hair one day and realized how itchy my scalp
was. I didn’t think anything of it, until the next day when I was
plucking my eyebrows and I saw huge flakes that were coming from my
scalp. I gasped in shock — why me? Why now? How disgusting!
I immediately started a daily regimen of Head and Shoulders Dandruff
Shampoo, thinking this would help. I was wrong. I thought Head and
Shoulders was supposed to help with dryness and flaking. Instead, I had
unwanted results. My scalp was flaking even more and the problematic
area seemed to be spreading. Not only was the front part of my scalp
effected, but now the back of my head was suffering.
I threw a hat on and rushed out to the store, desperate for anything
that could help me. I walked down the aisles of Target and was met with a
slew of choices. I decided on using Head and Shoulders Intensive
Solutions. This is exactly what I needed: 2 times stronger than regular
Head and Shoulders, 2% pyrithione zinc. Although I have no idea what
pyrithione zinc is or what it does, I went home with a smile on my face,
thinking I’d found the solution to my problem. I washed my hair with my
new shampoo and could feel tingling on my scalp. It had to be working,
right? Wrong, so very, very wrong. A few hours after using this
Intensive Solutions Shampoo, my problems were even more compounded by
the fact that there were even more flakes than before and now my scalp
Dejected, I stood in the bathroom as I analyzed my hair. Okay, I told
myself. I’ll give it one week. So for seven days, I lathered the
shampoo into my hair and scalp, twice each day. The tingling continued,
but now there was a new symptom — a burning sensation that made me
wince. I threw the bottle of shampoo against the shower stall. Darn you,
Head and Shoulders! I felt stupid as I blamed the shampoo. Wasn’t I the
idiot for trying the same brand of shampoo when the first shampoo had a
A few days later, with a colorful scarf around my head, I drove over
to Whole Foods Market. Maybe I was going about this all wrong. Maybe I
needed to avoid chemicals that I could hardly pronounce. As I walked
into Whole Foods, I caught a glimpse of myself in the window. Besides my
bright, multi-hued scarf that was draped drastically over my head, I
had on my biggest pair of sunglasses. I needed to find a solution soon
or else my family would not go out in public with me. I strolled through
the hair care section and was inundated with choice after choice. After
half an hour of reading the tiny print of every shampoo label, I
finally went to ask an associate for help.
“How bad is it?” A young man of no more than 25 asked me as he cocked
his head to the side, probably trying not to laugh at my scarf.
He smiled as he explained that a combination of jojoba oil, rosemary
oil, and tea tree oil would improve the health of my scalp. I bought
everything he recommended.
For weeks, I rubbed oil mixtures into my scalp. When that didn’t seem
to work, I tried other remedies like olive oil and mayonnaise and emu
oil. I even tried other shampoos and hair care products that touted they
would relieve itchiness and flaking, and the condition still persisted.
I was about to make an appointment with a dermatologist when I found
myself at an Aveda store.
As I looked around, my eyes immediately stopped at something called
Scalp Remedy Dandruff Solution. I read the label. Hmm… 2% salicylic
acid. Would this acid help me? Other ingredients listed are a mysterious
blend of polysyllabic words like Echinacea Purpurea (Coneflower)
Extract, Arctium Lappa (Burdock) Root Extract, Salvia Officinalis (Sage)
Leaf Extract, Dimethethicone PEG-8 Meadowfoamate, and
Hydroxyethylcellulose. I didn’t care what the label said. Tabasco sauce
could have been listed and I would have bought it. I was in despair and
ready to try anything.
You know the saying, “Hoping for the best, expecting the worst?” That
was my attitude after I conditioned my hair and once again, grumbled in
front the mirror with the bottle of Scalp Remedy in hand. The
directions state to apply the solution on the problem area, not rinse
out and apply one to four times a day. With its unusual nozzle, Scalp
Remedy went onto my scalp and I hoped that this would be my Shawshank
The Scalp Remedy Solution is clear-looking (it looks like a more
viscous version of water) and offers a subtle aroma reminiscent of
flowers and spices. I squirted a little solution to my finger and
brought it to my nose. It seemed to open my nasal passages. I smirked
and hoped that its scent wasn’t the only thing that was good about this
I waited for an hour before looking at my scalp. Surprisingly, it
wasn’t flaking… yet. I waited another four hours and applied more Scalp
Remedy. I’ve repeated this process three times a day, every day for
three weeks. The first and second week, I was skeptical. My head was no
longer itchy, but now my scalp felt, for lack of a better word, dirty.
The hair where my problem areas on my scalp were felt heavy. I looked
and saw huge sections of flakes lifting from my scalp. Was this good or
bad? I had the husband examine my head. I saw him squint, and as he
shook his head he said, “Looks like it’s working.”
I’m on my third week of Scalp Remedy and I’m happy to say that I will
not be buying any other dandruff product except for this one. The huge,
scary flakes I saw two weeks ago have disappeared. I think the solution
promoted this massive flaking. My scalp is still a little dry, but the
flaking has stopped, finally. I have every reason to believe my scalp
will be back to normal soon.
At $25, Scalp Remedy is on the pricey side, but I saved myself a trip
to the dermatologist and a $50 specialist co-pay. If the doctor
insisted on some prescription medication, who knows how much that would
have set me back. Also, after spending just over $100 on products that I
will never use, $25 is a bargain.
Aveda Scalp Remedy available at all Aveda stores, $25 for 4.2 fl. oz.