Caring for the scalp goes beyond shampooing and conditioning. Over time, a buildup of dead skin cells, styling products and hard water deposits can clog pores and prevent the scalp from absorbing moisture.
Stacey Catalogna of DePasquale The Spa in New Jersey, which offers a variety of scalp therapies, explains, “A dehydrated scalp or buildup can result in hair loss, thinning and unhealthy hair.”
the way to scalp careScalp care should be approached much like skin care. Similar to a skin care regimen, not only do you cleanse the skin but also detoxify and exfoliate, which removes dead skin cells and allows the scalp to absorb moisture. Massaging the scalp can stimulate blood circulation as well as have an amazing effect on emotional health and well-being.
Hydrating and moisturizing treatments encourage cell turnover, minimize dryness and recapture the skin’s softness. Scalp care should ideally be approached as a preventative measure to slow the aging process and keep the skin healthier, longer.
“Scalp care can change everything from the skin on your head to the hair follicle and strand,” says Brittnee Bitter, spa lead at Kohler Waters Spa at The American Club in Kohler, Wis. “Exfoliating your scalp and moisturizing with the correct oils will help to replenish the follicle. The hair starts at the scalp, you need to repair it and start with that!”
tailored therapiesThere isn’t a “one size fits all” approach to scalp treatments, since they are easy to personalize based on the specific concerns of each client. Many spas have opted to offer a menu of scalp treatments based on guest consultations to address the individual needs of each client.
A shampoo bowl may be required to perform a professional scalp treatment, as shampooing and rinsing the hair may be necessary depending on the products chosen for the treatment. DePasquale The Spa’s Protein Masque for Hair and Scalp ($40, used as an add-on to other treatments), a nutrient-rich masque formulated with acacia collagen, sunflower seed oils and shea butter, can be used by spas without sink equipment. “Clients can choose to either wash out or leave in overnight for extra conditioning,” explains Catalogna.
However, the majority of treatments require you to shampoo the hair. Select a gentle, detoxifying shampoo to clean the scalp and remove buildup, but not dry the skin. Masks formulated for scalp and hair health are commonly used in professional scalp treatments to detoxify, moisturize and soothe the skin. Heat is recommended and may require your client to sit under a heat lamp or dryer with a plastic cap to prevent the mask from drying too quickly.
Depending on the client’s needs, a balancing toner may be helpful to enhance the results of the scalp treatments, balance the skin’s pH and detoxify the scalp. You may want to finish the treatment with a weightless conditioner to add extra shine and detangle hair.
Focusing on the treatment aspect of the service allows your client to relax and feel pampered.
Offering a 5-10 minute invigorating scalp massage also enhances blood circulation, bringing oxygen and nutrients to the surface. This portion of the treatment can be performed either at a chair or shampoo bowl.
customize by hair typeTaking your client’s individual scalp and hair issues into account is key for a successful treatment. Recognizing scalp and hair types such as thinning hair, dry, damaged, oily or sensitive scalp allows you to customize your treatments accordingly. Choose products and ingredients suitable for each problem, such as vitamins E and C for repairing and nourishing brittle hair and amino acids to protect and maintain a healthy shine.
At Kohler Waters Spa at The American Club, Bitter and her team offer a Moroccan Scalp and Hair Treatment (50 minutes, $91, 80 minutes with a blow dry, $122).
“While the client is face down on a table, we exfoliate, massage oils into the scalp and do a light upper back exfoliation and massage,” explains Bitter. “We then turn the client over, exfoliate and massage the front of scalp and do a light hand and foot massage. We also wash and mask the hair with every client.” Bitter warns that spas without a sink have to be wary of products, as specialty oils need to be shampooed out of the hair.
These oils are best for dry, sensitive and oily scalps. Bitter says clients are thrilled to feel both relaxed from the simple act of a scalp massage and at the feel of their now silkier, shinier hair.
The Vital Shot treatment (30 minutes, $25) at DePasquale The Spa restores and fortifies weak hair and protects scalp against environmental aggressors.
A powerful dose of keratin and antioxidants strengthens and creates a smooth and shiny appearance. With natural essential oils and blends of vegan proteins and vitamin E, the spa’s Nourishing and Conditioning treatments (30 minutes, $20-$25) immediately repair and hydrate a dry scalp.
retail boosterOffering various types of scalp treatments to your clients increases retention by bringing them back for more treatments and opens a conversation about home care.
Because your clients can also maintain a healthy scalp from home, it’s important to send them home with a regimen to help support the benefits of the service they received at the spa. Shampoos, conditioners, masks and sun care specifically address these concerns and generate significant additional revenue at a low cost.
“Recommending take home products is so easy when they can see and feel the difference,” says Bitter. “The lines that we use have a wide variety for every client, from moisture to volume to smoothing. You have to help the client understand their hair, what they want with it or how they want it to be.”
promotional tactics and packagesFront desk staff is usually the last to interact with a client. Having a system in place, such as a customer card, allows the front desk team to accurately suggest each of the products used during the client’s experience. Keeping a record also allows the spa professional to repeat the service or makes it easy for the client to come back at a later time to purchase the products.
Utilizing loyalty programs is a great way to introduce new products and services. Offering free mini-services as add-ons gives your client a taste of what they can expect and entices them to take advantage of the full service in the future.
You can also create packages that include other services at a slightly discounted rate. If a haircut is priced at $75 and a scalp treatment at $35, the total is $110. However, if a client purchases them together they may receive a 10 percent discount for a total cost of $99. Clients are able to take advantage of a larger selection of what the spa has to offer and they feel as though their money has gone further. Packages that offer discounts on products used during the package may also entice clients to try new services.
return on InvestmentThe right scalp treatments for your client combined with an at home regimen leaves them feeling youthful, radiant and pampered, increasing the likelihood of them returning to your spa. Add-on services that benefit both the skin and hair are an easy way for spa professionals to create additional revenue. All it takes is a short amount of time, the right combination of products and the ability to give a soothing scalp massage to revitalize the look of their hair and boost their feelings of well-being.
• Open sores / infections on the scalp
• Scalp eczema
• Allergies to specific product ingredients
Be sure to read directions on each product carefully, as some are not well suited for chemically straightened or color treated hair.