When I started scritching and preening my hair, the whole no poo world opened up for me! It made a huge difference in the condition of my hair.
But what if I'm not a no poo-er?? No problem! Scritching and preening will be beneficial for you if you are no poo, low poo, or full poo.
- "No poo" simply means washing your hair without shampoo. Learn more about the no poo method here.
- "Low poo" refers to using commercial shampoos without sulfates, parabens, or silicones resulting in a more natural & holistic hair care routine.
- "Full poo" means using commercial shampoo and styling products without worrying about the ingredients in the products.
What is Scritch & Preen?
The no poo method is rooted in the idea that constant washing strips the scalp of sebum. Sebum is the natural oil your hair produces. Then your scalp overproduces sebum to compensate, resulting in greasy hair. This cycle traps hair in a vicious cycle of dependency on commercial hair care products and frequent washing. By eliminating these products, the no poo method gives your hair a chance to reset and find its natural balance.
At the heart of this method lies the scritch and preen technique. This centuries-old technique can restore your hair's natural balance, promote scalp health, and achieve luscious locks.
- “Scritching” refers to massaging your scalp. This encourages sebum production, releases any buildup on your scalp, and stimulates your scalp to encourage hair growth.
- “Preening” refers to dragging the sebum oils from your scalp down the shaft of your hair. This process moisturizes and conditions your hair and removes excess oil from your scalp.
Benefits & Results of Scritching & Preening
With scritching and preening:
- you're using your natural oils to your advantage to moisturize your hair naturally.
- you're massaging your scalp often to stimulate circulation, hair growth, and exfoliation.
Here are some of the benefits & results I notice when I regularly scritch and preen my hair.
- Smooth, moisturized hair
- Less flyaways and frizz
- Less styling products needed
- Healthier scalp
- Stronger hair with less breakage
- Faster hair growth
- More volume & easier to style
Step-by-Step Guide to Scritch and Preen
- Detangle your hair with a comb, brush, or your fingers
- Gently massage your scalp for about 5-10 minutes. Be sure to get your entire scalp.
- Drag the oils down your hair.
- This process takes 10–20 minutes depending on how much hair you have.
- You might find it helpful to pin the top half of your hair up, preen the bottom half, then let your hair down and preen the top half.
Scritch & Preen Methods & Tips:
- How often you scritch & preen depends on your hair & sebum production -- anywhere from once a week to daily.
- Scritching & preening is beneficial for those who do the water only method (learn about that here).
- Be sure to wash your brush or comb after every use so oil won't build up on the bristles. I put a little castile soap on my palm & gently scrub the brush on my palm under running water, rinse the soap off. Lay the brush out to dry (bristles facing down so water can run off & not settle into the brush).
Boar Bristle Brush Method (BBB):
- BBBs range from expensive to budget friendly.
- BBBs can be 100% boar bristles or a mix of nylon & boar bristles.
- It’s best to use your BBB for preening only. Using it for detangling & on wet hair can damage your hair.
- Grab a small section of your hair between your thumb & forefinger & drag the oil down your hair. This is more time consuming than BBB.
- This is typically the preferred method for curly hair.
- If you are tender headed, have curly hair, don’t produce much sebum oil, or have fine hair that breaks easily, you will might prefer a bamboo or wooden comb or brush.
Let's debunk some common misconceptions about the no poo method and address any possible lingering doubts you may have.
Myth: The no poo method causes dirty and greasy hair.
- When done correctly, the scritch and preen technique effectively removes dirt, excess oil, and product buildup from your hair and scalp. By gently massaging and cleansing your scalp, you not only maintain a clean and balanced environment but also allow your hair's natural oils to distribute evenly, resulting in healthier and less greasy locks.
Myth: The no poo method is only suitable for certain hair types.
While it's true that some people may find the transition period more challenging due to their hair's unique characteristics, this method can be beneficial for all hair types. Whether you have fine or thick hair, straight or curly, the scritch and preen technique works by promoting scalp health, increasing blood circulation, and enhancing the overall condition of your hair.
Myth: Skipping commercial shampoo and conditioner will lead to an itchy or dandruff-prone scalp.
The no poo method encourages the natural balance of your scalp's microbiome, reducing the likelihood of excessive dryness or dandruff. Additionally, the regular scritching and preening not only exfoliates the scalp but also helps redistribute the natural oils, relieving any itchiness and promoting a healthier scalp environment.
Myth: The no poo method means sacrificing the ability to style their hair.
Once you have transitioned and your hair has adjusted to the no poo method, you'll discover that your hair becomes more manageable and responsive to styling. Without the heavy coatings of chemical-laden products, your hair gains a natural buoyancy, making it easier to style and hold different looks.
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