K-beauty is taking over the world. After making its mark in the global makeup and skin care scene, it’s high time we acknowledged the ingenuity of Korean hair care. Just like their skin care, Korean hair treatments and trends are all about combining traditional, natural ingredients with the latest in cutting-edge technology to heal and enrich the scalp. This hair care routine is hinged on the belief that healthy hair follows a healthy scalp. Best of all, most of these products are available off the shelf or online, so there’s no need to hit a salon to get your locks to look their best.
Below are a few of our favorite hair treatments you can do right in the comfort of your own home:
First Things First: Treat Your Scalp
Korean hair care focuses on the scalp instead of the hair itself, and the approach much resembles the Korean 10-step skin care regimen. Beauty experts agree that keeping the scalp clean and exfoliated makes it healthier, and thus allows for the growth of healthy, shiny hair. To achieve this, Koreans use a product called a scalp scaler: pre-treatments made with a salicylic acid base that exfoliates the scalp to lift debris, oil build-up, and dead skin cells from the surface. K-beauty believers will recognize the process as much like using toner to prepare your face for the rest of your facial skincare routine. Apply it on dry hair before shampooing. Use a scalp scaler once a week for best results.
Then, Treat Your Scalp Some More
The next step in the Korean hair care regimen is using a good shampoo (optionally, with a formula that targets your specific issue, whether it’s dryness, hair fall, or damage) and cleansing the scalp thoroughly. To really get that product in there, consider giving yourself a scalp massage while shampooing by using your fingertips. You can also opt for a scalp brush and use it whenever you shampoo. Massaging your scalp promotes blood circulation and stimulates hair growth, and it helps your shampoo lather up really well, meaning you don’t have to use a lot of product to wash.
Conditioner is for Conditioning, Not Detangling
One of the most common mistakes in hair care is using conditioner like shampoo: putting it on and then rinsing it right off. Sure, the product makes your hair easier to comb or brush out, but not giving it enough time in your hair prevents absorption, which means that you could be missing out on a ton of benefits by being in a hurry. It’s best to use a conditioner that’s the same brand and formulation as your shampoo, because they are designed to work in synergy to provide the best possible results. Apply your conditioner from the middle of your hair and make sure that you concentrate product on the ends. Then, leave it on and do other things in the shower, like washing your face or shaving. The longer it sits, the better the results will be. Avoid putting conditioner into the scalp to minimize the risk of drying it out.
Treat Your Hair with a Mask
Koreans have made masks for everything: your face, your hands and feet, and hair. Korean hair masks and packs are made with powerful deep-conditioning ingredients designed to nourish, replenish, and moisturize the hair. They’re potent, so once-a-week use is best. We love Missha’s Procure Damage Break Hair Mask, which provides intense damage care to dyed and permed hair. The product uses proteins such as lecithin and keratin, and protects and moisturizes each strand with moringa oil. You can use this in place of a conditioner once a week. Squeeze out the excess water from your strands and apply it as you would a conditioner, and then leave it on for 15 minutes or longer before rinsing off. For hair mask days, you might want to tuck your hair into a shower cap to keep it out of the way while doing other things, or settle in the tub for a nice, long soak.