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In the beauty world, there’s a great focus on hair care and what we can do to keep our locks looking healthy, but the scalp often gets skipped over altogether.


To shine the spotlight on the importance of a healthy scalp and how best to care for yours, we’re kicking off our new series, “What’s My Scalp Got to Do With It?” and exploring our cruelty free 94% naturally derived* invatiTM hair care collections. With scalp products for men and women, invatiTM helps cleanse, renew and invigorate the scalp to create the optimal foundation for thicker, fuller hair.


For the first post of our new series, we went to one of our subject matter experts, Aveda Senior Research Scientist Alison Pawlus, to get down to basics and explore why healthy-looking hair starts with a healthy scalp. Thanks to Alison’s extensive knowledge, we’re sharing a primer on scalp education, plus her recommended invatiTM products and routines for maintaining scalp health.




The scalp 101


Why does a healthy scalp matter? It’s essential for healthy-looking hair. Alison tells us every single hair on our body (approximately 100,000 on the scalp alone!) is produced by its own mini-organ, called the hair follicle. Hair follicles are embedded into our scalp and are highly dependent upon and influenced by their surrounding environment, the skin.


Just as a plant needs healthy, well-balanced soil for optimal health, our hair also needs a nourishing environment. The changes that we see in our hair with age such as thinning, greying, and changes in luster, are all due to biological changes that take place in the scalp and hair follicle. This is why hair health really begins at the scalp.


And since our scalp is skin, we should treat it no differently than the skin on our face or bodies. In fact, Alison tells us since our scalp is often uncovered and exposed to the sun’s UV rays and other environmental aggressors, it’s vital to clean and protect it for overall health and hygiene.



The ancient practice of scalp care


Both Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Ayurvedic medicine in India have utilized medicinal plants on the scalp to promote healthy hair for centuries, Alison explains. So, there is a strong historical context that reinforces the importance of overall health, including the scalp, with healthy hair. In fact “invatiTM” means “invigorate” in Sanskrit and taps the power of Ayurveda—the ancient healing art of India—to invigorate the scalp when massaged in.


The 98% naturally derived* invati advancedTM scalp revitalizer takes from this Ayurvedic practice by using a patented bio-fermented blend plus our Ayurvedic herb blend with ginseng and certified organic turmeric to invigorate the scalp when massaged in. The 98% naturally derived* invati menTM scalp revitalizer also borrows from this practice by using a potent blend of plant actives to wake up the scalp.


At Aveda, hair and scalp health is an important part of overall self-care, and our invatiTM systems make this an easy part of your routine.




Scalp myths: What’s true and what’s not?




This is not true.

While flakes on your black sweater can be frustrating or uncomfortable, there are absolutely more reasons to cleanse your scalp. Alison explains there are less severe, chronic issues or neglect that promote premature aging of your hair over many years, such as hair thinning and other problems as explained below.





1) It removes beneficial oils from the hair.

This is a popular misconception. Alison explains that, yes, shampooing does remove lipids from the hair, especially those derived from our sebum. However, shampoo also removes compounds that are harmful to our scalp. The longer you wait to wash your scalp, the greater chance that harmful chemicals can build up.


2) It can promote hair loss.

Some people concerned with thinning hair can become overly worried about what’s considered normal levels of hair loss. Hair grows in multi-year cycles and then sheds before starting a new growth stage. When it comes to losing hair, the average person sheds approximately 100 hairs a day, which can also change depending on the season, Alison tells us.


A significant part of this hair loss happens in the shower, while shampooing and conditioning. When you see a lot of hair in the drain, it’s easy to begin to associate hair washing with an increase in hair loss. This can become so stressful that some people start to wash less often, which can lead to an unhealthy scalp and more hair loss in the future. Essentially, you can actually promote a negative cycle by washing your hair less.



Now that you’ve received a crash course in scalp education, let’s learn how to care for your scalp and which products to use.



Alison shares that routine cleansing keeps potentially harmful compounds from accumulating on the scalp. The effects of these molecules can lead to low levels of inflammation, ultimately creating an unhealthy environment for hair growth. Over many years, the accumulation of damage from these molecules can promote hair thinning.


To address the issue of hair loss, we created two systems—invati advancedTM for women, and invati menTM. Both systems work to exfoliate, reduce hair loss** and create stronger thicker hair.




Finding the right balance between a healthy, clean scalp and maintaining a strong scalp barrier is important.


For women, Alison recommends the 94% naturally derived* invati advancedTM exfoliating shampoo to gently exfoliate, cleanse and renew the scalp. Wintergreen-derived salicylic acid helps remove build-up and dead skin cells that can clog pores. This nourishing, color-safe formula cleanses the hair and detangles to help protect from breakage during shampooing. A 2019 Harper’s Bazaar Hair Awards winner,** it creates the optimal foundation for thicker, fuller hair.


Formulated for men, the 94% naturally derived* invatiTM men nourishing exfoliating shampoo also removes excess oil and build-up with wintergreen-derived salicylic acid, plus it conditions to help strengthen thinning hair.


How to use the invati advancedTM systems



Alison explains that invati advancedTM exfoliating shampoo and invati advancedTM thickening conditioner can simply be used in place of your normal shampoo and conditioner. Since they’re packed with beneficial plant derived extracts, Alison advises to take your time and gently massage into the scalp to enjoy their full potential.


She recommends using the invatiTM system to optimize the benefit of each product. And since we care about helping everyone beat hair loss***, we thoughtfully crafted collections for both men and women. See below for how to use invatiTM as your daily hair care routine.



Step 1. Exfoliate: Use invati advancedTM exfoliating shampoo.
Massage shampoo on wet hair and scalp and rinse.


Step 2. Thicken: Follow with invati advancedTM thickening conditioner.
Massage onto wet hair and scalp. Rinse and then towel dry. Certified organic amla instantly thickens the hair while naturally derived amino acids mimic hair’s building blocks, to help strengthen hair from roots to ends.


Step 3. Activate****: Use invati advancedTM scalp revitalizer.
Apply once daily to damp or dry hair. Lift hair in sections to spray directly onto the scalp. Spray 16 times, evenly covering your head. Then gently massage in to invigorate the scalp. Do not rinse.

This innovative serum contains a potent blend of naturally derived antioxidants, licorice root, tangerine peel, japanese knotweed, and green tea, which provide an important layer of protection, according to Alison. This blend penetrates to help support hair’s natural keratin. For daily scalp treatments, Alison recommends applying this every day, whether you wash or not, to instantly thicken strands and support your hair’s health.



Step 1. Exfoliate: Use invati menTM nourishing exfoliating shampoo.
Massage into wet hair and scalp, then rinse.


Step 2. Thicken And Invigorate: Follow with invati menTM scalp revitalizer.
Apply in a straight line from front to back of head on center, left and right sides of scalp. Use this product once daily. Massage into the scalp. Do not rinse. You may feel warming tingling, but don’t worry—this means it’s working right at the roots of your hair.


Alison’s scalp care rituals

After studying scalp health for many years, Alison has two rituals she follows for caring for her scalp. The first is cleansing, which you’ll now be a pro at after reading this, and the second is sun protection.

She tells us it’s crucial to protect your scalp from the sun’s strong UV radiation when the UV index is highest. She keeps a wide-brimmed hat next to her door for gardening outside and wears a baseball hat for outdoor workouts. Make sure to cover your head when venturing outside to prevent the sun from damaging your scalp.



Whether you’re new to scalp care or a scalp care veteran, now you know why a healthy scalp is so important and how to care for yours using the invatiTM systems.






* From plants, non-petroleum minerals or water.

**Best Hairstyling Products, Tools, Treatments of 2020 - The Harper's BAZAAR Hair Awards 2019

*** Reduces hair loss due to breakage from brushing, after using the invati advancedTM system for 12 weeks.

****When massaged in.