Blessedly, most of the beauty struggles I dealt with as a kid have since left me in adulthood. I’ve had all of the adolescent acne (on my chest, back, and face) — all of which has gone away. I’ve had crooked teeth and braces — twice. But one childhood beauty woe that still hasn't let up? My itchy, flaky scalp.
Growing up, my mom would sit me in between her legs, part my hair into small sections, and, line by line, use her sharpest rat-tail comb to scrub dry flakes from my scalp. Ouch. On wash days, she would almost exclusively use anti-dandruff shampoo to cleanse my hair. Then she'd blow-dry my curls, and always paste my scalp with hair grease.
There was a method to her madness: The grease and anti-dandruff shampoo would soothe my irritated scalp, but only temporarily. Some pomades would take my head from too dry to way too greasy within days. Much of my time was spent aggressively doing the "pat yo' weave, ladies" dance to relieve itchiness. Some days, I would even use my fingernails to itch my scalp until it bled.
My scalp problems have become less severe over the years (and less bloody, thank god), but they do come back to haunt me from time to time. I recently got box braids to take a break from straightening my hair, and the style, while convenient and cute, has been tough to rock since I can’t wiggle a brush or comb through my scalp when it decides to go apeshit. So when Head & Shoulders' new Instant Soothe Scalp Elixir entered my orbit, I cracked open the nozzle at my desk straight away and got spraying — I couldn't even wait to try it at home.
The elixir is part of the brand's new Royal Oils collection, its first line that's specifically catered to ethnic hair. The combination of pyrithione zinc, menthol, and peppermint oil delivers a cooling, soothing sensation that doesn't feel oily or heavy, and upon spritzing, I immediately loved that the slim nozzle distributes product into an even mist, versus squirting the liquid. I held the bottle an inch away from my hair and massaged the product in, expecting an intense peppermint tingle, but my head just got what felt like a nice, cool breeze instead. After a few minutes, my itchiness was significantly suppressed.
Of course, as soon as one section of my head stopped itching, another spot attacked, and before the day was up, my entire scalp was coated with this spray. I'm not complaining: It left behind a lingering shower-fresh smell that I didn't mind carrying around with me all day. And speaking of carrying around — Beyoncé might prefer to keep hot sauce in her bag, but I'm pretty sure I'll be keeping this in all my purses for when itchiness strikes.