I'm not sure what caught my attention first: the scalp treatment or the word bubble.
It makes sense that Kristin Ess, the stylist who spawned a line of high-quality, surprisingly affordable hair products and has masterminded many a celebrity cut (see Lauren Conrad and Jenna Dewan), would look beyond the roots. After all, healthy hair comes courtesy of a healthy scalp.
Her recent collection is all about the scalp, a term that doesn't have to work very hard to entice me at the moment. Of all my winter gripes—dryness, dullness, the usual—I've been catching little flakes strewn through my hair, and they're for sure not snow. Since they're not the yellowish, oily flakes created by dandruff, I can only assume that I'm dealing with your average dry scalp. The detoxifying bubble mask seems as though it could do the trick.
First: If you're unsure how, exactly, to use a bubbling scalp mask, Ess helpfully posted a thorough how-to and demo on Instagram. A budding Luddite without Instagram, I missed these, which is why I failed to shake the bottle well enough and ended up squirting some very cold liquid into my hand.
I eventually figured it out, finding it to be a mousselike foam. As soon as I applied it onto the part in my hair, I could feel the cooling, tingling action (which supposedly boosts scalp circulation, which in turn stimulates hair growth). Then I heard the popping. Technically, it's the sound of oxygenated bubbles lifting away grime, oil, and impurities, as Ess writes in an Instagram post, but to my ears, it was reminiscent of Pop Rocks and deeply satisfying. There's also salicylic acid in the formula, the gentle exfoliator you might recognize from your acne face wash. In this case, it's sloughing off dead skin cells so you can rinse them away in the shower—versus them floating onto your shoulders in the middle of a conversation with your boss.
I massaged the mask in at my roots. I felt like it wasn't evenly spreading, so although the instructions say to use a golf ball-size amount, I blew through at least a grapefruit's worth of bubbles. The tingling eventually subsided, but the popping continued for a few minutes, even as I got in the shower and wet my hair. My scalp and roots felt so fresh and clean that I probably could've skipped the shampoo (though I didn't this time) and gone straight to conditioner.
It's like the opposite of dry shampoo: Instead of adding stuff to absorb dirt and oil (and creating residue in the process), this mask lifts them away and then disappears by popping. Genius. And while it obviously doesn't have the same convenience factor, it only takes two or three minutes, tops—eliminating the one thing that's kept me away from masks in the past. I have zero interest in sitting around for 15 minutes with goop in my hair.
And despite the flash-bang look of it, it's not all diversion tactics. While the bubbles and popping are cool, they offer real results. So far I've noticed far fewer flakes after just one use. And maybe it's just because I miss the experience, but damn, I can't wait to use it again tomorrow morning.
Kristin Ess Scalp Detoxifying Bubble Mask, $14, target.com
–How to Cure a Flaky, Dry Scalp: Treatment and Causes
–Scalp Exfoliation Sounds Gross, But It's Given Me the Shiniest, Bounciest Curls Ever
–Bye Forever, Itchy Scalp: Dandruff Products Are Chic Now
Published at Thu, 31 Jan 2019 23:15:00 +0000