Here’s why it’s time to get a skincare routine for your hair

Why should your skin get all the attention when your hair can benefit equally from smoothing and hydrating ingredients?

A woman pictured appyling serum to the ends of her curly hair, alongside a picture of another woman towel drying her curly hair/ in a pink watercolour template
(Image credit: Getty Images: (L to R) enigma_images/ GlobalStock)

Did you know that all the powerful ingredients for your skin can also benefit your hair? If you’re a wash-and-go girl, here's why it’s time to upgrade.

While we’re not suggesting you need every product for a complicated multi-step regime, investing in the right ingredients could be the secret to getting healthier hair. "We often see skincare trends transcend into hair care, particularly scalp care, because ultimately our scalp is skin," explains Trichologist Anabel Kingsley. "It secretes sebum, sheds dead skin cells, and ages just like the skin on our face and body. Skincare ingredients can provide the same great benefits for your scalp, and therefore your hair." 

So, while these said ingredients used to only sit in your skincare routine, there's been a slow shift to the skinification (an admittedly made-up PR word, but a good one) of haircare routines - with formulas designed to overhaul neglected locks, leading to a swishier, fuller 'do. Thus, it might be time to make some healthy hair changes...

Anabel Kingsley
Anabel Kingsley

Anabel Kingsley is the Brand President and Consultant Trichologist at Philip Kingsley. Renowned as the leading authority on hair and scalp health, Anabel has an immense passion for helping those experiencing hair and scalp concerns. Having grown up among Trichologists she qualified in 2015 as a Trichologist in her own right and began practising at Philip Kingsley’s Trichological Clinics in Mayfair and Manhattan.

Neil Moodie
Neil Moodie

Neil Moodie is one of the UK’s most successful and respected hairstylists, who has been a leading figure in the fashion and beauty industry for over three decades. His work has graced the cover of over 50 Vogue magazines and he is a favourite for many leading ladies including Gemma Chan,  Nicola Coughlan and Felicity Jones. He is currently UK & I Ambassador for Pureology

How to create a skincare routine for your hair

As hairstylist Neil Moodie notes: "The scalp and our hair are extensions of our skin and are just as important. It's about using the products and ingredients that are right for you. Even seasons affect hair - you might need some extra hydration in the winter months, just as you will with your skin." 

If you're finding your lengths are looking lacklustre and dull, it might indeed be time to afford the same TLC to our hair, as we do our skin - and we've asked the experts how...

1. Use retinol to boost growth

As Kingsley said, the scalp ages just like the skin on your face, so it makes sense to treat it with the same ingredients. Retinol stimulates cell turnover on the scalp, removing a build-up of dead skin that can inhibit hair growth. Using it in a serum, mask or shampoo will promote thicker, fuller hair. 

"Retinol increases epidermal proliferation (skin cell renewal), and therefore can assist in the removal of dead skin cells," explains Kingsley. "When you remove build-up, this allows other ingredients to effectively penetrate the scalp." This, in turn, will help all your products and best hair styling products work better. 

2. Thicken with collagen

Collagen occurs naturally in our bodies and is vital for healthy hair growth and supple skin. But as we age, our natural collagen levels deplete, and our hair can thin and skin can slacken.

Collagen supplements help boost our skin and our hair from the inside out, while creams enriched with collagen help to smooth and tighten the skin. Shampoos and conditioners enriched with collagen can also have benefits for our hair, especially if you find yours is thinner than it used to be. 

3. Brighten with Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps even out your skin and protects it from pollution and environmental damage. It can work similarly for your hair, brightening up your colour for added radiance, as well as protecting your hair and scalp from free radicals. 

"Vitamin C is a great ingredient for the hair and scalp," agrees Kingsley. "For the scalp, it can protect against external aggressors, for the hair it is a fantastic ingredient for removing build-up to reveal your strands' natural radiance and shine."

4. Exfoliate with acids

Just like skincare acids help to gently exfoliate your face, they can do the same for your strands, removing a build-up of dirt, product and oil without stripping your hair of moisture.

"Exfoliating acids are another superstar ingredient for your scalp," recommends Kingsley. "I'd advise avoiding physical scrubs, instead opt for a product which has a chemical exfoliant, like glycolic acid or salicylic acid."

5. Use HA to hydrate

Hyaluronic acid works amazingly on skin. It holds 1,000 times its weight in water and is brilliant at plumping and smoothing parched complexions. The good news is it can do the same for your hair. Incorporating the best hyaluronic acid products will leave strands looking fuller, softer and shinier. Kingsley explains that it can also do wonders for your scalp.

"Our scalps are kept supple due to the contract secretion of oils from hair follicles. However, when something is dry, it is because it lacks water (moisture), not oils. Hyaluronic acid is a great ingredient for retaining moisture."

6. Protect from UV with SPF

Just like your best facial sunscreen protects your skin from the sun, it does the same for your hair. UVB rays can weaken the structure of hair, while UVA fades colour, leaving your hair dry, brittle and washed-out-looking. 

"Using products with UV protection not only protects hair from sun damage but also prevents colour fade or lightening," agrees Moodie. "UV rays can break down hair pigment which can make hair lighter in the sun and weaken strands. If clients are going to be outside a lot, I’d always advise using UV protection, as well as taking extra steps like wearing a brimmed hat to protect their scalp and ears." 

Sarah Cooper-White

Group Beauty Director Sarah Cooper-White has almost 20 years experience as a beauty journalist. She has written for many well known national magazines, newspapers and brands including Woman & Home, Woman, Woman's Own, Woman's Weekly, Boots, Tesco, ELLE, InStyle, The Mirror, The Sun, Prima and Top Sante. 

The power of beauty, whether it be make-up, haircare, skincare or fragrance, to make someone feel more confident, happier and generally better about themselves fascinates Sarah and she's a strong believer that beauty and self care is not a frivolous thing but essential to better mental health, empowerment and confidence. 

With contributions from