Women's Health

THE HIDDEN COMPLEXION

I RECENTLY HAD AN EPIPHANY at the shampoo sink. Worried that my fine hair might be thinning, I leaned into a trendy new Japanese beauty treatment called head spa, a high-tech scalp facial that’s supposed to be a game changer for hair. But as she squeezed and scrubbed, Yoshie Sakuma, a stylist at the Pierre Michel Salon in New York City, assured me it wasn’t my hair but rather my scalp that could use some help. Magnified photos showed tiny sand dune–like structures at the base of each strand—buildup of dried oil, dead skin, and hair products around the follicles. Suddenly, I deeply regretted my fourth-day hair.

“Scalp care is an essential means ‘finger pressure’ in Japanese, and it stimulates nourishing blood circulation to the hair follicles,” said Sakuma, who then swaddled my head in a hot towel and poured warm water over it in a weird-but-wonderful steam-bath moment called waterfall. After a rinse and towel-dry, Sakuma put a watery moisturizer on my head, then blow-dried my hair. Zero styling products were used, yet I marveled at my fuller head of hair. The after photos revealed why: The sand dunes had vanished—nothing was weighing down my hair. Turns out, the one area of skin that most of us neglect really does have next-level hair powers.

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