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Balancing act: How to care for and protect your scalp microbiome

30 of January, 2024
Balancing act: How to care for and protect your scalp microbiome

 An extremely short history of the microbiome

Over the past few years, we’ve been reading a lot about the microbiome, and how it’s a major part of our bodies and health. But while current info about the microbiome was released in 2007, after a five-year study by the Human Microbiome Project (HMP), the microbiome isn’t a new discovery. According to, the human microbiome which is made up of “the full array of microorganisms that live on and in humans,” was first discovered back in the mid-1880s by Austrian pediatrician Theodor Escherich. But let’s skip all the complicated medical parts and cut to the chase. Your gut might have one microbiome, and your skin another microbiome; but did you know that your scalp has its own microbiome?

Your scalp microbiome

If you stop to think about it for a minute, it makes perfect sense that your scalp should have its own category of microbiome. After all, you might have an oily scalp or a flaky one, or your scalp might be red and sensitive from too much heat styling. In other words, the skin on your scalp has a very different environment than anywhere else on (or in) your body.

What is the scalp microbiome?

The scalp microbiome keeps both your scalp and hair healthy. And there are different types of (non-gross) bacteria that might be living undetected on your scalp. So how do you know if your scalp microbiome is out of whack? If you have a painful scalp or dandruff or itchiness, you probably should be paying more attention to the delicate skin on your scalp. And like the rest of your body, the first thing you should do is have a nutrient-rich diet to keep your skin and hair balanced. While you’re at it, you can choose shampoos and treatment products to keep your scalp microbiome balanced.

Related: Perfecting and Protecting Your Hair While You Sleep

How to keep your scalp microbiome balanced

Consumer research company Mintel has an entire report dedicated to some of the things that can go wrong with the scalp microbiome, with dandruff being a major concern. In their report, Mintel says there are multiple ways to “fight dandruff by balancing the scalp microbiome.” Whether you live in a city and your hair takes an extra beating due to pollution and dirt, or you have an extra oily scalp, these are some recommendations to help keep your scalp balanced and support a healthy scalp microbiome. Mintel recommends exploring new ingredients, fighting dandruff with paraprobiotics (inactive microorganisms), tapping into skin barrier trends and using innovative fermented ingredients to treat dandruff and enable next-gen scalp health.

And we have just the products to help you do that!

Not Your Mother’s Invigorating Scalp Shampoo gently cleanses away product build up and flakes, but it won’t dry out your scalp or strip hair. You’ll also wash in nourishing and hydrating ingredients to help calm irritation. Formulated with a clinically tested pre- and postbiotic blend to balance and support your scalp’s microbiome (aka its barrier), this invigorating shampoo gets to the root of scalp imbalances and helps to improve oiliness, dryness, flakes, and itchiness over time for a healthier, happier scalp.

Not Your Mother’s Soothing Scalp Serum helps combat scalp irritation. Our instantly soothing serum is formulated with a clinically tested pre- and postbiotic blend to instantly soothe and support the scalp barrier. We added in some texture to help exfoliate flakes and leave you with a healthier, happier scalp.

How to use: Fill the dropper ¾ of the way with serum and apply directly to your dry scalp. Massage the serum in. You may feel a slight tingling which is normal.  making sure to massage the serum in. You may notice a tingling sensation, which is completely normal. Like the majority of Not Your Mother’s products, Balancing Act Soothing Scalp Serum is sulfate-free, paraben free, dye-free, alcohol-free, cruelty-free, gluten-free and vegan. And don’t worry about it damaging your ‘do. It’s safe for natural and color treated hair, and suitable for all hair types.

Not Your Mother’s Detoxifying Scalp AHA Exfoliant is great for when you want to hit reset on your scalp microbiome. Unlike harsh physical scrubs, NYM’s gentle chemical-exfoliating rinse instantly removes flakes, excess sebum (which causes greasiness), and product build up without disrupting your scalp’s barrier. Formulated with a clinically tested pre- and postbiotic blend to balance and support your scalp’s microbiome (aka its barrier), this exfoliating rinse is like a detox spa for your scalp.

How to use: Before shampooing, section off your hair. Apply the exfoliating scalp treatment directly to the scalp, using enough to lightly cover it. Gently massage into scalp and leave on for 3 to 5 minutes—then, rinse with water. For best results, follow up with Balancing Act Invigorating Scalp Shampoo.

Balancing act: How to care for and protect your scalp microbiome

Your skin, your scalp, your microbiome

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Balancing act: How to care for and protect your scalp microbiome