Not so. Enter the head spa, something I didn’t know existed until a few weeks ago, when I was introduced to both its delights and purposes by owner Hun Lee at Los Angeles’ well-known Korean salon Kim Sun Young.
While I’m a big fan of the vibe at Kim Sun Young, I’m a little skeptical about the premise surrounding the NIOXIN Head Spa treatment I’ll be getting (worth $65), in much the same I’m skeptical about things like fish pedicures. . Like, is this? real need, or have we officially jumped the shark into self-care?
In response to my skepticism, Lee explains that the concept of a head spa in Korea is centuries old, so it’s not a newfangled marketing ploy or frivolous addition to a salon. Rather, it’s a long-standing tradition of providing your scalp with crucial TLC.
“Scalp care is very important because it provides the necessary environment for healthy, strong, and beautiful hair to grow,” says Lee, who recommends a master spa session every 30 to 45 days. This concept makes sense to me, especially when you consider the VIP treatment we give to the skin elsewhere on our body, where we don’t even try to cultivate luscious locks. (He’s not alone among experts in this belief, either.)
“Scalp care is very important because it provides the necessary environment for growing healthy, strong and beautiful hair.”
After our instructive conversation, Lee passes me on to my personal head masseuse. His first assignment is to take magnified pictures of my scalp, which are very rude and strangely embarrassing. The skin is dry and flaky and looks a bit inflamed. I’m ashamed, but the head spa technician tells me that’s okay/normal.
He then has me answer a questionnaire, from which he draws up a treatment protocol. Before I get into the nitty gritty of what the treatment involves, let me first say that it is a good idea to pay someone to give your head an hour of massage on a Friday afternoon. I don’t care if it’s at a spa or at home and you have to give your significant other $50 to get it done. Only. To do. It.
My chief spa technician starts with the NIOXIN Scalp Renew Dermabrasion Treatment. If you’re unfamiliar, NIOXIN is a scalp-focused hair care line that’s been perfecting its formulas for 30 years. The products remove follicle-clogging sebum and environmental debris, and have been previously recommended to me by my regular hairdresser for their potential to promote healthy hair growth.
When he starts the treatment I go into a trance almost immediately, akin to a cat deep in the throes of a purring sesh, so details get a bit foggy from here. I know that after the dermabrasion, he washes and conditions my hair with NIOXIN’s three-part system in a formula specially selected for my needs.
Afterwards there is a scalp massage (purrrrr), followed by NIOXIN’s Deep Protect Density Mask. After that, some other things happened, but I’m too relaxed to concentrate now. I just know that what he does feels great.
By the time it washes off the mask, my hard work week has washed away with it. I’m officially Jell-O. While he wraps my head in a warm towel, I am offered a hand massage. I feel dangerously close to a proposal. Then he dries and styles my hair carefully… and takes out his magnifying camera one more time.
Normally, when before and after shots are offered during treatments, I have to put on an Academy Award-worthy performance to pretend I can actually see a difference. Not so here as there is a definite change in my scalp. All flakes and junk are gone, as in, completely eradicated. No longer burdened by that mess, my hair follicles look like they can breathe again (and hopefully grow hair). I’m impressed, and also a little embarrassed that I’ve been walking around with a sad, filthy scalp for so long.
As I find myself having to leave my legs, I can’t help but admire the there-before-it-was-trendy Korean dedication to self-care that my NIOXIN head spa experience revealed to me.
The treatment didn’t just solve major hygiene issues – no wonder my hair looked tousled given the neglected conditions in which I expected it to grow! – and made me wish I had taken my hairdresser’s recommendation to use NIOXIN products more seriously, it also completely relaxed me in a way that even massages can’t. I guess my next step is to finally give fish pedicures a try?
In collaboration with NIOXIN