What’s it like to get a facial on your scalp? We share our relaxing, hair-transforming experience below.
Does your head need a facial? I wasn’t so sure if mine did when I walked through the doors of Masa Kanai salon on Manhattan’s Upper West Side for a head spa treatment last week. However, I quickly discovered how wrong I was.
A head spa, which is a treatment that includes a scalp detox, a scalp and hair deep cleanse, massage and aromatherapy, is very popular in Japan and Asia and is just beginning to crop up in New York City. The treatment can help remove buildup, treat different types of dandruff and skin issues like psoriasis, and even prevent hair loss.
After recently learning about the importance of scalp health, I decided to book a treatment and experience the service for myself.
Before beginning the treatment at Masa Kanai, Ritsuko Borges, a technician, stylist, and founder of the head spa experience at the salon, used a digital microscope to inspect my scalp. I was able to see what was going on up there via an iPad and let me tell you, it was not pretty (see my before and after photo below).
I don’t typically have greasy hair, noticeable flakes, or scalp itchiness, and yet, my scalp was riddled with dandruff and yellow-ish spots (product and oil buildup, Borges said). Borges pointed out that a healthy scalp looks even and almost translucent – quite the opposite of mine. It had been less than 48 hours since I had last washed my hair and I had only worked out once in that time, so it was clear this treatment was long overdo.
After a quick, relaxing shoulder massage, I was led into a serene room in the back of the salon that contains a wall of tinctures and products and a cozy chair that reclines into a shampoo bowl.
First on the menu was an exfoliating treatment comprised of rice wax (a gentle exfoliant) and thyme (an antibacterial and balancing ingredient). Next, my head from the forehead back was zipped into a contraption to receive steam mist therapy. I learned that this opens the cuticle and allows treatment particles to get deep into the hair for long lasting effects. It also frees up product buildup and excess sebum.
After being shampooed, my head was given a Tansan carbonated bath to increase circulation and balance the skin’s pH levels. The carbonation also helps remove impurities and buildup. This was followed by conditioning and another mist treatment to seal the cuticle.
And that’s not all! I experienced Hydro-dhara, an ayruvidic treatment that involves rinsing the scalp with antioxidant-rich water that’s infused with essential oils to soothe and nourish, and then finally a blowout.
Once my hair was dry, I was able to really see the results. My hair was bouncy and shiny and my damaged ends looked smoother and rejuvenated. My hair just felt lighter, too, and smelled incredible.
Typically a blowout can last me a few days, but that’s with some restyling and dry shampoo. By day three this time around, my hair still looked as fresh as the days before. When I did wash my hair again, I noticed that it air dried nicer and had more volume. Plus, my hair has been racking up compliments from friends ever since.
The treatment starts at $65 for an express detox (check out the full list of offerings here) and Borges recommends coming in once a month for maintenance.