(Standing Appointment)

I Tried A Scalp Facial To Help With Buildup & The Results Were Surprising

The industry’s solution has some exceptional benefits.

Standing Appointment is our review series that investigates the best new and notable cosmetic procedures in the aesthetics space and determines whether or not they are worth trying for yourself. This week, our writer tries the new HydraFacial Kervavive for hair and scalp.

Do you diligently get a facial every month to rejuvenate your complexion and remove dead skin cells? Or have a specific skin care routine filled with toners, essences, and barrier builders? If you answered yes for either of these, do you carry the same standards for your scalp? Most people tend to think of their scalp and face as two separate things, when in reality they are both skin. “The scalp needs the same care as your skin, your face, and anywhere on your body,” says Emily Tomae, licensed medical aesthetician and Keravive specialist at Ever/Body, a medical spa. “The scalp often has product build-up and overexposure to sun that can cause dryness, itchiness, and excess sebum.”

The fact of the matter is, the foundation for healthy hair begins at the scalp. If your scalp is in bad health — irritated, scaly, oily, and inflamed — it can impact the overall health of the hair. And sure, detoxifying scalp products can help build-up from getting out of control, but opting for a scalp facial could be an easier and more longer-lasting solution. Enter: HydraFacial Keravive. Excited at the prospect of my healthiest scalp yet, I jumped at the chance to try Keravive at the Manhattan studio for the three-session treatment.

Ahead, the full breakdown on the buzzy scalp treatment, all the benefits of a Keravive, how much it costs, and more.

What Is A HydraFacial Keravive?

The scalp is constantly subjected to an aggressive environment of infrequent, improper, and/or inadequate cleansing plus a whole host of hair products, chemicals, and environmental toxins. HydraFacial, the popular treatment that uses a medical-grade device to clear pores and boost skin hydration, utilizes the same machine and mentality to cleanse and exfoliate the scalp.

The result: a unique three-step treatment that promotes hair growth by cleansing, stimulating, and hydrating the scalp. “During a Keravive treatment, impurities and dead skin cells are cleansed from the hair follicles,” Tomae tells TZR. “We do this with a complex blend of growth factors and skin proteins that work to hydrate, nourish, and stimulate the scalp.”

What Happens At A HydraFacial Keravive Appointment?

The three-step process started with Tomae working in small sections of my head, navigating the wand all over my scalp and focusing on areas near my hairline (the area she deemed as the most congested on my scalp). The tool suctions out all the impurities and debris of the scalp, removing excess dead skin cells and gunk while boosting circulation. “The exfoliation looks to extract the debris in the pores and the build-up overall to allow the follicles to breathe properly,” the expert tells TZR.

My curly hair routine consists of a leave-in conditioner, detangle spray, curl pudding, foam wrap, and a shine spray. As a result, product build-up is always of concern. The HydraFacial Keravive is incredible at fully cleansing and exfoliating the scalp of not only dead skin cells, but debris and product build-up too. A huge win.Courtesy of Natasha Marsh

After this first initial step, Tomae shows me the tube holding all the debris and buildup (gross, I know) that was clogging my hair follicles and creating build up. Although suctioning might sound painful, the actual experience is quite relaxing — you are laying down on a lounger and there is no pulling of the hair. Instead, it feels like a gentle massage.

Next, nutrients and antioxidants are infused into the scalp to stimulate circulation and provide nourishment to the foundation of the hair. This is done with a new attachment that delivers the Keravive Peptide Solution, the brand's signature serum packed with growth factors and proteins (amino acids that are proven to strengthen and grow hair) to hydrate and encourage hair growth.

To finish the treatment, she disbursed a couple spritzes of the take-home Peptide Complex Spray and massaged it into my scalp, instructing me to do the same every night before going to bed. This spray helps extend and enhance the benefits of the in-office treatment and became a small act of self-care for my scalp health over the last three months.

In terms of aftercare, as is the case for the skin on your face, the scalp must stay hydrated and healthy. I found that the take-home Peptide spray really did nourish and hydrate my scalp. Tomae does suggest waiting at least 24 hours before washing hair directly after every session so the proteins can really sink and marinate into the scalp.

What Are The Added Benefits Of A Scalp Facial?

Excess product usage and an inconsistent hair washing routine can clog follicles and negatively impact how they behave — leading to poor hair growth, thinning, itch, and irritation (the most common signs of an unhealthy scalp). All in all, a balanced scalp (the greatest benefit of a Keravive treatment) provides the most optimal foundation for growing healthy hair.

According to Tomae, most clients see hair growth and hair thickness after the second session. “If your hair is experiencing a lot of buildup on the scalp, it will interfere with the hair strands growing out,” she says.

Firstly, the tool is used to suction out any debris, pollution, and product build-up from the scalp. This initial step takes anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes, depending on the status of your scalp.Courtesy of Natasha Marsh

Additionally, because the follicles become completely unclogged with the treatment, it also helps other hair products penetrate. Meaning, your hair routine will be more effective and produce a greater amount of better hair days. “Any treatments at home that you do use, maybe a hair mask or even your shampoo and conditioner, instead of it just laying on top of the follicle, now that it's unclogged, it's able to penetrate into the actual scalp,” Tomae shares.

Who Can Get A Keravive Treatment?

While the treatment works for anyone looking to improve their scalp health (hair texture and type are irrelevant), it’s particularly effective if you’re experiencing scalp irritation, itchiness, thinning, or dryness. Personally, I wanted to benefit from a total scalp reset. As someone with curly hair (type 4A) and a minimum of five styling products on at all times, I was really in it for the diminishing of product build-up, which I noticed go away after my first session.

How Much Does A HydraFacial Keravive Cost?

As is the case with most treatments, cost is entirely dependent on the location and who is doing the service, but you can expect to pay $415 at Ever/Body for a 45-60 minute treatment. Generally, in order to get the full benefits, Tomae recommends three sessions separated by four weeks, for a total of three months.

To maintain the results, Tomae suggests coming in every time the seasons change, which, given the four-week separation between treatments, essentially equates to a HydraFacial every month.

Final Thoughts On The HydraFacial Keravive

Now, three months later, each time I wash my hair I notice it immediately feels softer and thicker. My curly roots hold a curl longer (previously my spirals would become frizzy three days after wash day) now that the cuticle is unclogged and my hair has a shine to it that I typically only see after a really good salon visit.

If you’re serious about boosting hair growth, shine, and softness, or looking for all-around better scalp health, this three-step scalp facial would be a great investment. However, given the price tag it might be better suited for people who are dealing with a scalp condition. Otherwise, an annual session to reset your scalp and truly pamper yourself might be more realistic.