You can’t expect luscious, green grass to grow from desert sands, right? Well, that’s why it’s important to be attentive to scalp health if you want your mane to grow long and strong. To get the basics under our belt, let’s revisit some scalp-care tips from

Don’t smear oil all over your scalp. Why? Because the skin on your head naturally produces its own oils; this allows it to self-regulate and maintain an environment that’s optimal for hair growth. Although applying natural oils to your strands is vital and can help seal much-needed moisture into your locks, allowing this same oil to coat your dome and build up on the scalp can have a negative effect. Specifically, feeding this oil slick can throw off your scalp’s ability to produce its own oil supply. What’s more, avoid products that contain sulfate and ammonium. And to get rid of buildup, wash and condition your hair at least twice each month.

Avoid extreme heat. We know that exposing strands to regular heat styling tools such as blow-dryers, curling irons and flatirons can lead to dry hair and breakage. But these tools can also damage your scalp. So if you’re using a blow-dryer, make sure it’s on the “warm” setting—not “hot” or “high”—and don’t use these tools too frequently.

Eat a healthy diet. This is a no-brainer. If you consume foods that promote the health of your scalp, their nutrients will get passed to your tresses. Aim for a diet rich in nuts, fresh vegetables and fruits and whole grains to improve scalp function. What’s more, include regular exercise on the menu, too, because physical activity can also promote better scalp circulation. The increased blood flow brings nutrients to your hair follicles—and to the skin on your head.

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