If there’s one thing I’m sure of by now, it’s that TikTok never ceases to amaze me, though most of the time, it’s not in a good way. Today, I have a bone to pick with a recent (and bizarre) trend native to the app—one that led me to spend the last few evenings inspecting my scalp with a mirror in one hand and my phone camera in the other, nitpicking at the newly discovered imperfections of my scalp. That’s right, I just wrote ‘scalp’.
Introducing TikTok’s ‘scalp check’ trend, a new mania where users on the app try to figure out whether they’re bound to become bald or not—no matter how young they may be.If you believe those who participate in the movement, how nicely your parted hair looks in aerial view says a lot about how much hair you’ll have on top of your head in the next few years. Currently at 58.9 million views, the hashtag #scalpcheck has gen Zers literally checking their scalps and houses videos with hundreds of thousands of comments from those with scalp envy. The world has truly gone mad.
But why are TikTokers so worried about their potentially receding hairline and why does it feel like yet another impossible beauty standard has come out of the woodwork for us to fear?
While over on platforms like YouTube typing in #scalpcheck will result in a page full of ASMR videos to tickle your sensory fancy—with a dash of vigorous shampooing and a head massaging to boot—TikTok is home to a very different type of hair-related content. Though there remains a marginal part of the app’s community—which still manages to rack in views in the millions—that perform ASMR scalp checks, most recently videos currently under the hashtag showcase people either proudly sifting through ten out of ten tresses or embarrassingly exposing aerial shots of their roots.
I, for one, only ever took notice of my scalp for two things growing up: dandruff and the feared head lice. However, it seems like balding is now the top priority for gen Z. There are several reasons why your hair might be falling out, aside from the loose shedding that’s normal to experience. GQ labels salt intake among some of the other reasons—such as genetics, medication, stress and even diet—why you may experience hair loss.
Speaking with Kevin Moore, a trichologist (which is an expert on all things hair) at Regrowz, GQ explained that too much salt in your diet can “definitely” damage the health of your hair and potentially cause it to fall out.
“Consuming too much salt will cause a build-up of sodium which will then develop around hair follicles. This affects the blood circulation flowing to the hair follicles and prevents essential nutrients getting to the follicles. Eventually, this causes hair to become lifeless, dull and even causes hair loss,” Moore added.
That being said, if you’re about ready to throw out your salt and vinegar crisp stash, you may want to hold off. GQ stressed that we should take heed of genetics, which are, unfortunately, a key player when it comes to your hair, according to nutritionist and co-author of The Detox Kitchen Bible, Rob Hobson.
“There’s not a huge amount you can do to prevent balding. If you’re low in iron it can make hair brittle, and B vitamins are involved in how healthy your hair is,” Hobson shared with the outlet.
Sporting your side-part for views is a new way to signal your superiority, apparently. Though the scalp checking trend is nowhere near as harmful as its scalp popping sibling, it is slowly turning into yet another beauty standard for people to measure up to. Like seriously, I lose cool points for having an itchy scalp now? How are we even supposed to keep up anymore?
The trend has evidently led many to question their hair health and even feel insecure about their scalp’s appearance. Ridiculous, right? At least, the comments sections don’t lie and I think I’ve found my people in some of them.
“Never thought I would be jealous of a scalp but here we are,” said one user with over 72,000 likes on their comment. “Cannot believe the internet has come to this,” another said. “No we are not about to do scalp check trends [right now] it’s my biggest insecurity,” stated someone else.
In the comments of one viral video made by @thefabulouscourtney, users noted how this trend is leading the way for more insecurities to arise, such as having a cowlick, for example. Though there are ways to get rid of them—mainly by training your hair to form in a different way—cowlicks are small quirks that we shouldn’t feel the need to overcome.
But what if it’s too late and you’ve already fallen into the bald-fearing hysteria?? Well, before you go start shaving your head, know that SCREENSHOT has previously covered carrot oil as a possible magic cure for hair growth.
Caster oil has also come up time and time again as the heralded secret elixir to make your locks more luscious. Meanwhile, according to Harper’s Bazaar, rosemary oil is the way to go. Byrdie also listed off a few food remedies that you can pull out from your cupboards to combat the dreaded thinning scalp.
Last but not least, scalp checks themselves may be a possible answer too—in a strange full circle ouroboros type of way—since they point out the very problems you might need to solve. The practice is actually a hairstylist go-to that, when done correctly, can be quite beneficial for mane maintenance. In response to the trend’s rise in popularity, professionals have now taken to sharing their own experience with the practice and are dishing out tips online so as to not make everyone so insecure, but instead allow them to check the health of their head of hair at home.