Head spas are becoming increasingly popular in the US. What are they?

Head spas are becoming increasingly popular in the US. What are they?
via TikTok/@_itsjing
Michelle De Pacina
February 23, 2024
Scalp treatments or head spas, deeply rooted in Asian wellness culture for centuries, have become increasingly popular in the U.S. since around 2020, after a TikTok video of the experience went viral last year. 
What are head spas?: The Chinese and Japanese-inspired treatments are popular in countries across Asia, such as Japan, India and China, where masseuses perform several relaxing treatments on their clients’ heads after doing a scalp analysis. These services typically include getting one’s scalp steamed, massaged and lathered with nourishing shampoos and conditioners. The spa treatment aims to promote blood circulation, detoxify and prevent issues like dandruff and hair loss.
The viral L.A. head spa: Cai Xiang Ge, which opened in the middle of 2021, helped the “#headspa” trend in Los Angeles gain momentum when an influencer visited and documented her experience for TikTokThe relaxing video, uploaded in August 2023, has since garnered over 12.3 million views and more than a million likes, with many viewers expressing their desire to visit a head spa as well. 
Cai Xiang Ge owner Ning Chen told the Los Angeles Times her previous clientele was predominantly 70% Asian and 30% non-Asian, but by summer 2023, this ratio reversed, a shift she attributes to the influence of social media promotion. Chinese scalp treatment videos on social platforms are also particularly popular among ASMR enthusiasts, who seek tingling and relaxing sensations from specific sounds.
Emerging trend: Due to the trend, numerous head spas have been emerging in major U.S. cities, including Atlanta, New York and Los Angeles, particularly in Asian community hubs. These salons cater to both one-time visitors and regular members who come weekly or biweekly for relaxation and scalp maintenance.
The U.S. market has also seen a surge in scalp-care products and services, with cosmetic company Aveda’s ayurveda-inspired scalp treatment line contributing to the trend since 2017. The widespread popularity of this treatment aligns with the overall profitability of the wellness industry, estimated to generate $5.6 trillion in total revenue in 2022, according to Bloomberg.
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