Grease. Dandruff. Residue. Using a ton of products like hair spray, hair gel, and mousse on your hair day in and day out can really wear out your locks and your scalp. Just like you exfoliate your face with a face scrub, you can get rid of product and dirt buildup with a good scalp scrub! But with so many scrubs to choose from, how do you know which one will do the job?
We found that the best ones not only clarify, but they also nourish with oils and moisturizers galore. We fell in love with dpHUE's Apple Cider Vinegar Scalp Scrub because it's safe for all hair types, soothes, and moisturizes. See what else made the cut and some things to look out for when you're shopping with our buying guide!
Scalp scrub, like the name suggests, is a scrub for your scalp. Your scalp is where the sweat and dead cells are produced. Your hair is also exposed to a lot of pollution as you go about your day. Not to mention if you're a big styling gel user, there's going to be plenty of leftover product coating your scalp.
All these factors contribute to your scalp getting grimy and unbalanced, leading to issues like skin irritation and dandruff. Hair grows out of hair follicles, which are embedded in the scalp. The hair follicles need a healthy scalp with balanced pH levels to produce luxuriant hair. Over time, the sebum and skin flakes clog hair follicles leading to hair loss and hair thinning.
This is where the importance of a scalp scrub comes in. It's either a gritty or chemical formula that removes the dead skin, styling product and oil from your scalp.
Below we have curated a list of our top favorites of scalp scrubs, each of which has its own unique properties. While the goal is to shed the unwanted layer of detritus on the top of our scalps, we can give our skin a much desired boost by carefully selecting our salt scrub!
|Formulated with||Apple cider, pink Himalayan salt, avocado oil, aloe vera|
|Highlights||Vegan; cruelty-free; and free from parabens, gluten, and sulfates|
|Suitable for||Oily and dandruff prone scalps, colored hair|
|Formulated with||Salt, sweet almond oil, treemoss extract|
|Highlights||Free from parabens, silicones, and colorants|
|Suitable for||Sensitive and oily scalps|
|Formulated with||Infused with coconut oil, sulfate-free and paraben-free|
|Highlights||Free from dyes and sulfates|
|Suitable for||Dry and dandruff prone Scalps|
|Formulated with||Grape stem cell extract, pearl extract, hyaluronic acid|
|Highlights||Cruelty-free; free of gluten, phthalates, parabens, sulfates, and mineral oils|
|Suitable for||Dull skin and hair|
|Formulated with||Rosemary, eggplant, pine extract, dead sea salt particles|
|Highlights||Vegan; free from parabens, sulfates, artificial fragrances, mineral oils, and more|
|Suitable for||Oily and sensitive scalps|
|Formulated with||Nettle leaf and horsetail extract|
|Highlights||Contains sulfates and parabens|
|Suitable for||Scalps with thinning hair|
|Formulated with||Tea tree oil, argan oil, shea butter, Himalayan sea salt and coconut oil|
|Highlights||Free from parabens, sulfates, gluten, dyes, phthalates, and propylene glycol|
|Suitable for||Oily, dry, and dandruff prone scalps|
|Formulated with||Tea tree oil, apple cider vinegar, witch hazel, sage oil|
|Highlights||99% natural ingredients; Leaping Bunny certified; free from parabens, SLS, and silicones|
|Suitable for||Dry, oily, and itchy scalps; colored Hair|
|Formulated with||Sugar, coconut oil, probiotic blend|
|Highlights||Free from parabens, sulfates, and phthalates|
|Suitable for||All skin types|
|Formulated with||Biotin, tea tree oil, coconut oil, keratin, peppermint|
|Highlights||98% naturally-derived ingredients; cruelty-free; vegan; free from silicones, phthalates, gluten, sulfates, parabens, and artificial dyes|
|Suitable for||Dry and itchy scalps; treated hair|
Head & Shoulders
Apple Cider Vinegar Scalp Scrub with Pink Himalayan Sea Salt
Cleansing Purifying Scrub with Sea Salt
Royal Oils Water Activated Scalp Scrub
Perfect Shine Clarifying Scalp Scrub
Rosemary Scalp Scrub
Scalp Scrub with Nettle Leaf and Horsetail Extract
Beauty Tea Tree Lemon Sage Refreshing Moisture Scalp Scrub
Tea Tree Gentle & Soothing Pre-Shampoo Scalp Scrub
Scalp & Body Scrub
Scalp Revival Charcoal and Coconut Oil Micro-Exfoliating Shampoo
A Refreshing Scrub That Vitalizes Your Scalp
A Hydrating and Soothing Cleanse for the Scalp
A Moisturizing Yet Exfoliating Treatment
Scrub Technology That Balances Your Scalp
A Purifying Scrub Full of Herbal Goodness
A Deep Cleanser for Thinning Hair
A Gentle Cleanser That's Free from Harsh Chemicals and Bad Vibes
A Mild and Natural Scrub That Soothes Irritated Scalps
An All-In-One Experience for Scalp Health
Charcoal Technology Giving Your Scalp the Boost it Needs
|Formulated with||Apple cider, pink Himalayan salt, avocado oil, aloe vera||Salt, sweet almond oil, treemoss extract||Infused with coconut oil, sulfate-free and paraben-free||Grape stem cell extract, pearl extract, hyaluronic acid||Rosemary, eggplant, pine extract, dead sea salt particles||Nettle leaf and horsetail extract||Tea tree oil, argan oil, shea butter, Himalayan sea salt and coconut oil||Tea tree oil, apple cider vinegar, witch hazel, sage oil||Sugar, coconut oil, probiotic blend||Biotin, tea tree oil, coconut oil, keratin, peppermint|
|Highlights||Vegan; cruelty-free; and free from parabens, gluten, and sulfates||Free from parabens, silicones, and colorants||Free from dyes and sulfates||Cruelty-free; free of gluten, phthalates, parabens, sulfates, and mineral oils||Vegan; free from parabens, sulfates, artificial fragrances, mineral oils, and more||Contains sulfates and parabens||Free from parabens, sulfates, gluten, dyes, phthalates, and propylene glycol||99% natural ingredients; Leaping Bunny certified; free from parabens, SLS, and silicones||Free from parabens, sulfates, and phthalates||98% naturally-derived ingredients; cruelty-free; vegan; free from silicones, phthalates, gluten, sulfates, parabens, and artificial dyes|
|Suitable for||Oily and dandruff prone scalps, colored hair||Sensitive and oily scalps||Dry and dandruff prone Scalps||Dull skin and hair||Oily and sensitive scalps||Scalps with thinning hair||Oily, dry, and dandruff prone scalps||Dry, oily, and itchy scalps; colored Hair||All skin types||Dry and itchy scalps; treated hair|
|Amount||11.2 oz||8.3 oz||3.4 oz||8.1 oz||5.8 oz||6 oz||4 oz||6 oz||8.8 oz||8 oz|
With so many scalp scrubs to choose from, we have compiled some important points to keep in mind when you select a product.
There are two types of scrubs: physical scrubs and chemical scrubs. Physical scrubs have tiny particles to exfoliate the skin of the scalp. These particles can be salt, sugar, clay, or even nut and fruit pits. The gritty particles dislodge the matter around your follicles as you massage them into your scalp, which also has the benefit of boosting circulation to the root of your hair.
Many of these scrubs have oils such as olive oil, tea tree oil, or avocado oil to add nutrients to the scalp, giving you healthy shiny hair.
On the other hand, chemical scrubs don't need as firm a rub, as they use active ingredients like salicylic and glycolic acid. These ingredients act against excess sebum and remove dead skin cells and also stimulate the production of new cells. Chemical scrubs also contain nutrients to boost the health of your scalp.
Much like the rest of your body, your scalp can be oily, dry, sensitive, or a combination. It gets a little trickier due to the density of hair on the top of your head.
If your scalp feels oily and easily gets sweaty, select scalp scrubs that have ingredients with absorbing quality such as kaolin clay. Oily scalps also benefit from chemical exfoliates that contain zinc and BHA, as both of these combat excess sebum.
If you have a dry scalp that has flaky skin, scalp scrubs that have moisturizing nutrients such as argan oil or jojoba oil can provide some extra nourishment while removing the skin flakes that are choking the hair follicles. If you experience itchiness, soothing oils such as tea tree or spearmint can help.
If you use a lot of dry shampoo or styling products, using a physical scalp scrub is better than using a chemical one. Physically rubbing in the gritty formula of the scrub is more efficient in removing particles of products that are sticking to the base of your hair.
Your hair type is also going to affect the type of scalp scrub you should use. Usually, scrubs are not as different from each other as shampoos. But by carefully selecting the scrub, you can give your hair an extra boost of nutrients.
People with oily hair should use scrubs that contain our good friend salicylic acid, which will remove oil at the root. Oily hair types should also use scrubs that have kaolin clay, which is good at absorbing excess sebum the scalp produces.
An excess of bacteria around your scalp causes dandruff. If you have a dry, flaky scalp, a scrub with the detoxifying and hydrating ingredient of coconut oil will make your hair luxurious. Also look for ingredients like mint, aloe vera, or chamomile, which will soothe and cool the scalp.
Fine hair is prone to be more gunked up by pollution. People with this hair type should opt for sea salt scrubs. This type of scrub will not only rejuvenate your scalp, but the massaging action will boost circulation to your hair follicles to make them stronger and less prone to breakage. Also, sea salt has a volumizing effect on hair.
If you have thick, curly hair, you run the risk of having an oily scalp with dry hair tips. In this case, you'll need a scrub that will cleanse your scalp without stripping your hair of their natural oils. Look for scrubs that have moisturizing ingredients like coconut with an absorbing ingredient like activated charcoal to suck up that scalp debris.
People with colored hair need to ensure that the scrub they use won't remove or damage their processed locks. Try to aim for exfoliants that are not harsh and without sulfates, which could potentially damage your hair color.
When your scalp is happy and clean, your hair will grow silky and strong. However, just like putting other creams or products on our skin, we need to be careful. If you suffer from a pre-existing skin condition like eczema, a scalp scrub will aggravate rather than soothe, creating more irritation and inflammation. Also, be careful if you have allergies, and check the ingredients before use!
A flaky scalp and dandruff are two different conditions. While a scalp scrub can reduce flakiness and be a preventative measure against dandruff, it is not the solution. If you do suffer from dandruff, it is better to consult a dermatologist rather than solely rely on scalp scrubs as a solution.
Dermatologists also caution against the overuse of scalp scrubs, as the chemicals within them may lead to skin irritation. A scalp scrub typically should not be used more than once per week. Excessive exfoliation will make the scalp produce more sebum than usual, causing the opposite of the cleansing effect of the scrub.
You can make your own DIY scalp scrubs at home. Depending on your skin and hair type, you can pick and choose the individual ingredients that will help your unique skin and hair type. A DIY scalp scrub has basically two components.
The first is the gritty substance. You can use sea salt, sugar, baking soda or even brewed coffee grounds. This gritty substance provides the physical friction needed to slough off the unwanted material layered on the scalp.
The second is a nourishing agent. This can be coconut oil, argan oil or aloe vera. This component not only provides nourishment to the hair, but also makes it easier to spread the gritty substance around your scalp. You can add a drop or two of essential oils like rosemary, peppermint or chamomile to soothe and cool the skin of your scalp.
Here's a video by ComfortLifeChannel that shows you how to make three different scalp scrubs using ingredients you probably already have in your house!
Salt scrubs are a gateway to healthy, shiny hair, but there are other ways to take care of your hair! Below we have some more recommendations to help you unlock the secrets to great hair.
Right next to shampoo and conditioner, a scalp scrub should be a mainstay in your hair care regime. By removing the unwanted layer of dead skin cells, product buildup, and natural sebum that the scalp produces, the hair follicles are free to grow.
Scrubs are available for different skin types and the extra nourishment provided by the scalp scrub also adds to the hair's health. Consider your skin type and your hair type when you select your scalp scrub as they both affect your scrub selection. Your hair will be shining and luxurious!
Author: Amena Rahman
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