While your shower caddy is most likely filled to the brim with shampoos and conditioners, chances are, you might not be dedicating much space to your scalp products. However, your scalp deserves the same attention (if not more) than the rest of your hair. In fact, caring for this area of your head can result in stronger, healthier hair, so consider clearing some space for the best scalp scrubs on the market.
Angela Soto, owner of hair salon Baja Studio in New York City, says a scalp scrub is a detox. "Essentially our scalp is skin and [it] also has skin cells as the rest of our body," she tells TZR. "The hair follicles, which are like the pores on our face, can become clogged from sweat, hair product, dirt, and oil." In turn, the hairstylist says this leads to build-up which causes dryness, as well as a flaky, itchy, or oily scalp even after washing. "By detoxing the scalp, you remove the build-up which allows oxygen and blood flow to do its thing, and for the cells to regenerate [which can lead to] healthy strong hair."
And according to Dr. Kelly Bickle, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist in Los Angeles, build-up of dry, flaky skin on the scalp can also be due to conditions like dermatitis and psoriasis. "Both of these are inflammatory skin conditions, with seborrheic dermatitis likely being due in part to yeast overgrowth on the skin of the scalp." If you do have an actual dermatologic disorder, such as seborrheic dermatitis or psoriasis, Dr. Bickle doesn't recommend using a scalp scrub as it might be too irritating to an already inflamed scalp.
However, for those wanting to maintain a healthy scalp, or want to remedy a slightly oily or minimally flaky one, the dermatologist says an occasional scrub might be beneficial, similar to the function of a face or body exfoliator. "I would not recommend using [a scalp scrub] more than once a week, and [you should use it] once every couple of weeks if your skin is more sensitive," Dr. Bickle notes. And she says the best way to use the product is after shampooing and prior to conditioning.
If you're on a mission to prioritize scalp health, a scrub is exactly what you need to add to your bathroom shelf. Ahead, find 10 of the best scalp scrubs on the market, according to the experts.
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The Best Scalp Scrubs On The Market
Laura Polko, a celebrity hairstylist who works with Gigi Hadid and Lucy Hale, says NatureLab. Tokyo's Perfect Shine Clarifying Scalp Scrub is one of her favorites because it's "gentle, yet effective and leaves your hair feeling nice and healthy afterward," she tells TZR.
Soto says Oribe's Serene Scalp Exfoliating Scrub is gentle, yet effective in removing dead skin cells, oil, dirt, and product build-up. "They use a blend of alpha-hydroxy acids and glycolic acid that are common ingredients to exfoliate in skin care, and leaves your [scalp] feeling ultra-clean, but soft and hydrated," she says. "My favorite part is the peppermint oil that leaves your scalp feeling tingly."
If you've ever felt like your hair all of a sudden feels lifeless and can't find a product to work, Matilde Campos, a Los Angeles-based hairstylist, says sometimes all you need is a scrub to get rid of all the residue and build-up in your hair. "Virtue Labs Exfoliating Scalp Treatment is one of my favorite products," she tells TZR. "It's gentle, provides moisture balance, removes impurities, leaves your scalp feeling moisturized, and repairs hair with each use. This scalp treatment is a win-win."
Briogeo's Scalp Revival Charcoal + Coconut Oil Micro-exfoliating Scalp Scrub Shampoo is one of Campos' go-to products and favorites to recommend. "Just the smell is incredible all on its own," she says. "Filled with peppermint, tea tree, and spearmint, this cleansing scrub can be a go-to for you if you want a product that has all the right ingredients." Plus, she notes that the charcoal pulls out all of our scalp's impurities and reduces flakiness.
"This weekly all-in-one scalp scrub can easily become your go-to bathing product," Campos says. "From bringing the bounce back to your hair to a full-body rejuvenation, this scrub is head to toe amazing." To add to that, the hairstylist says the smell and gentle exfoliating crystal will have you hooked.