Ouai Haircare

12 Exfoliating Scalp Scrubs That Help With Dandruff & Buildup

"I love having itchy hair," said no one, ever. Just about everyone has dealt with the kind of itch that's only relieved when massaged with the tip of a bobby-pin... and that discomfort can take away the joy of a shiny new updo or protective style. Especially when the assembly can come undone with just one scratch. That's where dandruff and buildup-fighting scalp scrubs save the day.

Great looking hair starts at the root with a healthy scalp, which is why it should be treated like the MVP of your entire haircare routine. These hair exfoliators are created specifically to rid your scalp of excess sebum and dead skin cells. Clarifying ingredients such as apple cider vinegar and sea salt, common ingredients found in many popular scrubs, work to detox dandruff and trapped bacteria caused by sweat and heavy, greasy products. And ingredients like aloe vera and avocado oil provide the area with the TLC it needs to stay balanced.

For the natural hair readers wondering — yes, scalp scrubs work on curls and coils, too. They won't dry out your hair, as long as they're applied directly to the problem areas. "If you have thicker hair, or worry about the product not reaching your scalp, you can divide your hair into four sections and apply in sub-sections using a comb, applicator brush, or old toothbrush," celebrity hairstylist Monae Everett tells TZR. Also be sure to fully rinse your scrub out after massaging to avoid leftover product. "Rinse way longer than you think is appropriate," Everett suggests.

Ahead, see 12 of the best scrubs that will reveal your best scalp ever.

Scalp & Body Scrub


Ouai Haircare

Who doesn't love a good 2-in-1? Save time during your busy mornings with this double-duty scrub loaded up with probiotics and sugar crystals to rid your skin of impurities, while simultaneously balancing natural bacteria from head-to-toe.

Apple Cider Vinegar Scalp Scrub With Pink Himalayan Sea Salt



Buff away dead skin cells and product buildup while also balancing your scalp's normal pH with this hero product. Key ingredients include pink Himalayan sea salt, avocado oil, and aloe vera to detox and soothe.

Cleansing Purifying Scrub with Sea Salt


Christophe Robin

With nearly a five-star rating at Sephora, people with all hair types appreciate the powerful exfoliating star ingredient that's at the heart of this product: sea salt. The naturally derived texture dissolves with water — leaving you with little residue to worry about post-wash.

Scalp Revival Micro-Exfoliating Shampoo



If you would rather try something a little less gritty, but just as powerful, a plant-derived micro-exfoliating shampoo such as this one is ideal. The formula also has an invigorating concoction of peppermint, spearmint oils, tea tree oil, and coconut oil that your scalp and hair will love.

Dream Come True Wonderful Scalp Exfoliator


Madam C.J. Walker Beauty Culture

"If you have a concern about losing moisture when applying a scalp scrub, choose an exfoliating option with a moisturizer or natural oil built in," advises Everett. Ditch dryness all together with this shea butter, olive oil, and coconut oil-infused scalp exfoliator that clarifies, deep conditions, and adds shine simultaneously.

Green Coconut & Activated Charcoal Purifying & Hydrating Exfoliating Hair Mud



Your scalp will have no choice but to be satisfied when treated with the activated charcoal in this mask, which extracts the deepest impurities.

Scrub Shampoo


Le Labo

Cooling menthol, black sea salt, and a combination of olive and avocado oils help stimulate and strengthen. Bonus: it also leaves behind an invigorating scent of verbena and citrus.

Deep Micro-Exfoliating Scalp Treatment



Micronized apricot and argan exfoliators are at the core of this treatment to blast away flaky buildup and stimulate healthy cell turnover.

Stimulating Scalp Mask


Philip Kingsley

If you have sensitive skin, a detoxifying mask can give your scalp the benefits that grittier scrubs do — with a gentler touch. Phillip Kingsley's has powerful blend of vitamins and minerals to calm irritation.

Activated Bamboo Charcoal & Purple Moonstone Restore & Reclaim Scalp Scrub


Not Your Mother's

Make wash day easier by prepping with a bamboo charcoal and natural jojoba wax bead blend. Aside from detoxing, the product helps balance the scalp's pH, too.

G.Tox Himalayan Salt Scalp Scrub Shampoo



The essential ingredients in this whipped shampoo, including Himalayan pink salt and rosehip oil, purify and moisturize at the same time.

Scalp Detox


Grow Gorgeous

Wake up limp hair by applying this plant-based scrub — with castor oil beads, white willow bark extract, and pomegranate fruit enzyme — every week.