Exfoliation isn’t just for glowy skin — it’s also the key to glossy hair. As texture specialist at Broome Street Society Alanna Reid explains, “Just like you would exfoliate the skin on your face, you want to exfoliate your scalp to remove dead skin, excess product build up, or natural oils that might build up on your hair.” Overlooking exfoliation can lead to clogged follicles, a flaky scalp, and an oily head of hair. Scrubbing on the regular helps hair to grow in longer, thicker, and shinier. Marie Robinson, colorist and co-owner of Marie Robinson Salon, suggests using a scalp scrub at least once a month to keep your scalp at its healthiest. To find the best scalp scrubs for all hair types and textures, we asked five hair stylists to share their favorites.
The best all-around scalp scrub
Several stylists agreed that the Christophe Robin Purifying Sea Salt Scrub is great for all hair types and textures. Formulated with sweet almond oil and sea salt, the scrub also breaks down into a lather that allows you to cleanse your hair while also exfoliating your scalp. It removes product buildup and helps with dandruff, too. According to Jenny Johnson, hairstylist and educator at Blackstones Salon, “It was love at first wash. You truly can’t go wrong with this one.” Cortney Crace, stylist at Suite Caroline, adds that “it also rebalances sensitive and oily scalps.” Plus, it’s paraben-, silicon-, and ammonia- free. Robinson especially recommends it for those who “use dry shampoos and heat protectant products frequently.”
The best scalp scrub for curly hair
Hairstylist and scalp specialist, Taeisha M. Black recommends this product for curly-haired people who use heavier emollients on a daily basis to set and support their curl pattern. The green coconut, activated charcoal, and sugar “breaks down the product caused by buildup without stripping the hair of its natural oils.”
The best scalp scrub for flaky scalps
As Robinson explains, “Seasonal changes can affect our skin, causing dry, flaky scalp. The apple cider ingredient can restore scalp pH while the pink Himalayan sea salt scrub works to remove dead skin cells that can block hair follicles.” The DpHUE Apple Cider Vinegar Sea Salt Scalp Scrub is infused with aloe vera and avocado oil to soothe sensitive scalps. It is also paraben-, sulfate-, and phthalate- free, as well as color-safe.
The best scalp scrub for braids
Black recommends this product for clients who wear braids and weaves for eight or more weeks. “I love that it brings the buildup of sebum and dead skin cells collected at the scalp gently to the hair surface,” she says. The product is also infused with coconut oil, so it does not leave hair dry or brittle.
The best scalp scrub for color-treated hair
This product is a three-in-one cleansing, exfoliating, and hydrating treatment for the hair and scalp. The non-detergent, low-lathering shampoo locks in hair color while the scalp is cleansed, exfoliated, and purified with a combination of lemon zest extracts, chamomile, and St. John’s wort. Crace says that “the invigorating lemon has antifungal properties to keep your scalp nice and healthy. While cleansing it controls the production of oil, while also stimulating regrowth.”
While this may not be a scrub, this scalp leave-on treatment is “fantastic for processed hair” according to Reid. The lightweight formula absorbs beautifully into the scalp, removing flakes, while mint and chamomile calm and soothe. It is keratin and color-safe, as well as a UV protectant. Reid suggests massaging it into the scalp right after styling and reapplying throughout the day as needed. As an added bonus, the slim packaging doesn’t take up too much room in your bag.
The best scalp scrub for fine hair
Crace also recommends the Christophe Robin Volumizing Paste, a clay-to-foam shampoo. The pure rhassoul clay absorbs impurities and oil from the scalp while the shampoo adds volume, making it an ideal product for fine-haired and oil-prone people.
The best affordable scalp scrub
The Kristen Ess Instant Exfoliating Scalp Scrub is formulated with a sugar complex that keeps the hair’s natural moisture intact while it restores balance to dry scalps. “This product is great for those who don’t want to break the bank for good hair care,” Robinson says.
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