When your hair is yearning for a rejuvenating detox, a scalp scrubs is your trusted accomplice. These exceptional formulations, unlike your regular shampoos, offer a more profound cleanse that reflects the invigorating sensation of a tranquil rainfall or the pampering touch of a professional hair spa. With nourishing oils, they work doubly hard to moisturize your scalp, making them perfect companions for dry and sensitive skin types while ensuring they do not irritate or dry out the scalp.
The application of these scalp scrubs adheres to an effortlessly simple mantra: gently massage, rinse, and let the product weave its charm. A few rotations over your scalp and they meticulously lift off product buildup and excess oils, unveiling a cleaner, fresher surface. Their action is calculated, targeting even the most persistent grime without inflicting undue harshness.
Some are housed in classic jars while others adopt an innovative squeeze bottle approach, yet their purpose remains unwavering. Apply directly onto damp scalp, work into a lather with a gentle circular motion, and rinse off to enjoy an exfoliating and invigorating experience. If you’ve applied a little extra, simply diluting it with water during rinsing can bring back the balance.
Finding the perfect scalp scrub among a sea of options can be overwhelming. That’s why we’ve rigorously tested a plethora of scalp scrubs, evaluating them based on their effectiveness, consistency, ability to rinse cleanly, and the overall health and appearance of the scalp post-use.
Continue your exploration to discover our top choices, from affordable treasures that are setting new standards in hair care, to innovative creations by renowned beauty experts.
A scalp scrub is a great way to keep your hair in tip-top shape. It’s not just for the body—your scalp needs some love, too.
OUAI’s Sugar Scalp & Exfoliating Scrub is a blend of sugar and coconut oil that cuts through to cleanse your hair and body. The scent has notes of dragonfruit, orange blossom, tuberose, and musk, so you’ll smell amazing while you’re getting rid of those pesky dead skin cells on your head.
Apply a quarter-size amount directly to the scalp and massage it in with your fingertips. You’ll be left with soft, smooth skin—and no more grime and dirt!
“It’s my self-care splurge,” shared one tester. “The scent is heaven on vacation.”
This cleansing scrub from Crown Affair is a real gem.
Formulated with nourishing bolivian pink salt granules that exfoliate gently and dissolve fully in water, this scrub massages the scalp while removing buildup. The grainy texture penetrates through to the scalp, works to lift impurities, polish skin, and leaves no leftover residue behind.
This scent is a combination of bergamot, yuzu, and lemongrass—an uplifting aroma that’s perfect for getting you ready for the day ahead. Plus, less is more thanks to its high-foaming lather.
According to reviews, “Something about this scrub got me like, whoa. It’s incredibly foamy which makes a little bit go a long way.”
Amika’s Exfoliating Jelly Shampoo is a deep cleanser that purifies, removes buildup, and deep cleans the scalp.
It acts as a magnet to slough off unwanted gunk from your hair, leaving it feeling clean and refreshed. The easy application and needle nose applicator can nestle its way deep into roots and scalp to give you the most thorough cleaning possible.
Plus, this shampoo is infused with salicylic acid, charcoal, and pink clay—the latter two ingredients are known for their ability to remove dirt from hair follicles.
I use this with the cleansing oil and it works wonders. I am literally obsessed,” explained one reviewer.
Briogeo’s Scalp Revival Shampoo is a gentle, weekly scalp treatment that works to decrease scalp flaking and increase scalp hydration.
It’s also packed with plant-based exfoliators that loosen buildup and flakes. Binchotan charcoal absorbs impurities and buildup, while coconut oil helps balance oil production.
This particular formula is great for dry or oily scalps because of it’s nourishing ingredients, but still provides all of the benefits of a deep cleansing treatment.
Moreover, the mud masque can be used in place of a shampoo and conditioner to remove buildup from styling products, or it can be used as an extra step before using those products if you have particularly oily hair.
R+Co’s Purifying Scalp Scrub is a go-to choice for those with sensitive or oily skin.
The main ingredient is a purifying, soothing blend of salicylic acid and Ecuadorian ivory palm seed powder. This two-pronged approach minimizes build-up on the scalp and removes loose dandruff flakes.
Elsewhere, kaolin absorbs excess oil and promotes scalp health, while kaolin clay also serves as a gentle exfoliant. The formula works to keep your locs and scalp clean and healthy without resorting to harsh chemicals or irritating ingredients.
It’s also a good option for those who are looking for an alternative to frequent shampooing, oily scalps that need extra attention, or extra help keeping their hair in tip-top shape throughout the day!
The scalp scrub from Kristin Ess is the perfect way to treat your hair to some TLC, whether you’re in the middle of a dry winter or just need some extra love.
The formula gently exfoliates to remove build-up and flakes, while leaving your hair hydrated, rebalanced, and free of dryness. It’s formulated with a sugar complex to keep natural moisture intact, and it’s designed to “zip-up” split ends while targeting weak areas of the hair.
It’s budget-friendly and easy to use—just massage into wet scalp for one minute, rinse thoroughly with warm water, then follow with shampoo and conditioner.
It’s time to take it all off.
With Drunk Elephant’s scalp scrub, you can clear away the dead skin and accumulated gunk that have been sitting on your scalp like a hat for too long. This product is designed to work within a short period of time, so you don’t have to worry about spending hours waiting for results.
It uses a supercharged AHA/BHA blend to dissolve dead cells and biodegradable plant-cellulose exfoliating beads sweep them away. The formula also contains sweet almond extract that has a naturally nutty scent that vanishes quickly. Use this once or twice a week for best results!
As one tester stated, “The chemical exfoliate really does a good job of breaking down buildup of product overtime. I think this is an amazing treatment to use if you are constantly using hair products in your hair.”
Say hello to Ceremonia’s Papaya Scalp Scrub – the perfect addition to your hair care routine. This invigorating, whipped shampoo features Papaya Enzymes and Bolivian Pink Salt to do the magic on your scalp. It’s your scalp’s best detox treatment that doesn’t involve any harsh chemicals.
This scalp scrub works wonders by exfoliating your scalp, balancing the oil, revitalizing your hair, and removing impurities. It uses Guava Leaf and Prickly Pear Cactus extracts to add the much-needed moisture to your scalp, leaving it refreshed and ready for ultimate hair wellness.
Instead of your regular shampoo, use this once a week for best results. Just make sure your hair and scalp are wet, apply the scrub, massage in circular motions, and rinse thoroughly.
Say goodbye to product build-up with Not Your Mother’s Curl Talk Exfoliating Scalp Scrub. This sugar-based scrub is designed to deep cleanse your scalp, eliminating impurities and any product residue, leaving your scalp refreshed and balanced.
It uses sugar crystals and fruit-based AHAs to gently exfoliate the scalp. It’s easy to rinse and suitable for all curl types.
This scrub is made with a superfood oil blend to ensure that it doesn’t dry out or strip your scalp. As you work this scrub into your scalp, you’ll love the uplifting citrus and jasmine scent.
If you’re dealing with an oily scalp, Kérastase’s Energizing Scrub is here to help. Made with sea salt, this scrub dives deep into your scalp to wash away impurities and product build-up, leaving you with healthier hair that’s free of greasiness.
But it doesn’t stop at cleansing. This scrub also stimulates your scalp, which helps promote healthier hair growth. It even adds volume to your hair, bringing life back to dull, lifeless strands.
The cherry on top is the uplifting scent that accompanies each use, adding a touch of relaxation to your scalp treatment routine. It’s an effective solution to the most common hair woes, including a greasy scalp, dandruff, and lifeless hair.
What to Look for in Scalp Scrubs
Type of Scalp Scrub
Scalp scrubs come in different forms, including physical scrubs with granules and chemical scrubs that rely on ingredients like AHAs or BHAs. Physical scrubs can give a satisfying, immediate clean, while chemical scrubs might be better for sensitive scalps or for a more in-depth cleanse over time.
Look at the ingredient list of the scalp scrub. Ingredients like salicylic acid can help to break down excess oils and dandruff, while tea tree oil can provide antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory benefits. Other ingredients like sugar or sea salt can provide the granules needed for a physical scrub.
Just like with skincare for your face, it’s important to choose a scalp scrub that matches your scalp condition and type, be it dry, oily, or sensitive. Certain ingredients may work better for certain scalp conditions. For instance, if you have a dry scalp, look for scrubs with hydrating ingredients like aloe vera or hyaluronic acid.
Easy to Rinse Out
A good scalp scrub should be easy to rinse out and not leave any residue on the scalp or hair. Residue could potentially irritate the scalp or weigh down the hair, causing it to look greasy or flat.
While not a vital factor, the fragrance of a scalp scrub can contribute to the overall experience. Some people prefer a refreshing, invigorating scent like mint or citrus, while others might enjoy a more calming aroma like lavender or chamomile. Make sure any added fragrance doesn’t irritate your scalp.