Here’s *Exactly* How to Use a Scalp Scrub, According to the Pros
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Imagine a soothing spa experience, but *exclusively* designed for your scalp – the foundation of enviable hair.
From banishing pesky flakes to stimulating hair growth, the benefits of a well-executed scalp scrubbing ritual go beyond simple relaxation though.
Whether you’re a seasoned haircare connoisseur or just taking your first steps into the scalp scrub, we unveil the step-by-step secrets to a scalp scrubbing routine that will leave you tossing your hair with confidence like never before.
As always, we spoke to not one but two experts on haircare and hair loss. Welcome Dr Jodi LoGerfo, an authority on hair loss, and Dani Austin, a haircare influencer with more than 1.7 million followers who was recently named one of the world’s top 50 creators by Forbes magazine.
So, let’s scrub a-dub-dub and explore the world of scalp scrubs, how to use them, and how to make your own at home!
Why even scrub my scalp?
Your scalp is the basis for a healthy, voluminous head of hair free of flakes.
“Our scalps are so critical, but we so often skip the root of the issue. The scalp deals with so much every day – product buildup, tension damage, dryness, irritation and more,” confirms Austin.
Dr LoGerfo goes further, explaining that a healthy scalp is “very important, and a healthy scalp means healthy hair. A healthy scalp gives us the best environment for hair to grow in the most beneficial way possible.
“We have to remember that scalp skin is a variant of normal skin-it has an epidermis and a dermis. (An extension of our facial skin). But, in addition to that it has a greater concentration of large hair follicles. So, we want to treat it with the same care we treat the skin of our face or our body,” she says.
And for those suffering from flaking or itchiness, gently removing dead skin cells around the hair follicles can help contribute to a healthier scalp, free from skin cell and product build up.
As Healthline explains, “The glands on your scalp function similarly to the glands on your face: They produce oil (sebum) that maintains the health of your hair and skin.
“But if this oil builds up to excess, shampoo may not be enough to clean it all away. That’s where a physical or chemical exfoliant comes in.
PRO TIP: That doesn’t mean scalp scrubs are for everyone though. The experts recommend using them if you have flaking, a lot of product build up or an oily scalp, but avoiding them if you have a sensitive scalp.
How should I use a scalp scrub?
- First off, you should be using a scalp scrub before shampooing your hair and always use it on wet hair, unlike many other pre-shampoo treatments. So, get in the shower or bath and rinse your hair so that it’s ready for your luxurious treatments!
- Next, distribute your chosen scalp scrub on your hands (we love Ouai’s Scalp & Body Scrub for its dreamy scent) and tilt your head back so that it’s easier to access your scalp.
- Use the pads of your fingertips to get in there and scrub your scalp, making sure to be gentle and using circular motions like you do with a facial or body exfoliant. Make sure you get to the entirety of your scalp – from the front of your hair to the base of the neck.
- Then, thoroughly rinse your hair, making sure you have removed all traces of the product.
How often should I use a scalp scrub?
According to the experts, you can generally use a scalp scrub weekly but if in doubt whether this is the right amount for you- or you’re concerned about the health of your scalp- talk to a dermatologist or trichologist.
Do I wash my hair before or afterwards?
Unlike loads of other pre-shampoo treatments, you should always use a scalp scrub on wet hair before you shampoo.
This will ensure you’ve removed every trace of the scrub from your hair before styling it.
How long should I leave a scrub on my scalp?
It’s a good idea to read the packaging on any beauty product you purchase, and scalp scrubs are no exception!
But, generally, once you’ve applied your scalp scrub you should gently massage across your scalp for around three minutes before rinsing out. Make sure to exfoliate your entire scalp for the best results, and be sure to rinse thoroughly before heading on to the next steps in your haircare routine.
Ok, cool. But can I make my own?
Yes! Exfoliating your scalp doesn’t have to cost a bomb.
Most scalp scrubs are physical rather than chemical and are formulated with ingredients such as sea salt, dissolving rice beads, sugar crystals, and essential oils. However, physical exfoliants *can* be too harsh on those with sensitive skin. Our advice? Be gentle and speak to your dermatologist or trichologist before including a scalp scrub in your routine if you’re unsure.
If you do want to go ahead though, adding a pinch of sea salt to your regular shampoo will provide some physical exfoliation without costing you anything.
Those who use a lot of products in their hair, or suffer from an oily or itchy scalp will benefit most from using a scalp scrub, but just remember that sensitive scalp types should generally avoid them.
Your scalp health is fundamental to your hair’s overall health though so if you’re ever concerned about what’s happening with your scalp you can always raise it with your doctor.
Meet the experts
Dr Jodi LoGerfo is a Doctor of Nursing Practice and a Family Nurse Practitioner certified in Family Medicine and Dermatology.
She is considered an authority on hair loss and her years of research and clinical work on patients with various types of alopecia enable her to diagnose the various patterns of hair loss, identify the causes and offer the latest treatment options.
Dani Austin is a hair loss influencer with more than 1.7 million followers who was recently named one of the world’s top 50 creators by Forbes magazine.
Dani’s own personal hair loss journey inspired her to create Divi, a clean and effective product collection that becomes part of a lifestyle rather than a quick fix.