Ouai Scalp & Body Scrub: Our Honest Review
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Who doesn’t love a little luxury (as well as a product that actually delivers on its claims)?
And that for me pretty much sums up Ouai’s Scalp & Body Scrub, which I’m currently enjoying for its abilities to leave me both squeaky clean and post-spa relaxed at the same time.
The brainchild of celebrity hairstylist Jen Atkin (the woman behind the locks of both Madonna and most of the Kardashian clan), Ouai is the high-end haircare brand known for its sumptuous scents and minimalist looks that anyone familiar with Instagram/TikTok will know already.
Here are our thoughts on this cult classic, including how it performs on both the scalp and as a body scrub, and some slightly less pricey alternatives.
This is new, up-to-date information. We updated this article in June 2023 to add our further thoughts on how Ouai’s scrub can help the health or hair, complete with updated prices.
Ouai Scalp & Body Scrub
And there are lots of benefits to using a scalp scrub, with Healthline saying “Scalp exfoliation involves using physical or chemical exfoliants to remove excess skin cells, oil, and dandruff. Many hair experts maintain that regular scalp exfoliation is the key to healthier, shinier hair from the roots to the tips.”
This is a big, chunky exfoliant with a sticky, gritty texture that really gets to work on my day 2 (who am I kidding…day 4) scalp.
And while sugar can be quite a harsh exfoliant, the gooiness of this texture makes this smoother than some scrubs (and makes it something of a spa-like treat to massage over the scalp).
Great for a really intense exfoliation, the sugar here washes out easily- making this s pretty simple step to add into any hair washing routine.
But while this scrub does foam gently, the oils here also mean it leaves a slight residue in its wake- great for use on the body but may not suit everyone on the scalp- so I like to add a little shampoo to my mixture.
Overall though, the results are a scalp that feels fresher and cleaner, as well as increased volume at my roots (which is seriously needed in the case of my triangular hair). As an added bonus my hair now seems to take slightly longer before it gets oily after washing, while any other scalp treatments and masks penetrate well.
Possibly because it’s much easier to work this sticky scrub over skin than it is through hair, this actually turns out to be a lot higher foaming when used on the body. In fact, at a push, it could probably do away with a separate shower gel product completely.
Offering a creamy foam interspersed with grains of sugar, this actually makes a really lovely body wash/exfoliator hybrid that is both super quick to massage over skin and surprisingly effective at sloughing away dead cells. The result is impressively smooth, clean skin that still has a light sent of rose even a few hours later.
What does it smell like?
The blissful light floral scent here (the same as Ouai’s Rose Hair & Body Oil) also makes it a sheer luxury to use; perfect for a little at-home spa evening.
With definite rose overtones, this has a romantic, highly feminine fragrance which works well with most other scents.
On the one downside though, anyone sensitive to synthetic fragrance may not be such a fan.
What’s in it?
A true sugar scrub, this has a smooth, almost honey-like consistency interspersed with varying-sized sugar granules.
Meanwhile, fatty acids in coconut and sweet almond oils moisturise (making this great for use on the body too), glycerin softens, and probiotics help to keep the scalp’s natural flora and fauna in balance.
How to use it
Designed to be massaged onto a damp scalp, this can either be used alone or mixed with shampoo for extra foaming (possibly a better idea on oily hair days as this doesn’t foam loads).
I also tend to divide my hair into sections when using this, giving me better access to my scalp for a slightly more thorough cleanse.
Meanwhile, for the body, this is great on either damp or dry skin as an all-over scrub.
I find the sugar granules gentle enough that on dry skin this offers quite a robust scrub (great for areas like heels/elbows etc). While on damp skin the sugar granules dissolve pretty quickly, giving a really gentle exfoliation which works well if my skin is ever at all sensitive.
Use between once every week and every 5 to 10 to keep your scalp product buildup free.
Do you wash your hair after a scalp scrub?
Ok so you’re sold on using a scalp scrub, but when do you use one?
You can use scrubs both before and after (and indeed instead of) shampooing, but anyone who dislikes any sort of residue in their hair may want to stick to washing their hair after a scrub.
Does exfoliating help hair growth?
Aside from the delicate scent and genuine fun of using this scrub, there are side benefits too; a healthy scalp can encourage healthier hair growth.
Not only does a scalp scrub clear off some of the product buildup that can inhibit hair growth but one 2016 study found that the act of massing your scalp may help to stimulate blood vessels under your skin, encouraging thicker hair growth.
The study only looked into the effects after massaging for 4 minutes a day for 24 weeks though, so make sure to give your scalp a mini massage between scrubs too for best results.
For more on healthy hair growth, check out our guide to how long it really takes hair to grow.
While I personally enjoy the gentle foaming action of Ouai’s Scalp & Body Scrub, oily scalps or thinner hair types might not enjoy this quite as much and might prefer more of a foaming scrub like Briogeo’s Scalp Revival Charcoal + Coconut Oil Micro-Exfoliating Shampoo.
As a full-blown body scrub addict, one of my absolute favourites is Frank Body’s Original Coffee Scrub, a caffeine-infused, gritty-yet-moisturising exfoliator which claims to be able to get to grips with cellulite at the same time as softening skin.
And while the difference isn’t a mind-blowing one, I can genuinely say I do seem to see a slightly more toned appearance to thighs and upper arms etc when I use this regularly.
For anyone who’s not such a coffee fan, I also like the (absolutely gorgeous-smelling) Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Bod Buff.
Overall, while hardly a necessity, the combination of delicious scent and softer skin makes Ouai’s Scalp & Body Scrub one of my favourite in-shower products.
As an added benefit, my scalp also feels softer and the regular exfoliation is also helping any other treatments or masks penetrate deeper.
Even better, I’m loving the added volume I’m getting without all that unseen product build-up weighing hair down.
The price is pretty steep though (although the jar size is at least very generous). So for a cheaper dupe- and to turn any shampoo or body wash into a scrub- I sometimes just add a small amount of brown sugar to my products instead.
Great for: Lovers of a luxury scrub (or floral-scented products) and product junkies who want a thorough scalp cleanse. Also for gifts since I can’t imagine anyone not being pleased to receive this.
Not-so-great for: Those with a sensitivity to perfumed products might prefer something with a more natural fragrance, while oily hair types may not enjoy the slight residue here.