Most people buy skincare products for their face and body and haircare products for their tresses. But what about skincare for your scalp? Healthy hair follicles generate healthy hair. If you want your locks to look great, scalp exfoliation is in order. Removing those dead skin cells and product buildup from your scalp removes flakes, stimulates natural oil production, boosts shine and promotes hair growth. Try it yourself by using the following products and techniques.
Just like facial exfoliating scrubs, scalp scrubs have firm particles that manually dislodge dirt, grime and buildup from your head. It is easy to use these in the shower. After soaking your hair with water, massage some of the scrub into your scalp using the pads of your fingers. Use circular motions to dislodge debris from your skin.
Rinse your hair thoroughly, tilting your head in various directions and using your fingers to promote water flow through your strands. Continue with your regular shampoo and conditioner routine to help remove all of the scrub particles.
Top Tip: Don’t scrub too hard or too frequently. A gentle exfoliation once or twice a week will keep your scalp in balance without damaging the skin.
Scalp Brushes and Massagers
A scalp exfoliating brush, like this Kitsch Shampoo Brush and Scalp Exfoliator, manually exfoliates the scalp. Its bristles are short, firm and flexible. They work their way beneath the roots of your hair to massage and stimulate the skin in a way that your fingers can’t.
You can use a scalp exfoliating brush with any shampoo or scalp scrub to work the product into its target location. That means that you can improve the effectiveness of the products that you’re already using with one affordable, simple tool.
Top Tip: Use back-and-forth motions with shampoo to cleanse and exfoliate thoroughly while preventing tangles. After you apply conditioner, use the brush along the length of your hair to remove knots.
Products with astringent and enzymatic properties exfoliate your scalp without scrubbing. These exfoliants come in the form of shampoos or oils. They often contain salicylic acid, which dissolves excess oils and buildup, alpha hydroxy acid, which exfoliates while encouraging hydration, or tea tree oil, which stimulates the scalp and combats bacteria.
Top Tip: Look for the following words on the labels of your haircare products to boost exfoliation:
• Caffeine – Stimulates skin, promoting hair growth and soft strands
• Probiotics – Balance out the good and bad bacteria and help soothe itchy scalp and relieve dandruff
• Coconut oil - Relieves dry scalp and has antifungal properties
One of the problems with scalp scrubs is that their granules are difficult to rinse out of your hair. Some are combined with shampoos, and the surfactants in the cleanser help the particles slide out. Using an exfoliating shampoo brush along your scalp and strands as you rinse out your conditioner can also help you achieve a thorough rinse.
Some scalp scrubs contain chemical exfoliants. Read the label before using these products. You may need to apply it several minutes before you shampoo to activate the chemicals before you massage the granules into your scalp.
Top Tip: Don’t use too many products at once. A combination product may be all that you need to use periodically to maintain a fresh, healthy scalp.
The Bottom Line
Some people’s scalps are more sensitive than others. When deciding how to exfoliate your scalp, turn to your facial regimen for clues. Anything that irritates the skin on your face is likely too harsh for your scalp.
If you have fine hair, you might respond well to using a gentle chemical exfoliant once a week. People with thick or coarse hair may need to use some physical techniques to adequately remove buildup. A shampoo brush may be the most versatile option for all hair types because it can be used as often as you want, and it works alone or with your favorite products.