We all take the time to keep our face and bodies exfoliated, but do you ever think about your scalp?

Many people forget that the skin on your head also needs to be treated, just like the rest of your body.

Product build up, along with dirt and sweat can leave your scalp feeling uncomfortable over time. It may become itchy, flaky or oily, and even if you think you are cleansing your scalp properly, it doesn’t always get cleansed well enough.

When the scalp isn’t properly cleansed of build-up, it can even lead to hair loss (or at the very least, less hair growth) and can affect you overall hair health. Some of the other benefits of scalp scrubs include balancing the pH levels and detoxifying the scalp. It can also be quite relaxing to give yourself a little head massage!

So, let’s talk about some lovely scalp scrubs to give your scalps some love!

Firstly… What are scalp scrubs?

Scalp scrubs work to remove product build-up, either from leave in conditioners, dry shampoos, volumizers or texturisers or more. While the concept may be simple, knowing your scalp type and finding the right kind of product to compliment it is very important. Using a product that’s not for your skin type could lead in irritation, flakiness or an aggravated scalp, as it could be too strong or not doing enough.  Not all scalp scrubs are created equally and I prefer to lean towards gentler scrubs, ones that wash away easily and aren’t too harsh on the scalp. If you have a compromised scalp or are particularly sensitive – a scalp scrub may not be for you or proceed with caution and no-one needs to be using a scalp scrub every day. Once a week or once every few weeks is suitable.

It goes without saying that you shouldn’t be too vigorous when using a scalp scrub, as you can damage your skin & may damage your follicles

Of course scalp scrubs are not suitable for everyone, so best to check with a trichologist if you …

  1. Have a scalp condition
  2. Have a sensitive scalp
  3. Unexplained hair loss

The health of one’s scalp is the foundation for healthy hair. By ensuring you have a healthy scalp, you help to reduce hair loss, itchiness, redness, dandruff, inflammation, and oily hair, all of which are precursors to hair loss.Rámon Taitz, Founder of HÆR

As with all skincare – there are two types of scrubs – a physical exfoliant, which has more of gritty formula to scrub away – this is often salt or sugar or something like this, but you can also get chemical exfoliants featuring things like lactic acid, some even have both. So… let’s talk about a few:

Ethique Heali Kiwi Shampoo Bar

This scrub is best suited for normal hair types.

If you haven’t noticed any irritation, don’t use a lot of products on your hair and generally, your head feels quite nice and healthy, you most likely have a normal scalp.

Using something like the Ethique Heali Kiwi Shampoo Bar can incorporate a little bit of extra treatment to the scalp without doing too much and also washing your hair at the same time. It’s a good way to regularly keep the scalp cleansed of build up without disrupting the normal pH of the scalp.

This soap also has elements of both physical and chemical exfoliants to keep your scalp feeling fresh and clean.

Its vegan, plastic-free, cruelty-free, sustainable, and palm oil-free, all in one!

Key ingredients:

  • Neem oil: a natural antibacterial, it detoxes the hair follicles from any dead skin cells to promote healthy hair growth
  • Coconut oil: used to create a natural form of surfactants called Sodium cocoyl isethionate and Sodium coco sulphate, which will create a base to remove any product build-up and excess oils
  • Kiwifruit oil: works with coconut oil to create the natural surfactant, this ingredient helps to bind oil and water together to create the base to get rid of product build up and oil.
  • Oatmeal: soothes the scalp post wash, making sure than any sensitive parts of the scalp are not prone to post irritation or redness, allowing the scalp to remain in its healthy environmental state.
  • Karanja oil: this ingredient creates a healthy protective and moisturised layer on the scalp post wash without blocking hair follicles. This allows the scalp to stay moisturized and remain in its healthy pH.

Buy the shampoo bar for £12.99 from Boots

Christophe Robin Cleansing Purifying Scrub with Sea Salt

This is best for more of an oily scalp

In the words of their founder and experienced hair colourist… The health and beauty of hair starts with a balanced and healthy scalp.

If you have more greasy hair and often find yourself reaching for dry shampoo, you may have more build up than you realise. This scalp scrub from Christophe Robin is more of an intense product to really get in there and give the scalp a deep clean, but as it’s a salt base it dissolves in the water easily. It contains a natural form of sulphate, which will to help get rid of the excess build-up.

The scrub foams when applied to wet hair, making it very easy to use and spread through the hair. It also has nourishing ingredients in the formula to stop your scalp and hair from drying out… scalp and hair feels thoroughly cleansed!

Key ingredients:

  • Sea Salt: works as nature’s natural exfoliant, it works to detox and carry away dead skin cells as well as dirt and grime that has been building up at the root
  • Sweet Almond Oil: this ingredient works to balance the pH of the scalp, as well as leave it moisturised post-wash.

Buy the sea salt scrub for £40 from Look Fantastic

Ameliorate Clarifying Scalp Exfoliant

If you have a more sensitive scalp, then the idea of rubbing an exfoliant on your head might feel like hell to you, but don’t worry: there is a solution! You may find better results from a gentle chemical exfoliant.

This product uses a mild naturally derived acid which is also commonly used in skincare products to gently exfoliate overtime, and remove dirt, and dead skin cells called Lactic Acid (find out more about it here)

This product is an interesting one: you just apply it directly to the scalp, rub it in gently to make sure it’s spread easily, leave it for a short time and wash it out. I feel like it does a good job at removing any build up gently.

Key ingredient:

Lactic Acid: or AHA, a naturally derived chemical from milk. It encourages the scalp’s natural exfoliation process, gently removing dead cells without causing any irritation.

Buy the scalp scrub for £20 from Cult Beauty

Omorovicza’s Revitalising Scalp Mask

Similar to the AMELIORATE exfoliant, the Omorovicza scalp treatment works more on a chemical level to remove build up rather than relying on a physical scrub and this one is particularly suited for irritated scalps. 

I love that the cooling menthols in this gives you an instant cooling tingle upon application: you can really feel it working! How this one works is that you apply it and then leave it on like a hair mask after massaging it evenly on your scalp.

Hair is left feeling light and soft: lovely!

Key ingredients:

  • Hungarian Moor mud, rich in calcium and magnesium, to draw out impurities
  • Cooling menthol and camphor provide immediate soothing and calming benefits
  • Salicylic acid gently exfoliates to minimise flaking and unblock hair follicles
  • It also contains conditioning oils leave hair soft and silky

Buy the scalp mask for £57 from Omorovicza

Denman Shower & Massage Brush

If you want to take your wash routine to the next level…

Using a hair scalp brush is something I’ve really come to enjoy as an addition to my hair washing routine. It’s great to give yourself a bit of a scalp massage and also help smooth your conditioner, I like to use this to give my scalp a bit of a scrub after washing to promote circulation. It can really help to get in there and loosen up all that build up on the scalp.

Buy the massage brush for £5 from Boots

What do you like to do to help remove build-up from the scalp? Do you find that a clarifying shampoo does the job for you or do you like using a scalp scrub from time to time?