Proper hair health starts at the scalp. 

By Kristin Corpuz
July 09, 2020
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I don't know about you, but it took me an embarrassingly long time to get into scalp scrubs. My hair never felt clean enough unless I went to get my hair professionally washed and blown out, so after asking a stylist, I finally learned. We all love styling products and dry shampoo, but it can often lead to a buildup of product on the scalp, which can not only prevent you from getting your hair clean, but can cause a plethora of other problems like hair dullness, oil buildup, and dandruff. 

The same way you exfoliate your face and body, exfoliating your scalp is an absolute must for proper hair care. Hair health starts at the root, and product or oil buildup will only weaken your hair follicles over time. Keep in mind that if you have skin sensitivities like eczema, psoriasis, or acne on your scalp, an abrasive exfoliant like a scalp scrub might not be for you. But if you don't have any of these concerns, you're totally good to go. 

Trust me when I say that incorporating a scalp scrub into your hair care routine at least once a week will make a drastic difference in your hair's overall health and shininess. (And don't we all want healthy, shiny hair?) Below, some of the best scalp scrubs you can buy right now. 

1

This scalp scrub from R+Co has become my go-to for whenever I feel like I've been using too much product in my hair. It contains a ton of hair-healthy ingredients, like Ecuadorian ivory palm seed powder to physically exfoliate your scalp, kaolin to absorb excess oil, and argan oil to nourish and hydrate your hair. Plus, it has a bright fragrance that serves as the perfect pick-me-up during a morning shower. 

To buy: $38; dermstore.com

2

This product from Briogeo combines all of the clarifying properties of a scrub with the cleansing properties of a shampoo—and it's truly a match made in heaven. Instead of scrubbing and shampooing separately, you can take care of it all in one go. It's suitable for all hair types and contains activated charcoal and coconut oil to deeply cleanse and hydrate the hair while you scrub. 

To buy: $42; sephora.com.

3

This two-in-one product is totally worth keeping in your shower at all times. Sugar granules gently exfoliate your scalp or body (or both), while a probiotic blend supports your skin's natural microbiome. Plus, coconut oil nourishes and moisturizes dry, tired skin and hair. I also love that this scrub comes in a jar so you can easily scoop out as much as you need. 

To buy: $38; sephora.com.

4

Though this product is compatible with all hair types, it's especially great for people with natural textured hair who are regularly using oil-based products to lay down your edges. The "mud" name is no joke—this thick, paste-like scrub is definitely a struggle to mix into your hands, but it's seriously effective. Take a dollop into wet hair and work the sugar granules into your scalp to loosen any product buildup, while charcoal and green coconut hydrate and purify your scalp. 

To buy: $12; sheamoisture.com.

5

Drunk Elephant's hair care line was formulated in collaboration with celebrity hairstylist Chris McMillan (most notably known as Jennifer Aniston's longtime go-to), so you know it was made with serious love and care. Happi Scalp utilizes two forms of exfoliation: chemical with a blend of AHAs and BHAs, as well as physical with spherical beads made of cellulose acetate (a biodegradable plant-based alternative to usual plastic beads in skin and hair care). Plus, it contains marula oil to nourish and hydrate your scalp. 

To buy: $36; sephora.com.

6

Celebrity hairstylist Kristin Ess' eponymous hair care line has made some serious waves (pun intended) since launching at Target in 2017, and her scalp scrub is definitely worth talking about. At a seriously affordable price point, it's hard to refuse the benefits of the product. It effortlessly reduces product buildup on your scalp, while also strengthening your strands to protect against future damage. Plus, it's color and keratin-safe so you don't have to worry about messing up your expensive treatments with a drugstore product.

To buy: $14; target.com.

7

If you want to bring the feeling of a Drybar blowout home with you, consider investing in the actual scalp scrub they use as an add-on to your blowouts. Not only does this scrub contain micro-fine sugar granules to physically exfoliate your scalp, but it also utilizes activated charcoal to purify and deep-clean your hair so it feels extra fresh after you wash it. 

To buy: $32; sephora.com