5 Reviving Scalp Scrubs
Fall is a particularly important season for promoting healthy hair.
It's not just your visage that needs to be exfoliated—the skin on your scalp does too. “We use scrubs on our faces and bodies because it helps remove the dead cell layer that can make skin look dull,” says Robert Anolik, M.D., a Manhattan-based dermatologist. “You can’t see the scalp so there’s no cosmetic motivation, but it can still benefit from a scrub.”
And now is the time to try it. “Most of my patients struggle with the transition to cooler temperatures. There’s less humidity in the air and skin can’t retain water, so dryness increases everywhere and it often leads to an inflamed, itchy, flaky scalp," says Anolik. And chronic scalp inflammation can lead to thinning hair, which is why taking a few minutes to gently buff your roots once or twice a week (do it in the shower pre-shampooing) is so important, he adds.
The best scrubs merge soothing and moisturizing agents with exfoliators to help calm any irritation. Here, five options to try this season.
R+Co Crown Scalp Scrub
This gluten-free option combines sugar, salicylic acid, and Ecuadorian-sourced ivory palm seed powder and is great for anyone with a sensitive or oily scalp. The addition of kaolin clay helps to dislodge flakes and absorb excess oil—a bonus since dandruff can result from both oily and dry scalps, notes Anolik.
Christophe Robin Cleansing Purifying Scrub with Sea Salt
Despite being formulated with salt this product is calming to sensitive or irritated scalps thanks to hydrating sweet almond oil and soothing bisabolol (a viscous oil extracted from German chamomile). Its unisex scent makes it a great choice for men and women.
Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal + Coconut Oil Micro-Exfoliating Shampoo
This scrub moonlights as a shampoo so it won’t add time to your shower routine. Charcoal absorbs oily, flaky buildup, biotin (a B vitamin) helps strengthen roots, and peppermint and spearmint curb your itch. “Cooling agents like this can be helpful because they distract from the scratchy sensation as they soothe the skin,” says Anolik.
Madam C.J. Walker Beauty Culture Dream Come True Wonderful Scalp Exfoliator
Shea butter, combined with both olive and coconut oil, helps hydrate and moisturize the scalp as it's exfoliated with salicylic acid. “Research has shown that coconut oil can penetrate to hydrate and soothe irritation,” says Anolik, "and salicylic acid is great at reducing scalp oil."
IGK Low Key Cleansing Walnut Scalp Scrub
The peppermint scent acts as a wake-up call on early mornings as sugar and walnut shell powder help brush off dry, scaly buildup, notes Anolik. Bonus: Apple cider vinegar will help rebalance the pH of your scalp and has a clarifying effect, so you may notice more volume and shine.