The 5 Best Scalp Scrubs

A healthy scalp is the key to healthy hair — which means it deserves just as much attention as you devote to your daily skin care regimen. One of the best ways to maintain a healthy scalp is through regular exfoliation, something that most shampoos on the market fail to offer. But by using one of the best scalp scrubs a couple of times a week, your entire head — from your hair's root down through its shift — will be on its way to its most optimal health in no time.

A scalp scrub is a necessity for the same reasons a facial exfoliant is — it buffs away product buildup, excess oil, and dead cells, which keeps your skin looking and feeling healthy. But just like when shopping for a facial exfoliant, it's important to keep the ingredients, and your skin type, in mind. If you have sensitive skin on your face, you likely also have a sensitive scalp, so look for formulas that use gentle exfoliants, like salt, fruit seeds, and even charcoal, to buff away dead skin without being too harsh. In other words, you should only put ingredients on your scalp that you'd also put on your face. The two areas of skin are more alike than you'd imagine.

Ahead, find five of the best scalp scrubs that remove product buildup, relieve itching, and combat dandruff with every wash.

1. The Best Drugstore Scalp Scrub

L'Oreal's Micro-Exfoliating Scrub is a budget-friendly option for those looking to test-drive scalp scrubs on a budget. It's a pre-treatment, which means you should use it before your shampoo and conditioner. And instead of using harsh, synthetic ingredients, L'Oreal's formula relies on apricot seeds to exfoliate. It gently yet effectively buffs away buildup and flakes, leaving you with a clean and healthy scalp. And since it's sulfate-free, it won't dry your hair out or leave behind residue of its own.

2. The Best Mid-Range Scalp Scrub

If you don't mind shelling out a few extra bucks, then R+Co's Crown Scalp Scrub is a great choice: The vegan formula is paraben-free, sulfate-free, cruelty-free, and gluten-free, to boot. It's great for both oily and sensitive skin types because of the other ingredients it has in it aside from the exfoliators. It combines aloe leaf extract to help hair hold on to moisture, passion flower and mango fruit extracts that are packed with vitamins and antioxidants, and ginger root extract to soften hair and add shine. Reviewers say it leaves your hair feeling squeaky clean, so it's "best followed by good conditioner."

3. The Best Prestige Scalp Scrub

If there's one scalp scrub that beauty gurus swear by, it's this one from Christophe Robin: Consider it the crème de la crème of all scalp products. It's a fantastic option for just about every hair and skin type, as it's gentle, but also incredible effective. Salt is the main exfoliant in this scrub, so it dissolves down the drain with zero residue. It also actually produces a surprisingly foamy lather, which is probably due to the sulfates in the formula (yes, it does contain sulfates, but as a frequent user, I can vouch that it doesn't dry your hair out at all.) In fact, one reviewer said: "I generally avoid sulfates, but using this once a week has actually been the perfect amount of deep cleanse/scrub/sulfate for my hair to have plenty of body and stay buildup-free."

It is free of parabens, silicones, colorants, and phthalates, though, it smells delicious, and it leaves your hair shiny and soft. And since a little goes a long way, it'll last a while — just make sure your hair is nice and wet to produce that lather.

4. An All-Natural Shampoo That Acts As A Scalp Scrub

Activated charcoal is known as a miracle worker on skin that's in desperate need of a detox, but it's also great for your scalp. It also happens to be the star ingredient in Briogeo's Scalp Revival Micro-Exfoliating Shampoo, which is cruelty-free, sulfate-free, and made with 98 percent naturally-sourced ingredients. It absorbs dirt, oil, and product buildup and gently exfoliates your scalp, but it also contains coconut oil for hydration, as well as tea tree oil, which is naturally antibacterial and an effective treatment against dandruff. As if that wasn't enough, there's also biotin in the formula, which is known to strengthen hair and encourage growth. Plus, since it's technically a shampoo, you don't even need to follow it with another wash.

5. A Handy Tool That Turns Any Shampoo Into An Exfoliating Experience

If you don't want to invest in an entirely new scrub, you're in luck. The Maxsoft Scalp Care Brush turns any old shampoo into an exfoliator due to its soft silicone bristles that deep clean your scalp. Basically, it's like a Clarisonic for your hair — except with thick, flexible bristles. It's easy to clean and feels amazing on your head. If you're someone whose scalp often feels tight, itchy, or even painful, you'll definitely want to invest in this little guy.

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