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Level Up Your Hair Care With These Game-Changing Scalp Scrubs

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The phrase “I don’t want no scrub” shouldn’t always be taken literally, especially since exfoliating is for everyone. And while you probably already exfoliate your face and body, you might be forgetting to give your scalp the same TLC.

Why is scalp care important? Ask any dermatologist, and they’ll tell you that scalp health is everything when it comes to growing healthy hair from your roots down. “The idea behind scalp scrubs is that they use physical and chemical exfoliants—similar to what might be used on our faces—to remove residual hair care products (like dry shampoo) along with sweat, dirt, and oil from the roots of the hair, which may in turn support hair growth,” says dermatologist Shari Marchbein, MD, FAAD. So give your scalp the attention it craves, and read on for our roundup of the best scalp scrubs (featuring product picks from past Glam Bags) to give you the healthiest hair ever.


About the Expert:

Shari Marchbein, MD, FAAD, is a New York-based board-certified dermatologist and clinical assistant professor of dermatology at NYU School of Medicine.

KOSETTE Salt Scalp Scrub
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KOSETTE Salt Scalp Scrub

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The Best Scrub for Oily Scalps

Clogged hair follicles can do a number on anyone’s skin, but they're especially bothersome on those with oily scalps (they just create more oil and can mess with healthy hair growth). This sea salt exfoliant was formulated to help your oily and sensitive skin. Bamboo charcoal detoxes and tea tree oil helps nourish the scalp, bringing it back to balance. Your roots will be left clean and bouncy, and you can rest easy knowing that your styling products will do their work without leaving you greasy.

CHRISTOPHE ROBIN Cleansing Purifying Scrub with Sea Salt
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CHRISTOPHE ROBIN Cleansing Purifying Scalp Scrub with Sea Salt

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The Best Scrub for Boosting Shine

Say buh-bye to excess sebum (a.k.a. excess oil) and itchy scalps with this cruelty-free three-in-one foaming scalp scrub. Gentle salt crystals work to polish and exfoliate the skin on your scalp, while sweet almond oil adds extra shine and moisture.

OUAI Scalp & Body Scrub
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OUAI Scalp & Body Scrub

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The Best Multitasking Scalp Scrub

This cleansing and purifying scrub relieves dryness, clarifies your scalp, and feels as relaxing as a spa treatment all at once. Exfoliating sugar crystals deep clean and soften your scalp, while probiotics detoxify and revitalize your hair follicles and renew elasticity in brittle hair.

IGK HAIR Low Key Cleansing Walnut Scalp Scrub
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IGK HAIR Low Key Cleansing Walnut Scalp Scrub

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The Best Gentle Scalp Scrub

Give your hair the nourishment it needs, especially if it’s stressed from color treatments and heat damage. Unclog hair follicles with this cooling sulfate-free scalp treatment that smells just as heavenly as it feels. This exfoliating scrub also adds a dose of shine and moisture to dry, damaged, or chemically treated hair—not to mention, it plays well with most hair types, including curly hair. Apple cider vinegar works to clarify the scalp, and walnut oil helps rehydrate and nourish both your scalp and hair. Plus, it’s completely vegan and smells divine, with its notes of guava, coconut water, pink lotus, midnight violet, and vanilla.

BRIOGEO HAIR CARE Scalp Revival Charcoal + Coconut Oil Micro-Exfoliating Shampoo
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BRIOGEO HAIR CARE Scalp Revival™ Charcoal + Coconut Oil Micro-Exfoliating Shampoo

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The Best Scrub for Dry Scalps

Protect your scalp with this itch-reducing, dandruff-zapping miracle scrub. Dry and sensitive scalps love this hydrating, exfoliating cleanser, whose vegetable-derived micro-exfoliators slough away dead skin cells. A tingly blend of peppermint and spearmint oils feel cool and refreshing on the scalp, and it also minimizes irritation and inflammation. Coconut oil restores moisture, while panthenol delivers strengthening nutrients to promote hair growth.

ORIBE HAIR CARE Serene Scalp Soothing Leave-On Treatment
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ORIBE HAIR CARE Serene Scalp Soothing Leave-On Treatment

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The Best Scrub for Sensitive Scalps

Cut through product buildup and dead skin cells without irritating your skin–or your conscience. This soothing exfoliating treatment is vegan and cruelty-free, and made without parabens, sulfates, fragrance, or gluten, meaning it's safe for those with even the most sensitive scalps. Plus, the keratin and color-safe formula ensures your hair color will remain fresh and clean, no matter how many times you use it. Massage it in after a week of one-too-many dry shampoo days for the ultimate self care experience.

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About the author
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Maddie Aberman
Maddie is the senior manager of editorial at IPSY. She’s been covering beauty and wellness for more than nine years. Her work has appeared in Allure, Cosmopolitan, Popsugar, Women's Health, Good Housekeeping, and Seventeen, among other publications.
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Article Last Updated December 23, 2020 12:00 AM