What's the deal with scalp scrubs? Do I really need to use one?

If there's one thing we don't need, it's another product in our already excessive beauty routines. Like, we're already waking up half an hour earlier to make sure we give our 345 serums enough time to sink in. What more do you want, beauty gods? WHAT MORE?!

So, when it comes to stuff like scalp scrubs, you're probably sitting on the fence not knowing whether to go full in or not. Like, do we *really* need a scalp scrub? Or is it just another fluffy step made up by marketing goblins?

Watch: While we have you, why not check out 5 ways to up your hair game? Go on. Post continues below. 

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To suss out what scalp scrubs do and if we really need to use one, we asked a trichologist (a hair expert) to break down the importance of exfoliating your scalp, plus we round-up the best scalp scrubs to try.

What is scalp scrub?

Let's start with what the hell a scalp scrub actually is, shall we? 

The main function of a scalp scrub is exfoliation. "A scalp scrub is similar to a face scrub in purpose, but with different ingredients suited to scalp skin," explained Carolyn Evans-Frost from Absolique Hair Clinic in Brisbane.

And it kinda makes sense - 'cause when it comes down to it, your scalp is just an extension of the skin on your face. Dead skin cells can pile up, pores can get clogged, products can build-up etc. etc. 

Psst... do you brush your hair when it's wet? Listen to Mamamia's podcast for your face, You Beauty, where we ask an expert whether brushing or combing wet hair causes damage. Post continues below. 

As with exfoliants for your face, there are two categories within scalp scrubs: physical and chemical. Some will exfoliate your scalp with granules, while others will be made up of heavy-lifting actives and acids that offer chemical exfoliation. 


Do I need to use a scalp scrub?

Maybe. If you're someone who uses dry shampoo on the reg (all of us), loves hair oils and masks, spaces out hair washing, or just have a bit of a s**tty scalp, it could be a good idea. 

"A scalp scrub is beneficial when there is a build-up of scalp skin on the scalp, either in patches such as with psoriasis, eczema and seborrheic dermatitis, or in general all over the scalp as with dandruff. It can also benefit a healthy scalp to maintain scalp health," said Evans-Frost.

The good news is that there are tons of scrubs out there, many of which contain ingredients targeted towards different scalp issues - like dry scalps, oily scalps, dandruff-prone, etc. 

"There are many scalp scrubs on the market for home use, and as long as they have safe ingredients and are not to heavy or have sharp scrub materials, they can be safely used at home," said Evans-Frost.

However, keep in mind that scalp scrubbing is not for everyone. Like all exfoliating products, if you're prone to sensitivity, you need to be cautious. 

"Scalp scrub is not necessary for every scalp. Scalp brush therapy and a suitable scalp cleanser are easier to use regularly to maintain a healthy scalp or treat minor scalp conditions," said Evans-Frost.

How often should I use a scalp scrub?

As for how often you should use a scalp scrub, it really depends on the condition of your scalp. "I would not recommend using a scalp scrub more than once per week," said Evans-Forst. 

If you have a diagnosed skin condition like eczema or psoriasis, you should consult your GP or a trichologist first. "If there is a scalp condition present, you really do need the professional guidance so you are not damaging the scalp." 

What are the best scalp scrubs to try?

Want to get on board? Here are some of the best scalps scrubs kicking around:

Sukin Naturals Natural Balance Scalp Scrub, $21.95.

Sukin Naturals Natural Balance Scalp Scrub, $21.95. 


Christophe Robin Cleansing Purifying Scrub with Sea Salt, $69.

Christophe Robin Cleansing Purifying Scrub with Sea Salt, $69. 

Frank Body Caffeinated Scalp Scrub, $18.95

Frank Body Caffeinated Scalp Scrub 


Davines SOLU Sea Salt Scrub Cleanser, $45.95.

Davines Solu Sea Salt Scrub Cleanser, $45.95. 

Oribe Serene Scalp Exfoliating Scrub, $72.

Oribe Serene Scalp Exfoliating Scrub, $72. 


Kristin Ess Instant Exfoliating Scalp Scrub, $24.99.

Kristin Ess Instant Exfoliating Scalp Scrub, $24.99. 

Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Happi Scalp Scrub, $58.

Drunk Elephant TLC Happi Scalp Scrub. 

Feature image: Getty; @christophrobinparis

Do you use a scalp scrub? Share your experience with us in the comment section below.