How to Use a Scalp Scrub and Exfoliator: A Complete Guide

hands scrubbing scalp

How to Use a Scalp Scrub and Exfoliator: A Complete Guide

Did you know that over 50% of people deal with scalp buildup? Styling products, natural oils, and pollution can all clog up your scalp, making your hair look dull and causing itchy or flaky skin. If this sounds like something you've been dealing with, then regular scalp exfoliation is a great option for your scalp health. In this guide, we'll walk you through everything you need to know about using a scalp scrub.

What Are Scalp Scrubs?


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Credit: Envato Elements/ friends_stock

Scalp scrubs or scalp exfoliants are specialized treatments designed to clean the skin on your head to ensure healthy hair growth. They help remove any buildup of hair product residue that regular shampooing might miss. These scrubs usually contain small, gritty particles made from natural ingredients like salt, sugar, crushed nut shells, or from polyethylene beads, or other safe synthetic materials. When you rub these scrubs into your scalp, the particles help lift away the buildup, remove dead skin cells, and boost blood flow all of which are known for promoting hair growth in hair follicles.

Beyond just cleaning, scalp scrubs also help prevent dandruff and reduce greasiness. It's important to pick a scrub that matches your hair type—oily, dry, or normal. For instance, if you have sensitive skin, choose a scrub with finer particles and calming ingredients like aloe vera or tea tree oil.

How to Choose the Right Scalp Scrub

When picking a scalp scrub or scalp exfoliant, think about your hair type (dry, oily, normal), scalp condition (sensitive, prone to dandruff), and any specific concerns like product buildup or flakiness Focus specifically on the ingredients. Here's a guide to help you choose:

  • For Oily Scalp: Look for charcoal or clay to soak up excess oil.
  • For Dry Scalp: Choose scrubs with coconut oil or shea butter to hydrate the skin.
  • For Sensitive Scalp: Opt for gentler scrubs with fine grains, oatmeal, or aloe vera to prevent irritation.
  • For Dandruff: Try scrubs with tea tree oil. They're known for fighting dandruff.

How to Apply the Scalp Scrub


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Credit: Envato Elements/ LightFieldStudios

Here’s a simple, step-by-step guide to using a scalp scrub in your scalp care routine:

  • Start by thoroughly wetting your hair to allow the scrub to spread evenly. After wetting it, towel-dry it slightly so that the scrub sticks to your scalp.
  • Scoop a tablespoon of the scrub in your palm and apply it directly to your scalp and wet hair. Use your fingertips to massage the scrub gently into the scalp using circular motions. If you have areas of particular concern on your scalp, such as extra flakiness or buildup near the hairline or crown, spend a little extra time massaging the scrub into these areas. Avoid using your nails, as this can cause scratches or irritation. Keep your movements light and gentle. You can also use an exfoliating brush to further exfoliate.
  • Let the scrub sit on your scalp for a couple of minutes. This gives the active ingredients time to work on loosening the buildup.
  • Wash your hair thoroughly with warm water. Make sure all scrub particles are rinsed out to prevent any residue.
  • After rinsing, wash your hair with your regular shampoo to clean away any loosened debris. Finish with a conditioner to moisturize your scalp and hair.

How Often Should You Use a Scalp Scrub?

This will depend on your specific hair and scalp condition, but here are some general guidelines:

  • Normal Scalp: Once every two weeks.
  • Oily Scalp: Once a week.
  • Dry or Sensitive Scalp: Once every three weeks or even less frequently.

Note: If you notice any irritation, dryness, or increased sensitivity, it may be a sign to reduce the frequency.

DIY Scalp Scrub Recipes for a Healthy Scalp


smear of scalp scrub
Credit: Envato Elements/ photolime

Instead of buying scalp scrubs, you can always make your own right in your kitchen using natural ingredients. Here are two easy recipes:

1) Coconut Oil and Sugar Scrub

This scrub is great for most hair types, especially if you have a dry or itchy scalp. The coconut oil moisturizes your skin, while the sugar helps exfoliate.


  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
  • 5 drops of tea tree oil (optional for extra antibacterial properties)


  1. Mix the coconut oil and sugar in a bowl until you get a consistent paste.
  2. If using, add the tea tree oil and stir thoroughly.
  3. Apply to your damp scalp in gentle circular motions.
  4. Rinse thoroughly with warm water, then follow up with your usual shampoo and conditioner.

2) Oatmeal and Honey Scrub

This scrub is particularly good for sensitive scalps. Oatmeal is gentle and soothing, honey is antibacterial, and the conditioner helps to soothe and moisturize the scalp.


  • 2 tablespoons of finely ground oatmeal
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 1 tablespoon of conditioner


  1. Combine the oatmeal, honey, and conditioner in a bowl to form a paste.
  2. Apply to a wet scalp, massaging in soft, circular motions.
  3. Leave it on for a few minutes, then rinse off completely with warm water.


Now that you know how to use a scalp scrub, why not try it out and see the improvement in your hair care routine? It's an easy step that can make a big difference in the health of your hair and scalp.

And while you're at it, keep your hair perfectly in place with Burlybands. These hair ties are designed to hold tight without causing breakage or slipping. Shop with us today.

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