Scalp Exfoliation Benefits, How to Exfoliate, and what Products to Use   

Medically reviewed by Dr. Harshi Dhingra

Written by Gaga

Just as the skin on your face and body needs regular cleansing and care, your scalp needs to get rid of everything that may interfere with its normal function. By adding a scalp exfoliation treatment to your hair care routine, you can help your hair to grow healthy and strong. On the other hand, if you neglect this basic scalp care step, the consequences can be weakening of the hair follicles, flaky scalp, and thinning hair.

The skin of the scalp contains sebaceous glands that produce sebum, making hair moisturized and shiny. Unfortunately, excess sebum and dead skin cells can accumulate and clog pores, interfering with the normal functioning of hair follicles. This may lead to scalp inflammation, and dandruff, and can also negatively affect hair growth.

Anxious young woman looking at her hair roots and scalp in the mirror

The problem can get worse if you use too many styling products. Residues of hair products can build up on the scalp, making your hair look limp and dull. For a healthy scalp and healthy hair, it is not enough to just wash your hair regularly. It is important to periodically exfoliate your scalp to keep it healthy.

What is Scalp Exfoliation?

Deep scalp cleansing is an essential part of a healthy hair regimen. Many people are not aware of the importance of scalp exfoliation. Regular exfoliation removes harmful deposits and helps maintain a healthy scalp and hair. By removing buildup from the scalp, the skin can breathe and revitalize, and the oil glands will optimize their functionality.

After the exfoliation treatment, the scalp feels refreshed and the appearance of your hair is improved, which could positively affect your self-confidence.

Everyone can benefit from periodical scalp exfoliation and enjoy the many benefits that this treatment offers.

a woman massaging her scalp outdoors

Benefits of Scalp Exfoliation Treatment   

  1. Removes buildup: The importance of removing deposits from hair styling products can be compared to the removal of makeup from your face. Scalp exfoliation keeps the scalp free of product buildup and prevents dead skin cells, sebum, and impurities from clogging the pores. Refreshed scalp results in faster cellular turnover and enhanced follicle function.
  2. Boosts circulation: Regular exfoliation and scalp massage stimulate blood flow and invigorate the scalp. The massage can be performed with the fingertips or with a massage brush and with the use of scalp scrubbing products. Better circulation means more oxygen and nutrients will reach the follicles, creating a better environment for healthy hair growth.
  3. Relieves dryness and dandruff: Sebum creates a protective layer on the scalp and provides vital moisture to the hair. Scalp exfoliation loosens up stubborn flakes, washes out dead skin cells, and keeps dandruff at bay. Exfoliation enables the efficient functioning of sebaceous glands, keeping the scalp and hair hydrated and healthy.
  4. Soothes and balances the scalp: If you often find yourself scratching your scalp, a gentle scalp exfoliator might be a solution. The buildup of dead skin cells and hair products can upset the pH balance of the scalp. The optimal pH level of the scalp is from 4.5 to 5. The proper pH balance may act protectively against bacterial and fungal infections. A moisturizing scalp exfoliating treatment helps to keep the scalp clean and healthy and soothes the itchiness caused by inflammation and dryness.
  5. Promotes hair growth: A healthy scalp is closely related to hair growth and quality. Too much accumulated dead skin cells and hair product residues block the normal functioning of follicles and interfere with hair growth. The removal of the debris from your scalp supports the proper functioning of hair follicles, causes loose hairs to fall out, and optimizes the environment for healthy hair growth.
woman checking her hair and scalp

How to Exfoliate Your Scalp  

There are two methods of scalp exfoliation: physical and chemical exfoliation. Chemical exfoliation is performed by using chemical peel exfoliants such as glycolic acid. Physical exfoliation or scrubbing is performed using some coarse substances such as sea salt or sugar scrub. Both methods have their advantages but it takes some learning and trials to determine which method works better for you. Most exfoliating products are supposed to be used as a pre-shampoo treatment. Make sure to massage the scrub with light pressure to prevent scalp irritation, hair breakage, and knotting.

How Often Should You Exfoliate Your Scalp?

The frequency of scalp cleansing exfoliation depends on the condition of your scalp and the product you use. It would be a good start to exfoliate once every two weeks. More frequent exfoliation can worsen the condition of sensitive scalps. Always read the product label to make sure that you apply it correctly and at the optimal frequency. If you have a scalp disease, you need to consult a dermatologist before you start exfoliating.

What Scalp Exfoliator to Use?

If your scalp has excess oil, exfoliators based on clay and charcoal are a good choice. For a dry and flaky scalp, a sugar-based scrub enriched with moisturizing oils may be a better option.

  1. Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Happi Scalp Scrub uses an amino acid blend and plant oils to gently dissolve pore-clogging grime for a healthy scalp and shiny hair. This scalp scrub is a good choice if you have a dry scalp that needs moisturizing and revitalizing exfoliators.
  2. Amika Reset Pink Charcoal Scalp Cleansing Oil is a gentle, pre-shampoo scalp treatment that uses clay, charcoal, sea buckthorn berry, and flower extracts to refresh, detoxify, and invigorate the scalp. It removes product and grease buildup, promotes antioxidants and oxygen flow, and provides fast relief from the itchy and scaly scalp.
  3. Truss Scrub Therapy Scalp Exfoliant Treatment uses minty menthol, apricot microspheres, prebiotics, and antioxidants to break down buildup and soothe an itchy scalp. It provides a refreshing sensation and prevents fungal infection and dandruff.
  4. Yes to Tea Tree Scalp Relief Gentle & Soothing Pre-Shampoo Scalp Scrub is formulated with 99% natural ingredients, including tea tree oil, sage oil, witch hazel, and apple cider vinegar to nourish and clarify the scalp before shampooing. Tea tree oil gives a strong tingly sensation. This scrub eliminates excess oil and buildup without causing dryness and helps soothe sensitive, itchy scalp. Shake the bottle before using this product.

Exfoliating Shampoos

a woman washing her hair with a scalp exfoliating shampoo
  1. Aveda Invati Advanced Exfoliating Shampoo contains salicylic acid that can control oil production and dissolve build-up that can clog pores. This color-safe formula gently exfoliates and nourishes the scalp, which results in healthier and denser hair.
  2. Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal and Coconut Oil Micro-Exfoliating Shampoo uses charcoal, tea tree oil, and vegetable-derived micro-exfoliators to remove dead skin cells, impurities, and product build-up from the scalp pores. Scalp Revival Shampoo helps to maintain a healthy scalp pH level, provides relief for dry, flaky scalps, and strengthens the hair shaft for healthier and fuller hair.

Scalp Exfoliator Brush

silicone scalp exfoliator brush

Finally, don’t forget this small hair tool that makes scalp exfoliating more effective and also provides you with an enjoyable washing experience. Massaging your scalp promotes blood circulation, combs out the buildup, and eases itchiness. Get a relaxing massage without chipping your nail polish during washing your hair.

There are numerous shampoo brushes available on the market, but Scalp Care Hair Brush by HEETA is definitely worth your attention.

The Convenience of Using a Shampoo Brush

There are some things that you may have never known existed, but once you have tried them you become addicted. One example is a shampoo brush. Once you try one, it will inevitably become part of your must-have hair care tools.

This handy tool can make hair washing much easier. It cuts down on your hair washing time, saves your nails, and makes you feel confident that your scalp and hair are thoroughly clean.

Massaging hair with your fingers can be a tiring task, especially if you don’t have strong fingernails for a good scrub. Your fingertips often don’t remove all dirt and debris from the surface of your scalp. Scratching the scalp with your nails can irritate your scalp and can also break your nails.

The purpose of a shampoo massage brush is to replace your fingertips while making shampooing easier and more effective. It distributes shampoo more evenly and thoroughly cleans your hair while giving your scalp a satisfying scrub.

Beautiful woman massages her scalp while shampooing the hair

What is a Shampoo Brush Good for?

Cleans the hair and scalp thoroughly: A scalp massaging shampoo brush offers a deep wash, cleaning your scalp better and faster than your hands would. It can provide deeper stimulation and cover a larger area of your scalp than when using your hands. It removes dirt, dead skin cells, and every trace of buildup, leaving your scalp squeaky clean. It is an especially helpful tool for older people and those with weak hands.

Spreads shampoo evenly: A hair shampoo brush works the shampoo into the scalp and distributes it evenly through your hair, while slightly increasing the lather. If you have lots of hair, it helps you to get shampoo everywhere.

Provides comfortable and relaxing massage: A shampoo brush provides a great scalp massage while shampooing your hair. Many people enjoy the tingly sensation when using it. You may find it hard to stop washing your hair.

Enhances blood circulation: Scalp massage encourages blood flow to the scalp and brings more oxygen and nutrients to the hair follicle. Some professional hairstylists believe that scalp massage can stimulate hair follicles and boost their ability to grow hair.

Alleviate the stress: Massaging your scalp stimulates the nerves that supply the scalp, which helps relieve a tension headache and boost your mood. The shampoo brush leaves your scalp feeling refreshed, especially after using a scalp invigorating shampoo.

Provides relief from dandruff: A scalp massaging brush scrubs away dead skin cells, keeping the scalp flake-free. Your dandruff shampoo is more effective if you use it along with a scalp massaging brush. A scalp scrubber helps spread natural oils and decreases dry scalp flakiness.

Exfoliates scalp: Hair thinning can be caused by clogged scalp pores and blocked follicles. A scalp brush helps remove debris, scrubbing off the loose flakes and eliminating scaly patches. In this way, the shampoo brushes create a better environment for healthy hair growth.

Enhances the effectiveness of scalp treatments: If you use a medicated shampoo to treat a certain scalp condition, a scalp brush helps your shampoo penetrate deeper and spread more evenly to enhance the effectiveness of your treatment.

Rinses any remaining products: Until finding this little, hand-held scrub tool I had never been able to thoroughly rinse henna dye from my scalp and hair. The directions say to wait a day or two before shampooing to allow the color to settle properly. During the next couple of days, I could see dark residue (I use dark brown henna) under my nails after accidentally scratching my head. Once I started using a shampoo brush, I was able to easily remove the unsightly dark henna residue from my scalp.

Shampoo Massage Brushes for Different Hair Types

A scalp scrubber is a must-have tool for short-haired people, as it works best on short hair. This little tool can be tricky to use on long, dense, or curly hair, as it can get tangled. Long, straight hair is less prone to tangles than long, curly hair. A shampoo brush also works well on short coarse hair. Finally, it works perfectly on men’s short hair.

1. Scalpmaster Shampoo Brush has closely spaced plastic bristles and is an excellent choice for short-haired people.

2. FREATECH Hair Scalp Massager Shampoo Brush has larger spacing between the bristles to massage long hair without snagging. It has an ergonomic design to feel comfortable in your hand and uneven bristles to better fit your scalp.

A good shampoo brush has bristles firm enough to scrub well, but still soft and flexible to avoid hurting your scalp. Silicone scalp shampoo scrubbers are good alternatives to plastic ones. Semi-hard silicone brushes are gentler on the scalp than rigid plastic, yet still effective.

3. The Shampoo Scalp Massage – Silicon Brush by Shimomura is a good choice if you are looking for a brush that is soft enough for a sensitive scalp and not likely to tangle your long hair. The hygienic, one-piece design doesn’t retain water. There are no places for bacteria to collect or for mold to grow. The shipment may take longer, but it is worth waiting.

Asian woman relaxing in a bath

How to Use a Shampoo Brush

After applying shampoo to wet hair, gently massage your scalp with the brush for 3-5 minutes, working in small circular motions. Keep massaging to spread the lather around and cover every area of your scalp. Use the brush again to thoroughly rinse out all shampoo from your scalp and hair. Don’t push hard, especially if you have sensitive skin. You don’t need a lot of pressure to get the job done.

If you have long hair, comb your locks before showering to keep the tangles away and make the shampoo brush easier to use.

Vibrating Shampoo Brushes

Unlike manual scalp shampoo brushes, battery-operated scalp brushes have a vibration feature that can be activated by pressing the on/off button. Some people prefer the vibrating sensation they offer, while others may find it too harsh on their heads or may feel discomfort in their hands when using it.

A beautiful woman with smooth, freshly washed hair

Sweet Almond Oil: Benefits and Uses for Hair and Scalp

Chemical-based hair care products can bring you short-term benefits but may harm your hair in the long run. If you are concerned about chemicals in your hair products, consider incorporating natural oils into your hair care regimen. This way, you can reduce exposure to chemicals while enjoying the amazing benefits of natural hair oils.

Sweet almond oil is a versatile oil that can substitute several of your store-bought products such as hair lotion, shine enhancer, and leave-in conditioner. This light-feeling oil is completely safe to use, except for people with a nut allergy.

Types of Almond Oil

Almond oil in bottle

Almond oil is extracted from the seed of the almond fruit. Two main types of almonds come from different trees – bitter almonds and sweet almonds.

  1. Bitter almond oil is poisonous in its pure form. Thanks to the delightful almond scent, bitter almond seeds are used for producing essential oil. Bitter almond essential oil is used to add scent to cosmetics products that add scent to cosmetic products. This type of almond oil should be used only by professional therapists.
  • Sweet almond oil is extracted from pressed sweet almond seeds. The sweet almond tree (Prunus dulcis) produces edible almonds that can be used for culinary purposes and also for cosmetic applications. Sweet almond oil has a pale yellow color and a mild nutty scent. It is rich in vitamins A, B, and E, antioxidants, fatty acids, and minerals. Those bioactive compounds make sweet almond oil one of the key ingredients in cosmetic products for skin, hair, and nails.

Brands that are supposed to be used for hair: Sweet Almond Oil for Skin by Viva Naturals (natural and unscented), Organic Sweet Almond Oil For Hair Growth by Hair Thickness Maximizer (100% Pure Organic), Pure Sweet Almond Hair Oil by Hollywood Beauty (certified organic), All Natural Sweet Almond Oil by Nature’s Oil (100% pure, works well as a carrier oil), and Sweet Almond Oil by QUANE COSMETICS (organic, cold-pressed).

Benefits of Sweet Almond Oil for Hair

Almond oil gets absorbed quickly, without leaving your hair sticky or overly oily. This lightweight oil can greatly improve the look and overall health of your hair.

  1. Moisturizing and conditioning effects: Due to its ability to penetrate the hair shaft, sweet almond oil is used to seal in moisture and restore softness and natural luster to dry hair. The high content of fatty acids prevents hair from drying out and keeps it strong, pliable, and easy to manage. To keep your hair hydrated, apply oil to your damp hair and scalp 30 minutes before washing. Comb your hair gently to spread the oil evenly from the roots to the ends of your hair. Wrap your hair with a plastic shower cap and a hot towel to trap the heat inside or use a heated gel cap to increase the treatment effectiveness. For best results, do this treatment once or twice a week.
  2. Leave in conditioner: To seal in moisture inside the hair, put a few drops of sweet almond oil on your palms and rub them together to warm the oil. Run your fingers through the hair to spread the oil from the roots to the tips, focusing on the ends.
  3. Shine enhancer: Sweet almond oil can bring life back to hair that is damaged by bleaching or heat styling. This oil adds a nice sheen to dull hair and makes it manageable and tangle-free. To add a healthy shine to your hair, apply a pea-sized amount of oil to damp hair. You can also add a few drops of the oil to your regular conditioner.
  4. Curl enhancer: To make your naturally curly hair softer and more manageable, rub a few drops of almond oil on your palms and run your hands through the hair. This will make your curls smooth and well-defined.
  5. Smoother, silkier hair: For adding softness to hair, put a few drops of oil and gently massage the scalp, then work it through your hair. Allow the oil to absorb into your scalp and hair for 30 minutes before shampooing or leave it on as long as you like.
  6. Split ends tamer: High levels of protein in almond oil help make hair stronger and prevent the strands from splitting. Using almond oil as a deep conditioning treatment before shampooing helps minimize the drying effects of hair shampoos and reduces the appearance of split ends.
  7. Sun protector: Omega-3 fatty acids in almond oil help reflect harmful UV rays, protecting your hair and scalp from sun damage while improving hair elasticity and strength.
  8. Hot oil treatments: Mix sweet almond oil with other hair oils and use to apply hot oil treatments. This oil can penetrate the hair shaft and is popular among people with low-porosity hair.
Beautiful blonde girl holding almond nut

Almond Oil for a Healthy Scalp

Almond oil can improve the overall health of your scalp and prevent some scalp conditions.

Relieves itchy scalp: A scalp massage with almond oil helps calm the dry/itchy scalp. A hair mask containing almond oil helps moisturize your scalp and hair to prevent dryness during the cold winter months.

Dandruff control: The antibacterial and antifungal properties of sweet almond oil help soothe scalp inflammation and alleviate the symptoms of dandruff. The potent penetrating property of almond oil help to soften and remove dead skin cells from the scalp.

To fight dandruff, massage almond oil into your scalp. Let it sit for an hour before a bath or leave it overnight for maximum results. For best results, mix almond oil with tea tree, coconut, rosemary, and lavender oils.

Relief for eczema and psoriasis: Because of its moisturizing and mild antimicrobial properties, sweet almond oil is often used to soothe the dry and irritated scalp and alleviate the discomfort of eczema and psoriasis.

Is Almond Oil Good for Hair Growth?

Almond oil is rich in healthy hair-growing ingredients such as proteins, folic acid, vitamin E, zinc, and magnesium. It helps prevent thinning hair, strengthens hair fibers, and boosts hair elasticity.

Almond oil soaks into the scalp easily, without clogging pores, and keeps your scalp hydrated and clean. It efficiently dissolves dirt, oil, pollutants, and dead skin cells to unblock clogged hair follicles, allowing them to grow healthy hair.

To cleanse and nourish your scalp, apply almond oil a few hours before showering. Massage gently into the scalp in circular motions using your fingertips. Leave the oil overnight for the best results. Repeat twice a week.

Sweet almond oil is easy to combine with essential oils, such as rosemary, or lavender oil, for improved effectiveness in promoting hair growth.

How to Choose and Store Sweet Almond Oil for Hair

Cold-pressed almond oil is made by mechanical procedures of pressing ripe seeds, without using heat or chemical solvents. The cold pressing method allows for better preservation of potent natural ingredients. Cold-pressed sweet almond oil is slightly darker and is more expensive than refined almond oil.

It’s important to read the label to ensure you are buying 100 percent pure, unscented, food-grade, sweet almond oil with no additives. Make sure the bottle says “sweet” almond oil. If the price is too low, check the list of ingredients to ensure you are buying a genuine product.

For people with sensitive skin, certified organic almond oil is a great alternative to chemical-laden skin care products.

Check the expiration date to ensure you are purchasing a fresh product. Properly stored almond oil will stay fresh and potent for up to a year. Make sure it is packaged in a tightly sealed dark glass bottle to prevent oxidation and preserve freshness. Keep it in a cool, dry place (it doesn’t need to be refrigerated) away from the light.

a cute girl holding almond nuts in her hands

The Amazing Benefits of Jojoba Oil for Scalp and Hair

People with oily scalp and hair are often reluctant to use hair oils. This could be a mistake, especially when it comes to Jojoba oil. This oil can help balance sebum production and solve a problem with oily scalp. Jojoba oil is a miracle remedy for people with oily scalp and dry hair.

When applied to your scalp, jojoba oil rapidly soaks into the skin and sends a message to your oil glands: “Stop unnecessary sebum production, there is already enough moisture!” At the same time, jojoba oil keeps your scalp moist and nourished while preventing sebum accumulation in the pores.

If your hair is dry, you can use jojoba oil as a leave-in conditioner before blow drying to keep your hair moisturized, healthy, and lustrous. Unlike most commercial personal care products, this miracle oil doesn’t contain any chemicals that can harm your skin and hair.

a young woman applying jojoba oil to her hair

Uses of Jojoba Oil in the Beauty Industry

In its purest form, jojoba oil has a wax-like structure, light golden color, and a subtle nut-like smell. Refined and bleached jojoba oil is a clear and odorless liquid that may have less active compounds. Jojoba oil is a rich source of potent nutrients that are highly beneficial for your skin and hair. Those nutrients include essential fatty acids, vitamin E, biotin, niacin, ferulic acid, silica, zinc, copper, and many other important antioxidants. Thanks to its amazing moisturizing and nourishing properties, this oil is one of the most important natural oils used to make beauty products.

Jojoba oil is highly resistant to oxidation and has less tendency to become rancid than other plant oils. It can be stored for at least 2 years before starts to degrade. Jojoba oil in a dark amber bottle has a prolonged shelf-life of up to five years.

1. Jojoba Oil for Hair Growth

Excessive buildup of sebum on the scalp can clog pores and block the opening of the hair follicle. This can cause hair to fall and interfere with normal hair growth. As a scalp cleanser, jojoba oil dissolves sebum deposits and removes the buildup created by hair products, leaving the pores clean. Clean pores allow nutrients to enter hair follicles to improve their functionality and stimulate hair growth.

Jojoba oil also may help with conditions that can cause hair fall such as scalp dermatitis, psoriasis, and eczema.

Jojoba oil closely resembles human sebum which gives it the ability to penetrate the scalp deeper than other oils and cleanse the blocked follicles that prevent hair from growing.

A scalp massage with jojoba oil boosts blood circulation in the scalp area. Increased blood supply to the scalp rejuvenates hair follicles and stimulates hair growth. Rub the oil between your palms, then apply it to the scalp and massage gently for several minutes, focusing on the areas with thinning hair. Leave the jojoba oil sitting for about 10-20 minutes before shampooing. You can also leave it in the hair overnight. Repeat the massage at least twice a week.

Add a few drops of jojoba oil to your regular shampoo to fight dullness, reduce breakage, and stimulate hair growth.

a cute girl applying jojoba oil to her long hair

2. Remedy for Dry Hair

Jojoba oil can be used to compensate for decreased sebum production due to aging, preventing hair from becoming dry, brittle, and dull. Jojoba oil forms a thin, protective layer around the hair shaft to help your hair retain moisture. This gives your hair a smooth texture and instant shine. Since jojoba oil is very similar in composition to human sebum, it is readily absorbed by the skin, which keeps your scalp from drying out.

This oil can be used as a leave-in conditioner when applied to clean, towel-dried hair. If your hair is dry and damaged by repeated coloring and bleaching, put a few drops of Jojoba oil into your hands, before blow drying, and run your fingers through your hair. Turn your head upside down and apply 1-2 drops to the ends of your hair. This will mend split ends much better than silicone-based serums, while adding shine and a velvety feel to your hair.

3. Jojoba Oil for Healthy Scalp

In addition to shampoo or lotion prescribed by your doctor, Jojoba oil can help with common scalp problems. This oil is often used to moisturize dry scalp, balance sebum production, and relieve problems related to clogged pores and blocked hair follicles.

Jojoba oil is non-allergenic and non-comedogenic, which means that it will not irritate your scalp or clog the pores. Due to its anti-inflammatory and mild antiseptic properties, this oil has a soothing effect on the irritated scalp.

If you suffer from a dry, itchy, and flaky scalp in the winter, massage the oil into the affected areas. To control scalp acne, massage jojoba oil into your scalp and leave it in for 10-20 minutes, and then clean with shampoo.

a woman applying jojoba oil to the scalp

Jojoba oil helps balance sebum production and can be used to eliminate oily scalp problems. When applied to the scalp, it balances the level of sebum on a dry, as well as on an oily scalp. Due to its similarity to human sebum, the application of jojoba oil to the scalp causes overactive oil glands to produce less sebum.

The most common cause of “greasy dandruff” is excessive sebum secretions and accumulation on the scalp. Since jojoba oil is similar in structure to sebum, massaging the oil onto the scalp can effectively dissolve and clear the encrusted scales created by sebum over-accumulation, providing relief from dandruff.

Since Jojoba oil is an excellent scalp cleanser, people with psoriasis benefit from using this oil as a remedy for an itchy and irritated scalp. Putting the oil on scaly patches of skin helps clear the layers of dead skin cells, providing relief from soreness and itching.

4. Jojoba Oil for Beard Care

Jojoba oil is the perfect addition to a man’s beard routine. It helps the beard grow, keeps it soft, and eliminates dry, flaky skin. This oil also helps soothe painful, itchy feelings during early beard growth after a shave.

Apply a couple of drops of oil to your beard after showering to keep your beard feeling healthy and soft and to give it a nice shine.

How to Buy the Best Jojoba Oil?

Select 100% pure, unrefined, cold-pressed oil, because in such form it retains all the vital nutrients and beauty benefits. A dark bottle helps preserve the product for a very long period. The presence of the dropper will make the application easier and more hygienic.

The bottle of Jojoba oil

Aloe Vera Benefits for Scalp and How to Use It

If you are looking for an effective natural remedy that can replace many chemical-laden products in your scalp care routine, and improve your scalp health, the answer is Aloe Vera! Due to the high content of antiseptic agents, Aloe Vera has the ability to provide anti-inflammatory and soothing benefits to the skin. It is widely used as a treatment for a variety of skin conditions.

Aloe Vera is rich in active phytochemicals and healthy ingredients such as minerals, vitamins, polypeptides, enzymes, proteins, and fatty acids. The clear gel from Aloe leaves can help you to relieve some stubborn scalp issues while keeping your hair healthy, moisturized, and silky.

smiling woman with aloe vera leaves

How Aloe Vera Can Benefit Your Scalp?

1. pH Balancer

Commercial shampoos and other chemical-filled hair care products can upset the natural pH balance of your scalp. Aloe Vera has a natural pH level between 4.5 and 5.5 which is in the same range as the pH level of your hair. The normal pH level of the scalp helps eliminate scalp issues and ensures an optimal environment for hair growth.

To restore and retain the normal pH balance of your scalp, use Aloe Vera shampoo and choose other hair care products that are designed to match the natural pH of your scalp and hair. The acceptable pH level for hair care products ranges between 4 and 7.

You can find the pH of your products on the label or you can determine it by using pH test strips (video).

2. Sebum Balancer

Normal oily secretion protects the scalp and keeps it hydrated. However, sebum accumulation on the scalp can give your hair a greasy look and leads to clogged pores. Extracts of Aloe Vera act as a natural astringent that helps prevent over-accumulation of sebum on the scalp. If you suffer from an oily scalp and want to regulate sebum production, you may want to regularly apply Aloe Vera juice to your scalp and hair. You can also use Aloe Vera shampoo or add a few drops of Aloe juice to your regular shampoo.

aloe vera leaves and juice

3. Relief for Itchy Scalp

The antiseptic properties of Aloe can soothe an irritated scalp and provide relief from itching and inflammation. When applied to the scalp, Aloe Vera juice penetrates the skin quickly to get rid of bacteria, providing immediate relief. Aloe juice has a cooling/soothing effect on your scalp and helps get rid of scratches and infections.

For people who shave their heads, Aloe gel helps calm razor burn and protects the skin from inflammation.

To soothe an itchy scalp, it is important to choose organic and hypoallergenic products without fragrance or synthetic preservatives. Use Aloe gel two or three times a week to condition your scalp after shampooing. Gently massage the gel into the affected area after each shower and leave it in. The gel helps soothe inflammation and keeps your scalp feeling moist and refreshed.

a blonde woman holding an aloe vera leaf

4. Home Remedy for Eczema and Psoriasis

Using aloe vera keeps your skin hydrated and may relieve symptoms of psoriasis. Aloe’s anti-inflammatory and anti-pruritic properties help reduce redness, scaling, and inflammation on the scalp. Aloe’s enzymatic properties help destroy dead skin cells that cause itching.

This natural remedy provides relief to individuals with eczema by healing patches of broken skin and preventing infections. To soothe scalp eczema, wash your hair with organic, fragrance-free Aloe Vera shampoo. Rinse your hair with lukewarm water and apply Aloe Vera gel to the problematic area.

beautiful brunette holding aloe vera gel

5. Aloe Vera for Dandruff

Dandruff is often caused by the fungus Malassezia which lives on the scalp causing inflammation. People with oily scalps may have dandruff caused by the fungus because excess moisture in an oily scalp contributes to fungal growth. On the other hand, people with dry skin may experience scalp flaking.

Antiseptic agents in Aloe Vera have natural antibacterial and antifungal properties, which help fight inflammation and fungal infections. The Aloe reacts with the fatty deposits in your scalp, making them water-soluble and easy to remove from pores. This will make the scalp less suitable for fungus growth.

How to Use Lemon Juice and Aloe Vera to Relief Dandruff: Pour about 2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice into half a cup filled with aloe gel. Massage this mixture into the skin of the scalp and leave it on for about 20 minutes. When the time is up, wash your hair and scalp with mild shampoo. This mixture will remove deposits of dead cells and excess oil from the scalp.

6. Aloe Vera for Flaky Scalp

A lack of natural oils makes the scalp vulnerable to irritation and damage. The result is cell dead skin cells and unsightly white flakes. Aloe Vera is very beneficial for people with dry and flaky scalps. The skin absorbs Aloe Vera juice up to four times faster than water. Aloe keeps the skin moist and helps hydrate a dry and thirsty scalp. Aloe products can be used to prevent a dry, flaky scalp during the winter months.

Regular application of Aloe juice/gel to the scalp helps reduce or even eliminate flaking. If you cannot take fresh juice right from the plant, use a store-bought, organic, certified Aloe gel that can provide you with the same benefits.

How to use: Massage the gel onto the scalp with your fingers and let it remain for 30 minutes or more before taking a shower. You can leave the gel on overnight and wash your hair with a mild shampoo the next morning. Repeat this scalp treatment at least two times a week for a few months to prevent flakes from coming back.

Washing your hair with an organic Aloe shampoo can also help.

aloe vera gel

7. Aloe Vera for Hair Growth

Aloe prevents an over-accumulation of sebum and helps unclog pores filled with sebum and dead skin cells. It promotes blood flow to the scalp and enhances blood supply to the hair follicles. Increased blood flow boosts oxygen exchange in the cells, speeding up cellular regeneration in hair follicles, and stimulating hair growth.

You can incorporate fresh aloe vera juice into your DIY hair masks. However, the simplest way to use aloe vera for faster hair growth is to use shampoo and conditioner that contain aloe vera. You will also enjoy other benefits that this miracle plant can provide to your scalp and hair.

beautiful woman looking at an aloe vera leaf

How to Use Aloe Vera and Hair Oils to Moisturize a Dry Scalp

Sebum is natural oil produced by oil glands that are located all over the scalp. Natural oils have an important function in keeping the scalp and hair conditioned and healthy. Sebum creates a thin oily film that protects the scalp and hair from moisture loss and harmful effects of external elements.

Once this oily film is damaged, the skin becomes prone to moisture loss. Additionally, harmful substances from the environment can penetrate through the damaged oily barrier and cause irritation. The skin responds by attempting to repair itself by producing more and more cells. Dead skin cells accumulate on the scalp and can clog oil glands. In addition, small flakes of dry skin, fall from the scalp, leaving an unsightly mess on the shoulders that are particularly obvious on dark clothing.

a girl with dry messy hair in the morning

When your scalp is dry and not getting enough moisture, it can also feel tight or become irritated and itchy.

Causes of Dry Scalp

The most basic reason behind dry scalp and hair is the lack of natural lubrication. Here are the most common factors that can cause dry scalp:

1. Lack of Sebum Production

The sebaceous glands are small oil-producing glands present in the skin. These microscopic exocrine glands produce an oily substance that lubricates the hair and scalp. The scalp tends to get dry when Sebaceous glands don’t produce enough natural oil to keep the skin moisturized. Hormones regulate the level of sebum production.

2. Over Washing and Harsh Hair Products

If you frequently wash your hair with sulfate-containing shampoos this can strip moisture from your scalp and hair. Washing the hair with hot water can also weaken and break down the protective lipid layer. Repeated chemical treatments and excessive use of hair products that contain drying alcohol and other harsh synthetic ingredients can dry out the skin and hair. You should avoid washing your hair more than necessary and make sure to use mild shampoos and natural-based hair products.

3. Changes in Temperature or Humidity

Cold weather decreases the humidity in the air, exacerbating a dry, flaky scalp. Dry air from indoor heating is another common cause of scalp dryness. During summer months, prolonged sun exposure can burn your scalp if you don’t use sun protection.

4. Lifestyle Factors

Lifestyle factors, such as smoking, a pure diet, or not drinking enough water may be responsible for scalp dryness. Dehydration in the body can result in a dry scalp. A healthy and balanced diet is important for the sebaceous glands to function properly. Insufficient production of sebum can result from inadequate intake of zinc, vitamin B, or fatty acids.

a girl with dry overprocessed hair

5. Hard Water

Scalp dryness may be caused by the type of water you use for showering. Hard water contains calcium and magnesium ions that can react with detergents in hair shampoos making them less effective. You need much more shampoo to clean your hair than when using soft water. This can dry out the scalp and lead to irritation. Mineral elements gradually build up on the scalp and hair and may cause blocked hair follicles and dull, unmanageable hair.

Can Dry Scalp Cause Hair Loss?

Dry scalp and hair loss are not directly related. However, for healthy, beautiful hair you need to have a healthy scalp. A dry scalp leads to the accumulation of dead skin cells and flaking. Dead skin cells can block pores and interfere with hair follicle function. Additionally, a dry scalp is prone to itching and can lead to scratching. Excessive scratching can result in premature hair fall. You should try to infuse your dry scalp with moisture and improve blood circulation in the scalp area to keep your follicles active and support healthy hair growth.

How to Moisturize Dry Scalp

1. Aloe Vera Mask for Dry Scalp

Aloe vera has a moisturizing effect which can help restore moisture to your scalp. The anti-inflammatory properties of the plant help to alleviate itching and irritation.  It is rich in vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that nourish hair follicles. It works especially great for people with sensitive skin. You can buy pure aloe vera gel in many stores. Some health food stores sell fresh aloe vera leaves. If you live in a dry, warm climate, you can grow aloe vera plants in your garden. Use a spoon to scrape out the gel from inside the leaves.

How to use: Apply an aloe vera hair mask as a pre-poo hair treatment. Massage a quarter-size amount of Aloe gel to your scalp, and let it sit for half an hour to allow the ingredients to absorb into your scalp. To help seal in the moisture, you can apply a few drops of olive oil and massage in. Wash it off with a sulfate-free shampoo and enjoy a clean, breathable scalp and soft hair.

2. Coconut Oil Pre-Shampoo Treatment

Coconut oil is rich in antioxidants and nutrients that nourish and moisturize the scalp. Plus, this oil has antimicrobial properties that help maintain a healthy scalp by reducing the risk of infection.

How to use: Massage the oil into the scalp before washing your hair and leave it on for at least 10 minutes. The effect will be greater if you leave the oil on overnight. Wash your hair with a mild shampoo the next morning. Repeat the shampooing if necessary to completely remove the oil from the hair.

3. Olive Oil for Dry Scalp

Olive oil contains moisturizing ingredients such as squalene and oleic acid, which can be beneficial for a dry, flaky scalp.

How to use: It’s best to use olive oil as a hot oil treatment. Its hydrating power is enhanced if it is mixed with castor oil. Add a few drops of tea tree oil to the mixture to give the treatment an antimicrobial effect and to additionally improve the condition of your scalp. Heat the mixture in the microwave to a slightly warm temperature, then massage it gently into the scalp. Leave the mixture on your head for about 20 minutes, then rinse well with shampoo. If olive oil is not washed off well, it can close the pores on your scalp.

a blonde girl with dry scalp and oily hair

Use a Mild Sulfate-Free Shampoo

Sulfate-free shampoos ensure the retention of a thin oily layer on the scalp. High-quality sulfate-free shampoos contain conditioning ingredients that nourish the scalp and hair.

Despite the lack of foaming capability, sulfate-free shampoos efficiently wash dirt and excess oil from the hair. They do what they need to without harsh synthetic cleansers.

Takeaway

If the home remedies don’t work within 2 weeks, you should consult a dermatologist. Sometimes the dry and itchy scalp can be caused by a skin disease or other health problem. In this is the case, you should seek medical help.

a woman with dry hair drinking water from a bottle

Sulfate Free Dandruff Shampoos that are Worth Buying

Scalp flaking happens because of increased skin cell turnover, which can be triggered by skin dryness during the cold winter months. It also can be caused by a fungus called Malassezia, which can irritate your scalp and cause flaking.

For years, anti-dandruff prescription shampoos have been considered the top choice for controlling the appearance of dandruff. Unfortunately, some of those shampoos contain ingredients such as coal tar, selenium sulfide, zinc pyrithione, and ketoconazole, which are known to be harsh on the skin.

Many over-the-counter, chemical-based shampoos are formulated to target this problem. Ideally, the perfect dandruff shampoo should provide relief without the use of abrasive chemicals that may cause harm to your health.

Natural dandruff shampoos are formulated with gentle ingredients such as plant extracts and essential oils that help balance the scalp. Such herbal-based shampoos are known for their non-toxic nature, so you can feel confident that you are not harming your skin and body.

Young girl with dandruff problem in front of the mirror

7 Naturally Based Dandruff Shampoos

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1. Maple Holistics Sage Shampoo for Dandruff with jojoba, argan, and organic tea tree oils is formulated to fight moderate to severe dandruff. Sage herb is a dermatologist-recommended for its’ ability to combat dermatitis. Spikenard and sage work together to promote hair growth. Jojoba and argan oils add shine to hair, balance sebum production, and nourish the scalp. Like most natural shampoos, it doesn’t create rich leather. Its strong herbal aroma doesn’t linger in the hair.

2. ORIBE Serene Scalp Anti-dandruff Shampoo is a gentle dandruff shampoo that contains 2% salicylic acid. Salicylic acid gently exfoliates the scalp to remove sebum build-up and dead skin cells. This shampoo is designed to relieve and prevent dandruff and soothe dry and irritated scalps.

Scalp soothing and healing ingredients include Bilberry Fruit & Sugar Maple Extracts, Caffeine, Sugarcane Extract, and Orange & Lemon Fruit Extracts.

This anti-dandruff shampoo is formulated without sulfates, parabens, and sodium chloride. It is safe for colored and chemically straightened hair.

Leave-on Treatment: ORIBE Serene Scalp Soothing Leave-on Treatment is formulated to reduce scalp irritation and nourish dry and itchy scalps. This fast-absorbing, leave-in treatment rejuvenates hair follicles and exfoliates the scalp while removing loose flakes.

3. Pure Tea Tree Oil Shampoo for Dandruff is formulated with natural anti-fungal and anti-bacterial ingredients to reduce dandruff, soothe itchy scalps, and control hair loss and acne breakouts. This shampoo doesn’t contain any harsh chemicals, which is important if you have sensitive skin. It has a mild, soothing scent. This product is color-safe and free of parabens, harsh sulfates, and animal testing.

4. Davines Purifying Anti-Dandruff Shampoo is formulated with anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial ingredients to fight microbial attacks and clear up dandruff.

It works either for dry or greasy dandruff and helps soothe itchy scalps.

This potent clarifying and detoxifying shampoo helps to cleanse and balance the scalp to keep the follicles in good condition and promote healthy hair growth.

It contains selenium sulfide (0.6%) – a chemical that is not recommended for longer contact with the skin, but this ingredient increases the ability of this shampoo to efficiently control persistent dandruff.

The smell is quite strong but still less irritating than with most medicated anti-dandruff shampoos.

This shampoo is not color-safe, so keep that in mind if your hair is freshly colored and you want to keep the color looking vibrant. Another downside is its low ability to create leather which makes it hard to spread. To get richer foam, add a bit of your regular shampoo.

5. SheaMoisture African Black Soap Dandruff Control Shampoo is formulated with natural and certified organic ingredients to deeply cleanse hair and scalp, remove product build-up, and soothe the dry, itchy, and flaking scalp. African Black Soap, Bamboo Charcoal, Tea Tree Oil, and Willow Bark Extract help calm dandruff without the use of harsh chemicals. This shampoo also revitalizes hair and leaves it feeling fresh and clean.

6. If you travel a lot, you will need a compact anti-dandruff treatment to pack in your carry-on bag. Naturel Soothe Dandruff Shampoo Bar perfectly meets your needs while protecting your luggage from spills.

7. Another travel-friendly dandruff shampoo is Solid Shampoo Bar for Dandruff or Touchy Scalps by Ethique. This eco-friendly solid shampoo bar is formulated with natural oils to combat dandruff and calm itchy scalps.

a woman washing her hair with an anti-dandruff shampoo

What Results are Realistic to Expect?

A natural anti-dandruff shampoo won’t eliminate severe dandruff. However, it can significantly reduce symptoms and keep your condition bearable. A sulfate-free dandruff shampoo leaves your scalp moisturized and nourished. It also makes your hair softer and more manageable.

Although sulfate-free shampoos don’t produce many suds, they are effective in cleaning your hair and scalp.

a woman brushing her long healthy hair

How to Get Maximum Results from Using a Natural Dandruff Shampoo?

  1. Be sure to leave the product in your hair for at least a couple of minutes to allow your scalp to absorb all the therapeutic benefits. Massage gently for a couple of minutes to rub the product into your scalp. Rinse and repeat because the first shampoo gets the scalp clean, while the second one nourishes it.
  2. Do not give up if you don’t see the results from the first use. Dandruff is going away with each wash. It can take a few shampoos to see a noticeable difference.
  3. Rinse your hair with cool or lukewarm water. The cool water rinse helps reduce irritation. Your scalp can get itchy and dry if you wash your hair with hot water.
  4. Apply a vinegar rinse once a week to help reduce flaking and add sheen to your hair.
  5. Add a few drops of jojoba oil to your favorite shampoo or conditioner to help dissolve the dandruff scales and keep the pores clean.
  6. Use a good conditioner because shampoo can be a little drying on the hair, and combing it out can be a challenge. Maple Holistics Tea Tree Oil Conditioner is a good accompaniment to any dandruff shampoo.
  7. If you have been using the same shampoo for several months, your scalp may become immune to it. Once you figure that the effectiveness of your current shampoo is decreased, start to rotate brands. Switch to a different brand every few months. Such a combination of multiple shampoos can provide you with better and longer-lasting results than using a single product.  
Happy woman after washing hair with dandruff shampoo

Good Reasons to Use Sulfate-free Dandruff Shampoos 

  1. Having a very dry scalp can cause flaking which provides a good environment for fungi to grow. Sulfate-based products can strip the scalp of natural oils that protect your skin from fungal infections. Natural anti-dandruff shampoos are much less drying than sulfate-containing shampoos. Your scalp and hair are clean without feeling stripped. They do a good job of keeping dandruff under control without harming your scalp and hair.
  2. Sulfate-free, naturally-based dandruff shampoos are gentle enough to be used on very sensitive skin. This is important if you are allergic to preservatives and certain chemicals in skincare products. Many popular dandruff shampoos contain irritating ingredients that can cause scalp flaking or inflammation. Artificial fragrances and harsh chemical ingredients often trigger or exacerbate dandruff. Natural dandruff shampoos not only reduce dandruff but also nourish your scalp.
  3. Some active ingredients in medicated antidandruff shampoos can affect the vibrancy of your hair color. Sulfate-free shampoos are gentle on your colored hair. After dying your hair, you can use sulfate-free, anti-dandruff shampoo with no problem.
  4. If you recently have received a keratin treatment, you need to use only sulfate-free products including sulfate-free dandruff shampoos. Natural dandruff shampoos are the only keratin-safe shampoos you can use to keep your dandruff under control.
  5. Scalp inflammation can inhibit healthy hair growth, contributing to thinning hair or hair loss. Gentle sulfate-free shampoos help reduce the severity of hair thinning associated with scalp inflammation.
  6. Natural dandruff shampoos don’t leave your head with an unpleasant medicated scent that most prescribed anti-dandruff shampoos do. Instead, they have a relaxing and refreshing herbal fragrance that doesn’t linger on your hair.
  7. Sulfate-free shampoos are not harmful to the environment. When washed away there are no toxic chemicals enter the water system.

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Which Anti-Dandruff Shampoo to Use on Color-Treated Hair?