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We spend ages looking for the right shampoos, conditioners and styling products to make our hair look shampoo commercial-worthy, but most of us are overlooking one major area: our scalps. It’s time that everyone is in on the secret because good hair doesn’t start with our strands — it starts with a healthy scalp. While the right shampoo is brilliant for keeping scalps in check, a scalp exfoliator is an under-the-radar product that can turn every day into a good hair day.
Exfoliation is a regular part of skin care yet it has probably never crossed the majority of our minds when it comes to hair care. Carolyn Aronson, CEO and founder of It’s a 10 Haircare, explains that the benefit of scalp exfoliation is that it removes dead skin cells, dirt, dandruff, oil and product buildup. This is different from a regular shampoo which only removes surface dirt and impurities. Crucially, a scalp treatment’s deep cleansing formula gives roots an ideal environment for hair to grow. It also ups the volume of strands because they’re no longer weighed down by all of the buildup.
Another way scalp exfoliators differ from shampoos is in terms of ingredients. Ebony Bomani, master cosmetologist and educator at The Mane Choice, explains that scalp exfoliators can either come in liquid or more “gritty” formulas. Plus, they contain ingredients known for their sloughing effects, such as salicylic acid and/or granules. It’s important to note that there are also exfoliating shampoos that combine the best of both products.
Just like with body exfoliation, everyone can benefit from scalp exfoliation. There are even scalp treatments that are specifically formulated for certain hair types and conditions like oily hair, dry locks or even those suffering from dermatitis. Regardless of hair type, the experts agree that scalp exfoliation about once a month is sufficient.
Honey Artists celebrity hairstylist Corey Tuttle says that fans of DIY beauty can make their own scalp treatments by mixing one cup of water with one tablespoon of baking soda, one tablespoon tea tree oil and one tablespoon sulfate-free shampoo. For those who prefer a ready-made version, scroll through the gallery to see the best scalp exfoliators that will keep heads balanced and hair looking gorgeous.
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