Your Hair Is Only as Good as Your Scalp Routine—Start With These Key Products

I’ll be totally honest: I’ve never been one to have an extensive haircare routine. I do have 3c curls, so those require a bit of extra love and care (like deep conditioning a few times a week), but other than a few add-ons, I keep things pretty simple. I’ve been a beauty editor for a few years now, though, and I’m starting to realize that it might be time to focus more on scalp health. Luckily, my scalp is never itchy or flaky, but it could use a good exfoliating or clarifying treatment every once in a while. 

With so many scalp products out there, it can be tough to narrow down which ones to buy. That’s why I decided to ask hairstylists for their recommendations on the best scalp products and treatments. They gave me some solid picks in every category from scrubs and oils to treatments. For the best ones, keep on scrolling. There’s something for you no matter what your hair goals are.

“I love the clarifying shampoo from Kenra, it really helps break down any buildup that is on my scalp. I usually wash my clients with this first followed by a regular shampoo. You also want to only use a clarifying shampoo once a week max or every other week, just when you feel that your scalp has buildup.”—Glenn Ellis, celebrity hairstylist

This treatment from The Inkey List has a serum-like texture and contains salicylic acid and panthenol to help clarify the scalp. It also fights flaking, and itchiness, and helps balance oil production.

This highly rated option from Sunday Riley is a rinse-off serum that exfoliates and clarifies the scalp in record time. With powerful ingredients like glycolic acid, salicylic acid, niacinamide, rose clay, and jasmine essential oil, it lifts away dirt and oil with ease.

This lightweight, pre-shampoo oil from Kiehl’s is designed to immediately improve hydration levels in the scalp. It contains rich oils like avocado and rosemary to improve shine, manageability, and overall scalp health.

Although Nécessaire’s scalp treatment has more of a serum-like texture, it’s great for those dealing with hair loss or if you’d like to help boost your natural hair growth. It features a biomimetic peptide blend to support fuller-looking hair, hyaluronic acid for hydration, and niacinamide to support the scalp’s protective barrier.

Every stylist I spoke to for this story recommends using a scalp scrubber. Ellis said it best himself. “I recommend getting a scalp massager to use in the shower during shampoos. This really helps loosen up anything on the scalps as well as promotes blood circulation which stimulates hair growth!” This scalp set from Ceremonia happens to come with a nourishing hair oil and scalp massager, so add it to your cart ASAP.

“The Solu Sea Salt Scrub Cleanser from Davines is great for a scalp exfoliant and it’s vegan!”—Ellis

Ellis gives this apple cider vinegar scrub honorable mention. It soothes and calms scalp irritation and helps rebalance its pH levels in addition to detoxifying and exfoliating.

Celebrity hairstylist Jennifer Korab loves this scrub from Kevin Murphy because its gentle on the scalp yet extremely effective in getting rid of dirt, oil, and flakes. I’ve used this scalp scrub myself though and I definitely think it’s a better option for thinner, finer hair types. If you have thick hair, let’s just say it might take a couple of washes for you to get it all out.

“When it comes to finding the perfect balance between a healthy scalp and hair, I prefer Nioxin products. Designed from a dermatologist’s perspective on haircare, the entire line focuses on maintaining a healthy environment for hair to grow. The shampoo line comes in six different ranges depending on the density of the hair and whether or not the hair has been chemically treated.  They also have a full line of dry shampoos, scalp exfoliating, and growth-enabling products.”—Michelle Cleveland, celebrity hairstylist

The Ordinary offers this milky, hydrating serum for the hair that contains several moisturizing factors found naturally within the skin to support long-term scalp hydration.

Nutrafol is known for its specially made formulas for hair thinning, but you don’t want to miss out on the brand’s scalp essence, either. It calms redness, reduces itching and a flaky scalp, and improves overall hydration levels.

Next: 14 (Actually) Effective Products for Hair Growth, According to Amazon Reviews

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