How to exfoliate your scalp

A lot of people exfoliate the skin on their face to remove dirt, debris, and oils — but how many people know they should also exfoliate their scalp? If you don’t already, you should start exfoliating your scalp because of the wonders it can do for your hair. Just as exfoliating your face keeps skin clean and clear, exfoliating your scalp helps your hair stay healthy, shiny, and sleek.

To help you learn how to exfoliate your scalp, we’ll guide you through different ways, benefits, and tell you how often you should do it.

How to exfoliate your scalp

There are two ways to exfoliate your scalp: physically, chemically. Each has their own benefits, but in general physical exfoliation is recommended for people with thick hair and lots of buildup, while chemical exfoliation is a better choice for those with fine hair and sensitive skin.

Here’s how you can exfoliate your scalp through each of these methods:

1. Physical Exfoliation

Physical exfoliation is the process of removing buildup by scrubbing your skin. You can do this with a brush or massaging your scalp with your hands, but the best physical exfoliation method is using a product that has an abrasive element such as sea salt, sugar, or beads among others. To physically exfoliate your scalp, wash your hair and apply your product of choice to your fingertips and gently rub sections of your hair in a tight circular motion. Do this until you’ve thoroughly scrubbed your entire scalp, and leave the product in for 5-10 minutes before rinsing out. After rinsing, brush or comb your hair while it’s still wet to help clear any buildup that’s caught in your locks. 

Physical exfoliation is a great way to clear your scalp of buildup, but it’s not recommended for everyone because the process can be harsh. Try this scalp exfoliation method and see how your skin reacts. If you notice dryness or irritation, consider trying a chemical exfoliant that’s more gentle.

2. Chemical Exfoliation

Chemical exfoliation works by using a product that contains active ingredients like acids including AHAs and BHAs to dissolve buildup on your scalp. Chemical exfoliants actually tend to be more gentle on your scalp, because all you need to do is apply the product to your scalp and let it sit for 5-10 minutes before rinsing out. Unlike physical exfoliants, you don’t need to aggressively scrub which can dry out and irritate your scalp. As a result, chemical exfoliants are recommended for people with sensitive skin and fine hair.

Benefits of exfoliating your scalp

Exfoliating your scalp helps to soothe the skin and keep it healthy. Here are the most notable benefits of scalp exfoliation:

  • Clears Buildup: Each day, your scalp produces new skin cells and sheds the old ones. While washing removes some of these, over time the dead skin can build up and clump together with oil and dirt from your hair. This issue gets worse if you frequently use hair products, which may stick around and buildup with everything else over time. This buildup can clog hair follicles and negatively impact their health while also causing itchiness or irritation on your scalp. To prevent this, you can exfoliate your scalp to regularly remove the buildup before it causes these issues.
  • Keeps Oil Under Control: When follicles are backed up with buildup, your scalp may produce extra oil as a response which can make the issue even worse and your hair appear greasy. Exfoliating your scalp clears the blockage so your scalp produces only as much oil as you need. Just make sure not to exfoliate too often, which can trigger your scalp to increase oil production.
  • Stimulates Hair Growth: Exfoliation stimulates the scalp which brings blood to the surface and can encourage hair growth. Furthermore, hair that has to overcome blocked follicles from buildup may not come in as strong or thick as it normally would because of the obstruction. Clearing the buildup means hair has a free path to come out strong and healthy.
  • Boosts Effectiveness of Hair Products: When you’ve got lots of buildup, your hair products won’t be as effective because they won’t be able to penetrate your scalp and reach the follicle at the start. Removing the buildup will help you to get the most from your hair care products.

How often should you exfoliate your scalp?

Most experts agree you should exfoliate your scalp 1-2 times a week. Exfoliating too often can be rough on your scalp and dry out your skin, which can result in irritation. Additionally, over-exfoliating can cause your scalp to produce extra oil to replace what’s being lost. If you’re exfoliating your scalp once a week and still notice dryness, flakes, or irritation — try a more gentle approach and consider swapping your shampoo and conditioner with a moisturizing alternative like Verb’s Hydrating Collection or Ghost Collection infused with moringa oil.  

Try Ghost Exfoliating Scalp Nectar!

A lightweight, nectar-like serum powered by AHAs and PHAs to gently exfoliate and help remove product buildup, dead skin and debris for a clean, refreshed scalp. Formulated with Moringa Oil to hydrate and Biotin to nourish, this serum is the best first step to care for hair.  

If you’re looking for a great chemical scalp exfoliant, our Ghost Exfoliating Scalp Nectar helps remove product buildup, dead skin, and debris for a clean, refreshed scalp. It’s also formulated with nourishing ingredients like moringa oil and biotin. In a study of 22 participants conducted over 28 days, a third party lab found that 90% of people who used the product saw more scalp hydration and less buildup after using the product. Check it out for yourself and see the difference!