Already have an account?
Get back to the

Scalp Brush Benefits: How This Inexpensive Tool Can Help Regrow Thinning Hair

It is possible to massage your way to a thicker head of hair

For the longest time, we thought that washing our hair with just shampoo and conditioner was enough to keep things clean. And maybe every once in a while you might treat yourself to a scalp massage while shampooing. However, those standard tricks may not be enough to keep the scalp and, in turn, hair healthy. That’s because dirt, oil, product buildup and other impurities can sit on the scalp even after cleansing and conditioning hair and lead to scalp inflammation and stalled growth. But there’s one affordable tool that can help you achieve optimal scalp health and luscious hair at the same time: a scalp brush. Curious to learn more about this tool and scalp brush benefits? Keep scrolling to hear from trichologist Anabel Kingsley and hair restoration and dermatology specialist Mehmet Göker about why you should add a scalp brush to your routine.

What is a scalp brush?

close up of scalp brush massager
Anastassiya Bezhekeneva/Getty

Also known as a scalp scrubber or scalp massager, a scalp brush fits in the palm of your hand and features soft and pointed silicone bristles. The bristles are gentle enough not to break skin but are sturdy enough to exfoliate it and whisk away dead skin cells, product buildup, dirt, oil and more. But is it more effective than just using your hands? Experts say yes, and studies back up how scalp brushes increase hair thickness and can help those with alopecia regrow hair.

The benefits of using a scalp brush

“There are many benefits of using a scalp scrubber regularly on your scalp,” Göker says. It’s an easy tool to incorporate into your hair wash routine and you’ll even look forward to using it because it feels so relaxing.

woman using scalp brush to exfoliate hair while shampooing

1. It removes flakes + promotes hair growth

If you struggle with thin or thinning hair, a scalp brush can stimulate new hair growth. “Your scalp is your hair’s support system and the bedrock of your hair follicles. As such, hair growth is largely dependent on scalp health,” says Kingsley, who is also brand president for Philip Kingsley hair care and scalp clinics. “A flaky scalp can cause excessive daily hair fall, as well as damage strands as they emerge from their follicle, leading to the growth of weaker and more fragile hairs.” When using a scalp brush, you can get those flakes and dead skin out of the way to clear the pathway for new growth.

2. It increases blood flow to reverse thinning hair

Hair expert Kerry E Yates, a trichologist and founder of the beauty brand development company Colour Collective, says many people love scalp massagers and see improvement because “massage helps promote blood flow to the scalp,” which brings oxygen and other necessary nutrients to the hair to encourage growth.

Related: This Sneaky Vitamin Deficiency May Be the Cause of Your Thinning Hair — Here’s How to Really Fix It

3. It helps hair look more voluminous

When product buildup sits on top of hair and the scalp, it can weigh down strands, making already thin hair look even thinner and limp. But using a scalp brush gently sloughs off buildup so roots won’t lie flat against the head for the illusion of a thicker mane.

How to pick the best scalp brush for you

“When looking for a scalp scrubber, it is important to consider different silicone tips,” says Göker. “Thicker, soft silicone bristles are best for fragile or coiled hair as they won’t cause breakage or tangles. Thinner bristles will work harder to exfoliate the scalp and reduce product buildup.”  

In other words, one size does not fit all when it comes to scalp brushes, which is why Göker recommends doing some shopping to find a scalp brush that has the right bristle strength for your hair and scalp type. Two scalp brushes we love: Curlsmith Scalp Massager (Buy from Curlsmith, $12) and Tangle Teezer The Scalp Exfoliator and Massager (Buy from Amazon, $9.34).

Related: Best Scalp Massagers to Help Boost Hair Growth for Women Over 40

Can you use any other exfoliators with a scalp brush? 

Woman smiling with thick, blond hair who has used a scalp brush after learning about scalp brush benefits
Dean Mitchell/Getty

“Using a scalp exfoliator, such as a salt scrub, consistently can create a healthy environment for hair to grow and is a necessary step in your healthy hair routine,” Göker says. “Scalp exfoliation makes way for fresh skin and hair follicles to grow healthy hair … I would suggest using a scalp scrub about once a week depending on how much oil or buildup you tend to get on your scalp.” 

But should you use both a scalp brush and a scalp scrub together? “Heavy-handed scrubbing can damage your follicles and cause hair to become brittle,” adds Göker. “Therefore, I recommend limiting the amount of scrubbing and products used on the scalp to prevent irritation to the scalp.”  

Kingsley agrees, saying “your fingertips are your best tool” when using a scalp scrub or exfoliating scalp mask, especially when used alongside a gentle chemical exfoliating scalp mask. She recommends Philip Kingsley Flaky Scalp Mask (Buy from Philip Kingsley, $31), which contains exfoliating alpha hydroxy acids, antioxidant-rich green tea extract and hydrating hyaluronic acid to treat scalp concerns. So while, using a scalp brush and scrub or mask are beneficial, it’s best to not use them at the same time.

How often should you use a scalp brush? 

“I recommend incorporating a scalp scrubber into your hair care routine by gently massaging in circular motions with the scalp brush three to four times a week,” says Göker. “Pressing too hard and using too often can leave the scalp tender rather than invigorated and cleansed.”  

So, feel free to use your scalp brush each time you wash your hair. Then, use an exfoliating scrub once a week (on a day when not using the scalp brush) for the best results. Not only will using a scalp brush and scrub add some relaxation to your shower routine, but your hair and scalp will reap rewards too.

Related: Why Does My Scalp Smell? Dermatologists Reveal What Women Over 50 Need to Know

For more tips on how to make hair look youthful and thick, click through these stories:

Dull Hair Over 50? Not Anymore! These Easy Tips Add Shine, Strength and Bounce

10 Easy Braids for Thin Hair That Make Hair Look Thicker Instantly

Natural Hair Rinse Recipes: The DIY Remedy Study-Proven To Reverse Thinning + Up Shine

Use left and right arrow keys to navigate between menu items. Use right arrow key to move into submenus. Use escape to exit the menu. Use up and down arrow keys to explore. Use left arrow key to move back to the parent list.