No, you’re not imagining it: Scalp care is trending. It seems that every hair care brand now has a scalp oil or scrub promising a flake-free dome and faster hair growth. You’ve likely also seen one of those spiky palm-sized brushes that, we assure you, feel much better on your head than they look.
These buzzy little brushes are called scalp massagers, and that’s exactly what they do: massage your scalp. Most commonly used in the shower, a scalp massager is a nice addition to your hair washing routine because the bristles are quite adept at dislodging product build up (in my case, a can’s worth of dry shampoo) and dead skin cells (yum). And quite frankly, they’re the closest thing we’ve gotten to a proper massage in a while, so there’s that.
Yes, but can’t you just use your fingers?
Of course you can. You can just treat a scalp massager as a nice to have or an attainable luxury to upgrade your shower (especially as we approach a full year of pandemic life).
To get the most out of one, simply work your hair into a nice lather and use the brush to massage your head in small, circular motions. Sing a song or two, condition and rinse as usual.
OK, but do scalp massagers really help my hair grow?
Possibly. More studies need to be done to determine exactly how helpful a scalp massager is for hair growth. At the very least, we know that using one gives your scalp a deep clean (which is key for overall hair health and growth), and that it can improve blood circulation.
Bottom line: There’s not much downside to using one unless you have an existing scalp condition like psoriasis or eczema or you deal with severe dandruff, in which case you’ll want to consult your dermatologist first to avoid creating more inflammation.
If that’s not the case and you want some help finding a scalp massager, we’ve got you covered. Shop below for our favorites.
1. Ceremonia Scalp Masajeador
Best for Thick Hair
I’ve talked about my hair before. TL;DR It’s unruly, it’s coarse and there’s a lot of it. It’s also pretty dry. That said, I don’t shampoo more than twice a week but when I do, I make a whole meal out of it. This little masajeador is a part of my routine. After applying shampoo, I take my time running it over my scalp in small sections. The lather doubles, my scalp sparkles, and I feel my stress melt away little by little with each stroke of the bristles. I’m also happy to report that it doesn’t give me any issues with tangling, a noteworthy feat for my Mufasa mane.
2. Vegamour Gro Revitalizing Scalp Massager
Another PureWow editor swears by this silicone massager by Vegamour because it feels just as nice in your palm as it does on your scalp. As she describes: “The bristles are made from flexible silicone, so they bend to accommodate the curves of your head (you know, rather than poking your delicate scalp). When you move the tool in circular motions, it feels like someone’s fingertips are gently rubbing your scalp. Plus, it’s really comfortable to hold. When you slip your fingers through the top of the tool, you’ll find special grooves that form to the shape of your hand.”
3. Heeta Hair Scalp Massager
The Internet Favorite
With over 62,000 reviews on Amazon (yes, you read that right), users with all different hair types and textures rave about how this brush cleans better than “just using your hands” and that the silicone bristles are “soft but firm enough to give you a lovely massage.” As one fan shares: “My daughter always had a hard time getting to her scalp, which caused some flaking and dandruff. Since she's been using this, that has stopped. It's made it much easier for both of us to get down to the root shaft. It's easy to grip and clean. No complaints here.”
4. Queenwill H01 Electric Handheld Hair Massager
Push the button once to activate this scalp massager on normal speed; twice to get it pulsing. Either way, you’ll feel the soothing buzz as it releases thousands of vibrations per minute to gently stimulate your scalp and relieve any tension you’re holding up top. You can use the waterproof tool on wet or dry hair (though we prefer to use it on dry hair, just before bed to set the stage for slumber).
5. LATME Electric Scalp Massager
Who says the massages need to stop at your scalp? If you’re looking for a full body experience, we’d point you to this electric massager by LATME. Featuring various head attachments and adjustable speed settings, you can use it on your head, neck, shoulders—basically anywhere that needs a little TLC. And it charges easily via a USB port and dock. As one shopper explains: “When it's done charging and the light turns green, you're ready to go. Charging doesn't take long at all either, within an hour or so my device had a full charge.”
As for how it feels on your head, one reviewer described it best when she said, “It’s a strange combination between getting your head scratched and getting it massaged, but it feels so good!”
6. See You Always Hair Scalp Massager Shampoo Brush
Best for Curly Hair
Our food editor swears by this handy brush for daily destressing in the shower. Self-described as someone with curly, knot-prone hair, she assures that it makes the hair at the top of her head feel “way cleaner and softer than it did before” without further tangling your hair the way you might expect thanks to an easy-to-hold handle and soft, uneven, thick silicone bristles.
7. LiBa Scalp Massager Tool
Best for a Sensitive Scalp
If you have the type of scalp that gets irritated at the slightest tug or touch, you may want to try this gentle scratcher instead of one of the spikier brushes on this list. With thin, flexible spindles that are capped with a protective rubber bead at each end, it lightly glides over your scalp to produce a spine-tingling sensation without scratching or pulling at your hair. (Maybe just don’t store it anywhere near your blender.)
8. Briogeo Scalp Revival™ Stimulating Therapy Massager
Best for Itchy Scalps
Have an itch you just can’t seem to scratch on your own? This handheld tool can help—especially if you have very short nails. With pointed bristles that deliver instant relief, one fan raves that “after one use, the itchiness of [her] scalp has decreased and [her] hair is softer.” She also reports that she gets “less pimples on her scalp” since adding this brush to her regimen.
9. Manta Hairbrush
Best for Delicate Hair
British hairstylist Tim Binnington created this innovative brush after watching his wife struggle with combing her delicate post-chemo hair. His goal? To make a brush that was equally gentle on the scalp as it was on the strands. Thanks to its 360-degree bristles and malleable base, the lightweight brush literally bends to the shape of your hand to minimize any snagging while using it. Previously only available across the pond, we are thrilled to see that it’s now available in the States.
10. Ryoma Scalp Massager
Fans have described this admittedly strange looking massager as “the closest things to actual fingers” they have found. The metal roller beads at the end of each flexible bristle are cool to the touch (and cooling on your scalp) and the plastic doesn’t get tangled in your hair easily. We appreciate that it comes in a two-pack so we can keep one nearby for midday massaging.
11. Zyllion Scalp Massager Dandruff Brush
Best for Dandruff
“Like literal fairies scrubbing my head and I have no more dandruff. This thing is magic,” is how one shopper describes this brush. When shampooing your hair, use a gentle “Z” motion to target your flakiest areas, like around the crown and nape of your neck. The grooved, silicone bristles help exfoliate your scalp and are firm enough to dislodge any surface flakes without being too abrasive. “This thing scrubs away product buildup and dandruff like nobody’s business. I’ve used this twice now and have taken full advantage of wearing my dark brown locks down and don’t have to worry about the daunting ‘Can people notice my dandruff?’ question that was constantly going through my mind,” adds another reviewer.
12. Hayo’U Beauty Restorer Comb
Fans of jade rolling their faces may appreciate this jade comb. Apart from being a literal work of art, jade is said to be a healing stone that purifies and is used to treat stress and improve blood circulation (both good things when it comes to your hair). Grip it in the palm of your hand and let the short, rounded tips of the brush glide through your strands, releasing any tension and tangles in the process.