11 Best Scalp Scrubs For Dandruff-Free Hair You Need To Try

By Kirtana Divakar
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Dandruff is like this annoying pest that keeps coming back regardless of how hard you try to get rid of it. To deal with this nuisance, you need a good scalp scrub for dandruff that will help put an end to this issue right at its roots (pardon the pun). Scalp scrubs are great for a good deep cleansing of your scalp and help remove any residue and dirt from your scalp. This, in turn, will help prevent dandruff formation and keep your hair healthy and hand occupied to do better work instead of itching your head.

To know which is the best scalp scrub for dandruff for your hair, keep scrolling down as we’ve put together the best scrubs that you can buy. P.S some of these smell really great, and you can’t get enough of that aroma!

Our Top Picks
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Best Natural Ingredients: Yes To Tea Tree Scalp Relief
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Best Gluten-Free: dpHUE Apple Cider Vinegar Scalp Scrub
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Best Vegan: R+Co Crown Scalp Scrub
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Best Scented: AROMATICA Rosemary Scalp Scrub
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Best For Hair Growth: ORS HAIRestore Scalp Scrub
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Best Cruelty-Free Scrub: Drunk Elephant T.L.C Happi Scalp Scrub
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Best Moisturizing Formula: Zeitun Exfoliating Scalp Scrub Detox
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Best Chemical-Free Formula: Not Your Mother’s Activated Charcoal & Purple Moonstone Scalp Scrub
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Best For Color-Treated Hair: Unwash Charcoal Detox Scalp Scrub
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Best Antioxidant-Rich Formula: Kosette Salt Scalp Scrub
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11 Scalp Scrubs For Dandruff That Will Give You Healthy Hair

1. Best Natural Ingredients: Yes To Tea Tree Scalp Relief

This 99% pre-shampoo scalp scrub is the real deal. Made with superstar ingredients such as tea tree oil, apple cider vinegar, sage oil, and witch hazel, the gentle scrub can help cleanse and soothe your dry, itchy scalp. Perfect for those suffering from an itchy, dry, or flaky scalp, or for those who use too many hair styling products that tend to accumulate in the hair, the Yes To Tea Tree scrub is recommended to be used once or twice every week and is safe for application on color-treated hair.

Pros

  • Made with 99% natural ingredients
  • Pleasant, fresh scent
  • Alleviates inflammation and fights dandruff
  • Free from parabens, silicones, and SLS

Cons

  • Can be slightly difficult to rinse out

2. Best Gluten-Free: dpHUE Apple Cider Vinegar Scalp Scrub

A vegan delight for deep cleansing your scalp and restoring the sheen of mane, the Apple Cider Vinegar Scalp Scrub from dpHUE has been described as “liquid gold for hair” by some users. Made with apple cider vinegar, aloe vera, avocado oil, and pink Himalayan salt, this natural exfoliator is fantastic at removing product buildup, dead skin cells, and impurities. Free of parabens, phthalates, sulfates, and gluten, this lovely scalp scrub also helps balance pH levels, leaving you with soft, silky hair.

Pros

  • Cruelty-free and vegan
  • Prevents color-fading
  • Clarifies and calms itchy scalp
  • Free of gluten

Cons

  • Some may not like the faint vinegar-like smell.

3. Best Vegan: R+Co Crown Scalp Scrub

Excellent for oily or sensitive skin, this soothing and purifying scrub will cleanse, detox, and re-balance the pH of your scalp. It is formulated with an arsenal of skincare superheroes — salicylic acid helps purge loose flakes of dandruff and optimize the health of your follicles by minimizing build-ups on the scalp, while the Ecuadorian ivory palm seed powder serves as a gentle yet surprisingly effective exfoliant. Additionally, the boost of kaolin, a naturally derived clay abundant with minerals, aids in absorbing excess oil from your scalp and hair, leaving you with lustrous locks all day!

Pros

  • Promotes scalp health and fights dandruff
  • Free of parabens and sulfates
  • Gives softer, shinier hair
  • Cruelty-free and vegan

Cons

  • Consistency might make it slightly hard to pour out

4. Best Scented: AROMATICA Rosemary Scalp Scrub

Bursting with the goodness of herbal complex extracts like rosemary, ginger, brinjal, basil, and oregano, this shockingly soothing scalp scrub is an impressive vegan formulation indeed. What’s more, it’s enriched with the exfoliating prowess of sea salt mined straight from the Israeli Dead Sea. Wonderful at purifying the scalp and alleviating inflammation, this Scalp Scrub from Aromatica can re-energize your dull, greasy roots back to a bouncy, voluminous va-va-voom.

Pros

  • Deliciously fresh scent
  • Soothingly ‘tingling’ feeling on application
  • Great for oily or dandruff-ridden scalps
  • Vegan, cruelty-free, and eco-friendly

Cons

  • May be somewhat heavy on extra-fine hair

5. Best For Hair Growth: ORS HAIRestore Scalp Scrub

Not only does it serve as a wonderful scalp exfoliant, but this organic root stimulator is also known to promote an environment for healthy hair growth, thereby preventing thinning and hair loss. Packed with sulfur-rich nourishment that helps repair damaged hair follicles, the HAIRestore scalp scrub lives up to its name by allowing those follicles to thrive. Additionally formulated with nettle leaf and horsetail extract, this pre-shampoo exfoliating scalp treatment will also purge dead, flaky skin while hydrating your scalp.

Pros

  • Gives you soft, radiant, and clean hair
  • Provides stimulating exfoliation for dandruff
  • Helps boost hair growth and repair damage
  • Comes with a scalp scrub brush for dandruff

Cons

  • May damage hair if used too often

6. Best Cruelty-Free Scrub: Drunk Elephant T.L.C Happi Scalp Scrub

Tired of flaky dandruff and looking for long-lasting results? The T.L.C Happi Scalp Scrub from Drunk Elephant is here to the rescue. This supercharged blend of AHA/BHA acids is designed to dissolve and break down any buildup of impurities on your scalp. Meanwhile, its biodegradable, plant-derived exfoliant beads help slough away trillions of pore-clogging dead skin cells from your roots, leaving you with a nourished, shiny mane. Bonus? It’s free of the “suspicious 6” skincare ingredients responsible for most dermatological issues; i.e. essential oils, silicones, chemical screens, dyes/ fragrances, drying alcohols, and SLS.

Pros

  • Non-sensitizing formulation at optimum pH
  • Includes antioxidant-rich plant oils
  • Can restore luster to brittle, dull hair
  • Certified cruelty-free

Cons

  • Slightly expensive

7. Best Moisturizing Formula: Zeitun Exfoliating Scalp Scrub Detox

Regardless of whether you have oily, dry and dull, or normal hair, this exfoliating scalp scrub can give your head a satisfyingly deep cleanse from the very first shower. Enriched with sea salt minerals and hair-nourishing ingredients like lavender, shea butter, and verbena, this scrub will slough away dandruff buildup while moisturizing and conditioning the scalp. What’s more, the active components of the Zeitun detox also help boost hair growth by stimulating the roots and increasing the density of your hair. Win-win!

Pros

  • Suits all hair types
  • Smells like an authentic Turkish hammam
  • Clears dandruff and restores hair sheen
  • Helps boost hair growth with regular use

Cons

  • Relatively less quantity for the price

8. Best Chemical-Free Formula: Not Your Mother’s Activated Charcoal & Purple Moonstone Scalp Scrub

This pre-shampoo wash exfoliant is just as magical as it sounds. Made with beads of 100% natural jojoba wax that help gently cleanse and detoxify your scalp, the scrub leaves you free of flaky skin cells. Meanwhile, the activated bamboo charcoal absorbs product buildup and other layers of scruff and gunk in order to give you a gorgeous and healthy head of hair. Formulated without silicones, sulfates, dyes, parabens, phthalates, or gluten, this dandruff scalp scrub is suitable for all hair types.

Pros

  • Free of harsh chemicals and sensitizing ingredients
  • Gentle exfoliant that works on stubborn buildups
  • Smells absolutely fantastic
  • Leaves hair soft and less oily, restoring shine

Cons

  • Might not rinse out easily

9. Best For Color-Treated Hair: Unwash Charcoal Detox Scalp Scrub

This Charcoal Detox Scalp Scrub from Unwash gives you delicious peppermint goodness. Enriched with charcoal powder and seeds that act as a natural surfactant and exfoliant, it detoxifies the scalp by absorbing skin flakes, styling products, and grease buildup. The burst of castor oil adds nourishing amino acids to the base of your roots and provides powerful moisturization, while the antioxidant-rich tea tree oil restores the sheen of your locks and provides an extra blast of hydration. Safe for all hair types including color-treated hair, this is one scrub that balances hair nourishment, conditioning, and protection like a pro.

Pros

  • Easy to work into the scalp
  • Nourishing and moisturizing
  • Effective for dry or flaky scalps
  • Smells refreshingly pleasant

Cons

  • Might need extra rinsing to wash out charcoal seeds

10. Best Antioxidant-Rich Formula: Kosette Salt Scalp Scrub

Packed with premium, mineral-rich ingredients, the Kosette salt scalp scrub provides a spa-worthy bathing experience right from the cozy comfort of your shower. Formulated with Gray Sea Salt harvested from the calcium and magnesium-rich mudflats of South Korea, it gently exfoliates flaky scalps and alleviates dandruff. Menthol and tea tree oil, meanwhile, help to soothe inflammation and clarify any buildup of product. The scrub is also infused with highly porous bamboo charcoal powder that is fine enough to penetrate most skin pores. This allows it to absorb excess sebum and impurities, giving you a healthy and oil-balanced mane with every wash.

Pros

  • Contains impurity-busting charcoal powder
  • Provides a cooling effect to scalp on showering
  • Effective at sloughing off dandruff “snowflakes”
  • Strengthens hair follicles and minimizes breakage

Cons

  • May not produce a generous lather

11. Best For Minimizing Hair Breakage: TPH By Taraji Never Salty Scalp Scrub

This ooey-gooey, oh-so-sugary scrub is a wonder at unclogging dead skin from the scalp and leaving your locks soft, silky, and squeaky clean. Available in a duo-touch bottle that allows for mess-free application, this gentle and effective exfoliator morphs into a soothing balm when you work it into your roots. Infused with the aromatherapy boons of coconut oil, sugar crystals, peppermint oil, and apple cider vinegar, the Never Salty Scalp Scrub works well on all hair textures.

Pros

  • Gives the scalp a “tingling, refreshing” feel
  • Very easy to apply and rinse from one’s hair
  • Extremely effective at sloughing dandruff flakes
  • Scrub-to-balm exfoliant that stimulates roots

Cons

  • Relatively expensive

Vouched for by our beauty editors and, of course, the Internet, these 11 scalp scrubs for dandruff reduction are the best that 2022 has to offer. If you’re itching to head out and make your own scalp scrub purchase (no pun intended), take a quick peek at our handy buying guide below.

How To Choose The Best Scalp Scrub For Dandruff

As the climate grows colder, it’s actually the ideal time to start using a scalp exfoliant. Winter tends to have a drying effect on our skin, which can leave most people with a flaky scalp that they misdiagnose as dandruff. Quite often this may just be dry skin, which is why hairstylists recommend finding the scalp scrub that serves your specific needs. If you suffer from skin conditions that involve your scalp, like eczema, acne, psoriasis, sores, or cuts, scrubs may be excessively abrasive on your sensitive skin, thereby making your ailment even worse.

That being said, prior to purchasing a scrub, one should also assess the following points in order to determine whether their potential scalp exfoliant is their right match:

  • Your hair goals

Before making any purchase, always check in with your scalp to see what it needs. In the market, there are a myriad of big-brand products and alternative, natural options that cater to almost every hair type. Therefore, questions that you should be asking yourself are: Is my hair fragile? Does my hair require more moisture? Am I in need of a color-safe scalp scrub due to dyeing my hair?

If you are using multiple hair products every day: Instead of a chemical exfoliant, a scrub with physical exfoliating ingredients like sugar or salt may prove more effective at breaking down and clearing build-ups.

If you possess a sensitive scalp: Avoid excessively abrasive exfoliants or products containing sensitizing ingredients like essential oils, silicones, chemical screens, dyes/ fragrances, drying alcohols, and SLS. Instead, opt for gentler scalp exfoliants, such as glycolic acid, polymer beads, or plant extracts.

If your primary problem is greasiness: The best bet for greasy, dull hair types is a charcoal scalp scrub. It’s efficient at absorbing all the oil and sebum from your roots, leaving you with refreshingly clean locks and a voluminous bounce.

  • The texture

Some scalp scrubs will simply work as exfoliants. In order to thoroughly cleanse your scalp, you will require a separate shampoo to wash your mane. On the other hand, you always have the option of purchasing a 2-in-1 scalp scrub and shampoo blend. These tend to lather up rather well and provide efficient overall treatment. Ultimately, what you buy depends on your own texture preferences.

How To Use A Scalp Scrub For Dandruff

Scrubs help clean one’s scalp with physical exfoliants (such as salt or sugar) or chemical exfoliating agents (like salicylic acid or glycolic acid). Just as you would use a face scrub to exfoliate dead skin cells and maintain the health of your complexion, a scalp scrub promotes the health of hair follicles by reducing residue, clarifying the buildup of impurities, and stimulating healing. However, the wrong technique, or even overuse, can render these hair exfoliators ineffective. So, always mind the below tips:

  • Follow the labeled directions

Never use a scalp scrub more often than the manufacturer’s advised frequency as this can strip your hair of all its natural oils and hinder its growth. Always check a product’s label to learn how many times a week you should use it. For most scalp scrubs, it is recommended to stick to once-a-week treatments for the best results.

  • Skip the scrub before a salon appointment

If you’re about to dye your hair, experts recommend avoiding the use of scalp scrubs on the day of your appointment. Regardless of whether they are physical or chemical exfoliants, these abrasive treatments can leave the skin of your scalp more vulnerable to becoming inflamed or irritated from hair dye application.

Using an anti-dandruff shampoo might not be enough to get rid of dandruff and stubborn flakes. To get dandruff-free hair, you need to get your hands on the best scalp scrubs. Scalp scrubs are one of the best options to deep cleanse your scalp and help remove any residue, dirt, and impurities from your scalp. This, in turn, will keep pesky dandruff at bay and keep your hair healthy. The scalp scrubs reviewed in the curated list are enriched with organic and natural ingredients. Besides fighting dandruff, they also help you get softer and shinier hair. Consider your scalp type and texture of the scrub before picking one.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a scalp scrub?

Scalp scrubs are used to clean the scalp with physical exfoliants like salts or sugars, or chemical exfoliating agents, such as salicylic acid or glycolic acid. They slough away stubborn buildups of dead skin cells or styling product residues that may damage hair health.

Do scalp scrubs help with dandruff?

Scalp exfoliation is a stress-busting and soothing method for cleansing the scalp. Chemical scalp exfoliants are wonderful for reducing inflammation and ridding hair of excess sebum production. Meanwhile, physical scalp exfoliants (such as sugar and salt) are great at sloughing off buildups of impurities and dead skin cells — all of which can help alleviate dandruff.

Do scalp scrubs help with a dry scalp?

Yes, a hydrating formulation of scalp scrub can not only exfoliate flaking skin cells, but it can also help restore the moisture of the scalp.

What are the benefits of using a scalp scrub?

Scalp scrubs, when used appropriately, can help you with issues like skin flakes, itching, and dryness. Since these symptoms are usually a result of the accumulation of product residue and/or dead skin cells, the exfoliating nature of scalp scrubs makes them particularly effective. Additionally, they may also help build a healthy scalp environment that promotes hair growth.

Do scalp scrubs cause hair growth?

The short answer? Not really. This is simply because there aren’t many ways to genuinely grow new follicles of hair. However, to produce healthy hair, one requires a healthy scalp. So, if you start using scalp scrubs, you can increase the likelihood that your scalp and the hair you grow are healthy, too.

Are scalp scrubs safe to use?

As long as you use them in the technique and frequency advised by the manufacturers on the label, scalp scrubs are generally safe. But if you suffer from allergies, always check the ingredient list for potential allergens first and consult your physician prior to use.

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Kirtana has a postgraduate degree in mass communication and journalism from St. Joseph’s College, Bengaluru. She developed a deep passion... more

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