What A Scalp Massager Can (And Can't) Do For Your Hair Health

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Relaxation, self-care, and overall health and wellness all overlap. A massage ticks all of these boxes, regardless if it's a body massage or a head massage. Whether you get a head and scalp massage during your shampoo moment at the salon or you buy one of the dozens of scalp massager tools out there to give yourself a daily dose of relaxation, these massagers not only feel amazing but can also relieve stress and improve circulation too. 


These days, scalp massager tools come in a range of prices, and are available in hand-held portable styles you can use in the shower or on dry hair. There are also electric tools, which of course are only meant to be used on dry hair and far away from water. As to the claims that scalp massagers can help treat dandruff, psoriasis, or assist with hair growth, we found that some experts disagree.

It may help improve circulation

One of the most immediate and obvious benefits of a scalp massager is that using it feels fantastic and helps relieve stress. Any type of scalp massager, including fingers, will increase your scalp's circulation. Increasing blood circulation anywhere in the body is beneficial simply because better blood flow delivers nutrients and oxygen to your cells. A scalp massager can also exfoliate your skin and increase follicle circulation. Serums may be absorbed better when your scalp's blood vessels are dilated as well. Additionally, a scalp massage with tea tree shampoo can help heal ingrown hairs on your scalp.


One persistent claim about massaging the scalp is that it may promote hair growth, but experts are divided on this. Dermatologist Dr. Morgan Rabach shared with Harper's Bazaar that, "There is no scientific evidence to support increased hair growth," though she conceded that increased circulation is beneficial.

However, board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Aleta Simmons told Byrdie that, "Scalp massagers can cause mechanical stress on the scalp, potentially leading to alterations in gene expression. These changes may lead to increased hair thickness." Research is limited, so we say, stay tuned. Speaking to Allure, trichologist Penny James cautioned against relying on a scalp massager for relief from psoriasis, scalp irritation, or dandruff since the stimulation can cause inflammation and worsen the condition.


How to massage your scalp

When using a scalp massager, be sure to be gentle, and make small circular motions on the scalp. Don't use it like a comb because it will tangle your hair. While you can opt to use your scalp massager on dry hair, you can also do your massage while shampooing and conditioning. If you want to mix it up, there are many handheld brushes that are designed for either wet or dry scalp massage, like the Clarifying Scalp Massage Brush from Ulta. There's also the MOUNTRAX 5 in 1 Electric Scalp Massager on Amazon, which is heated and can also be used in the shower or on dry hair.


If you're setting up a staycation complete with at-home spa treatments, go ahead and give yourself a scalp massage using a carrier oil (almond works well) combined with your favorite essential oil. You might time it right before a hair wash cycle so you can rinse out all that excess oil.