We’re constantly stressing how scalp care is hair care (and skin care) and the foundation for a healthy mane. And in the past few years we’ve seen so many more scalp care products and gadgets come onto the market that also allow us to turn scalp care moments into self-care moments — one of our favorites is the scalp massager.
This darling little tool has easily become a hair care staple, but what if it could do more than just make your noggin feel relaxed? We asked Dr. Erin Gilbert, NYC-based board-certified dermatologist and L’Oréal Paris consultant to weigh in on whether a scalp massager can help promote a healthier scalp and therefore boost hair growth.
What’s the Difference Between A Scalp Brush and Scalp Massager?
The terms scalp brush and scalp massager are used interchangeably, and rightfully so. While not all scalp massagers are scalp brushes, all scalp brushes can be scalp massagers — but they’re typically one and the same.
Brushes made specifically for the purpose of massaging the scalp are often made of silicone and come with a short handle and smooth, cone-shaped teeth. These features allow you to get deep into the scalp without tearing the skin up there.
Do Scalp Massagers Help Your Hair Grow?
Scalp massagers can be super beneficial to your hair care routine, even your hair growth process, but we’d be careful to say that they make your hair grow. They do help clear the way for products and processes that support and promote hair growth, but they don’t do it alone.
“Facial, muscular and scalp massage — scalp brushes included — are known to increase the microcirculation [blood flow] to tissues,” Gilbert explains. “One thing to consider in the case of the scalp is that blood carries all kinds of nutrients, hormones, and more — not all of which are desirable. The delivery of stress hormones can, for example, worsen hair loss, while key nutrients can make hair growth faster, strengthen the hair and improve its shine and luster.”
So while increased microcirculation in the scalp can be a good thing, it does come down to what is flowing in that blood. A study by the National Center for Biotechnology (NCBI) Information found that an adequate supply of iron, oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen and sulfur are essential for hair growth during the anagen, or growth, phase.
In other words, using a scalp massager alone will not necessarily make your hair grow longer and stronger. Gilbert explains that scalp brushes and massagers help to remove dead cells from the surface of the scalp, which clears the way for healthy hair to grow. But if you’re noticing excessive hair shedding or hair loss, or even a lack of hair growth, it’s important to understand what’s happening with your scalp and hair by visiting a board-certified dermatologist for a personalized assessment.
Editor’s tip: If you’ve made scalp massage a regular part of your hair care routine, we say carry on! Not only does it feel soothing, relaxing and allows you destress, it offers some much-needed “me” time when you need it. And since there are benefits, you may very well see a difference in your hair’s health when you incorporate massage versus when you don’t.
What Are Other Ways to Promote a Healthy Scalp?
Scalp massagers are great at clearing scalp buildup and decongesting pores and they’re the perfect companion to products that promote scalp and hair health — which is key for growth. So be sure to also stock up on hair care heroes that work towards your hair goals. Here are a few of our favorites.
This scalp detox scrub is formulated with apricot seed and menthol to remove unwanted buildup, clearing the way for your shampoo and conditioner to do their work. It’s designed to treat dry scalp, flaky scalp, oily scalp, and dandruff while being gentle on color-treated hair. The scent reminds you of a luxury spa, making it easy to level up a simple hair washing routine to a restorative experience.
After you give your scalp a detoxifying scrub, reach for this purifying shampoo. Formulated with neem leaf and menthol, it gives the scalp a refreshing feeling for up to 24 hours while gently cleansing all hair types. And the paraben-free, gluten-free, dye-free, vegan formula won’t strip color-treated hair.
Of course if you want a complete hair care routine you want to incorporate a conditioner in your hair washing session. Follow up your scrub and shampoo with this detoxifying conditioner. Also formulated with neem leaf and menthol, the vegan formula is free of parabens, gluten, aluminum and dyes. The rich, creamy texture has great slip for detangling and a sweet fragrance for hair that smells as incredible as it looks and feels.
Written by: Shalwah Evans, Photo Credit: Chaunte Vaughn
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