Treating the scalp is the first step in your haircare regimen. Yes, really — scalp exfoliation and stimulation can lead to a healthy head of hair.
Enter: the shampoo brush. With silicone bristles, the brush is designed specifically for lathering and exfoliating the scalp. “Shampoo brushes can help to remove product buildup and help to exfoliate dead skin on the scalp, which can help with hair [and scalp] health,” says Kerry E. Yates, trichologist in training and founder of Colour Collective. “The bristles stimulate the cells within your scalp, which increases blood flow and can help with hair growth,” she adds.
Dr. Dominic Burg, chief scientist hair biologist, microbiologist and trichologist for évolis Professional agrees: “Shampoo brushes can be a great inclusion to your scalp health routine as they can help you thoroughly cleanse the scalp, remove excess cell debris as well as residual dry shampoo, and other follicle-clogging substances.” But before you jump in the shower, Burg recommends doing “a cursory detangle of your dry hair with a wide-toothed comb prior to entering the shower. This way the shampoo brush won’t get snagged and place too much pressure on your hair shafts.”
A shampoo brush is gentle enough to be used with every cleanse.
Burg says it is important to look for a brush that has “very soft and widely spread and/or large silicone ‘fingers’ [bristles] to avoid creating tangles and damaging the hair [since] hair is at its most elastic and fragile when wet.” The beauty of a scalp or shampoo brush is that they are “made to use in the shower, while hair is wet [as] the bristles are designed to really grip and massage the scalp,” says Yates. We love the Heeta Hair Scalp Massager for its waterproof material and silicone bristles as you want to stay away from metal bristles. “Anything metal will pull the hair, so stay away!” explains Yates. If you want to kick it up a notch, you might also want to consider the Vitagoods Scalp Massaging Shampoo Brush, which has those same silicone bristles but with an added vibration feature, which — although it is up to you to rotate the brush in circular motions — is sort of like a deep cleansing facial brush for your scalp.
To use the shampoo brush, wet your hair and apply shampoo evenly throughout your scalp. Then, take the shampoo brush and gently massage in small, circular motions for three to five minutes or until you have covered all your bases. Once finished, rinse the shampoo out and follow up with your usual conditioning routine. (Brush aside, you should also take a close look at your shampoo. Burg recommends reaching for “a gentle cleanser” and avoiding those with “harsh sulfate detergents” as they could cause irritation.)
“The frequency you should use a brush for a deep cleanse will really depend on your hair, scalp type and beauty routine. If you use a lot of product and dry shampoo, then a regular scalp cleanse is essential [to help lift away the product buildup for a squeaky-clean cleanse],” says Burg. If you don’t have product buildup or excess flaking or clogging of the hair follicles, “once a week or less frequently is enough,” he adds, noting that a shampoo brush is gentle enough to be used with every cleanse.
But do these exfoliating and deep cleansing brushes promote hair growth? Unfortunately, the answer is a little bit of a gray area. Burg notes that “there is no real evidence to show there is any benefit” to this commonly touted hair myth. That said, unclogging the hair follicles, lifting product buildup, and the massaging sensation of a scalp brush could lead to a scalp environment with better conditions for hair growth.