We all have our nightly routines (hopefully involving some serious self-care) that help us wind down and get into sleep mode. Well, we’re here to make the case for adding a scalp massage into the mix. You might feel like you don’t have time for another thing, but hear us out. Not only does a little head rub feel good, a scalp massage can stimulate hair growth and help you get thicker and more lustrous locks — and it takes less than five minutes.
A January 2016 study published in the journal ePlasty looked at the effects of scalp massages and found that just four minutes each day increased hair thickness. With more than 50 percent of women experiencing noticeable hair loss, according to the Cleveland Clinic, it’s not surprising that many women are looking for natural hair loss remedies. “A scalp massage brings nutrient-rich blood flow to your hair follicles, which is essential for healthy hair growth,” says Alexis Wolfer, author of The Recipe for Radiance: Discover Beauty’s Best-Kept Secrets in Your Kitchen ($12.96, Amazon).
A scalp massage also redistributes excess oil, explains Wolfer, which keeps the rest of the hair follicles moisturized and prevents the scalp from drying out and causing itching (another hair loss culprit). It can also reduce stress and anxiety, which in turn lowers your risk of stress-related hair loss. In an October 2016 study published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science, 34 female office workers received a scalp massage twice a week for 10 weeks. Researchers reported that, “positive effects were observed on stress hormone, blood pressure and heart rate.”
How To Do an At-Home Scalp Massage
You can do a scalp massage just about anywhere and anytime, though many women enjoy them right before a shower when the hair is still dry or during a shower while shampooing. Using a scalp massaging serum or an essential oil can increase the therapeutic effects — Argan, lavender, and rosemary are all known for hydrating the scalp and boosting circulation to the hair follicles — but is not necessary.
Whether you have wet or dry hair, make sure to use your fingertips rather than fingernails, because they can break delicate hair strands. If you’re massaging your scalp in the shower, brush through your hair first to get out any knots. This will reduce your chances of damaging the hair by tugging too hard.
Add a few drops of essential oil or serum to your fingertips if you so choose, then start at your neck near the base of your hairline. This is an area where many people unknowingly hold a lot of tension. Make checkmark motions with your fingertips two or three times, moving slowly from the edge of your hairline to the crown. This gentle kneading warms up your scalp, which is a great way to stimulate blood flow. And if you get bored, change up your movements and gently massage your scalp using small circular motions. Continue to work on your scalp as long as you like. Scalp massages work best when they’re done consistently, so aim for daily rubs to see the best results.
Best Scalp Massagers
For a truly luxurious massage, we recommend giving your fingers a rest and treating yourself to a scalp massager. There are dozens of options out there, ranging from handheld shampoo brushes to waterproof electric scalp massagers. To help, we’ve rounded up a few of our favorites. Keep scrolling to shop Woman’s World’s picks for the best scalp massagers.
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Scalp Massager For Hair Growth Electric
Best Electric Scalp Massager
Where to buy: $14.39 (originally $15.99), Amazon
Vitagood's handheld vibrating scalp massager is a bath time essential. This luxurious massager is made with gentle rubber tips that exfoliate the scalp and remove dandruff to promote hair growth. We recommend using your scalp massager in conjunction with a dandruff shampoo, as "reducing yeast on the scalp may help decrease inflammation and promote healthy hair growth," says dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, MD.
Scalp Massager Shampoo Brush
Best Handheld Scalp Massager Shampoo Brush
Where to buy: $8.99, Amazon
MAXSOFT's scalp massager shampoo brush is a fabulous starting point if you're new to the scalp massage game. Its gentle silicone tips scrub your scalp, lifting away dead skin cells. You can use it in the shower with your favorite hair-thickening shampoo or on dry hair with a dab of zingy peppermint oil.
Scalp Massage Brush Boar Bristle Brush
Best Boar Bristle Brush for Scalp Massages
Where to buy: $23.74 (originally $24.99), Amazon
A boar bristle brush is one of the best hair brushes for thinning hair that you can use because the natural bristles won't split or damage your hair. Boar bristles do a fabulous job of spreading the natural oils your scalp produces, which adds shine to your strands and keeps them hydrated. Add your favorite essential oil to your scalp and then give your mane a good brushing to let the boar bristles redistribute the essential oil to every inch of your hair.