They're way better than using your fingernails—promise.

By Susan Brickell
August 03, 2020
Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
Advertisement

It probably comes as no surprise that healthy hair starts with a healthy scalp. Think about it: When your scalp is weighed down with grime, dandruff flakes, and product buildup (we're looking at you, dry shampoo), it makes it difficult for your hair to actually grow—not to mention, look its very best. You need something to remove the buildup and dead skin from your roots, which in turn will also help distribute oils on the scalp more evenly for shinier tresses. Who doesn't want that?

Enter: scalp massagers. These handy little hair tools help to stimulate and exfoliate the scalp, working wonders to improve the overall health and appearance of your strands. The idea behind a scalp massage is to enhance blood circulation to the hair follicles, says Joshua Zeichner, MD, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. "Improved delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the hair follicles can help them function to the best of their ability, which means optimal growth of hair," he explains.

Anyone suffering from thinning hair or hair loss is certainly a candidate for using a scalp massager, Rachel Nazarian, MD, a New York-based dermatologist and fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology, tells Health. "Although more clinical trials are needed to determine the extent of benefit from using these devices, they are certainly harmless and at the very least can improve blood circulation in the scalp," she notes. However, those with inflammatory scalp conditions, like psoriasis or severe dandruff, should avoid being too aggressive when giving themselves a scalp massage. "The massage itself can lead to irritation if you have a sensitive scalp, which can make the underlying scalp issue worse," cautions Dr. Zeichner.

While it is unclear whether a massaging device is superior to your fingers, they certainly are easier to use, points out Dr. Zeichner. To use one, apply it to the scalp using firm pressure, but not to the point where it's uncomfortable or painful, says Dr. Nazarian. And for best results, you should use it daily for approximately four minutes, since there is evidence that scalp massagers can help increase hair thickness when done regularly, she adds.

On top of encouraging hair growth, removing gross gunk, promoting circulation, and satisfying an itch to scratch, scalp massagers also help release any tension held up top—which could really be especially useful in the current world of coronavirus. Whether you're looking for a tool to provide stress relief or a device that will remove product buildup so your tresses can thrive (or a multitasker that can accomplish both!), keep scrolling for the best scalp massagers to add to your beauty arsenal.

Heeta Hair Scalp Massager

AMAZON

With nearly 13,000 Amazon reviews, this scalp massager brush still manages to earn a 4.6 rating. It's waterproof, so you can use it in or out of the shower, and the ergonomic design fits perfectly in your palm and is easy to hold onto—even when wet. Customers note that it effortlessly removes weekly buildup, has stopped their dandruff and hair shedding, and is better than just using your fingernails.

Body Back Scalp Massager

AMAZON

This tangle-free massager features 12 rubber tips that gently massage your scalp to boost circulation and hair growth. Amazon reviewers love that it stimulates hair follicles while relieving stress, keeps your hand from cramping when using it, and is especially great for reaching under weaves or braids without damaging your style.

Breo Portable Mini Scalp Massager

AMAZON

While it might be a splurge, this device is waterproof, wireless, and features soft silicone massaging fingers that replicate what you might receive from a deep friction massage.

One shopper wrote: "I love that this massager does not tangle long hair, and still gets directly at the scalp. It definitely soothes muscular tension and feels aaaaahhhhmazing. Pricey, but worth it. I feel like my scalp is refreshed and pleasantly buzzing after use."

Hofason Scalp Massager

AMAZON

The rubber beads on the ends of these massagers glide smoothly through your hair and provide increased blood circulation to the scalp. While they're great for your head, you can also use them to practically anywhere on your body, including the knees, ankles, and elbows. One reviewer likened the effect of this scalp massager to getting goosebumps in the most delightful way, like getting your hair washed at the salon/barber.

To buy: Hofason Scalp Massager, $9 for 2; amazon.com

Ikeepi Electric Scalp Massager

AMAZON

If you get tired easily, this hands-free gadget sits directly on top of your head—and ensures you'll get zero hand cramps while using it. It has two vibration modes and an auto-off function that shuts the device off automatically every 10 minutes. Many commented on how surprisingly well it works, and one customer even said it made their migraines more tolerable.

Queenwill Electric Handheld Hair Massager

AMAZON

This water-resistant scalp massager gives hair a deep clean when using it with your shampoo. Plus, it provides thousands of vibrations per minute to gently stimulate your scalp to relieve tension, promote hair growth, and keep dandruff at bay.

One shopper wrote: "I've always had issues with dermatitis and dandruff on my skull. With pregnancy it's been even worse. This cleans my scalp very effectively and I am not longer itchy and flaky."

Ryoma Scalp Massager

AMAZON

These massage claws boast cool-to-the-touch steel balls that soothe the scalp, while increasing blood circulation. One reviewer went as far as to say that these massagers are the "closest things to actual fingers" they've found. And if you're worried about them getting caught in your natural or curly hair, curly hair customers swear that this tool won't get tangled in your tresses.

To buy: Ryoma Scalp Massager, $9 for 2; amazon.com

Latme Electric Scalp Massager

AMAZON

Ideal for both a scalp or full-body massage, this little guy is cordless, rechargeable, fits perfectly in your palm, and has 28 different nodes (including deep kneading) to boost blood flow to your scalp, kickstart hair growth, and help you relax after a long day.

"This scalp massager is the perfect size for me, and it really helps to relieve my stress. It has 2 massage speeds: high speed and low speed, and 2 rotating directions. I’ve tested it in shower, it’s waterproof as described. And it can not only massage my head, but also many other parts of body, like neck and shoulder, and it’s just so comfortable!" raved a customer.

To buy: Latme Electric Scalp Massager, $37 (was $44); amazon.com

Sign up for our Health Shopping newsletter to get your daily dose of retail therapy with great deals handpicked by our editors—straight to your inbox.