Once in a while, or more frequently if you need it, everyone should give their scalp a deep, thorough clean. All you need is one of the the
best exfoliating shampoos, which — similar to exfoliating face washes — help remove dead skin cells, excess oil, and product buildup in one of two ways: manually or chemically. Manual (or physical) exfoliating shampoos usually have a gritty texture, and scalp scrubs fall into this category. The other option is a shampoo that uses chemical exfoliants, like salicylic acid, to effectively deep clean your scalp.
Though there's certainly overlap between clarifying shampoos and exfoliating shampoos,
clarifying shampoos are designed to deep clean your hair, while exfoliating shampoos are usually intended to deep clean your scalp. That said, some shampoos provide both clarifying and exfoliating benefits, and you'll find a couple of those below.
To keep your scalp comfortable and balanced, pick up one of the
best exfoliating shampoos from the list ahead. We only recommend products we love and that we think you will, too. We may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was written by our Commerce team. 01
The Overall Best Exfoliating Shampoo
Briogeo Scalp Revival is one of the best scalp scrubs out there — and unlike most scalp scrubs, which need to be followed by a shampoo, this is a shampoo and scalp scrub in one. It has a slightly gritty texture and a dark gray color, due to the Binchotan charcoal in the formula (charcoal is well known for its deep cleaning abilities). Other key ingredients in here include coconut oil for moisture, and three botanical oils — peppermint, spearmint, and tea tree — which give the shampoo a refreshing, cooling feel. Whether your scalp is dry, flaky, oily, or itchy, this will help bring you relief in just a single wash. 02
The Best Budget Exfoliating Shampoo
For an under-$10 pick, try
Neutrogena's Healthy Scalp Clarify & Shine Shampoo. This is a clarifying and exfoliating shampoo in one, so it'll leave both your hair and scalp feeling squeaky clean. The sulfate-free formula has an invigorating, citrus scent, and also helps boost your hair's shine. It's sulfate-free, too.
Pick up the matching conditioner,
The Best Exfoliating Shampoo For Dry, Damaged Hair
Mielle Organics says their
mongongo oil shampoo is ideal for hair that's recently been in a stretched or straightened style for a long period of time, which makes it a great choice for hair recovering from any sort of damage (or that's simply very dry). It's an exfoliating and clarifying shampoo, but it's loaded with heavy-duty nourishing ingredients, like almond, argan, grapeseed, and mongongo oils to restore moisture, soothe your scalp, and enhance shine. Bonus points for the lovely, fruit smell and sulfate-free formula. 04
The Best Exfoliating Shampoo For Scalp Psoriasis
Scalp psoriasis can cause flaking, scaling, and irritation, so
Nizoral's medicated two-in-one shampoo and conditioner relies on the exfoliating power of salicylic acid to refresh your scalp and relieve uncomfortable symptoms. Since it works to break down and lift away scales and reduce itching, it's a great choice for people with dandruff as well. In addition to salicylic acid, it contains tree oil oil, green tea, and vitamins E and C to further clean, condition, and clarify your hair. 05
Another Great Exfoliating Shampoo To Consider
Here's one more
exfoliating shampoo for you to consider, from salon-favorite brand Chi. It contains all sorts of refreshing, scalp-soothing botanicals, like peppermint, nettle extract, chamomile, sage, lavender, and rosemary, plus some gentle exfoliators to remove buildup. This is a really solid-quality shampoo for the price that should work nicely for most hair types. It's sulfate-free, to boot.
Another way to (manually) exfoliate your scalp? This silicone
scalp brush, which can be used with or without your exfoliating shampoo of choice, in or out of the shower. Even if you're not dealing with excessive buildup or flaking (which this would be great for), massaging your scalp with one of these brushes feels amazing, so it's worth buying one regardless. Keep this one hand for at-home spa days.