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The 5 Best Scalp Masks

Unlike the majority of hair masks on the market, most scalp masks focus less on hair and more on skin, though it's important to remember that the two are inherently related. So naturally, choosing the best scalp mask for you will depend on two things: your skin type, and the hair-related concerns you're dealing with.

For example, if you're prone to dry hair or a dry scalp, choose a deeply nourishing mask that provides plenty of moisture. If you have dandruff that causes itching or flaking, there are medicated scalp treatments with antibacterial ingredients that may be able help ease these symptoms. There are even refreshing scalp masks that remove product buildup, kind of similar to how a clarifying shampoo works.

For the ultimate scalp "facial," precede your scalp mask with a scalp scrub or thorough shampooing session (consider picking up a scalp brush if you're extra fancy). Keep in mind, if you have eczema, psoriasis, or open cuts on your scalp, be sure to check with your doctor before using any new products.

To shop the best scalp treatments and masks, scroll on.

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1. The Best Clarifying Scalp Mask

Use Jupiter's foaming Purifying Mask once a week to give your scalp an overall refresh. It's made with mineral-rich volcanic ash to help absorb excess oil, argan oil for moisture, and glycolic and lactic acids to gently exfoliate your skin. Mint, sage, and other essential oils provide the refreshing, herbal fragrance.

This mask is free of sulfates, parabens, phthalates, and dyes, and can be used on all hair types. Also, bonus points to Jupiter for being a vegan and cruelty-free brand.

2. The Best Mask For Itchy Scalps

As its name implies, this hair and scalp treatment from John Paul Mitchell uses tea tree as its star ingredient. Tea tree is an oft-used product in hair and scalp products, as it's thought to have natural antibacterial properties, so it may be able to help treat dandruff and acne. One thing dozens of Amazon reviewers have reported is that it helps relieve itching. For example, one person commented, "My scalp has itched for years and I've tried everything anyone said might work. My scalp started feeling better with the first use of this product."

3. The Best Hair & Scalp Mask For Dry Hair

This is a highly moisturizing mask full of rich, nourishing ingredients, making it an excellent choice for anyone with a dry scalp or damaged hair. Made with nutrient-rich ingredients like coconut oil, shea butter, avocado, mango seed, and olive oil, it can be used in place of conditioner or left on overnight, depending on the level of dryness/damage you're dealing with. Like Jupiter, SheaMoisture is a vegan and PETA-certified cruelty-free brand.

4. The Best Dandruff-Fighting Mask

This Head and Shoulders scalp cream contains the antibacterial ingredient pyrithione zinc, which is commonly used in over-the-counter products to treat dandruff. Though pyrithione zinc is most frequently found in shampoos, this scalp cream is designed as a leave-in treatment for in-between wash days to help alleviate dandruff symptoms and provide general moisture to dry scalps.

5. The Best Luxury Scalp Mask

For an option that feels (and smells) totally luxurious, splurge on this hair and scalp mask from pro-favorite brand ELEMIS. Using a blend of rich, plant-based oils, it helps nourish and hydrate dry hair, while pink clay offers scalp-decongesting benefits. Other key ingredients in here include the extracts from several tropical plants, like hibiscus, frangipani, monoi, and kau pe flower.

Also Consider

For a simple, straightforward approach to scalp nourishment, pour some straight-up castor oil on your head. (This one in particular has been certified-organic by the USDA.) Note that while there currently aren't any studies showing that castor oil makes hair grow faster or thicker, it can, however, make your hair feel a lot shinier and softer, though it's probably best reserved for people with dry, damaged, or curly hair; thin or fine hair types may find it too rich.

Since this is a super-thick oil, to most effectively apply it to your scalp, warm it up first by rubbing it between your palms. Leave it in for an hour before shampooing it out.