Just as skin exfoliation, scalp exfoliation should be part of your beauty routine. Indeed, exfoliating your scalp will help you regain its suppleness and shine. Therefore, it is important to make the right choice in terms of product and formulation. Discover the criteria to consider when acquiring your next hair exfoliant.
Which scalp exfoliator should you choose?
Criterion No. 1: The texture of the hair scrub.
Just like body or facial scrubs, hair scrubs come in various galenic forms. You can find them in the form of a exfoliating mask with a creamy or gel-like formula that is applied to the roots all over the scalp and in some cases to the lengths and ends, or as a scrubbing paste with a thick and melting texture composed equally of exfoliating agents and liquid agents, or as a exfoliating jelly with a fresh texture, or as an exfoliating shampoo to replace the one usually used, or even as a scrubbing cream.
Criterion No. 2: Physical exfoliation or chemical exfoliation?
Just like the body scrub, the one for the scalp can be of two types:
Mechanical or Physical: This type of exfoliating product is equipped with small granular particles, suited to the sensitivity of the scalp and the delicacy of the hair, which can be of natural origin such as jojoba beads, apricot kernels/ground plum, poppy seeds, crushed prickly pear seeds, moringa seeds, etc... or of mineral origin with for example silica powder, powdered clay, baking soda, etc... It works under the action of a massage with rotational movements using the fingertips. The exfoliating grains will then dislodge dead cells and other impurities on the scalp (dust, pollution particles, residues of hair products, etc...). The advantage of this type of exfoliant is that it does not require a waiting time to benefit from its action.
Chemical: Less abrasive than physical exfoliation, this method of exfoliation employs natural organic acids derived from fruits and other plants such as AHAs (glycolic acid, lactic acid, mandelic acid, etc...) or PHAs (gluconolactone) to dissolve dead skin by breaking the bonds between cells without the need for you to perform a massage to activate the benefits. However, a pause time of a few minutes, which can vary between 5 and 10 minutes, is necessary.
However, the mechanical action of grainy scrubs is often combined with a chemical action to accelerate the desquamation process. Regardless of the chosen scalp exfoliation, it should be carried out occasionally (once or twice a week) as its excessive use can have reverse effects on the hair, particularly stimulating the sebaceous glands, which then causes the scalp to quickly become greasy.
Criterion No. 3: Consult the list of ingredients.
Hair exfoliating products have two main effects: they stimulate blood flow to promote hair growth and, importantly, they remove dead skin, dandruff and other impurities. To fulfil this role, thescalp exfoliantsmust contain keratolytic agents, but also other ingredients, some of which can harm the environment:
Chelating Agents: They have the property of preventing metallic cations from binding to certain ingredients by forming a stable complex. If they are not neutralised, they could affect the stability, pH and/or appearance of the product. However, those of the EDTA type (Disodium EDTA, Tetrasodium EDTA, Trisodium EDTA) are non-biodegradable and are extremely polluting to nature, in addition to carrying heavy metals with them if they are not retained by wastewater treatment plants.
Exfoliating Agents: While the use of polyethylene microbeads in cosmetics has been banned since 1st January 2018 by European regulations, they can potentially be found in an exfoliating product purchased abroad. These are micronised spherical plastic particles composed of synthetic polymers. The problem? Even though they effectively exfoliate the skin through friction, they spread and pollute marine environments after the rinsing stage, in addition to being non-biodegradable polymers that take several years to degrade through oxidative pathways or photodegradation.
Film-forming Agents: Hair exfoliants typically contain a film-forming agent, such as acrylate copolymers, certain quaternary ammoniums, etc... Some studies have highlighted the environmental impact of these ingredients, particularly on the contamination of aquatic wildlife. Although most quaternary ammonium compounds are derived from plant extraction, some can be synthesised using tertiary amines, water, and ethylene oxide, a toxic, carcinogenic and mutagenic gas. Therefore, they are of particular concern from both an environmental and health perspective.
The hair exfoliant from Typology.
Typololy has developed a scalp scrub designed to purify, rebalance, soothe by reducing potential itching, and aerate the scalp. Indeed, it helps to dislodge dandruff, product residues, dead cells and all other impurities that stagnate on the scalp surface. This product offers a double exfoliation with silica powder (INCI: Hydrated Silica) and jojoba beads (INCI: Jojoba Esters) for a mechanical scrub, and gluconolactone for a chemical scrub.
Apart from exfoliating agents, the formula also contains aloe vera pulp , which gives it moisturising and soothing properties for the scalp. It is also formulated with essential oils, includingpeppermint essential oil to stimulate hair growth andeucalyptus globulus essential oil to soothe scalp irritations and limit the appearance of dandruff, while giving the treatment a subtle fresh and aromatic scent. Although the exfoliating gel is suitable for all scalp types, it is particularly suited to scalps with dandruff and oily hair. It is also highly sought after for curly hair. However, it should be avoided when the scalp is irritated with lesions (micro-cuts, pimples...), eczema, psoriasis, etc... so as not to risk further aggravating the situation.
Gentle reminder : Although it is considered a complementary treatment to shampooing, hair scrubbing (depending on the chosen form) does not replace regular hair washing.