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woman with dark, blonde hair giving herself a scalp massage

How and Why You Should Give Yourself a Scalp Massage

November 19, 2020

4 Min read

What’s the best part of getting a haircut? Sure, leaving with a fresh ‘do is always a mood boost, not to mention the good hair day that comes with the salon experience, but for the most soothing, stress-melting moment, nothing beats a scalp massage during the shampoo. When expert hands knead away tension, those few minutes are bliss. Though it’s hard to recreate the full experience at home—those comfy wash chairs and an extra set of pro hands are key—you can learn how to give yourself a scalp massage to get the perks on non-salon days. And there are plenty!

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The benefits of a scalp massage

A scalp massage doesn’t just feel good—it also does good, with the scientific research to prove it. Regular scalp massages give hair a natural growth boost. Most people’s hair grows between half an inch to one inch every month, but when you add regular scalp massages, that can help increase monthly growth. That’s because a good scalp massage stimulates blood circulation and oxygen to their hair follicle, helping to deliver more nutrients to the root to help bolster hair growth. That makes scalp massages especially beneficial to those with thinning hair or hair loss. In fact, scalp massage can also help hair grow thicker. According to a study published in the journal Eplasty, after study participants used a scalp massage device for four minutes a day for 24 weeks, the increase of blood flow to their scalp and hair follicles improved the thickness of their hair, signaling that regular scalp massage might also leave locks stronger and shinier. 

Just like getting a regular massage, a scalp massage has mental health perks as well. It can help lower blood pressure, heart rate and stress hormone levels, as well as reduce headaches and migraines. Plus, you don’t need a study to tell you that it’s simply relaxing. That’s what makes it an important part of a self-care routine.

How often should you do a scalp massage?

Generally speaking, the more often you can give yourself a scalp massage, the better. Make it work for your schedule, whether that’s every time you wash your hair in the shower or when you’re watching TV. A few minutes every day will deliver magic, but doing it a few times a week still delivers results, too.

What is the best way to give yourself a scalp massage?

A great time to give yourself a scalp massage is before you shampoo. To give the experience extra oomph, use a hair oil, such as the Prose custom hair oil, which is a completely natural, lightweight blend that’s customized for everyone’s individual needs and hair goals. A hair oil will help you get your scalp and strands squeaky clean, since oil attracts oil, so it’ll help lift grease and sweat. A win win.

Though a scalp massage can be done on wet or dry hair, having wet hair makes it easier for your hands to glide around your scalp. Make sure your hair is loose to be able to reach all of your scalp, so remove all pins, scrunchies, headbands and accessories. Begin at the sides of your head, first massaging your temples, and always going in small circular motions. As you apply pressure and massage, you can pull the skin of your scalp up gently with your thumbs. Then work your way around your head to ensure that you won’t miss a spot, which is easy to do when you can’t see the back of your head. Taking your time and moving slowly helps ensure that won’t happen, and focus on one section one at a time. Whatever you do, don’t use your nails. Though it might feel good at first, any bacteria or dirt under your nails can be left on a scratched scalp, potentially leading to an infection. Only use the pads of your fingertips instead, but you can apply more pressure to go deeper and ease tension.

You can give a little extra love to the places where your scalp sweats the most, such as the temples and back of the head where the skull meets the base of the neck, or the hairline, where you can get buildup from hair products and makeup. If you’re doing a massage in the shower with shampoo, this will help it penetrate more deeply for a better clean.


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Celia Shatzman is a Brooklyn-based writer who has penned stories on topics ranging from beauty to fashion, travel, celebrities, entertainment and more. A graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, her work has appeared in Cosmopolitan, Forbes, Women’s Health, Marie Claire, New York,, and NYLON, among others. When she’s not writing, Celia enjoys traveling, learning to play tennis, and playing with her rescue dog, Watson. Check out her site at and follow her on Instagram (@celiashatzman).

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