Looking through some middle school photos, I became confused. “Why is my hair wet?” My nostrils flared with the sinking realization that this photo was taken during my naive (and greasy) no-shampoo phase of adolescence. I’ve since learned how to properly wash my hair, but there are still factors out of my control: thick Eastern European hair, sweat, the never-ending flow of oil from my head pores. And yet, every hair care product seemed to want to add more. Perhaps it’s our collective wellness phase, our desire to detox and cleanse, but scalp cleansers are now hitting the shelves faster than you can try to hide second-day hair. Dedicated to de-gunking the scalp and cleaning hair at the root, Day One Greasers like me can finally rejoice - and take a better photo.
1. Christophe Robin Cleansing Purifying Scrub with Sea Salt
This is the first scalp cleanser I ever tried! Given my hair-story, I was a little concerned with the butteriness of the scrub base (which includes Sweet Almond Oil). However, the scrub immediately began to foam when I worked it into wet hair, prior to my regular shampoo. Sea salt helps to relieve the scalp of residue while plant extracts purify hair at the follicles. Hair is lighter (and smells like a salon) post-dry.
2. Ohii Deep Sea Scalp and Body Scrub
I’ll be honest, I was a little wary of Ohii’s jump onto the scalp cleanser bandwagon. But one whiff of their dual scalp and body scrub, which smells like heaven’s ocean, was enough to get me to try. The grains of sea salt are a little chunkier, though I find they cleanse a bit more thoroughly. Unlike Christophe Robin, there is no butter-base—no problem. The scrub will still foam and could truly be used alone, whereas I recommend a second shampooing after using Christophe Robin.
3. R + Co Acid Wash
Do NOT use this if you find yourself nostalgic for grease, flakes, or heaviness, because this formula—starring deep-cleaning Apple Cider Vinegar—will obliterate all three once and for all. We’re talking a whole new level of clean. Run a thin line of the wash down the middle of your hair pre-shampoo, then take a little and rub into your scalp’s greasy hotspots. Shampoo as usual, dry, listen to a podcast (My Favorite Murder or Nicole Byer’s Why Won’t You Date Me, preferrably), and suddenly realize that a weight has been lifted off your scalp that you didn’t know was there in the first place.
5. Amika Reset Pink Charcoal Scalp Cleanser
Though I haven’t tried this one personally, you guys can’t recommend this scalp cleanser enough. From the no-waste precision tip to the non-stripping formula, this product performs—and then some. This oil will not only rid your hair of built up product, but it will also restore volume and shine. Bonus: it’s a safe (and non-drying) choice for dry wintery scalps, too.