Tried and tested

Cult Beauty Edit: The best scalp treatments for healthy hair

Hands up who else thought covid-19-induced quarantine and government-imposed lockdown would mean better skin (sans make up) and better {hair} (sans heat styling)? Us too! Fast forward to month three of lockdown and the emergence of more and more beauty addicts moaning to their friends and family on WhatsApp about how their {scalp} has gotten itchier, greasier and flakier. Annoying right?

Well, while you might be experiencing has been affectionately termed as “quarantine scalp”, there are a few pretty simple reasons as to why this might be happening. From ditching your usual hair washing routine in favour for the easier (and in our case, the lazier) option of dry shampoo, to those lucky enough to have a sun-soaked garden to work from 9-5, our scalps are taking a beating!

Plus, when we’re under significant stress, the body’s natural defences are weakened against naturally-existing microbes in the scalp which can lead to dryness and flakiness. On top of this, our cortisol levels also spike, which can trigger the body to create excess sebum (aka oil) resulting in greasier roots than normal.

Is it all starting to make sense now? Well, now you know some of the reasons why your scalp is imbalanced, here’s our favourite scalp products and treatments to help treat itchiness, dryness, flakiness and oiliness – whether that’s from quarantine scalp or on-going scalp issues you need addressing…


{Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal + Tea Tree Cooling Hydration Scalp Mask for Dry, Itchy Scalp}

Need a hand clearing your headspace? Diminish the itch with Briogeo’s Scalp Revival Charcoal + Tea Tree Cooling Hydration Scalp Mask for Dry, Itchy Scalp – a soothing solution for those prone to flakes, irritation or troublesome dryness (“Bye, dandruff!”). With its refreshing blend of tea tree, peppermint and spearmint oils to instantly invigorate and soothe a scaly scalp, this is perfect for leaving your head feeling ‘zen’ when it’s having a tantrum.

{BeautyBio Healthy Scalp Serum}

Formulated with 5.5% proprietary FolliGRO Complex – a nutrient-rich cocktail of loquat leaf, rosebay extract, larch tree, camellia leaf extract and zinc – this serum gets right to the root of your worries. Clinically proven to improve hair density, dissolve damaging build-up, inihibit itchiness and regulate oil production, this featherlight formula works in conjunction with the GloPRO Scalp Attachment – penetrating ‘micro channels’ made by microneedling to counteract scales from the get-go while visibly thickening hair in as little as 60 days’ time.

{Sunday Riley’s Clean Rinse Clarifying Scalp Serum}

This rinse-off serum is powered by a cocktail of ingredients fit for your most high-performing skin care — your scalp and strands deserve it! It has a blend of glycolic and salicylic acids that exfoliates the surface of your scalp, capturing product build-up and dissolving excess sebum. Rose clay and witch hazel work to gently extract impurities and residue, while zinc PCA helps to regulate both oily and dry scalps. All of this clarifying action is then balanced by essential fatty acids (in the form of vitamin F) and jasmine essential oil to rehydrate and soothe, plus niacinamide to encourage healthy hair growth and a vitamin B complex to promote healthy-looking tresses and scalp. *flips hair*

{Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Happi Scalp Scrub}

Blended with glycolic, tartaric, lactic and citric acids to dissolve dead cells and build-up as well as marula, mongongo, baobab seed and passionfruit oils to moisturise, nourish, rejuvenate and soothe, this multi-tasking marvel will revive scalp health for a happier head of hair. Plus, this scrub has been specifically designed to work its magic within a short period of time (5 – 10 minutes to be exact). After 10 minutes, simply massage the cellulose beads through and rinse. Et voila!

{Davines Solu Sea Salt Scrub Cleanser}

Crafted from all-natural ingredients, this scrub provides a deep yet delicate cleanse, gently removing impurities and build-up to leave you with an unbeatably clean result. Ideal for city dwellers, it also removes pollution particles to help city-proof your mane. Regular use has a texturising effect, minimising signs of hair ageing, maintaining cleanliness and boosting the volume of hair right from the root. Enriched with sea salt, beet sugar extract and jojoba scrubbing beads, it’s a natural wonder that will swiftly boost your hair health.


{OUAI Haircare Scalp & Body Scrub}

Deep cleansing and gently foaming, the scrub is powered by gently exfoliating sugar crystals which cleanse and soften skin and scalp, alongside a dose of probiotics, which leave your skin’s natural defences on high alert, and conditioning coconut oil to replenish moisture. For even deeper scalp cleansing, Jen Atkin’s top tip is to add a small amount of your favourite OUAI shampoo to this superb scrub.

{goop G.Tox Himalayan Salt Scalp Scrub Shampoo}

This whipped texture shampoo is enriched with exfoliating mineral-rich Himalayan pink salt, nourishing cold-pressed moringa oil, and pure unfiltered rosehip oil, which work together to purify and detoxify, cleansing away dead skin cells and clearing product build-up. Also removing dirt and excess oil, this luscious formula will leave your scalp and hair clean and refreshed, while the gorgeous scent of rosemary, geranium, orange, and peppermint will linger subtly in your hair.

{THE INKEY LIST Hair care}

THE INKEY LIST’s all-new hair care range features a multitude of treatments to cater to your specific needs. From their {Salicylic Acid Exfoliating Scalp Treatment} to the {Amino Acid Anti Gray Scalp Treatment}, this innovative and purse-friendly range of heroes will have a results-driven formula just for you!

{Dr. Barbara Sturm Scalp Serum}

Brimming with water-retaining hyaluronic acid – shown to attract and hold up to 1000 times’ its molecular weight in water – this silky elixir is also abundant in resurfacing papaya extracts to gently dissolve the dead cells and the build-up that compromise bounce and contribute to dandruff. The addition of ATP – adenosine triphosphate – brings a spectrum of soothing and balancing benefits, helping scalp’s natural flora and fauna to thrive so your tête is contented.

{Living Proof Restore Dry Scalp Treatment}

This potent formula that is incredibly gentle is not only fast-absorbing and ultra-lightweight, it also soothes and relieves dry scalps thanks to the combination of a hyaluronic acid-based molecular patch that delivers instant soothing and sustained hydration to the scalp as well as a vitamin B3-based microbiome balancing complex that rebalances your scalp’s natural ecosystem for lasting relief. Simply use this three times a week to see long-lasting results within a month.


Emmie Thornhill

Emmie Thornhill

Deputy Content Editor

Emmie is Cult Beauty’s Deputy Content Editor. Her love of skin care began in primary school when she first learned the term “hormonal acne” and has been in a love-hate relationship with tea tree oil ever since. She lives in East London – where you can normally find her baking, tending to her plant jungle or planning her next tattoo or hair cut/colour appointment – and is known to start DMCs with you about your birth chart placements, the importance of wearing SPF every day and the difference between a vagina and vulva.