The Best Scalp Massagers of 2023

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Healthy hair starts in the scalp icon-trusted-source International Journal of Trichology “Scalp Condition Impacts Hair Growth and Retention via Oxidative Stress” View Source . If you’re dealing with product buildup, dandruff, thinning hair, or hair loss, you may be thinking of employing something stronger than your own fingers to get your scalp clean. When a personal masseuse isn’t an option, a handheld scalp massager serves as a simple product that does the heavy lifting for you.

What separates a mediocre massager from a great one? I spent weeks finding out, reading up on the benefits of head massage, consulting experts, and dedicating my hair wash days to comparing various options on the market. The Vegamour GRO Scalp Massager emerged as my favorite based on its smooth silicone materials, ease of use, comfortable bristles, and well-positioned handle.

The best scalp massagers, ranked:

  1. Vegamour GRO Scalp Massager
  2. HEETA Hair Shampoo Brush
  3. MAXSOFT Hair Scalp Massager
  4. Ceremonia Scalp Masajeador
  5. Aveda Scalp Solutions Stimulating Scalp Massager
  6. Tangle Teezer Scalp Exfoliator & Massager Brush

The Best Scalp Massager

Vegamour GRO Scalp Massager

A comfortable scalp massager at a slightly elevated price

  • Materials: Silicone
  • Handle Type: Round
  • Bristles: Triangle
$18 at Sephora $18 at Vegamour
product image, white background
  • Comfortable handle
  • Wide bristles
  • Silicone material dries quickly
  • Works for many hair types
  • Pricier than others

Without question, the Vegamour GRO is the best scalp massager out there. Its handle is the perfect size for most hands, with an expandable wrap-around construction that makes it easy to hold while scrubbing. The silicone material is soft and easy to clean, and you can hang the Vegamour to dry on a hook. It also doesn’t have many nooks and crannies where hair products like shampoo can get stuck.

The Vegamour was also the most comfortable scalp massager I tested. Its bristles vary in size and are wider along the outside and thinner along the inside. Compared to the thin, sharp bristles of several other scalp massagers, the Vegamour’s triangle-shaped, wider, softer bristles were far more comfortable for my sensitive scalp. This wider style of bristle also prevents hair tangles: When you’re massaging shampoo into your head, it’s easy to create a bird’s nest effect on your head. But the Vegamour kept my hair tangle-free while working up a lather. The round shape covers a good amount of territory, too.

I found nothing to complain about with the Vegamour and quickly added it to my shower routine. It is about three times the price of other products I liked. But for just $18, I still think the extra quality is worth the spend.

Other Scalp Massagers To Consider

HEETA Hair Shampoo Brush

A decent scalp massager with a peg handle

  • Materials: Silicon and plastic
  • Handle Type: Peg
  • Bristles: Triangle
Check price on Amazon
product image, white background
  • Comfortable silicone bristles
  • Easy to clean
  • Budget price
  • Peg handle
  • Plastic material
  • Doesn’t hang dry

The HEETA Hair Shampoo Brush is a middle-of-the-pack scalp massager with a peg handle. The Vegamour’s wrap-around handle is far superior, but the HEETA’s peg handle is decent at keeping hold of the device while massaging, except when dealing with tangled hair. The body of the Heeta is plastic, which may break down more quickly and felt a bit cheaper than the Vegamour’s silicone. But the HEETA’s bristles are silicone and have the wide, triangle shape that I liked best in terms of comfort. These bristles also worked up a lather well. Each bristle is the same shape, and the HEETA has a smaller footprint than the Vegamour. It’s also budget priced. At about $7, it’s worth a try if you’ve never used a scalp massager before and want to give it a go.

The only true downside to the HEETA, other than the plastic body, is that you can’t easily hang it to dry. This means moisture might get trapped in the massager, which could lead to mildew over time.

MAXSOFT Hair Scalp Massager

Another decent scalp massager with comfortable bristles

  • Materials: Silicone and plastic
  • Handle Type: Peg
  • Bristles: Triangle
Check price on Amazon
product image, white background
  • Comfortable silicone bristles
  • Budget priced
  • Fun colors
  • Peg handle
  • Plastic material

The MAXSOFT Hair Scalp Massager is nearly identical to the HEETA in price and performance. It has the same circular design with a peg handle, plastic body, and triangle-shaped silicone bristles. All of these features work just as well in the MAXSOFT as they do in the HEETA. As with other massagers, the peg handle was a bit frustrating. If your hair gets tangled, the massager can get tugged out of your hand. Still, it did its job of working up a lather and giving me a nice head massage. And my toddler son liked its fun green color, compared to the black–and-white HEETA. 

Like the HEETA, the MAXSOFT doesn’t hang dry, which means it might break down more quickly due to product buildup and mildew. The plastic also feels far cheaper than the materials of the Vegamour.

What Does A Scalp Massager Actually Do?

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Leslie An for The Nessie

Scalp massagers are purported to help with many things—namely hair growth, exfoliating the scalp (sort of like a dry brush for your head), and eliminating dandruff. But as I worked on this guide, I kept wondering: What are the actual benefits of scalp massagers? Do I really need one?

Scalp massage does help to bring more blood and nutrients to the scalp, says David Kingsley, PhD, FWTS, a board-certified trichologist who studies the hair and scalp. Massaging your scalp also removes waste (like the buildup of hair products) and often feels great. There’s also some evidence icon-trusted-source ePlasty “Standardized Scalp Massage Results in Increased Hair Thickness by Inducing Stretching Forces to Dermal Papilla Cells in the Subcutaneous Tissue” View Source that regular scalp massage helps to increase hair thickness. (In this study, which had a very small sample size of nine men, participants used a scalp massager for four minutes each day, for 24 weeks!)

But, Kingsley says, the question of needing a scalp massager is an individual one. For many people, “scalp massagers can scratch the scalp, causing more problems than they’re helping.” However, Kingsley says that scalp massage may help to improve the absorption of ingredients in a topical treatment, like a scalp mask or Minoxidil (which is used to promote hair regrowth). 

Scalp massage often feels nice—and that goes a long way. A 2020 study icon-trusted-source Complementary Therapies in Medicine “The beneficial effects of therapeutic craniofacial massage on quality of life, mental health and menopausal symptoms and body image: A randomized controlled clinical trial” View Source found that women going through menopause experienced improved mental health, body image, and quality of life after undergoing craniofacial massage treatments for three weeks. Another 2016 study icon-trusted-source Journal of Physical Therapy Science “The effect of a scalp massage on stress hormone, blood pressure, and heart rate of healthy female” View Source done on “healthy” female office workers found that 15 to 25 minutes of scalp massage reduced blood pressure, heart rate, and stress hormones. A scalp massage performed by a person—especially a massage therapist—is arguably more comfortable than one you do yourself, with a hand-held brush, but the benefits are still there.

Long story short: most of us don’t need scalp massagers—unless you’re using a topical treatment for hair loss and you want to make sure it’s reaching your scalp effectively. Otherwise, buying a scalp massager—or getting a head massage—can be a great self-care choice. I mean, who doesn’t love a good head scratch?

Will Scalp Massagers Reduce Dandruff?

Scalp massagers are not necessary for treating dandruff. They can temporarily remove flaking, but they can also increase cellular production, which only makes dandruff worse icon-trusted-source Indian Journal of Dermatology “DANDRUFF: THE MOST COMMERCIALLY EXPLOITED SKIN DISEASE” View Source . Instead, Kingsley suggests treating dandruff by reducing the fats in your diet and using anti-dandruff shampoo on occasion.

Will Scalp Massagers Help Hair Grow Faster?

 A 2019 study icon-trusted-source Dermatology and Therapy “Self-Assessments of Standardized Scalp Massages for Androgenic Alopecia: Survey Results” View Source found that people with alopecia said that they experienced some hair regrowth after six months of massaging their scalps for 11-20 minutes per day. Still, hair loss should not be treated with a scalp massager alone, although the scalp massager will help to work any treatments into your scalp. Instead, Kingsley says, folks should opt for laser therapy, medication, or topical treatments. 

How To Use a Scalp Massager

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Leslie An for The Nessie

Scalp massagers give you a more effective way to exfoliate or massage your scalp—or to add topical medication to your scalp—compared to just using your hands. If you’re using a scalp massager in the shower, wet your hair and add shampoo. Then use the scalp massager for three to four minutes to work the product into your hair, using a circular motion to make gentle sweeps of the scalp. You can also use a scalp massager on dry hair if you just want the massage-like feel. No matter how you use it, be careful not to scratch your scalp by scrubbing too vigorously, as this may cause irritation.

Once you’ve finished, make sure to rinse the scalp massager (otherwise, the products you use can build up inside of it) and hang it to dry.

How We Found The Best Scalp Massagers

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Leslie An for The Nessie

Meet Your Guinea Pig

I’m Jenni Gritters, a freelance journalist who’s been writing product reviews, parenting content and more for over a decade. Before I started freelancing, I worked as a full-time editor at Wirecutter, where I reviewed and wrote about outdoor and travel products. Since then, I’ve worked on product-focused content for Reviewed, Slate, Wirecutter, Gear Patrol, REI and others. Most of my reviews these days are focused on health, the outdoors, and baby and kid gear.

Our Testing Process

For this guide, I spent several hours researching scalp massagers. I read reviews for dozens of options, dove into scalp massage studies, and chatted with Dr. David Kingsley, PhD, FWTS, to learn about healthy scalps.

Then I ordered six scalp massagers. I unboxed each, then used it in my normal hair care routine for about a month. I hung each to dry in the shower after using it to work shampoo into my scalp. Then, I handed them off to my toddler son and my husband for backup opinions on bristle types. After several weeks, I started coming back to the Vegamour massager, making it a clear top choice.

The Scalp Massager Buying Guide

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Leslie An for The Nessie

The main consideration when purchasing a scalp massager is: Does it actually work? Seems intuitive, but let’s not assume. Depending on what’s motivating your purchase (exfoliation and stimulation versus just massaging), the answer to that question will differ.

When you’re buying a scalp massager, you’ll want to keep the following in mind:

Bristles: The material and layout of the bristles define the effectiveness of the scalp massager. Options vary from thin and flexible silicone to sturdier and cone-like spikes. Personal preference plays a role here, as well as your hair type. If you have thick, coarse hair, the thin bristle options may get tangled before they can make it to the scalp. You’ll also want to consider your own level of scalp sensitivity: Can you tolerate a studier option, or do you need a gentler composition? During my testing, I found that I vastly preferred silicone, triangle-shaped bristles.

Waterproofness: In most cases, people use scalp massagers in the shower. They remain in the shower, too. That means their materials need to be able to withstand near-constant moisture. Massagers that have multiple pieces may not hold up well, as water can get inside the product and lead to mold or degradation. Massagers that have components made of wood (or a material that absorbs water instead of repelling it) may also break down quickly. In general, silicone or plastic massagers are the way to go.

Ease of Cleaning: Scalp massagers do the heavy lifting of exfoliating and cleansing. That means that they will accumulate a residue of whatever they remove from your scalp (or any treatments you add). That needs to be cleaned, too. If the bristles are arranged in such a way that makes it difficult to thoroughly clean, or there are crevices that trap water, that’s a pass.

Scalp Massagers You Can Skip

Ceremonia Scalp Masajeador

A smaller scalp massager that hangs to dry

  • Materials: Silicone and plastic
  • Handle Type: Peg
  • Bristles: Triangle
$16 at Ceremonia
product image, white background
  • Hangs to dry
  • Comfortable silicone bristles
  • Doesn’t dry quickly
  • Fewer bristles

This scalp massager is the only one with a string loop, which is great for allowing it to hang on a hook to support faster drying. But that same fabric loop also stays damp long after the massager itself dries, and I worried that it would become mildewy over time. Ceremonia’s bristles are perfectly suitable for most scalps, all of which are of the wider silicone variety that I liked. But the massager’s surface area is smaller than the Vegamour and has fewer bristles, which means less lather. It’s comfortable on the scalp and my hair didn’t tangle, but the Vegamour performs better (and costs just a couple of dollars more).

Aveda Scalp Solutions Stimulating Scalp Massager

A so-so scalp massager that tangles your hair

  • Materials: Plastic
  • Handle Type: Peg
  • Bristles: Thin, hairbrush-style
$32 at Aveda
product image, white background
  • Decently comfortable
  • Tough-to-hold-onto peg handle
  • Spikey bristles
  • Causes hair tangles

While this isn’t the worst of the bunch, Aveda’s peg handle was tough to hold onto. The thin, straight, hairbrush-style bristles felt fine, but they caught in my hair. When I used this option while shampooing, it produced less lather and more frustration compared to massagers with triangle-shaped, silicone bristles. Overall, I simply liked most of the other massagers on this list better.

Tangle Teezer Scalp Exfoliator & Massager Brush

My least favorite scalp massager

  • Materials: Plastic
  • Handle Type: Peg
  • Bristles: Thin, hairbrush-style
$10 on Ulta Check price on Amazon
product image, white background
  • Light weight
  • Thin, uncomfortable bristles
  • Non-functional handle
  • Tangles your hair

This scalp massager doesn’t have a handle. Instead, it’s meant to fit over your hand. But I have tiny hands, and it still didn’t fit over mine! It also has thin bristles, rather than the wider silicone triangle structure that I liked in my favorite scalp massagers. If you have thick, coarse hair, these bristles will be likely to tangle things up before they even get to your scalp. In general, I found the Tangle Teezer to be uncomfortable and rarely reached for it.

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Leslie An for The Nessie


  1. Regular scalp massage helps to increase hair thickness: “Standardized Scalp Massage Results in Increased Hair Thickness by Inducing Stretching Forces to Dermal Papilla Cells in the Subcutaneous Tissue,” ePlasty Journal (January 2016).
  2. People with alopecia said that they experienced some hair regrowth after 6 months of massaging their scalps: “Self-Assessments of Standardized Scalp Massages for Androgenic Alopecia: Survey Results,” Dermatology and Therapy Journal (January 2019).
  3. Scalp massages can help to lower stress hormones: “The effect of a scalp massage on stress hormone, blood pressure, and heart rate of healthy female,” Journal of Physical Therapy Science (October 2016).
  4. Scalp Massagers and hair growth: “Do Scalp Massages Really Make Your Hair Grow?GoodRX Health (October 2022).
  5. Interview with Dr. David H Kinglsey, PhD, FWTS, The Hair Society.
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