Scalp Care Is the Self-Care Step You Might Be Missing—These 8 Budget-Friendly Products Will Change That
If your definition of self care is giving yourself the best hair day ever, well, same. But before you plug in your hot tools and consult TikTok for the latest confidence-boosting tress trends, there's a simple step your daily feel-good routine might be missing.
We’re talking about scalp care (which, btw, is really just skin care for the top of your head). It’s easy to forget what’s under your beloved bedhead, but the benefits of scalp treatment are too major to pass up—and that’s why the experts think it deserves more of your attention.
“Applying skin-care ingredients and technology to scalp care is a trend that has been getting more popular over the past few years,” says board-certified dermatologist Hadley King, MD, FAAD. “It makes sense because the scalp, although specialized, is skin. And a healthy scalp can contribute to the growth of healthy hair, [which] can be an important part of our self expression, self image, and self esteem.”
Ready to give it a try, but not sure how to get started? We’ve narrowed Dr. King's insights on scalp treatment down to eight budget-friendly essentials—and you can snag them all (and save on tons more beauty and wellness finds) at Walmart’s Beauty Glow-Up Event, online and in-store through April 21. It’s a clear scalp, full cart, can’t lose kind of thing.
To cleanse your scalp and protect your hair shaft, make high-quality shampoo a mainstay in your shower caddy, Dr. King says. Massage your head (boosted circulation and energy flow, check) with a dollop of this minty-fresh lather, which helps reduce product residue and clear away scalp oils.
Quick reminder: You probably don’t need to shampoo your hair every day. Dr. King recommends swapping in a gentle exfoliant every so often to help remove buildup of dead skin cells and hair products. This fragrance-free scrub gives your scalp comfort and conditioning while maintaining its pH balance.
If fragrance-free isn’t your thing, and you want more of that tingly-cool feeling, opt for this scrub. Begin with a damp scalp and gradually add water as you massage and lather up. Then mentally drift to the spa on notes of natural ingredients like sea salt, eucalyptus, peppermint, and avocado.
After cleansing and exfoliating, hydrating is up next. Hair masks are designed to condition and restore your skin’s natural protective barrier—and ingredients like zinc can help nourish a dry scalp, Dr. King says. Coat your roots and leave in for up to 20 minutes (read: just enough time for a little self-care stretch sesh).
Remember that whole best-hair-day-ever thing? Serums are key for addressing specific concerns like hair growth and volume, Dr. King says. This formula helps balance, exfoliate, and hydrate your scalp—and yes, applying it is another opportunity for a salon-worthy massage.
Apply a few drops of this energizing tonic to your scalp—either damp or dry—to give your roots a little boost. Scalp-supportive ingredients like micro algae, kakadu plum extract, and caffeine help reinvigorate your skin for a stronger, fuller head of hair.
For deep conditioning without oily buildup, and to strengthen damaged hair, Dr. King recommends a scalp spray. This lightweight option is formulated specifically to protect braids (plus twists and other styles) while they’re in and during take-down.
Or, opt for this foam protectant, formulated with the same moisturizing and nourishing ingredients, to repair breakage, smooth flyaways, and help retain length. Now that’s a good-hair, self-care day.
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