Hair » 7 DIY Scalp Scrubs for Every Hair Type to Make at Home

7 DIY Scalp Scrubs for Every Hair Type to Make at Home

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Does your scalp need a quick pick-me-up? If it’s been flakey and itchy, a DIY scalp scrub might be the best solution. It’ll help remove dead skin, alleviate irritation, and bring your scalp back to tip-top shape.

You can pick up a commercial scalp scrub, of course, but if you’re not in the mood to leave the house or wait for an online order to come to you, you can simply make your own. Scalp scrubs are surprisingly easy to make, and you can usually whip one up with ingredients you already have at home!

We’ve put together some simple yet effective recipes for scalp scrubs you can DIY easily, no matter your hair type or experience level.

In this article:

Know Before You Start

Making your own skin and hair care products can be a lot of fun, but there are also some important details to keep in mind.

Single-Use Batches

When you buy something at the store, you know it’s been made in a sterile environment with preservatives that prevent microbial growth. This is why you can keep shampoos and conditioners in the humid environment of your bathroom for weeks on end, without them ever growing bacteria. The same is not true for DIY scalp scrubs.

When you make your scalp scrub, don’t be tempted to double or triple the recipe. These quantities are for a one-off batch. Since you don’t need to exfoliate your scalp more than once a week (and even twice a month is usually enough), it’s best to just whip up a quick mixture anew every time.

Get Creative

All of these recipes are designed to help inspire you! Feel free to experiment by mixing and matching ingredients from different recipes. For example, if a recipe is too liquid, you can thicken it with honey. If you find that salt in one recipe doesn’t work as an exfoliant for you, you can replace it with sugar. You can also use different essential oils depending on your mood!

Lazy DIY Scalp Scrub

To start, here is a quick recipe for a semi-DIY scalp scrub. It’s not as natural or as homemade as the recipes that follow, but it’ll be easier to rinse out of your hair.


  • 1 tablespoon of your favorite shampoo
  • 1 tablespoon of sea salt for oily hair or 1 tablespoon of sugar for dry hair

Before getting in the shower, mix together the shampoo and salt or sugar in a plastic bowl. Instead of shampooing normally, massage this mixture into your scalp for a few moments, and then rinse it out. Follow it up with a hair conditioner.

How to Make Scalp Scrubs at Home

DIY Scalp Scrub for Dry Scalp

If you have a dry scalp, your DIY scrub can totally double as a nourishing, moisturizing treatment. It’ll get rid of the flaky dead skin while also helping to nourish and hydrate your scalp.


  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • ½ tablespoon of honey
  • ½ tablespoon of coconut oil

Mix all of these ingredients together, and then massage them into your scalp gently. Leave the mixture sitting on your hair for 5-10 minutes, and then rinse it out. Follow it up with shampoo and conditioner.  

Sea Salt Scalp Scrub for Oily Scalp

Oily scalps are very prone to flakiness and itchiness. Make this scrub to help eliminate that excess oil while also removing the dead skin. You can make an oil-free version with aloe vera instead of oil.


  • 1 tablespoon of grapeseed oil, argan oil, or another light, non-greasy oil (aloe vera can be used as an oil-free alternative)
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 5 drops of tea tree oil (optional, for some antimicrobial effects) 

Mix all of these ingredients together, and then massage them into your scalp gently. Leave the mixture sitting on your hair for 5 minutes, and then rinse it out. Follow it up with shampoo and conditioner.  

DIY Scalp Scrub for Dandruff

Dandruff is a complicated condition that may be caused by oily skin or might be a result of the Malassezia fungus. For some, an oil-based remedy with coconut oil will work well, but for those worried about feeding any yeast, here is a fungal-safe DIY scalp scrub for dandruff.


  • 1 tablespoon of aloe vera or squalane oil
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 5 drops of tea tree oil

Mix everything together and massage into your scalp. Leave it in for up to 15 minutes, and then rinse out with lukewarm water. Finish off with shampoo and conditioner.

DIY Scalp Scrub for Sensitive Scalp

This delicate recipe makes for a soothing DIY scalp scrub for itchiness and sensitivity that won’t irritate your skin. Finely milled sugar or rice powder offers a gentler alternative to abrasives with large pieces, while coconut oil has a soothing effect on the scalp.


  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon of finely-milled sugar or rice powder
  • Optional: A few drops of lavender essential oil

Mix the ingredients together, and gently massage them into your scalp. You can leave them on your scalp for a bit or rinse them away immediately. Follow with shampoo and conditioner to remove any residue.

Homemade Scalp Scrubs Recipes

DIY Scalp Scrub for Thinning Hair

While a scalp scrub is not as proven a solution for hair loss as medications like minoxidil or finasteride, it still might help. This DIY scrub for thinning hair is made with ingredients like caffeine-rich coffee grounds and stimulating essential oils that are believed to have some hair growth-boosting effects.


  • 1 tablespoon of coffee grounds
  • A bit of hot water
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
  • 1 drop each of thyme, rosemary, lavender, and cedarwood essential oils (you can omit any one of these if you don’t have it on hand, but use all of them for the best results)

First, mix the coffee grounds with hot water to extract the caffeine (the mixture should have a paste-like consistency). Let the mixture sit until the water cools. Then, add in the coconut oil and essential oils, and give it a mix. Massage the scrub close to the roots, and then let it sit for 15-30 minutes. Finally, hop in the shower to rinse it out, and then shampoo and condition your hair.

DIY Scalp Scrub with Apple Cider Vinegar

Because of its high level of acidity, apple cider vinegar (a.k.a. ACV) can help to balance the scalp’s pH. This is especially helpful if you need to clarify your scalp of hard water build-up, and it may also help with itchiness. 


  • 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • A few drops of essential oil of your choice to improve the scent

Mix all of these ingredients together, and massage them into your scalp. Leave it in for about 5 minutes, and then get in the shower. Rinse it out, and shampoo and condition afterward.

Photos via @makeup2themaxx, @dphue, Instagram