Woman using Arey exfoliating scalp scrub

Why a Scalp Scrub Should Be Part of Your Hair Care Routine

Is Your Bad Hair Day Actually a Bad Scalp Day?

It can be frustrating. Your shower shelf is packed with products promising you the best hair day ever – but they just aren’t delivering. You feel like you do so much for your hair - couldn’t it be more grateful? 

If you’re experiencing dull hair, an itchy or flaky scalp, flat oily roots and dry ends, it’s time to stop blaming your hair and start thinking about your scalp. 

Your scalp is an extension of your facial skin. Your face and scalp self-moisturize by producing oils (sebum) and self-renew by shedding old skin cells. When old skin and sebum build up on the scalp and face, they can cause clogged pores, oiliness and bacterial infections.

Ask any dermatologist – exfoliating your facial skin is the best way to remove buildup and keep it fresh and healthy. It’s the same for your scalp.1


You Probably Use an Exfoliator for Your Face, How About a Scalp Scrub for Your Hair?

As a stylist I know that even the cleanest hair can be hiding scalp buildup. My beef with buildup is that it reduces the effectiveness of your skin and haircare products. 

My clients often think they are having hair issues when they are actually having scalp issues. As a hair care expert, I know that healthy hair begins with a healthy scalp. In the salon I (literally) see right to the roots of the problem – a waxy buildup around the hair follicles.

Sounds gross right? I always remind my clients that buildup is a result of a healthy natural process. Truly, that gunk on your head is nothing to be ashamed of. We all have it.

At Arey we want you to get the best results from our science-backed anti-aging haircare products. When your scalp is clean and exfoliated it more easily absorbs the active ingredients in our products. That’s why we added Scrub – a buildup-busting scalp scrub – to our haircare system. 


What Is Scalp Buildup and How Does It Damage Your Hair? 

Buildup is when you have a layer of product residue, dead skin cells, and excess oil on your scalp. Left untreated, buildup can clog your hair follicles and lead to scalp and hair issues such as dandruff, itching, hair loss, and thinning.1

Have you ever scratched your scalp and noticed white, waxy stuff under your nails? That’s scalp buildup. The main causes of buildup are: 

      • Product buildup: hair products can leave a residue on the scalp that accumulates over time, leading to buildup.

      • Dead skin cells: healthy skin is constantly dying and regrowing. If dead cells don’t shed fast enough they can clump and cause flaking.

      • Sebum: a waxy oil that protects your skin from infection and keeps it moist. Sun exposure and greasy food can result in buildup from excess sebum. 

      • Sweat: exercise, hats, heat and hot weather causes your scalp to sweat which adds to your scalp buildup. A sweaty scalp can cause greasy hair and an unpleasant odor.

    I get it. It can be really challenging to find the right balance between clean and too clean in your hair care routine. A healthy amount of sebum is necessary to keep your hair and scalp healthy, but too much leads to buildup and irritation. 

    At Arey, that’s why we turn to science for the answers.  


    ​​Healthy Hair Starts at the Scalp: Tips for a Balanced Hair Care Routine

    You need a hair care routine that takes care of both your hair and your scalp.2 At Arey we believe in products that work with your body to clean and refresh your scalp without stripping the natural oils completely. 

    Here are some things I tell clients that they can easily do to keep both their hair and scalp healthy: 

    Avoid overcleansing: always use a gentle shampoo that cleans and balances your hair and scalp.

    Protect your hair from drying out: avoid harsh chemical straighteners. 

    Towel dry, and repeat: wet hair provides the ideal environment for bad bacteria to grow on your scalp. Use a microfiber towel to remove excess water from your hair to reduce the time your scalp stays soaking wet.

    Clip up your wet hair: Clipping your hair high on your head as it dries protects the back of your scalp from staying wet too long. After 10 minutes, you can release your hair and allow the ends to dry naturally. 

    Wash your hair regularly: don’t drag out the time between washes.

    Avoid greasy foods: fried and fast food can also contribute to scalp buildup.

    Shampoo after each workout: sweat contributes to scalp buildup if you let it sit. 

    Use fewer & cleaner hair products: less is more and ingredients matter. Use clean products and not too much of them. Use conditioner on the ends, not your roots.  

    Use a scalp scrub: a healthy scalp means healthier hair. Regular exfoliation also allows the scalp and follicle to benefit from topical treatments.


    A Clean and Healthy Scalp is All About Balance 

    You don’t want to wash away too much sebum. Your scalp needs oils to defend itself against environmental factors like sunshine, pollution and chemicals.

    Harsh cleansing can also lead to a change in the scalp’s natural Ph and cause an overgrowth of bad bacteria. 


    What's the Difference Between a Clarifying Shampoo and a Scalp Scrub?

    If you are using a clarifying shampoo you might think you've also got your scalp covered. 

    But when it comes to your scalp health, a clarifying shampoo is not the same as a scalp scrub. Clarifying shampoo focuses on removing styling product buildup from your hair, while a scalp scrub exfoliates and detoxes your scalp.

    At Arey we don’t even make a clarifying shampoo because you don’t need it if you are using our clean, wax and silicone-free hair care products

    A scalp scrub goes beyond regular shampoos to remove sebum and dead skin cells.3 Exfoliating your scalp is an effective way to: 

        • Remove product buildup to reduce scalp irritation.
        • Stimulate hair follicles to promote healthy hair growth.
        • Reduce excessive oiliness by removing pore-clogging debris.
        • Clear flakes by rinsing away dead skin cells.
        • Unclog hair follicles to encourage thicker hair strands.

    When you have a clean, exfoliated scalp, you can expect thicker, healthier, hair. 

    According to hair care professionals, your scalp exfoliation routine depends on your lifestyle and hair type. Beginners might want to start exfoliating every other week. If that isn’t getting you the results you want, try once a week.  

    A deep cleanse provides a healthy environment for new hair to grow by cleaning out anything that might be clogging or blocking the follicles.3 


    Before and after images of a scalp that has been exfoliated with Arey scalp scrub


    Introducing Scrub – Arey’s New Triple-Action Scalp Exfoliator

    We wanted to create a gentle effective scalp scrub that creates the optimum conditions for healthy hair growth. We came up with Scrub – an exfoliant that also delivers our powerful antioxidant and peptide cocktail directly to your hair follicles.

    Haircare experts agree that the best exfoliants should contain ingredients that aid in cell turnover, reduce inflammation, and have antimicrobial and antifungal4 properties. Check. 

    We decided to add a third benefit – to use Scrub as a delivery system for our signature cocktail of clinically effective peptides and antioxidants. These ingredients are at the core of all our products: 

    Peptides – Peptides increase the diameter and elasticity of individual hairs and encourage healthy growth. They also reduce splitting and breakage.5

    Antioxidants – molecules that protect your hair from cellular and environmental damage. Research shows they protect and even repigment hair color.6

    The result – a triple-action approach that effectively removes buildup and delivers powerful anti-aging benefits.

    Here’s how Scrub works:

    • Step 1: chemical exfoliants Salicylic, Glycolic and Lactic Acid go to work to gently dissolve dead skin cells and sebum.  

    • Step 2: a physical exfoliation agent made from volcanic rock works to shift debris and unclog pores. We use Perlite – an environmentally friendly alternative to polymer microbeads used in facial and body scrubs.

    • Step 3: your pores are now unclogged and ready to absorb our patent-pending combination of antioxidants and clinically effective peptides. These work their way into the hair follicles to preserve and re-pigment grey hair.

    Arey’s commitment to clean means that Scrub is free of sulfates, parabens, phthalates, polyethylene glycol, formaldehyde and dyes. We added in our signature natural cedar and sage fragrance to add a spa-like experience to your hair care routine.


    Image of Scrub, a scalp scrub by Arey


    How to Use Arey’s Scrub in Your Hair Care Routine

    Because Arey’s Scrub is so gentle, it’s perfect for those in-between shampoo days. 

    Overcleansing is never a good idea, so no need to shampoo first. Reach for Scrub if your hair feels clean but you want your scalp and roots to get some attention.  

    • On days you want a deeper clean apply Scrub to dry hair before showering.
    • If you have a sensitive scalpor want to use Scrub more frequently – wet your hair before applying.

    • We recommend you leave Scrub on your scalp for 3-5 minutesenough time for the exfoliants to do their magic, and for the best absorption of the active ingredients. It’s also about how long it takes to sing your favorite shower song. 🎶 

    • For a scalp massage experienceuse our wide tooth comb to gently work the product into your hair. 
    • Rinse thoroughly with lukewarm waterno need to condition your hair afterwards, but go ahead if you feel you need to. We recommend maintaining your hair and scalp health with our Wash & Smooth Shower Duo.

    Congratulations – you just made your scalp’s day. 


    Discover the Benefits of Science-Based Solutions for Grey Hair  

    At Arey, we care about your hair health. That’s what motivates us to create innovative science-backed products to slow the signs of aging hair and improve hair health. We want to make it easy for you to do the right thing for your hair. 

    Aging is beautiful – but if your greys are growing faster than you wish, we are here for you with science-based, effective solutions. We want you to feel happy and confident with your hair. Have questions? Say hey@areygrey.com.

    We are Arey.


    Jay Small, Stylist and co-founder of Arey, cuts a client’s hair

    AuthorJay SmallJay Small is a sought-after hair stylist and Trichologist in Los Angeles with over 22 years of experience. His clients consist of high-profile business and creative leaders. He trained as an apprentice to the owner of Paul Mitchell and worked in education and product development for Paul Mitchell Systems. Jay is incredibly passionate about the creative process both in terms of styling hair and developing effective products.


    1. Your Guide To Proper Scalp Exfolation - Advanced Dermatology & Skin Cancer Associates
    2. What Causes Scalp Buildup And How Can I Treat It?
    3. Why You Should Exfoliate Your Scalp, According to Experts
    4. Your Guide To Proper Scalp Exfolation - Advanced Dermatology & Skin Cancer Associates
    5. Best Peptide Hair Serums For Hair Growth
    6. Trüeb RM. Oxidative stress in aging of hair. Int J Trichology. 2009 Jan;1(1):6-14. doi: 10.4103/0974-7753.51923. PMID: 20805969; PMCID: PMC2929555.