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Hair Experts’ Guide to Scalp Massages for Hair Growth

If you ever wondered why some people have healthy hair growth, it may have something to do with their genes, the hair products they use, or the food they eat. But there is another way to promote healthy hair growth and that is scalp massages.

It is similar to body massages but instead of addressing joint pains and sore muscles, scalp massages can help stimulate hair follicles, which are responsible for hair growth. 

It may sound too good to be true but there are different studies to back this up. In this article, you will learn more about scalp massages and their different benefits to scalp health.

What is a scalp massage?

Unlike body and neck massages, a scalp massage targets the hair follicles by gently running the fingertips on the scalp. Normally, a scalp massage only involves fingertips but some people would add oil to massage it into the scalp.

Others would also use a scalp massaging device that likens to the motions and pressure of the fingertips.

Scalp massages can also help with headaches and stress because they help lower stress hormones such as cortisol, according to a study. Scalp massages are also an effective stress reducer and can relieve migraines. If you feel tension within the head and neck, scalp massages may also address these issues.

How can scalp massage help with hair growth?

Apart from helping with headaches, massaging one’s scalp can help lower heart rate and blood pressure, which can address the stress that usually causes hair loss.

Massaging the scalp can also help increase blood flow, which helps feed and boost the hair follicles. With this, hair will grow at a faster rate and avoid hair loss. Scalp massages also increase hair thickness because it helps stretch the cells of hair follicles.

One study was able to prove this after analyzing scalp massages in healthy Japanese men. It found that constant scalp massage helped increase their hair thickness.

Scalp massages may also work with people suffering from hair loss. In a study, people who are self-assessed alopecia sufferers reported enhanced hair changes due to increased minutes of massaging the scalp.

Apart from this, scalp massages can also promote a healthy scalp through exfoliation and cleansing. By massaging the hair follicles, it will help dislodge dead skin cells, dandruff, flaky skin, and excess sebum. This process often involves a scalp massaging tool, which will help exfoliate the scalp regularly and promote hair health.

How do you massage your scalp properly?

There are many ways to do a scalp massage to promote hair growth. The simplest and easiest way is the traditional scalp massage. It can also be done with dry and wet hair.

PowerYourCurls dermatologist Dr. Hamdan Abdullah Hamed said traditional scalp massage uses the fingertips of both hands to lightly press on the scalp and form small circles. You can do this technique for over 5 minutes at a time and several times every day. Other licensed massage therapists can provide this type of massage.

“Make sure to massage all scalp areas to ensure that all parts of hair follicles are stimulated and that the tresses are conditioned,” advised Dr. Hamed.

Dr. Hamed also warned not to use fingernails when massaging the scalp to avoid scratching the scalp and forming minor wounds. 

“This can also negatively affect hair follicles, which will impede your hair growth,” explained Dr. Hamed. 

Another method is doing the traditional scalp massage while showering. This will involve massaging hair products into the scalp for about five minutes to lock in moisture, remove excess oil, and promote hair growth and thickness. After this, rinse the hair. 

The third method is massaging with essential hair oils. Some common carrier massage oils are jojoba oil, olive oil, or sweet almond oil, which can be mixed with oils such as peppermint, tea tree, and rosemary oil. You can try Aunt Jackie’s Curls & Coils Elixir Essentials Hair And Scalp Oil: Collagen, Tea Tree Oil, & Eucalyptus, Aunt Jackie’s Elixir Essentials Hair and Scalp Oil Enriched with Biotin, Rosemary, & Mint, and Moisture Miracle: Castor, Grapeseed, Argan, Coconuts &Olive 5 Essential Oils.

Dr. Hamed said an example of hair oil scalp massage involves 1 to 2 drops of peppermint oil with 1 tablespoon of carrier oil. Before this, do a patch test to prevent allergic reactions. If there are no side effects, apply the mixture to the scalp and use fingertips or a scalp massager to apply the oils evenly to the scalp. 

Another scalp massage technique is through the use of brushes. Although fingertips are just as fine to use for scalp massage, scalp massaging tools can also work. For example, Silicone Massage Brush 13  can be beneficial for scalp massages because it is in the form of a brush and is light and handheld.

PowerYourCurls hairstylist Gwenda Harmon said scalp massagers have different benefits such as improving hair product distribution into the scalp, detangling hair, and offering more flexibility.

“It is also worth investing in scalp massagers because they can help remove debris and dandruff before showering. They can also promote better absorption of hair products. They also offer deep cleanse treatment while showering,” said Harmon.

Harmon also recommended scalp massage during the application of a hair mask. You can get hair masks through DIY or buy products online such as Curls The Green Collection Sea Kelp & Cucumber Hair Mask.

To do this, begin by washing the hair before applying the mask to ensure even distribution and improved absorption of the hair mask nutrients. Next, slowly detangle hair using a wide-tooth comb or simply the fingers before applying the mask. While doing this, do a gentle massage into the scalp to stimulate hair growth and blood circulation.

Afterwards, cover your hair with a shower cap or plastic wrap to lock in moisture and heat, which will allow nutrients to penetrate the scalp. Leave the mask on for 20 to 30 minutes. 

Finally, rinse the mask with cool water to remove all residue.

How often should I massage my scalp for hair growth?

To enhance hair growth and thickness, Dr. Hamed recommends massaging the scalp using your fingertips about two times each day. This will help stimulate the blood flow of hair follicles, encouraging hair growth.

If you are looking to relieve stress, scalp massages can be done whenever needed. It can be massaged for about five minutes. Ensure that all areas are being massaged.

How long will my hair grow if I massage it every day?

A study found that if you massage the scalp for 11 to 20 minutes for about six months will stabilise hair loss and promote regrowth.

Although the study is limited, there are still other ways to promote hair growth aside from scalp massage.

Dr. Hamed said topical hair loss medicines may help such as finasteride and minoxidil. Finasteride can help block DHT hormone, which is a male hormone that blocks hair follicles from producing hair. Minoxidil, meanwhile, helps improve blood flow to the scalp, resulting in hair regrowth.

Volumizing shampoos and conditioners can also help, said Dr. Hamed. These will strengthen hair while boosting hair volume at the roots, which will produce fuller and nourished hair.

Dr Hamdan Hamed Abdullah

Dr Hamdan Hamed Abdullah

Dr. Hamdan Abdullah Hamed MBChB, co-founder of, is a UAE-based board-certified dermatologist. Committed to natural hair care, he's been quoted in MSN, Yahoo, The Mirror UK, Daily Mail UK, Chronicle Live, Gulf News, among others. He specializes in natural hair care, supporting individuals with a range of hair textures to achieve their hair goals