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Are You Exfoliating Your Scalp?

Is your scalp feeling itchy due to scalp buildup, dandruff, or grease? Apply an easy DIY scalp scrub to clean scalp build and promote hair growth.

If you ask any beauty maven if she exfoliates, she’ll likely respond that she exfoliates her feet, knees, elbows, lips, or face.

It’s common knowledge exfoliation removes dead skin cells and promotes cell turnover – regardless of where it occurs. That’s why I make scrubs to exfoliate my face, body, hands, feet, and lips. Why leave out your scalp?

Why Use a DIY Scalp Scrub?

The scalp is no different than the skin on your lips, hands, or anywhere else.

Your scalp can benefit from a little extra TLC, too!

Clean hair follicles are crucial to maintaining healthy hair and promoting hair growth. Daily use of a variety of hair products causes buildup. In addition to typical dead skin cells accumulating on the scalp.

All of which adds up to clogged hair follicles, dull, greasy hair, and slower hair growth.

Count Me Out!

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So, be honest often do you exfoliate your scalp? Scalp exfoliation is just as important as other areas of body. Using a scalp detox treatment removes scalp build up, reduces the occurrence of dandruff and stimulates hair growth.

Detox Your Scalp for Beautiful, Healthy Hair

This two-step scalp detox starts with a clarifying scalp massage to exfoliate. It removes the buildup of hair products, oil, and dead skin cells to allow your scalp to breathe—followed by a mask to detoxify your hair roots, oil glands, and follicles.

By following each step, you will clear clogged hair follicles with a DIY scalp scrub and detox for healthy, shiny hair!

Are you ready to detox your scalp?

Here’s what you’ll need:

Coconut Oil: 1 tablespoon

Moisturize and hydrate hair with coconut oil. It’s packed with antioxidants and vitamins for healthy hair. Did you know it helps to prevent frizzy hair? (Find coconut oil in my DIY natural hair conditioner.)

Sugar: 2 tablespoons

It’s a gentle, natural exfoliant. I love using pure cane sugar to create body and lip scrubs. In this DIY scalp scrub, sugar buffs away buildup, dandruff, and dead skin cells. By exfoliating the scalp, sugar unclogs follicles and boosts scalp circulation to stimulate hair growth.

Apple Cider Vinegar: 1 teaspoon

Haven’t you heard? Nothing makes hair clean and shiny like apple cider vinegar! Use it in this scalp scrub for dandruff and oily locks. Apple cider vinegar lifts the impurities that cause scalp buildup. And as a hair rinse, it smoothes frizzy hair.

Honey: 1 teaspoon

Honey is an incredible natural resource of nutrients, enzymes, and vitamins that help to restore the scalp during the mask treatment.

Rosemary Essential Oil: 3 drops

Encourage blood flow to the scalp and stimulate hair follicles with rosemary essential oil, in addition to balancing oil from the sebum glands and clearing clogged pores.

Related: Natural Frizzy Hair Remedies

How to Use a DIY Scalp Scrub to Remove Scalp Buildup!

How to Use a DIY Scalp Scrub to Remove Scalp Buildup:

Apply one to two quarter-size amounts of scalp scrub to dry or damp hair. Using your fingertips, avoiding your fingernails, gently massage the scrub into your scalp in a circular motion.

Massaging the scalp not only increases circulation but also exfoliates dead skin cells, dirt, and oil that may be clogging your pores.

Allow the scrub to detox your scalp for several minutes. You can shave your legs or just soak in a hot bath. Or wrap a shower cap around your hair while the mask works its magic.

After allowing the mask to set, rinse thoroughly and cleanse with shampoo. As some readers have said, you may want to shampoo twice after.

How Often Should You Apply a Scalp Scrub?

Once a month is ideal for a normal to dry scalp. Apply twice a month for oily hair prone to becoming greasy.

Dealing with scalp build up? Get rid of it now with an easy DIY scalp scrub and detox!

How to Make A Scalp Scrub To Clear Buildup

Scalp Scrub Ingredients:

2 tablespoons natural pure cane sugar

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

3 drops rosemary essential oil

1 teaspoon honey


1. Combine two tablespoons of natural sugar, one tablespoon of coconut oil, and one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in a small dish.

2. Mash the ingredients together with a fork until a scrub forms.

3. Next, add one teaspoon of honey and three drops of rosemary essential oil. Blend each into the scrub with a fork.

Related: Easy DIY Dry Shampoo Spray

This DIY scalp scrub recipe is packed full of antioxidants to keep your scalp healthy and prevent build up. Regular application will help to ensure healthy, dandruff free, non-greasy hair.

5 Tips to Prevent Scalp Buildup

  1. Add six to eight drops of rosemary essential oil to your shampoo. It’s one of the most common ingredients for anti-dandruff and scalp buildup.
  2. Use an apple cider vinegar rinse to help kill bacteria, combat dandruff, and relieve an itchy scalp.
  3. Brush your hair. Seriously, brushing your hair with a fine bristle brush like a natural boar hair brush helps to distribute natural oils throughout the hair. And a great hairbrush can massage your scalp and remove dead skin cells.
  4. On days you are skipping a shampoo, apply a natural dry shampoo to absorb oils and prevent excess buildup.
  5. Switch to natural products or make your own by choosing to only use ingredients beneficial to your hair.

So, be honest how often do you exfoliate your scalp?

Scalp exfoliation is just as important as other areas of the body. Using a scalp detox treatment removes scalp buildup, reduces the occurrence of dandruff, and stimulates hair growth.

This DIY scalp scrub recipe is packed full of antioxidants to keep your scalp healthy and prevent buildup. Regular application will help to ensure healthy, dandruff-free, non-greasy hair. So, give it a try today!

What's Your Skin Type? Take our Quiz!

Do you have normal, dry, mature, oily, or combination skin? Take our Skin Type Quiz now to discover yours!

Save this remedy for greasy hair to your Hair Care Pinterest board, and while you’re there, be sure to follow Life-n-Reflection for more inspiring ideas.


  1. I’ve just got to say this scalp scrub is AMAZING! I have fine hair medium/long hair that gets dry on the ends, I have an oily scalp, and I live in central Mississippi. I’m creeping up on 40, so my hair is changing in more ways than just greying. *sigh* Nothing I used seemed to help…my hair was heavy feeling, I couldn’t do anything with it, I’d just wad it up and put it on top of my head every day. Nothing was working like it did before.

    Insert me Googling things to help my hair. I came across your blog and found your recipe for a scalp cleanse. After my first use, I was HOOKED! My hair felt SO amazing, soft, light, and I could actually do stuff with it! I use this once month (for at least the past 4 months) and my hair just keeps getting better and better.

    Thanks so much for sharing!

    1. lifenreflection says:

      Carrie that is amazing!!! Thank you so much for sharing with me. I know just what you mean by a heavy feeling in your hair. I can always tell when its time for me to do scalp scrub.

  2. hi! i used this scrub and it definitely helped my dandruff! however, a couple days later my hair is still very oily. i’ve tried rinsing with apple cider vinegar a couple of times but still finding it oily (aka it looks wet when it’s dry)…any tips for this? thanks!

    1. lifenreflection says:

      Olive, happy to hear it helped your dandruff! Everyone loves this scalp scrub, I get a lot of DMs on Instagram about it. I haven’t had the experience of it leaving my hair oily. Are you shampooing after? Or do you have fine hair? Or did you maybe use too much? You could reduce the amount of coconut oil in the recipe if needed. In the meantime shampoo twice or try my aloe vera hair rinse recipe it’s clarifying.

  3. I had the same experience—my scalp feels good but my hair looks wet. I used fractionated coconut oil and I think this may be the root of the problem!

    1. lifenreflection says:

      Oh yes, that would be the problem! It’s just too moisturizing for the scalp. And you only need to apply a small amount of this scrub, not the whole thing.

  4. This also left my hair really greasy looking and I have thick, coarse curly hair that can take a lot of moisture. I did use all of it. So maybe there should be a note about how much actually a “generous amount” is. Next time, I might try to leave out the coconut oil or put a teeny tiny amount. Any suggestions on how to decrease my hair quickly? Leaving for vacation tomorrow and don’t have time to repeat the process. Thanks!!

    1. lifenreflection says:

      Sorry to hear that Brandy. I will update the instructions now. You can use apple cider vinegar or clear club soda to rinse out excess oil.


    1. lifenreflection says:

      Yes it is to my knowledge

  6. I’m looking forward to using this scrub as i suffer from build up which can make even my dry hair get greasy after 1 day of washing. I was just wondering if washing it wouldn’t be hard with the sugar particles ?

    1. lifenreflection says:

      The sugar functions as an exfoliator, it washes out just fine.

  7. Could you replace the coconut oil with almond oil??

  8. Hi,

    I have everything on hand but the coconut oil – can I replace it with another oil or maybe just equivalent amount of shampoo? Thank you!

    1. lifenreflection says:

      Laura, I haven’t tried with a different oil or shampoo. But, if I had to choose – I’d opt for the shampoo.

  9. Anastasia says:

    Thank you so much. I let this set while I took a bath (shaving my legs was a good tip to allow it to set longer). In order to rinse the mixture out, I treated the situation the same as I do with a castor oil pack = take 3 times the amount of conditioner than I normally use and massaged that into the rinsed hair + 3 times the normal amount of shampoo than I normally would use and massaged that into the conditioner. My scalp is so nice and clean and my hair is ridiculously bouncy. Remember, conditioner will break down the coconut oil and shampoo will then rinse both out. Conditioner first (no rinsing in between) and then shampoo, then rinse.

    1. lifenreflection says:

      It is such a difference right! So glad you enjoyed it too!

  10. The issue with hair looking greasy after washed/dry is because the coconut oil didn’t completely wash out. Think about it… oil & water don’t mix! If you apply shampoo to wet & oily hair, the oil will repel the shampoo. First, can you apply this scrub to a DRY head? (it would make it easier to wash out) After scrubbing, I would apply shampoo & only use water when you want to rinse out the entire thing. Trust me on this… I’ve used petroleum jelly to sculpt hair for a costume & successfully washed the whole thing out this way 🙂

    1. lifenreflection says:

      Ronna absolutely you can apply this scalp scrub to dry hair and in fact, I’ve done that many times.

  11. I tried this scalp scrub this evening and just love it! I am in my sixties with long hair pastry lower back. I made the recipe just as written. I used close to two tablespoons and rubbed it into my dry. This felt amazing! Let it set for awhile before shampooing. I did as Anastasia suggested above commit and my hair is not oily! First conditioner and then add the shampoo rinse. Thank you Anastasia. Thank you lifenreflection!

    1. lifenreflection says:

      Happy to hear it Cleone, I love using this scalp scrub!

  12. I absolutely love this scrub so so so so much I’m so glad I found it. I use a little more rosemary oil and half the amount of coconut oil. My hair looks and feels so much better. Thank you so much for this, my scalp has never felt cleaner before.

    1. lifenreflection says:

      Thanks for sharing Drea, a clean scalp feels so good and makes your hair look so much better, right!

  13. Love this stuff! It’s a game changer! Do you feel like you could make a larger batch and store it for future? Maybe in the refrigerator?

    1. lifenreflection says:

      Thanks Brynn! Yes you could store in the fridge for up to 2 months

  14. Hi, your blog has taught me a lot! especially working with my own recipes. What would be the shelf life on this? or should there only be enough for one use?

    1. lifenreflection says:

      Awe Thanks Yari, I usually just make enough for 2 applications. I use it once a week.

    1. lifenreflection says:

      You can if you made more than you needed up to 2 months. I tend to make just enough for two applications. Using the first immediately and the 2nd a week later.

    1. lifenreflection says:

      Thanks Kristin, I’m so glad you love it too!! It keeps my scalp healthy and my hair bouncy.

  15. Sarah Cronin says:

    I tried this tonight and I absolutely love it! I’ve tried for years all sorts of treatments from doctors. I’m converted.

    1. lifenreflection says:

      I have had many say the same thing, so glad you found it!

  16. I’m pinning this. I am still looking for the perfect scalp management system for me. A scalp scrub is a great idea!

  17. I cant wait to try this scrub out! does it go bad after awhile or will it store for as long as you want it to?

    1. lifenreflection says:

      This recipe makes enough for 2 uses, you can use those up before it goes bad easily.

    1. lifenreflection says:

      If you mean degrease – you can find all my tips for that here

  18. Michell Cupito says:

    What can I use besides rosemary? I really need this and all I have on hand is peppermint, tea tree, frankensense and lavender.

    1. lifenreflection says:

      You could use your tea tree in place of rosemary and lavender is great for soothing the scalp and hair too.

    1. lifenreflection says:

      Glad to hear it!

  19. In high-school my hair was long. I cut it senior year. When I tried to grow it back out a year later it was oily and dry and my hair type had changed. Cutting it short again didn’t fix the issue either. I tried washing it less, more, the water only method, with medical shampoo, etc. I’ve been working on it for a year, and I finally found this and it works for me. I use the whole scrub, let it sit as a mask. Then I rinse it and wash my hair with baby shampoo. My hair feels like it used to again and I couldn’t be happier. The first time I did it I noticed my hair physically felt lighter getting out of the shower.

    1. lifenreflection says:

      That is awesome results, Morgan, I feel the same. My hair feels lighter and my scalp can breathe after!

  20. I found this great recipe last night and It was just what my locks needed. I didn’t have the exact ingredients but I was able to find comparable replacements that yielded the results I needed. Thanks for sharing the beauty..

    1. lifenreflection says:

      Happy to hear it Barbie!

  21. If I want to give this as a gift but the person has a honey allergy what can I use in place of the honey?

    1. lifenreflection says:

      Kimberly, I don’t know of a good alternative. You may try just leaving it out.

    1. lifenreflection says:

      Tea tree oil will work too.

  22. I absolutely loved this scrub. I just used it this morning as I’ve had some dead skin cell buildup on my scalp. My scalp feels so clean, so happy with well this works. I currently am having postpartum hair shedding and this really helped to loosen up all those hairs and get them off my head. For the people who have issues with oily hair afterwards, shampoo twice! Really scrub your whole scalp and rinse thoroughly. I’ve used coconut oil on my hair for years and that’s how I get it out.

    1. lifenreflection says:

      Thanks, Erin; it feels so good to get that off our scalps!

  23. Aloha! OMG!! After carefully reading the reviews..(twice)..I tried this almost exactly as you instructed. I’m a believer! I haven’t had ‘squeaky’ clean hair & scalp since. .I don’t know when.. (squeaky like when your Tupperware is really clean and squeaks); NOT because the oils were stripped, just CLEAN!! Reviewers who are suffering from oily hair after using your formula probably aren’t working in the conditioner well enough and then working in the shampoo on top of the whole gooey mess (I did get a little concerned myself feeling all that grease up top…but the feeling passed…I tapped in to WHY would she post this if it doesn’t work?!!?)…and voila! Magic!!!…I’m commenting apx. 5 hours since getting out of the shower. I love my hair! I swear I can feel my scalp breathe. I have very short Asian/Caucasian hair…straight, thick & dense…though less so now that I’m old. The amount is perfect for a 2x use. Can’t thank you enough; this is now a solid part of my self-love program. I tweaked the 3 drops of Rosemary eo; I already had a mixture of Rosemary, Rose Hip, Peppermint, Helichrysium, Lemon eo’s made in a 5 ml. bottle waiting to decide which carrier oil I was going to use (Coconut, Avocado, Mac Nut, Argan, etc.) when I stumbled upon your post. So….I added 3 drops of my mixture to your recipe. It worked wonderfully. Thanks again, Linda ✌

    1. lifenreflection says:

      Yes! You get it!! Happy to hear it helped you too

  24. I have an allergy to coconut. Is there another oil I can use instead? Thanks.

    1. lifenreflection says:

      It’s difficult to find another oil with the same consistency of coconut oil. You could try cutting the amount of oil in half and use argan oil.

  25. I have everything at hand except the rosemary oil and really don’t have tea tree, lavender or some other oil
    So if I just skip using the rosemary oil,
    Do I get similar result?
    Oh btw I have almond hair oil and I also have a baby hair oil( JOHNSON’s baby hai oil), it contains avocado oil and also olive oil( I just saw the ingredients)
    Will it work the same as rosemary one
    I really don’t have much of knowledge about the oils
    I m jut a teen
    Thanks for the recipe btw
    Would love to try this scrub

    1. lifenreflection says:

      In my experience, yes, you’ll need the essential oils. And I would still clear of the baby oil it likely has additives.

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