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Is a Scalp Massager Really Any Different Than Using Your Fingers?

Among the array of scalp care products that gained popularity in 2021 were scalp massagers. While relatively inexpensive and very easy to store and transport, does a scalp massager actually make a difference? If we’re on our nail game with lengthy talons, shouldn’t that suffice?

Briogeo Scalp Massager: $18

scalp massager versus using fingers | Mane Addicts
(via Briogeo)

Purpose of a Scalp Massager

While a scalp massager may seem like a simple plastic gadget, it actually provides a handful of benefits.

According to Vegamour, for example, their scalp massager “features a series of bristles that stimulate the scalp and boost scalp health, providing both an exhilarating scalp massage and relaxing experience.”

Ceremonia describes its scalp contraption as a “miracle-tool that invigorates blood flow to the scalp to help promote healthy hair. It also exfoliates the scalp by gently yet effectively lifting sebum and product buildup that accumulates between washes, and it helps distribute natural oils to boost hair’s luster while controlling flakiness.” 

Outcome of Using Fingers in Place of a Scalp Massager

Long before scalp massagers were totally a thing, people used their fingers to stimulate hair growth. In fact, the massagers were made to mimic the pressure of fingers. According to research, a scalp massage increases hair thickness by stretching the cells of hair follicles. This, in turn, stimulates the follicles to produce thicker hair. It’s also thought that a scalp massage may help dilate blood vessels beneath the skin, thereby encouraging hair growth.

New York City–based trichologist Penny James told Allure he recommends “using the pads of your fingertips to massage the scalp in small, circular movements. This stimulates the scalp, as you’re massaging the shampoo into the scalp and hair to achieve the best results in keeping the scalp clean and not damaging the hair.”

In fact, James is strongly against people with highly sensitive skin opting for a massager instead of fingertips.

“Rubbing a brush on the scalp might feel good to get rid of the itch temporarily, she said. “But it will ultimately create inflammation and cause more redness and swelling.”

So, ultimately, what’s the verdict? Based on what we’ve read, it sounds like it’s the massage that makes the difference, and a properly executed fingertip experience can get the job done just as well a massager. That said, if you don’t have long nails, it does seem like an actual massager will provide greater exfoliation.

For more scalp excitement, click HERE to learn all about scalp foundation (yes, it’s a thing!).


Hey, mane muse! We wanted to give you a heads up that some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that Mane Addicts will collect a small share of the sale from any purchase you make from the products we recommend.




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