Think about the last time someone gave you a head or scalp massage. Heavenly, right? Well, there are actually many benefits to getting a scalp massage, including better circulation, dandruff reduction, hair growth, and some good old-fashioned stress relief as well. But, you’re not going to want to go to the spa every time you want a little treatment, so why not grab yourself a scalp massager instead? Some of the devices on this list are really good for giving yourself forehead massagers as well and can even help with migraine relief.
These little gadgets are perfect for when you’re at home or on the go and have the urge to de-stress. Whether you want something simple to use in the shower or a hi-tech machine to help with migraines, there’s a product for you. To help you find the best scalp massager, we’ve put together a list of what you can buy today so that the next time your head needs some TLC, you’ve got the tools to do it.
What are scalp massagers and how do they work?
Although they are a little different from head massagers, these are treatment devices that very much do what they say on the tin. Scalp and forehead massagers are handheld devices that come in various shapes and sizes, with the aim to improve scalp health in a variety of ways, including increasing blood flow, exfoliating the skin, loosening debris and reducing dandruff. They can also be used together with oils and serums for extra effect.
Forehead and migraine massagers can be manual or electric (more on this later) but are generally used by gently combing or brushing the device against the head. While some can be used in the shower or on wet hair, others (such as electric ones) are better off being used on dry skin and hair. They stimulate blood flow and provide pleasant sensations through a variety of nodes and points, which are either manually or electronically rotated.
What are the benefits of using a scalp massager?
Stress reduction – The meditative nature and pleasant sensations of using a scalp or forehead massager for the scalp can take you away from the stresses of your daily life and stimulate the production of serotonin and dopamine (feel-good hormones).
Improves sleep – As a side-benefit of stress reduction, they may help you get to sleep easier, as you’ll be relaxed after repeated, therapeutic patterns and movements on your head.
Migraine relief – For people who suffer from stress-triggered headaches and migraines, scalp massage can help take the edge off by increasing blood circulation and reducing levels of stress hormones. More on that later in this article.
Removal of dandruff and debris – Depending on how hard you are pressing, they can help reduce the amount of dandruff and debris on your head, leaving it feeling cleaner and avoiding any embarrassing residue.
May improve hair growth quality – Using a scalp massage will increase blood circulation and help spread the oil produced by your scalp across the head’s surface, potentially leading to more hair growth or at least, better hair health.
Affordability – Although this depends on the product you buy, they are typically quite affordable when compared to complex and hi-tech massage machines.
Portability – Scalp massagers are typically lightweight and can easily be taken with you on holiday, to the office, or anywhere else where you might fancy a quick and relaxing session.
What causes migraines?
Sometimes, people buy massagers for migraines to help with the pains they can sometimes get. There are many possible causes for migraines, but the following are among the most common:
- Hormonal changes brought about through birth control or hormone replacement therapy.
- Stress and anxiety, leading to lack of sleep and creation of stress hormones.
- Prolonged exposure to bright lights and loud sounds.
- Long periods of work and concentration without rest.
- Processed and low-quality foods, and foods high in artificial sweeteners and chemicals.
- Too much caffeine and not enough water.
If you have migraines, always talk to your doctor as they may be the sign of something more serious. However, using a massage machine for migraines can help, as long as your medical professional gives you approval.
Before you buy
Finding a good scalp massager can be tricky, but only due to the sheer choice that’s out there. They will all say that they are the best, but this will of course depend on what you’re looking for. To help you make your choice, here are a few things to think about:
For most consumers, the price of the product is ultimately what drives their choice. Fortunately, there are many affordable scalp massagers to choose from, but before you settle on one, do make sure that it delivers the treatment you’re looking for.
Also, don’t be tempted to pay more for something that you might not necessarily need. If this is your first purchase, it’s always best to go for something in the mid-range as this will reduce the risk of getting something too cheap and flimsy, or something overpriced and over-engineered. Take your time to compare products and you’ll find your ideal price point before too long.
The strength of your scalp massager will ultimately affect how effective it is. For instance, if you’re trying to stimulate hair growth or remove dandruff, you’ll need something that delivers a more rigorous treatment. However, if you have sensitive skin and are just looking for a product to help you relax and feel good, you’ll want to find something that’s not too intense. This is where a manual product comes in useful, as you’ll be able to control how much pressure you put with your own hands.
Electric or manual?
Just like most other products, manual or electric variants come with their respective pros and cons. On one-hand, manual products will never need charging or batteries, but they may be more limited in function. Conversely, electric variants can give you more options but will need to be charged, plugged in, or battery-powered.
One of the main benefits of a scalp massager is that you can take it anywhere you want, so if this is a draw for you, you’ll want to make sure your choice is lightweight and small. While most products in this category are small, some will be heavier than others.
Types of massage
As with other considerations, the rage of treatments you get will depend on what you want. If you want something simple, you can get it, but, if you want something with variable strengths, attachments and massage types, you’ll want to buy something that has a richer set of features. For instance, some will provide you with a kneading effect, while others will focus on pressure points.
Scalp massagers are generally quite simple to use, but if you do go for an electric one, they will have some controls to contend with: especially as you go up in price. If you want something that has more treatment choices and power levels, make sure that your device has a decent set of controls outside of ‘on’ and ‘off’.
While this is not a problem with most handhelds, the size of your head will inform which product you get. Some models might be angled towards smaller or larger heads, so do make sure you know the product dimensions, and that you’ve read customer reviews. If you’re not sure, it’s best to buy a product that has varying attachments and sizes.
Some massagers are specifically designed to be used in the shower, some might not be. For some people, one with a shampoo brush attachment in the shower is a great opportunity to enhance the experience and tackle dandruff at the same time. However, if you are using an electric scalp massager, you may pay a small premium to have a waterproof product. As always, check reviews and specifications to be sure about what you’re buying.
Quality and Durability
Like all consumer products, electrical or not, you need to be happy with what you’ve bought and safe in the knowledge that it is made of good materials and won’t let you down in the short term. Generally speaking, electric scalp massagers are more likely to malfunction at some point, but handhelds pose just as much risk of being made of cheap materials.
To make sure you’re getting a good product, do your research, read reviews and see if the warranty offers good protection.
If you have a particular device in mind, it’s a good idea to read as many reviews as possible to get a broad idea of what actual people think. By reading reviews, you’ll be able to get a completely honest and unbiased look at the device, as well as getting answers to questions you didn’t know you had. If you don’t find many reviews or the product is not prolific online, it’s better to go for something that’s more common.
To kick our reviews off, here’s a handy, quick guide to 6 of the best foot and calf massagers.
|Name and link||Type||Image||Price range||Best for||One-line review|
|Breo Portable Mini-Scalp Massager||Electric||High||All-round use||Best function to price ratio with six modes and is waterproof. Our top pick.|
|LATME Electric Head Scalp Massager||Electric||High||Tech fans and aesthetic lovers||Packed with features and a great design. For the tech-fans out there.|
|Queenwill Electric Handheld Hair Scalp Massager||Electric||Low||Beginners||Very affordable but still has an electric function. Low-risk and good quality.|
|USAGA Head Scalp Massager||Manual||Low||Casual users and gift-givers||The classic design you’ve seen before, but with strong quality and 20 individual ‘fingers’. For very casual users.|
|MARNUR Head Scalp Massager Shampoo Brush||Electric||Medium||Strength and choice.||Battery-operated and lightweight, but has a good deal of strength, with three different heads included.|
|MAXSOFT Hair Scalp Massager Care Brush||Manual||Low||Using in the shower and scalp care.||Great materials, designed specifically for use in the shower. Very|
|Zyllion Scalp Massager Dandruff Brush||Manual||Low||For people with dandruff issues||Affordable, tough and specially designed for removal of dandruff and scalp debris.|
Our top pick
There are a lot of scalp massagers out there, but we think that this is one of the best. Striking the perfect balance between price and functionality, the Breo Portable Mini-Scalp Massager provides a fantastic treatment through the use of clever design and quality materials.
The Breo may be compact but it packs in six different types of massage which include longitudinal gliding, kneading, trigger-point therapy, oscillating pressure, cross-fibre muscle stretching and deep friction massage. It also comes with an IPX7 waterproof shampoo brush and a number of other accessories that let you use it in the shower or bathroom.
Together with the 96 points of touch and rechargeable battery, it is easy to see why the Breo is one of the best scalp massagers out there today.
- IPX7 waterproof for use in showers and bathrooms.
- Rechargeable battery with a magnetic charging connector for easier charging.
- Cordless operation.
- Three different stimulation settings.
- Skin-friendly soft silicone.
If its features you’re looking for, then the LATME Electric Head Scalp Massager is the pick for you. Loaded with unique features and a vibration mode, you can enjoy a scalp massage like no other thanks to its 28 nodes and 3D deep-kneading capability.
The versatility of this device is what sets it apart from the competition, allowing you relieve pain, increase blood flow and massage your neck, back, shoulders, calves and arms – as well as the scalp of course. The design is very visually pleasing and the device is also IPX7 waterproof, which lets you enjoy your scalp massage while showering or bathing
- 28 powerful 3D deep-kneading shiatsu massager heads and nodes to eliminate tiredness.
- IPX7 waterproof for use in the shower.
- Cordless and rechargeable for longer massage sessions.
- Four different massage modes.
While scalp massagers are typically on the lower-end of the market, it unfortunately means that quality suffers as a result. This is not the case with the Electric Handheld Hair Scalp Massager from Queenwill, which provides solid treatment for a very low price. It’s perfect for people experimenting with scalp massagers, without taking too much of a monetary risk.
The first thing you’ll notice is that the build quality is sturdy but soft, and feels great in the hand. The ergonomic handle lets you get a good grip before you use one of the two battery-powered modes to give you a surprisingly robust treatment. If you’re looking for something small, simple and effective, then look no further.
- Vibrations and pulse settings to gently stimulate the scalp for relaxation.
- Hand-held, ergonomic design.
- Portable and waterproof.
- Auto-timer to signal the end of treatment.
We’ve all seen one of these before: and for a great reason. These are super-affordable and surprisingly effective if you’re looking for something simple and affordable. Sure, there are no fancy programs, batteries or attachments, but with its 20 fingers, the USAGA Head Massager Scalp Massager feels amazing.
The operation couldn’t be simpler. All you do is move it slowly up and down on your scalp and you’ll start enjoying a relaxing massage in no time at all. There are plenty of these on the market, but many of them bend and break easily. We recommend the USAGA because of the premium materials and attention to detail.
- 20 long and short fingers for a varied experience.
- Lightweight, small and portable.
- Provides a tingling sensation from head to toe to relieve stress.
- High-quality build and materials.
As a wellness device, your choice needs to feel fantastic and fit your head like a glove. We’ve decided to include the MARNUR Head Scalp Massager in our list because of its superior ergonomic design and comfort.
Don’t be misled by its simple appearance and low price. It may be small, but it is mighty, coming with a three-in-one massage brush that acts like a hairbrush, mini full-body massager and shower loofah pad, all in one. Combined with battery-powered vibration and 100% waterproof, the MARNUR feels amazing in the hand and even better on your head.
- Three-in-one scalp massage head brush that gives you your scalp massage the way you want it.
- Head vibrating function for different types of hair.
- Loofah pad included for cleaning dead skin cells.
Best For Showering
For some people, scalp massagers are best used in the shower. The MAXSOFT Hair Scalp Massager is fully loaded with a high-quality shampoo brush that provides an effective and relaxing massage in your shower.
With thick (but soft!) silicone bristles that stimulate blood flow in your scalp, the device has been designed to promote deep cleansing and exfoliation of your scalp, stimulating blood flow and cleaning oil glands. If you’re looking for something simple to use in the shower, then look no further that the MAXSOFT.
- Designed for all types of hair.
- Ideal for relaxing the scalp muscles.
- Thick silicone bristles help to stimulate blood flow to all parts of the scalp.
- Specifically designed for shower use.
Best For Dandruff and Debris
Dandruff and dead skin is something we all get on our heads, which is what the ZMA 12 is perfect for dealing with. With two types of unique bristles and microcirculation function, this humble scalp massager is a fantastic choice cleaning your scalp.
Best used in the shower, the ZMA 12 cleanses and exfoliates the skin, helping to reduce dandruff, dead skin and other normal debris. Together with the unique bristles, the design features an ergonomic handle that makes operation a breeze.
- Unique design that features two types of bristles.
- Easy to grip handle that fits well in the palm.
- Deep cleaning of your scalp to cleansing and exfoliation of your scalp.
Frequently Asked Questions
When would I need a scalp massager?
If you are prone to migraines, headaches, stress or dandruff, a scalp massager can help. If you have serious problems, please consult a doctor for proper treatment.
How often should I use it?
As well as cleaning your head and hair regularly, you can use the scalp massager every day. However, any more than that and you might cause irritation on the skin, so do not exceed this frequency.
How much pressure should I apply?
Generally, you can press as hard or soft as you want (within reason) so that you are comfortable during use, and that you get the effect you’re looking for. Of course, if you start to feel pain, you’re pressing too hard. Also, if you press too hard, you run the risk of breaking or damaging the device.
Can scalp massage stimulate hair growth?
There have been studies that show general head or scalp massage promotes blood circulation on your head and hair follicles, resulting in some hair growth. However, you should not consider a scalp massage as hair-loss treatment.
Can a scalp massager damage my hair?
A quality product won’t damage your hair, but if you start to notice anything happening, stop using the device, or change the settings. There’s also the possibility that you’re using too much pressure.
Can I use the device with other hair products?
Absolutely. In fact, many massage professionals will tell you that combining essential oils and nutrients with your massage will only help with scalp and hair health.
Will a scalp massager help with headaches?
Scalp massage has been shown to help with stress and tension-based headaches. However, if they persist or you get them frequently, please talk to a medical professional for further investigation.
How long should I use the massager on my head or scalp?
You can massage your head for up to fifteen minutes or longer (or until you feel your head getting sore). A general rule of thumb is to use your device for at least five minutes to begin enjoying the benefits.
The best scalp massager for you
So, there you have it. You know a lot more about scalp massagers than you did a few moments ago. As you’ve seen, they come in all shapes and sizes, but the very best scalp massagers are in this list for you to choose from. Our top pick is of course the fantastic Breo Portable Mini-Scalp Massager, but honourable mentions do go to the MARNUR Head Scalp Massager Shampoo Brush and LATME Electric Head Scalp Massager for great design.
Whether you’re going for a handheld or an electric choice, remember to check reviews and know the specifications before buying. Also, if you are using a scalp massager to help with a medical problem, always do so with the advice of your doctor.