Scalp massage for stimulating hair growth - does it really work?

How to give yourself a scalp massage and promote healthy hair growth

Woman smile long hair
(Image credit: Getty)

If you’ve ever experienced a scalp massage, you’ll know it does a great job of releasing tension and feels sublime but, is there any truth behind scalp massage promoting hair growth? We asked the experts to weigh in and show us the science behind this beauty rumor. 

There’s plenty of hype out there behind scalp massage as a hair growth treatment.

Hair thinning is an incredibly common problem, with over 40% of women experiencing hair loss or slowing growth. It can be caused by a number of factors such as pregnancy, medical treatment, stress, or just plain old genetics. It can also be triggered by heat styling habits - even when using the best hair dryer or best hair straighteners.

Countless remedies promise to thicken and fortify thin locks, and it’s been said that by massaging your scalp, you will stimulate blood flow to the area and promote quicker and healthier hair growth. But, could the solution really be as simple as a regular scalp massage to sort our fine hair woes?

Does scalp massage help hair growth?

We put this question to Trichologist Dr. Nick Fisherman of Wyndham Private Specialist Clinic. “Certainly. A scalp massage using the right technique can help hair growth by stimulating and improving the blood circulation within the hair follicles,” explains Dr. Fisherman. 

Every hair starts in the hair follicle, where the bulb of the hair sits, and a good blood supply is essential for healthy hair growth. According to research, scalp massage causes blood vessels under the skin to dilate, generating more blood to the area. The stimulation stretches out the cells of hair follicles which causes these follicles to produce thicker hair strands. 

We asked hair expert, creative director and esteemed Woman & Home Hair Awards judge Zoe Irwin her thoughts on scalp massage, “It’s really about creating a healthy environment for hair to grow. If you can just manipulate your scalp every day, all through the crown, I promise you will see much better quality hair come through.”

How to massage your scalp

Use your fingertips

“Boost blood and circulation to the follicles by gently massaging and moving your scalp with your finger pads or for a more in-depth massage, use a brush to help increase hair health and shine.” Says Zoe. Do it before bed to induce relaxation or throughout the day for a quick pick-me-up.

Try a brush

For an effective scalp massage that won’t damage your hair, a flexible brush like a Manta works wonders. Apply the flexible brush so it sits flat on the scalp, start to scrape from the base of your skull, and work in an upwards motion towards the crown of your head.

A gentle press

Zoe suggests that by ‘pressing’ your scalp brush into the hair, an acupuncture-like effect is produced. “When you go to India, you lie on something called Shakti (acupressure) mats which stimulate your body. I use my brush in the same way. Move the brush through the hair and pause to press into the scalp.

Make small circles

If you’re using your fingers or a brush, gently move around the head using small circular motions to release tension and really manipulate the skin. The goal is to bring blood to the area, and small circles will focus your energies. 

The best scalp massage products

Scalp massage is certainly an effective remedy for boosting hair growth and encouraging healthy, thicker hair to grow. But, take your scalp massage to the next level by incorporating a few tools as well.

Manta Brush in White

To effectively stimulate your scalp without pulling at the hair, we suggest investing in a scalp brush like a Manta. Zoe swears by this tool, “Run a Manta through your hair throughout the day, instead of your hands. This will promote shine by smoothing the cuticle without transferring products like hand lotion from your hands, which can load your hair and make it look dull.”View Deal

Revitalash Thickening Shampoo

Shun average hair care and go professional with the best shampoo and conditioner specifically designed to plump up thin hair. Revitalash (the brand behind the iconic lash serum) has just launched a shampoo and conditioner duo that looks after your scalp, making it the perfect environment for healthy hair growth. View Deal

Hairstory Scalp Brush

When you’re in the shower, take your time to massage the product into the scalp with either your fingers or an in-shower brush like Hairstory Scalp Brush to really see the benefits. View Deal

Anyell Electric Head, Scalp and Neck Massager

If you want a lazier way to give yourself a really good head massage, try an electric scalp massager. We rate Anyell Electric Head, Scalp, and Neck Massager. The vibration exfoliates the scalp and stimulates blood flow with minimal effort needed.View Deal

How to minimize hair loss

If you want fuller, thicker hair, there are some do’s and don'ts when it comes to lifestyle. Obvious factors like partaking in regular exercise, eating a healthy, balanced diet, and quitting smoking will contribute to the normal functioning of the cells in your body.

Dr. Nick also suggests that constantly wearing hats may cause hair loss, “Avoid wearing caps all the time and avoid tight banding of hair if you have long hair to avoid traction alopecia.” 

Traction alopecia is a hair loss condition where if the hair is repeatedly pulled at, whether that’s through hair ties, clips or braids, you are left with bald patches. It can be reversed with care and attention, but in severe cases, it can be permanent. 

Sometimes there is no physical reason as to why you might be experiencing hair loss. Your hair follicles might be perfectly functional, but intense feelings of stress and inward emotions can trigger this outward symptom too. 

It is easier said than done but try to remove or avoid highly stressful situations in your life. There are many different ways of coping with stress, but meditation techniques, regular exercise, and seeking professional help are all options that you can explore to help you cope during stressful times.