Everything You Need To Know About Scalp Massages (And Yes, It Really Helps Hair Grow!)

Everything You Need To Know About Scalp Massages (And Yes, It Really Helps Hair Grow!)

Growing up in India, scalp massages were as much a part of my daily routine as bathing and teeth brushing. 

It was only when I moved abroad and realized that the scalp massage was a little understood, foreign ritual for most people in the US and the UK, which prompted me to look deeper into the ritual of scalp massaging.

While there is plenty of scientific research to comb through (pun intended), no one seems to know what to do with it. But that’s exactly what Malavara is hoping to change. 

First, let's start with the basics:

What is a scalp massage?

A scalp massage is the gentle massaging of your scalp with your fingertips using circular motions. It's different from a body massage you'd get at a spa that requires deep-tissue kneading with your fingers and hands.

Do scalp massages really help hair grow?

Yes. Scientific experiments that have proven that scalp massages do help hair growth. 

  1. 2016 Japanese study showed that scalp massage resulted in increased hair thickness after 24 weeks of massaging for 4 minutes a day. Moreover, there was a decrease in hair loss - related genes and an increase in hair cycle related gene expression when compared with the control group that received no massage treatment.
  2. A 2012 Hong Kong Study with a sample of 100 balding people showed that scalp massage was able to regrow hair after 300 days. As Dr. Choy notes, “the results demonstrated that all people could have their hair regrown naturally and healthily,” when they stick to the protocol for the full 300 days.
  3. 2019 Study of 340 Androgenic Alopecia (male-patten balding) patients found that approximately 69 percent of participants reported that their alopecia had improve after 6.6 months of scalp massaging.

Scalp massages work by improving blood flow to your hair follicle, which nurtures it back to growth faster and makes it grow back thicker. After all, that’s the principle behind the efficacy of Minoxidil, the prescription hair loss drug that was initially discovered as a pharmaceutical drug for heart patients. Minoxidil causes vasodilation and increased blood flow, which promotes faster and thicker hair.

The all-natural Ayurvedic alternative is a pre-shampoo hair and scalp massage using a cold-pressed vegetable or seed oil and one that preferably also contains key Ayurvedic hair herbs – Holy Basil, Amla, Bhringraj, Brahmi and Vetiver. 

How do I massage my scalp?

  1. Begin by massaging your head (without or with a hair oil) from the sides (i.e. behind your ears) up to an imaginary mohawk on the center of your head using both hands and all ten fingers.
  2. Gently massage behind and below your ears extending the massage to the underneath of the sides of your jawbone.
  3. Massage the back of your head using your thumbs to massage underneath the area below your hairline and the back of your neck

How often should I massage your scalp?

Daily! We recommend massaging your scalp daily with clean, dry fingertips and to give yourself a proper oil massage once a week, prior to washing your hair.

How long does it take to see results?

According to the studies, it takes a minimum of 6 months of daily scalp massage to see results. My own experience has been similar. I massage my scalp without oil daily and massage it with Malavara’s Ultra Luxuriant Hair Elixir which I leave on overnight prior to shampooing the next morning.

Everything You Need To Know About Scalp Massages (And Yes, It Really Helps Hair Grow!)

Should I massage my scalp with oil?

You do not need to massage your hair with oil since the scalp produces sebum which is enough to reduce friction when massaging. However, there are Ayurvedic herbs that help with scalp health and hair growth, such as Hairy Basil Root, Amla, Brahmi (Gotu Kola) and Bhringraj. Moreover oils help condition scalp skin and your hair shaft and make for a great pre-shampoo hair oil treatment.  

Do I need special scalp massage tools?

We feel fingertips are your best massage tool as they are soft, supple and easy to clean. The problem with most tools is that they are made of hard plastic and can be too harsh on your scalp. There is also the risk of bacteria remaining on the bristles if you don't clean them thoroughly enough.

Does inverted scalp massaging help?

It does. Bending from the waist down increases the blood flow to your hair follicles and gets the most bang for your massage buck. It's no coincidence that most balding begins at the crown of one's head, because that's the point that receives the least blood flow because of ravity.

What are the other benefits of scalp massages?

A scalp massage is incredibly relaxing, ground and detoxifying! There are so many lymph nodes on your head and the only way to drain them is through massage. That's why it makes you feel so amazing after!

What other hair growth tips would you recommend?

  1. Don't wash your hair excessively (twice a week is typically more than enough) as that will dry out both your hair and scalp.
  2. Use a sulfate-free shampoo as it's less drying on the scalp.
  3. Make sure you're getting enough nutrition through your diet or take a hair nutritional supplement - we take coconut oil biotin.
  4. Exercise is a must for hair growth as it sets your hormones right.

Everything You Need To Know About Scalp Massages (And Yes, It Really Helps Hair Grow!)

Try Malavara's award-winning Ultra Luxuriant Hair Elixir, a potent Ayurvedic hair oil treatment that combines active botanicals and cold-pressed oils to strengthen, thicken and condition hair from root to end. 

Do you have any more questions about scalp massages? We would love to hear from you!



Tejal Ramnathkar Engman is the co-founder of Malavara. Having left India at 17, she has come full circle to her herb-mixing granny's Ayurvedic beauty traditions. Tejal lives in Washington, DC, and her new year's resolution is to squeeze more hot yoga into a schedule that is currently consumed by a rambunctious 4-year-old, a day job in real estate, and her passion, Malavara.

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