Do you have stubborn dandruff that does not rinse away after you shampoo your hair? This could be a sign that you need to exfoliate your scalp for a deeper cleaning.

Why do you need to exfoliate your scalp?

Exfoliating your scalp will help remove impurities and dead skin cells that build up on the scalp’s surface. Although your scalp sheds dead skin through a natural process called keratinization, using exfoliants can help balance sebum production, remove sticky flakes, and create a healthy environment for your hair to grow to its full potential.

Try calcium bentonite clay instead of shampoo

Clay masks gently pull out dirt, bacteria, and oil on the surface of the scalp while reducing excessive hair loss. Instead of shampoo, I recommend clay masks to my clients, because the mask is designed to gently lift buildup and it can be used as often as often as every other day for scalp conditions that require frequent cleansing. Clay will not cause dry hair or a dry scalp, making it a great alternative to shampoo since shampoo can be drying when used too often, especially multiple times a week. I also recommend the clay masks to clients who have sensitivities to the cleansing ingredients in shampoos as well.

Calcium bentonite is a clay with antibiotic properties. When applied to your scalp, the clay helps to treat skin infections and decrease the healing time of bruises caused by scratching the scalp. I tell clients to use it in place of a co-wash product, because it will not leave product build-up on the hair or scalp. Product buildup can also cause the scalp to flake, but the flakes from the ingredients in the co-wash product should not be confused with dandruff.

If you have an oily scalp, using Trichopure is better than using shampoo. It contains cedarwood oil to help balance sebum production and the tea tree oil in it which has antibacterial and antifungal properties to reduce flakes.

How to cleanse your scalp

If you use a clay mask, there is no need to use a scalp brush, as this can be irritating to the scalp if the brush is used to agitate the scalp. A scalp brush works better when using shampoo to cleanse the hair and scalp, because the brush helps remove flakes thoroughly.

To apply a clay mask, wet your hair and scalp and apply the mask to your entire scalp and hair. Allow the mask and allow it to sit on the head for 20-30 minutes. You will notice that the clay gets hard as it sits on your scalp. This is normal. Gently rinse the product off and proceed to condition your hair. There is no need to use shampoo after the mask is rinsed out.

You may want to use the mask once a month if your hair and scalp is healthy. Use the mask to detox your scalp and for the overall health of your hair.

If you suffer from dandruff or another scalp problem, use the mask two times a week or every other day until your flakes are under control.

Have you ever used a scalp exfoliator? What was your experience? Share with us in the comments below!

This article was originally published in 2016 and has been updated.