Head massagers, also known as scalp massagers, are a quick, easy and affordable way to help with the stress and strain of everyday life.
There are plenty of reasons to have a head massage. In fact, you probably massage your neck, forehead and head all the time at work when you’re feeling stressed, have a headache or are tired, and there’s good reason for this as we’ll explore later.
To relax, to help with headaches and migraines or simply because you want to feel good – there’s never an excuse required for wanting a massage.
There is even some evidence that massaging your scalp can promote hair growth, although as with many hair growth claims – you may want to take it with some skepticism.
There are plenty of types of head massages, from professional massage therapists to rubbing your own head (or getting your friend / partner to) to various tools and accessories to do it for you.
This article will look at the benefits of head massaging, the types of methods for administrating it and will discuss our picks of the best head massagers currently available on the market.
- Best Head Massagers – Our Top 7 Picks
- How do Head Massagers Work?
- Benefits of a Head Massage
- Types of Head Massagers
- What to Look for in a Head Massager
- Head Massage: The Basics
- Hints and Tips
Best Head Massagers – Our Top 7 Picks
1. LATME Electric Scalp Massager
|LATME Electric Scalp Massager with 4 Replacement Massage Heads Portable Head Scratcher with Tissue...||$38.95||Buy on Amazon|
This hugely popular electronic head massager not only has 28 Kneading Shiatsu Massage nodes on the head but is waterproof so can be used with both dry and wet hair. These are silicone based and will offer resistance should you accidentally apply too much pressure.
A well designed product that can be used as a handy, general use handheld massager.
A quick check of the manual and you’ll learn usage is very simple – a silicone one touch control button at the top as well as speed control (fast and slow) – and away you go.
The silicone nodes move in a rhythmic circular motion, rather than spinning – this will help avoid any tanging on long and curly hair. There are four modes with this device – clockwise and counterclockwise (in high or low speed) and the results are fairly satisfying.
The power is cordless, running on an internal battery which can be charged via a micro USB powered charging base. When charged the battery should last you a couple of weeks if you’re a regular user (an indicator will let you know when it’s running low).
Overall it’s an inexpensive, compact, entry level electronic massager to relieve tension, sooth the scalp and provide a satisfying experience.
2. Heeta Hair Scalp Massager
|HEETA Hair Scalp Massager Brush, Updated Hair Shampoo Brush, Wet & Dry Scalp Exfoliator with Soft...||$5.99||Buy on Amazon|
I’ve had this soft silicone brush recommended to me several times, and it’s easy to see why this compact little massager is so popular.
Weighing at only 1.9oz, the ergonomic design will fit right into your hand and can be easily stored away.
It’s short and manual, feeling a little like a hairbrush to hold – the silicone head is firm but not harsh – so rubbing won’t be an unpleasant experience. It’s also more convenient to grip if you’re massaging your own head and will keep long or sharp fingernails away from your scalp.
Because it is a manual brush – you can use it on both dry and wet hair. The waterproof design makes it a nice addition to washing your hair in the shower, offering you both a deep clean of your hair as well as a relaxing massage which won’t irritate your scalp.
The shortness of the silicone brush head will also prevent tugging and tangling of long or fragile hair some people may find with electronic head massagers. It can be used with all sorts of hair (and non hair) types including long, short, thick, thin, curly, wet or dry.
A lovely little device that you can carry around or leave in the shower next to your shampoo. It’s even good for brushing your pets hair!
3. USAGA Head Massager
|USAGA Head Massager Scalp Massager 20 Fingers Head Scratcher for Head Body Relaxing||$10.19||Buy on Amazon|
No head massager collection would be complete without a classic “octopus” design. Made from twenty metal finger prongs, it’s very lightweight, compact and durable.
Presented in a stylish box, the massager can easily be used by you or a friend/partner. Just rub the prongs gently into the scalp for a soothing head workout.
The prong fingers are divided into ten long and ten shorter. Simply hold the massager over your head and let the rubber beads rub against your head as the prongs expand outwards.
These head scalp massagers are basic but effective, it’s a great accessory to carry around, have on your desk or on a shelf within easy reach – particularly when looking for some quick stress relief.
4. Vitagoods Scalp Massaging Shampoo Brush
|Vitagoods Scalp Massaging Shampoo Brush - Handheld Vibrating Massager, Water-Resistant Device -...||Buy on Amazon|
Another highly recommended scalp massager is this offering from Vitagoods. Not dissimilar in aesthetics to the Heeta, this combines the ergonomics of a hand brush with the addition of a vibrating massage option.
The outer-shell is made from a strong plastic where the bristles are made from a soft and pliable silicone.
The massager is waterproof so can be used on both dry and wet hair, be it just washed or even in the shower. It will easily remove dead skin (dandruff) as well as distribute natural and artificial oils.
It’s also quiet and most importantly delivers a relaxing rub which will both calm and aid your hair follicles.
It’s a great little handheld device – with my only reservation being the addition of a AA battery which requires a screwdriver each time it needs replaced. However, if this isn’t a problem for you – it’s a good choice.
5. Breo Electric Portable Scalp Massager
|Breo Electric Portable Scalp Massager IPX7 Waterproof, Rechargeable Head Massage Device||Buy on Amazon|
This quirky looking handheld electric head massager is designed to be easy to hold and apply.
There are four changeable heads which can be switched between the silicone elements to brush elements for a different sensation. Attach the head you want to use, press the large button at the top and the massager will begin to swirl all four heads in a circular motion.
The head motion can be easily varied between clockwise and anti-clockwise and between fast and slow.
The charging base is made from an eco bamboo wood and is powered with a micro USB cable (included). There’s a light indicator to show you when it’s charged. You simply place the massager back into the cradle after each use.
It’s another good entry level electric scalp massager – reliable, holds a charge and at a good price. They’re not the quietest devices in the world – similar in sound to an electric razor but you tend not to notice after the first use.
6. Ikeepi Scalp Massager
Admittedly it does resemble a whisk somewhat, but it’s a nice gadget if you’re on a budget.
Two detachable interchangeable heads are included with this scalp massager; a finger gripper claw massage head for general use and a 3-point massage head for wider, more exact rubbing.
It vibrates to increase blood circulation and is powered by two AAA batteries (not included) which lasts about 3 hours of use. The massager can, of course, be used without the vibration turned on.
The massage heads are easy to swap over, then all you do is press the large silicone button at the top and hold the handle over the top or to the side of your head. It’s a press on/off button – so no need to keep it pressed down when using it.
It’s a well designed and different style of head massager – though the vibration from the handle can be a little overwhelming after a while.
7. Breo iDream5s Rechargeable Head Massager
No, this is not a VR set piece from Ready Player One, but rather an all in one head massager which boasts relaxation for your head, neck and eyes.
Breo do a great line of high tech personal massagers, and this flagship device has a whole range of cool features designed to deliver the ultimate in relaxation.
Firstly, it’s the only massager I’ve seen with its own app. Available for iOS and Android, the app connects to the massage helmet and allows you to control the session length, heat, music settings among other things.
But what do all these settings mean? Well, when in full swing, the iDream5s can simultaneously massage the head (top and back), forehead, temples and around the eyes. There’s a total of seventy nodes at work here – so it’s a pretty thorough massage.
The headset internal measures 22” to 25” (56 to 64cm) in circumference which will suit most head sizes. An air pressure release button makes putting it on and off fairly simple.
The headset itself is powered by an internal lithium battery which can be recharged (cables and charger included). Air pressure modes and massage types can be adjusted. There’s a heat compressor on it which can be adjusted (or turned off entirely). It even includes internal speakers with a range of music available – though you can set your phone to play whatever you want.
I have a few reservations with this device (beyond the odd expression “brain massager” in the marketing material) – and realistically the decision will come down to the benefits it delivers versus the downsides. A lot of reviews online reach the same conclusion.
Although it does work wonders, it can be a little noisy on some of the settings. Most people won’t mind this – however if you’re using it for migraines or find relaxing difficult with noise – it’s probably not going to work for you.
It’s rather pricey. You get a lot for your money, so the pricing is not steep for what you get – but if you’re looking for something simpler to use now and again – there are plenty of more affordable options out there.
The iDream5s isn’t for everyone – but if you want a completely immersive massage experience from the comfort of your own home – it’s definitely worth looking into.
How do Head Massagers Work?
If you’ve ever had a head massage at the barbers or hairdressers, you’ll already know that the feeling can be wonderful. It helps that there’s some science behind this. You may be familiar with the stress reaction when you’re put under pressure. Often referred to as the Fight or Flight response, the Sympathetic nervous system (SNS) will release hormones (adrenaline and noradrenaline) and generally prepare the body for the ensuing battle.
Putting the evolutionary benefits of this response to one side, the stress this puts under a person can be great – even detrimental if experienced chronically.
When we get a massage, our bodies will do the opposite. It will relax and give the “all is good” signal (basal levels) with the SNS laying off and allowing us to release tension and allow our limbs to become limber.
Because massaging our head is quite a novel sensation – the feeling you receive can feel simply marvellous.
Different areas of the head can also deliver a range of feelings and preferences. For example, the suboccipital muscles (the eight muscles at the back of your neck just beneath the skull) are often worked hard and strained throughout the day – that’s often the first place you rub when you’ve had a particularly long and arduous day.
Benefits of a Head Massage
Other than feeling great there can be a number of benefits as well as possible benefits from massaging your scalp.
- Helps with sleep. After a day at work, stress can often follow you home. Worry can greatly effect your sleep – particularly if you have a tendency to take your work home with you.
- Reducing headaches and migraines. As someone who suffers continual migraines, I’ve used massages a number of times and found it really helps. According to the American Massage Therapy Association, that massage can be an effective therapy for those with tension headaches. They also included the following external quote in their statement:
“For the most common tension-type headaches, massage is resoundingly indicated. These episodes are an excellent opportunity to demonstrate how many seemingly disconnected postural and movement patterns can create pain in an entirely different area of the body.”
Massage Therapist’s Guide to Pathology
- Stimulating hair growth. Though not conclusive (like many hair loss claims), there is some evidence that stimulating the hair follicles can aid in hair growth. In a 2016 study, scientists found that daily scalp massages over a period of just under six months resulted in an increase in hair thickness. In addition to this, massaging the head can help spread natural oils as well as increase blood circulation across the scalp.
- Lowering of blood pressure. In this 2016 research study, scientists conducted an experiment on female office workers by administering a scalp massage twice a week over a ten week period. The results showed this led to a decrease in stress hormone, blood pressure and heart rate for those workers compared to a control group.
- Increased blood flow to the scalp. By massaging the scalp completely it can make a difference in the health of both your scalp and the hair follicles.
- Can help with dandruff. Some of the massage brushes are great for removing dead skin. There are even some which are dermatologically approved.
Types of Head Massagers
There are a number of head massage tools out here – here are the most common.
- Fingers. Yes, basic but a classic. Whether it’s your own or someone else’s fingers – it’s the simplest way to massage your scalp. Just watch out for sharp fingernails.
- Spider Massager. I prefer the term Octopus owing to the long prongs, but these hand held head massagers are simple, light and inexpensive. They’re great for a quick scalp massage.
- Rolling ball brush. These can be electronic (vibrate) or simple plastic forks which you guide over your head like a comb. It’s pretty basic and not very thorough – but easy to carry anywhere.
- Massage brush. Similar in a design to a scrubber – they fit nicely into the palm of your hand. These can be used anywhere and are also popular with people in the shower. There are even electric waterproof versions which offer an option vibration feature.
- Electronic head massagers. They do all the hard work for you and often have silicone or brush heads which move in a swirling circular motion. Other massagers are even more feature rich – including those that can be controlled by an app.
What to Look for in a Head Massager
The most important thing to consider when choosing whether to get a head massager is – will it work for you. If it’s for relaxing, particularly if you have a stressful life, it could be that perfect daily break you need to indulge in some calmness.
If you have dandruff or similar head skin conditions, dermatologically approved massager, it could lead to a clean healthy scalp. Also consider if you are looking for something to help with headaches or blood circulation – as some may not overly help.
A rolling ball brush massager, for example, won’t give a very thorough experience but is good for a quick relaxation session. Other electronic versions, offering thousands of vibrations per minute, may seem overkill for some – so choose what works for you.
Head Massage: The Basics
If you’re lucky enough to have a professional head massage booked in – you can probably skip this entire thing. But if like many of us you’re looking to have a message from the comfort of your home – here are a few of the basics.
- Find a comfy spot. This is a relaxing time – so position yourself accordingly on a bed, sofa or chair.
- Choose your weapon. Fingers, octopus, brush, gadget – whatever you’re using – make sure it’s nearby and charged if required.
- Start with some light pressure and move in small circular motions. It’s often best to start at the sides or temple area before working up to the scalp.
- Cover all of your head. This is particularly good for distributing natural oils. Similarly if you’ve applied your own oils.
- Be thorough. A good head massage should last at least five minutes, but don’t overdo it.
Hints and Tips
- If you have long voluminous hair, be careful that it doesn’t get tangled with the massager. This is particularly true with electronic head massagers which rotate. Although rare – if your hair is particularly fragile it can get caught up.
- Be careful not to give it too much strength. Massagers are great for relieving stress and tension, but be wary not to push down too hard. Your skin may become irritated and you’ll be left with a lingering feeling of uncomfortableness.
- Always use light to medium pressure when massaging your scalp. As above, not too rough – but give it a bit of pressure for better results.
- Choose a head massager that is right for you. If it’s something you want to use in the shower, a non waterproof electronic massager probably isn’t for you. If you’re looking for something to enjoy without doing all the work yourself – look for something automated.
- Despite questionable claims you may find online – a massager is no substitute for fixing medical conditions. If you have a condition – consult a physician.
We hope you found our guide and collection of the best head massagers helpful. Whether you are just rubbing your fingers into your scalp or using a device – there are several reasons why having a head massage can promote wellbeing and reduce stress in your life.
Which type of massage you take up will depend on personal preference. Just make sure you’re careful when using any device if you have long or frail hair.
As with all devices promoting wellbeing – these are not designed to be medical devices and you should always consult a physician if you have ailments. The majority of devices on the market are also not FDA approved so again, seek medical help if needed.
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