13 Best Scalp Serums for Healthy, Nourished Hair — Expert Picks

Written by Alvira Dsouza, Hair Expert
Updated on May 14, 2024
Best Scalp Serums
Best Scalp Serums
The products curated for this article are independently chosen by the editorial team. If you make a purchase through the links mentioned below, we may receive a commission. Check out our product research & curation process

With haircare being of utmost importance for all — men and women alike — the best scalp serums are snagging the spotlight in haircare regimens lately. Well, as we all strive for that Insta-worthy hair, it’s become super clear that healthy hair begins right at the root — literally. Scalp serums are the secret sauce, loaded with nutrients, humectants, and growth boosters, transforming the scalp into a fertile ground for lush locks which many dermatologists recommend.

As these powerhouse products become must-haves, I took it upon myself to sift through the endless options, selecting the finest ones based on effectiveness, ingredient integrity, and user reviews. I looked for serums that tackle everything from dryness and flakiness to promoting hair growth, ensuring there’s something for every scalp need.

And now, after diving into the science, testing the contenders, and considering real-world feedback, I’m thrilled to share my top picks. Whether you’re battling brittleness or dreaming of denser hair, these scalp serums are here to “manetain” your strands!

13 Best Scalp Serums

As a haircare expert, I swear by PURA D'OR’s scalp serum for restoring hair health. Infused with potent ingredients like caffeine, biotin, and niacin, it invigorates the scalp, promoting healthier hair growth. Its lightweight formula absorbs quickly, delivering nourishment deep into the follicles without leaving any residue. I've seen firsthand how it revitalizes the scalp, reducing shedding and promoting thicker, fuller-looking hair. 

Plus, it's free from harsh chemicals and cruelty-free, making it a top choice for those seeking effective and ethical haircare solutions. This small-sized power potion isn't just convenient — it's a breeze to pump and use. I and countless other reviewers praise its user-friendly design, making it a go-to choice for hassle-free haircare routines.

Key Ingredients: Caffeine, biotin, and niacin

Dosage: 1-2 pumps daily 

Best for: Hair thinning 

Size: 4 oz

Pros
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Color-safe formula
  • Promotes hair growth
  • Lightweight formula
  • Made in USA
  • Nourishes scalp
Cons
  • Limited quantity
  • Expensive
  • Best Scalp Serum for Dry Scalp

    Divi Scalp Serum

    Divi Scalp Serum
  • So, I gave this Divi Scalp Serum a go, and let me tell you, it's like a powerhouse for your scalp. The ingredient list reads like a dream team for nourishment, with copper peptides, caffeine, and rosemary oil working their magic to promote healthy hair growth. Plus, the hyaluronic acid and amino acids provide much-needed moisture making it a suited hat for it's for dry scalps. 

    As someone with an oily scalp, I found it a tad heavy. However, if you're battling dryness, this serum is your new best friend, soothing your scalp and hydrating like nobody's business. This serum is your scalp's new hydration hero, earning a solid thumbs-up from those parched strands.

    Key Ingredients: Copper tripeptide-1, hyaluronic acid, caffeine

    Dosage: 2-4 pumps daily 

    Best for: Thinning hair and dry scalps

    Size: 1 oz

    Pros
    • Hydrates intensely
    • Strengthens the hair
    • Gluten-free
    • Nourishes scalp
    • Vegan
    • Paraben-free
    Cons
    • May feel heavy on oily scalps
    • Limited effectiveness
  • Best for Buildups

    Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal + Tea Tree Scalp Treatment

    Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal + Tea Tree Scalp Treatment
  • When popular things pop up on my screen, like the Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal + Tea Tree Scalp Treatment, curiosity gets the best of me. The blend of peppermint, tea tree oil, charcoal, and witch hazel creates this magical elixir that balances and soothes the scalp like a dream. Plus, it's a win-win for both dry and oily scalps, providing immediate relief from discomfort and buildup. 

    I'm talking about an instant cooling sensation that's oh-so-refreshing! It’s a bit on the pricey side though, making it quite luxe choice compared to OTC brands. However, considering its effectiveness, I'd say it's worth every penny. It's like the holy grail for my scalp!

    Key Ingredients: Peppermint oil, tea tree oil, charcoal, and witch hazel

    Dosage: 1-2 drops to each partition

    Best for: All hair types, especially those with scalp buildups 

    Size: 1 oz

    Pros
    • Refreshing scent
    • Vegan
    • Ideal for oily scalps
    • Removes impurities
    • Calms irritated scalp
    Cons
    • Pricey
    • Some find the scent too strong
  • Best for Flakiness

    Jupiter Restoring Scalp Serum

    Jupiter Restoring Scalp Serum
  • Jupiter Restoring Scalp Serum, infused with zinc pyrithione, targets the root cause of dandruff and scalp discomfort. This key ingredient is celebrated among hair care enthusiasts for its antifungal and antibacterial properties, effectively reducing dandruff, flakiness, and irritation. 

    When I tested this serum, I noticed a significant improvement in scalp health; the itchiness and flakes diminished remarkably within a few weeks. Its lightweight formula didn't weigh down my hair or leave any greasy residue. Considering its effectiveness and the noticeable enhancement in scalp and hair condition, this serum is undoubtedly a worthwhile investment for those battling scalp issues.

    Key Ingredients: Zinc pyrithione and niacinamide 

    Dosage: 4 times a day

    Best for: Oily, itchy scalps, flaky and red scalps 

    Size: 3.4 oz

    Pros
    • Precise applicator provided
    • Cruelty-free
    • Paraben-free
    • Color-safe
    • Best in scent
    • Suits chemically treated hair
    Cons
    • Pricey
  • Best for Fast Results

    ACT+ ACRE Cold Processed Stem Cell Serum

     ACT+ ACRE Cold Processed Stem Cell Serum
  • Strike two birds with one stone as both your hair texture and scalp reap benefits from the ACT+ ACRE Cold Processed Stem Cell Serum. Leveraging advanced plant cell culture technology, this serum includes a robust 2% concentration of Swiss apple stem cells that not only promote a longer natural growth phase but also soothe dry and itchy scalps. 

    A blend of aloe vera, bamboo, and pea extract works synergistically to fend off free radicals, preventing the premature aging of hair follicles. Regular users often notice a delightful boost in volume. To sum it up, this luxe pick is perfect for folks with curly hair and early signs of female pattern hair loss.

    Key Ingredients: H2-grow complex, bamboo, and pea sprout blend, hyaluronic acid

    Dosage: 4-5 times a week

    Best for: Thinning, dry scalps, and flakiness

    Size: 2.2 oz

    Pros
    • Promotes hair thickness
    • Great for oily scalps
    • Lightweight
    • Paraben-free
    • Color-safe
    • Vegan
    • Silicone-free
    Cons
    • Expensive

    Quick Tip:

    For optimal results, apply one to two pipettes daily directly to the scalp, without rinsing.

  • Best for Thin Hair

    OUAI Scalp Serum

    OUAI Scalp Serum
  • The OUAI Scalp Serum is infused with ingredients like hyaluronic acid, adaptogens, and peptides that collectively work to hydrate, soothe, and rejuvenate the scalp helping out flat hair problems. It also harbors some scalp-loving natural ingredients like arctic root, siberian ginseng, and red clover flower extract, which aim to foster a healthy, balanced scalp with each use. When I tested this serum, I noticed a remarkable improvement in the overall health and comfort of my scalp. 

    The serum's lightweight formula absorbed quickly without leaving any residue, and I could feel its soothing effects almost immediately. After consistent use, my hair appeared healthier and more vibrant — it was quite normal before the test like being frizzy but it took it up a notch after three days of consistent use. My verdict? This serum is a must-try for anyone looking to restore balance and vitality to their scalp, paving the way for stronger, healthier hair growth.

    Key Ingredients: Arctic root, Siberian ginseng, red clover flower extract, peptides and Chaga mushroom

    Dosage: 4-5 times a week

    Best for: Thinning hair and frizzy hair

    Size: 2 oz

    Pros
    • Keratin-safe and color-safe
    • Vegan
    • Hydrates the scalp
    • Cruelty-free
    • Gluten-free
    • Paraben-free
    Cons
    • May irritate initially on first try
  • Best for Damaged Hair

    Kérastase Nutritive Nutri-Supplement Scalp Serum

    Kérastase Nutritive Nutri-Supplement Scalp Serum
  • For my scalp-care junkies, the Nutritive Nutri-Supplement Scalp Serum is delightfully packed with nourishing ingredients, it promises to revitalize your scalp's health. In trials, users noted improved hydration and a reduction in dryness leaving hair supple and irresistibly soft to the touch, though some desired quicker results. The serum comes in a stout bottle with a precise dropper, making application a breeze. Its effectiveness in delivering deep scalp nutrition and the charming packaging certainly score high. 

    However, I feel the formula could be optimized in terms of having a stronger formulation for faster visible benefits for those with higher levels of dryness in their scalps. From my experience and considering all factors, I'd confidently rate this serum a solid four out of five stars.

    Key Ingredients: Plant-based proteins and niacinamide 

    Dosage: 4-5 pumps daily 

    Best for: Dry scalps 

    Size: 3.04 oz

    Pros
    • Offers precise application
    • Improves hydration
    • Reduces scalp dryness
    • Attractive packaging
    • Non-comedogenic
    • Non-greasy feel
    Cons
    • Requires consistent application for best results
    • High price point
  • Best for Dandruff

    The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA Scalp Serum

    The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA Scalp Serum
  • The Ordinary's Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA Scalp Serum is celebrated for its effective, milky formula. It blends ingredients that mimic natural moisturizing factors, along with hyaluronic acid and squalane, to enhance scalp hydration and protect the skin barrier. Regular users praise its ability to maintain scalp moisture without feeling greasy. However, some find the texture a bit heavy for very fine hair. 

    Overall, feedback is overwhelmingly positive, citing that this product does improve the scalp health of dehydrated scalps. Given its beneficial ingredients, ease of use, and the positive results it delivers, I rate this serum a commendable 4.5 out of 5 stars.

    Key Ingredients: Squalane and hyaluronic acid 

    Dosage: 3-4 pumps daily 

    Best for: Dry scalps and finer hair types

    Size: 2 oz

    Pros
    • Ideal for regular use
    • Cruelty-free
    • Paraben-free
    • Fresh aloe vera scent
    • Unisex
    Cons
    • Results vary across individual hair/scalp types
  • Best Luxe Choice

    Moroccanoil Dry Scalp Treatment

    Moroccanoil Dry Scalp Treatment
  • For those who have some time to invest in pre-shampoo treatments for split ends, Moroccanoil's Dry Scalp Treatment is a gem. This unique serum uses argan oil, salicylic acid, and geranium oil to clarify and soothe the scalp while tackling flakiness. It not only reduces buildup but also enhances moisture and shine thanks to added argan oil and vitamin E. You can apply just three drops to dry patches, wait a few minutes, and then rinse before your regular wash routine, making it a super easy inclusion in everyone’s normal hair routines. 

    Post-trial, the iconic Moroccanoil scent — a luxurious mix of spicy amber, musk, and sweet florals — lingered near me for quite some time delightfully, enhancing the overall experience. The lingering scent and strong formulation makes this treatment as indulgent as it is effective!

    Key Ingredients: Argan oil, salicylic acid, and geranium oil 

    Dosage:  3–6 drops pre shampooing

    Best for: Split ends, flat hair, and dry hair 

    Size: 1.5 oz

    Pros
    • Easy to use
    • Good price value
    • Pleasant scent
    • Cruelty-free
    • No greasy feel
    • Absorbs well
    Cons
    • Very less in quantity
  • Best for Irritated Scalps

    Fable & Mane SahaScalp Amla Soothing Serum

    Fable & Mane SahaScalp Amla Soothing Serum
  • Next up on my list is this indie brand, Fable & Mane SahaScalp Oil — which has garnered quite a cult following in the haircare community. This serum stands out for its lightweight formulation that hydrates without leaving a greasy residue. Crafted with Indian gooseberry, bakuchi, and aloe, it’s specially formulated to soothe and rejuvenate sensitive scalps. When I tried it, I immediately noticed my scalp felt cleaner and incredibly breathable.

    However, you might need more than the recommended single syringe to cover your scalp adequately, as noted by other users. Regular use of this scalp serum could be a key addition to your hair care regimen, especially if combating dryness and itchiness is a priority. For its, super aesthetic packaging and scalp-soothing formulation, I concur that this is one of the best serums for hair growth too!

    Key Ingredients: Indian gooseberry

    Dosage: 3-4 drops daily

    Best for: Soothing irritated scalps and clearing buildup

    Size: 1.8 oz

    Pros
    • Clean ingredients
    • Suits all hair types
    • Great for sensitive scalps
    • Cruelty-free
    • Silicone-free
    • Vegan
    Cons
    • Scent can be improved
  • Nécessaire The Scalp Serum

    Nécessaire The Scalp Serum
  • As a haircare expert, I'm impressed by Nécessaire The Scalp Serum, a top-notch, lightweight, leave-in formula that mirrors the delicacy of a facial serum. This product boasts a powerful 5% biomimetic peptide blend that targets thinning hair, complemented by 1% hyaluronic acid for hydration, and green tea to alleviate itchiness. The clinical 5% Capixyl formula is engineered for significant hair growth, promising fuller, thicker hair in just 90 days. 

    Impressively, it leaves no residue, making it a seamless addition to your hair care routine if you are dealing with coarse hair strands or dry scalp days. Highly recommended for hair care junkies with diverse scalp and hair types!

    Key Ingredients: Biomimetic peptide blend, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide and vitamin B3

    Dosage: 1-2 drops daily 

    Best for: All hair types, including color-treated hair

    Size: 1 oz

    Pros
    • Fragrance-free
    • Good price value
    • Non-comedogenic
    • Hypoallergenic
    • Eczema-friendly
    • Alcohol-free
    Cons
    • Very less in quantity
  • SEEN Restore Scalp Serum

    SEEN Restore Scalp Serum
  • Dealing with eczema on your scalp can be a serious annoyance, but SEEN Restore Scalp Serum offers a welcome solution to sensitive scalp. Specially formulated by dermatologists, this fragrance-free serum targets the frustration of scalp eczema effectively. It's non-comedogenic, so it won’t clog pores, absorbs quickly, and doesn’t leave a greasy residue. The serum not only optimizes scalp health with balanced hydration but also soothes dryness, reduces flaking, and minimizes irritation. 

    It additionally supports a healthy scalp environment and fortifies the scalp barrier with inclusion of extensive ingredients like propanediol caprylate and squalane. This soothing treatment is clinically studied, making it a trusted choice for scalp relief.

    Key Ingredients: Propanediol caprylate, sarcosine, bisabolol, C13-15 alkane, ethylhexyl olivate, squalane

    Dosage: 3-4 times a week

    Best for: Scalp eczema 

    Size: 2 oz

    Pros
    • Fast-absorbing formula
    • Non-greasy feel
    • Precise application
    • Dermatologist-developed
    Cons
    • Results too long to show
  • dpHUE ACV Daily Scalp Serum

    dpHUE ACV Daily Scalp Serum
  • Last but not least, with only positive reviews surrounding this lightweight serum, featuring apple cider vinegar, the dpHUE serum stands out from the rest. It not only soothes and nourishes the scalp but also boosts hydration, protects against inflammation, and promotes healthy hair growth. The formula effectively controls sebum production and balances scalp pH without the off-putting vinegar smell, maintaining its cleansing properties. 

    Personally, I find it refreshingly effective and appreciate how it manages to keep the scalp feeling clean and balanced. So, if you're struggling with scalp issues or looking for a reliable hair health booster on a daily regimen basis, I honestly recommend giving this serum a try.

    Key Ingredients: Apple cider vinegar, glycerin

    Dosage: 2-3 drops daily 

    Best for: Dry and irritated scalps

    Size: 1.7 oz

    Pros
    • Keeps pH balanced
    • Prevents color fade
    • Paraben-free
    • Vegan
    • Cruelty-free
    • SLS-free
    Cons
    • May feel greasy

    With the top picks tested and explained, let’s head on to the buying guide section for a much-informed decision on understanding scalp types and what you should get for a better haircare regimen.

     

    How to Select the Best Scalp Serums?

    When you're on the hunt for a scalp serum, you definitely want to zero in on a few key ingredients and features to ensure you’re giving your scalp the best care possible. Here’s what to look out for.

    1. Hydrating Ingredients: Look for serums with hyaluronic acid or glycerin. These gems are great for maintaining moisture, essential for a healthy scalp.

    2. Nourishing Oils: Ingredients like argan oil, coconut oil, or tea tree oil not only moisturize but also tackle issues like dandruff and itchiness.

    3. Antioxidants: Antioxidants like vitamins C and E play a crucial role in protecting the skin on your scalp from environmental stressors. By including these vitamins in your scalp care routine, you can help promote overall scalp health, ensuring it stays nourished and resilient against daily challenges.

    4. Peptides And Plant Extracts: These can stimulate hair follicles to support quick hair growth and strength. Examples include pea sprout extract and copper peptides that are present in products like the Divi Scalp Serum and the Nécessaire The Scalp Serum.

    5. Soothing Components: If you have a sensitive scalp, look for calming agents like aloe vera or chamomile. These ingredients help calm aggravated scalp skin that has been caused by over-washing, over-scrubbing, buildups and dandruff. 

    6. Absence of Harsh Chemicals: Steer clear of parabens, sulfates, and silicones, which can strip natural oils and exacerbate scalp issues.

    Always remember to do a patch test with a new serum to make sure it suits your skin, and give your scalp time to adjust and show results!

    What are the Benefits of Scalp Serums?

    Let's get to the root of the matter about scalp serums and their benefits. If you’re ready to give your hair care routine a serious upgrade, here’s why adding a scalp serum could be a mane event:

    1. Boosts Hydration: A dry scalp can lead to issues like itchiness and flaking. Scalp serums are infused with moisturizers like hyaluronic acid or glycerin that deeply hydrate the scalp, keeping it moisturized and comfortable.

    2. Supports Hair Growth: Scalp serums often contain ingredients like peptides, biotin, or caffeine that energize and stimulate the hair follicles. This can help your hair grow thicker and healthier, giving you a fuller look.

    3. Reduces Dandruff: Ingredients such as tea tree oil, salicylic acid, or zinc are common in scalp serums and are excellent at controlling dandruff. They work by removing dead skin cells and keeping the scalp clean and clear.

    4. Calms Irritation: For individuals with sensitive scalps, finding the right hair care products is crucial. Serums are particularly beneficial as they often contain natural soothing ingredients like aloe vera, chamomile, and oat extracts. These components work effectively to calm irritation and reduce redness, providing relief and comfort. Incorporating such serums into your routine can make a significant difference in how your scalp feels, promoting both health and hydration.

    5. Improves Hair Health: A well-nourished scalp sets the foundation for healthy hair. By maintaining a healthy scalp environment, serums help ensure your hair is strong, shiny, and less prone to breakage.

    Using a scalp serum is like giving your scalp a daily vitamin boost — it nourishes, protects, and optimizes the environment for healthy hair growth. So, pick your potion wisely my dear!

    What Should You Avoid When Shopping for Scalp Serums?

    When shopping for a scalp serum, paying attention to certain ingredients can help you choose a product that’s not only effective but also gentle on your scalp. Here’s a more detailed look at what you might want to avoid:

    1. High Concentrations of Alcohol: While some alcohols can be fatty and beneficial, others like denatured alcohol or isopropyl alcohol are drying. These alcohols can strip moisture from the scalp, leading to dryness and irritation. Check the ingredients list and avoid products where these types of alcohols are among the first few listed.

    2. Artificial Fragrances And Dyes: Synthetic fragrances and dyes are common allergens that can cause scalp irritation, itchiness, and redness, particularly for those with sensitive skin. Opt for serums labeled as “fragrance-free” or those using natural essential oils in small quantities for scent.

    3. Harsh Sulfates: Ingredients like sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) are effective cleansers but can be too harsh for the scalp, stripping away natural oils which can lead to dryness and irritation. Look for sulfate-free formulas to keep your scalp’s natural moisture balance intact.

    4. Parabens (Methyl, Propyl, Butyl, And Ethyl Paraben): Used as preservatives, parabens can disrupt the skin’s natural oil balance and may irritate the scalp. While the research on their health effects is ongoing, many prefer to err on the side of caution and choose paraben-free products.

    5. Silicones (like Dimethicone): Silicones coat the hair and scalp, creating a smooth feel. However, they can build up over time, potentially clogging hair follicles and preventing essential moisture and nutrients from penetrating the scalp. If you use silicones, look for those that are water-soluble or use clarifying shampoos regularly to prevent buildup.

    6. Heavy Oils And Waxes: While some oils are beneficial, heavy oils and waxes can be too occlusive for some scalp types, especially if prone to oiliness or dermatitis. They can trap dead skin cells and excess oil, leading to buildup and flaking. Opt for lighter, non-comedogenic oils like argan or jojoba oil in your scalp serums.

    7. Propylene Glycol: This ingredient is used to increase absorption and can be found in many skin and hair products. However, it can irritate the scalp, especially at higher concentrations. Check the label and consider avoiding it if you have a sensitive scalp.

    Understanding these ingredients and their effects on the scalp can guide you in selecting a serum that nourishes and supports scalp health without causing additional irritation.

    How to Keep a Healthy Scalp?

    To maintain a healthy scalp and lush hair, incorporating protective styles and minimizing tight hairstyles can prevent stress on your hair roots and preserve hair density. Using hair masks and scalp scrubs on wash days helps remove product and oil buildup, which is crucial for those with greasy hair or flaky scalps often associated with seborrheic dermatitis.

    Managing excess sebum and ensuring frequent yet gentle washing can create a protective barrier that fosters a healthy environment for hair growth. Additionally, stimulating blood flow with minty-scented hair oils not only nourishes coily hair and baby hairs but also prevents dryness and promotes a refreshing experience.

    Conclusion

    In conclusion, if you're exploring the best scalp serums on the market, I highly recommend the Pura D'or Hair Thinning Therapy Energizing Scalp Serum and the Divi Scalp Serum. Both products excel in nurturing the scalp, promoting healthier hair growth, and mitigating hair thinning. The former invigorates and strengthens, while the latter targets inflammation and moisturizes effectively. Choosing the right serum depends on your specific needs, but either option or even the ones listed above are sure to enhance your hair care routine if suitable for your needs. I hope you enjoy the journey to healthier, fuller hair! Happy shopping!

    FAQ's

    Which scalp serum should I use when having flakiness?
    Choose a scalp serum with salicylic acid, tea tree oil, or zinc pyrithione. These ingredients help reduce flaking by gently exfoliating and soothing the scalp.
    Is it good to apply serum on the scalp when dealing with eczema?
    Yes, but select a serum formulated for sensitive skin, free from alcohol, fragrance, and harsh chemicals. Ingredients like aloe vera and chamomile are beneficial.
    How often should you use serum on your scalp?
    Typically, apply a scalp serum 2-3 times a week. However, follow the specific product instructions or adjust based on your scalp's tolerance and needs.
    Can scalp serums cause any side effects?
    Scalp serums can sometimes cause irritation, especially if they contain potent actives or if overused. Always patch test a new serum to check for sensitivity.
    How long does it take to see results from using a scalp serum?
    Results can vary, but generally, it may take several weeks to a few months to notice significant improvements in scalp health and hair growth from a serum.

    Why Trust Pinkvilla

    Alvira, our dedicated haircare expert, created this list of the best scalp serums after thorough research and testing. Her goal was to offer reliable solutions for various scalp issues, from dryness and irritation to thinning hair. Alvira carefully selected serums that provide effective results, using criteria like ingredient quality, user reviews, and personal testing. She aims to help others achieve a healthier scalp and lusher hair with her expert recommendations.

    We also have subject matter experts from various fields like Fashion, Skincare, Haircare, Home Decor, and Health & Fitness onboard to make sure our suggestions are credible and trustworthy. You can trust Select to be your faithful shopping guide for all the right reasons!

    Author BIO
    reviewer
    Alvira Dsouza
    Hair Expert

    With a keen eye for detail and a passion for hairstyling, Alvira is a certified Hair Expert who brings the latest tre More