How to Use Glycolic Acid on Your Scalp to Unclog Hair Follicles

3 Materials
15 Hours

Today, I’m going to show you how to unclog hair follicles and promote thick, long hair growth by using glycolic acid on your scalp. We’re going to be making a glycolic acid exfoliating scalp scrub.

What is glycolic acid?

If you don’t know, glycolic acid is a chemical exfoliator. It's mostly used on the face, but your scalp is basically an extension of the skin on your face, right?

You might feel bumps from a buildup of flaky dry skin, or you might have an oily scalp caused by a buildup of products. Even dandruff can grow on your scalp due to dryness.

Can I use glycolic acid on my scalp?

Yes! Glycolic acid is a chemical exfoliant that I recommend over physical exfoliants. They’re easier to use and much more effective than physical because they’re 100% in charge of the exfoliation which means your exfoliation won’t be messed up by human error.

With physical exfoliation (hard scrubs etc.), you can exfoliate too hard and can cause damage to your scalp.

Today, I'll be using a glycolic acid toner. It contains 7% glycolic acid, amino acids, aloe vera, ginseng, and Tasmanian pepperberry. These are all amazing ingredients for your hair and your scalp as well. That said: don’t spray this all over your hair as you only need to exfoliate your scalp.

Tools and materials:

How to use glycolic acid on your scalp

Glycolic acid toner with a spray bottle

1. Put the glycolic acid toner in a spray bottle

Before starting, put the glycolic acid in a little spray bottle for easy application. This way, it won't drip down on your face when applying.

Prepping hair before application

2. Prepare your hair for application

Before applying, make sure your hair is freshly washed and conditioned. I washed and deep conditioned my hair, then dried it with a microfiber towel to absorb excess water.

How to use glycolic acid on the scalp

3. Apply the glycolic acid

When applying, really focus on the scalp. My hair is in braids so it’s much easier to only apply on the scalp without it going on the hair.

It’s fine if it goes on the hair, but it’s a waste of product, so you only want to apply it on your scalp where the follicles are.

Can I use glycolic acid on my scalp?

After I apply the spray on my scalp, I like to go around the perimeter of my head and the hairline which is where you’re typically prone to bumps and pimples due to protective hairstyles or just tying up your hair.

It’s also common to get a build-up of hair gel here, so that’s why it’s important to exfoliate.

Scalp exfoliation DIY

4. Work the product in

You want to work the product in by touching all over your scalp. If there’s anywhere the scalp feels dry, you probably missed it with the exfoliator, so make sure to spray there as well.

Remember not to do an intense scalp massage as that can overwork the exfoliator and over-exfoliate the scalp.

How to unclog hair follicles on the scalp

5. Moisturize

Apply moisturizer first on your ends and then work it into the rest of your hair.

Unlike the glycolic acid, you want to put the moisturizer only on your hair and not actually on your scalp. This is because you want the glycolic acid to do its job and absorb very well into your scalp.

I also won’t be putting any oil on my scalp right now either. Instead, it’s best to wait until the next day or until your hair is dry so you don’t disturb the glycolic acid.

Results of glycolic acid and moisturizer

How to use glycolic acid on your scalp

This scalp exfoliation DIY is extremely effective. After two days, my scalp still feels so good and clean and my curls are nice and moisturized.


  • This is not a replacement for shampoo, and you still have to shampoo your hair. You can use it either as a pre-poo or use it after you wash your hair and leave it in until you next wash.
  • Don’t use this if your scalp is irritated or you were just scratching it. Glycolic acid shouldn’t be used on broken skin because it will burn.
  • If you’re going to be outside in the sun, do not spray this right before you go out. You should preferably do this at night or, if you do it during the day, wear a hat or umbrella. This is an acid that will make your scalp more sensitive to sunlight, so you can get scalp burns if you’re not careful.

Let me know if you guys like this treatment down below!

Suggested materials:
  • Glycolic acid toner
  • Spray bottle
  • Hair moisturizer

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