Cult Favorites, Reviewed: A Charcoal Scalp Shampoo That Looks Like Sludge
10.08.18

Have you ever read thousands of reviews for a popular beauty product on Sephora or Amazon or [insert retailer here], only to find yourself even more overwhelmed and unsure about whether your not you should actually purchase the damn thing than you were before you started? Well, that is the precise conundrum Man Repeller hopes to assuage with this new series, wherein every member of the editorial team tests out a single much-hyped product and shares her honest review. First up: Briogeo’sย Scalp Revival Charcoal + Coconut Oil Micro-Exfoliating Shampoo, because scalp health is trending and so is this scrub! Scroll down for our thoughts, and tell us what other products you would like us to review in the comments section.


Leandra

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Am I Italian yet?

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Have you ever used a scalp scrub or exfoliating shampoo before?

No I have not, this is the first time I’ve ever come across one but, according to the internet, scalp care is trending, which piqued my interest, particularly because I am often told that I have a flaky scalp and take issue with the criticism as it has always shown up where it needs to be and have never, not once, canceled on me. (Ba da ba, chhhh!)

Tell me about trying this one — how’d you use it and how did it go?

My single favorite thing about it is that it comes in a vat, so you are tasked with the spectacular duty of scooping a generous helping out with your hand and then rubbing it through your scalp. It’s gray and maintains exfoliants, so it feels more like you’re applying a hair mask than anything else. I tend to execute two washes, and actually did three (leaving each in for the sum of no more than, like, 30-50 seconds) with this product because it doesn’t produce suds and I still live in an antiquated mindset that pursues suds to connote cleanliness (also, though, sticking your hand in the jar is a completely immersive experience akin to that of Nickelodeon Gak’s wonder day). Ultimately, I didn’t have to wash my hair for the four days following as it did not get greasy; it also dried well (which for me means: slightly flat, straighter than my usual curls, and soft).

Do you think you’ll keep using it?

I do! According to Sephora, it’s the best scalp shampoo out there.


Nora

Have you ever used a scalp scrub or exfoliating shampoo before?

No! I don’t really have scalp “issues” but I sweat a lot and use a lot of product, so I normally use a clarifying shampoo to get my scalp clean. I shampoo every two weeks in the winter, and once a week in the summer.

Tell me about trying this one — how’d you use it and how did it go?

I used it after taking out my twists and it was amazing. The first shampoo after taking out braids/twists is always a transcendent experience, but it was especially so in this case. I’ve used it a few times after and while I like the way my it makes my scalp feel, it makes my hair feel a little too dry for my liking.

Do you think you’ll keep using it?

Occasionally! I plan on getting braids again soon and absolutely look forward to a repeat performance of Briogeo making my scalp feel alive again after braid take-down.


Amelia

Have you ever used a scalp scrub or exfoliating shampoo before?

I have! I am a loyalist to Christophe Robin Cleansing Purifying Scrub with Sea Salt. I also 100% have scalp issues. My scalp gets irritated, itchy, bumpy and SUPER mad, very easily.

Tell me about trying this one — how’d you use it and how did it go?

It went just okay :/ I don’t think it’s the product’s fault because I used it while in the midst of a scalp “flare up.” I thought this might actually make it feel better. It felt soothing in the moment, but the next day my scalp was still mad at me. My hair, maybe because I didn’t wash it out all the way, felt kind of greasy, and in the most un-fun news ever, my derm prescribed me a medicated shampoo basically that next morning, so I stopped using Briogio about as fast as I started it.

Do you think you’ll keep using it?

No, just because I’m not sure what’s going on with me right now! I think I need to start looking into more natural ways to cleanse my hair (that still result in the desired effect of how I like my hair to look). (Open to suggestions if you’re reading this.)


Harling

Have you ever used a scalp scrub or exfoliating shampoo before?

As a long-time curly hair-haver but only recent full-time wearer (does that make sense? a more in-depth explanation can be found in my hair diary, which I will continue plugging until the end of time), I’m still learning how to take care of it, and that means I am also learning how to take care of my scalp,ย APPARENTLY. I say “apparently” because before I began using products specifically designed for curly hair, I never thought twice about my scalp, but all of a sudden it became very top of mind (pun not intended but enjoyable nonetheless) when it started to feel…well…sub-par. Itchy. Moody. Kind of gunk-y. Even after I’d just washed my hair! Remember when Charlotte York has to keep a vagina diary inย Sex and the Cityย because her gynecologist tells her it’s depressed? Well, I was considering keeping a scalp diary until a few quick Googles informed me that I was experiencing a classic case of build-up after consistent use of sulfate-free shampoo, and the solution, lo and behold, was exfoliation.

I’m a big fan of IGK’s products, so I tested our their Low Key Cleansing Walnut Scalp Scrub. It did the trick (my scalp felt extremely optimistic the next day), but the process of using this particular scrub wasn’t all that easy because it’s super thick and viscous, so it was really hard to work through my equally thick hair in order to actually get to my scalp. Thus began my adventures in scalp care.

Tell me about trying this one — how’d you use it and how did it go?

I absolutely loved it. For one thing, it’s really enjoyable to use. It feels like playing with slime because you get to scoop out a big gray glob from a tub and rub it all over your head (G-rated fun for everyone!). It also really works, leaving my scalp notably refreshed post-wash.

Do you think you’ll keep using it?

Definitely. I plan to continue using it in conjunction with my regular low-suds, sulfate-free shampoo of choice (in other words, not every week, but whenever my scalp needs an extra thorough cleansing).


Haley

Have you ever used a scalp scrub or exfoliating shampoo before?

I’ve never used a scrub, but I’ve dabbled in scalp care over the past year, especially after I realized that New Wash was causing a lot of scalp buildup for me (although it saved my hair after I killed it with bleach, I’ve since stopped using it for that reason). I’m a big fan of Philip Kingsley’s scalp shampoo, but I’d been out of it for a long time (and was missing it) when Briogeo plopped on my desk. I hoped it would be just as good.

Tell me about trying this one — how’d you use it and how did it go?

I love the texture and smell of this shampoo. It’s almost pepperminty? It also has such a satisfying goopy texture (although it is a slightly unusual experience to scoop shampoo out of a jar). I didn’t have a strong opinion on it at first. I’d probably used it about five times before another shampoo sample landed on my desk that distracted me. When I tried this new shampoo, I noticed my hair was just…off. It wasn’t feeling or falling nicely. The next time I washed my hair, I went back to Briogeo and was shocked at how much better my hair felt and looked. It took me a while to realize, but now I’m a hardcore fan of this stuff. And my scalp is buildup-free.

Do you think you’ll keep using it?

I think so! Although I’m worried about how long it will last me — I have pretty thick hair and have to use a lot of product to feel like my hair is sufficiently covered. But I’m a loyal (new) fan for now.


Emma

Have you ever used a scalp scrub or exfoliating shampoo before?

I once used a scalp scrub that I MADE MYSELF out of raw sugar, tangerine peel, hemp and other essential oils because I am, sometimes, a proud DIY kinda chick. And also because yes I do have scalp issues! Sometimes it itches and, when that happens, I use Nizoral shampoo as opposed to my standard conditioner-only approach (curls are thirsty). Since said issues have yet to be properly diagnosed, that’s all I’ll say on the issue.

Tell me about trying this one — how’d you use it and how did it go?

I used it in the morning before work, which was pleasant because there was a nice wake-me-up scent situation going on — mint? charcoal? Inconclusive, but I enjoyed it whatever it was. Also the act of scrubbing my scalp was pretty invigorating, however I wasn’t entirely sure if the scrub particles were actually getting to my scalp. I have a lot of hair! I basically scooped up two handfuls of the stuff and went to town. I added one more small scoop midway through. Yes, I used my finger pads to massage my scalp like the professionals (fellow curl-haver and my former colorist Lucy, from Arrojo Brooklyn) taught me.

Do you think you’ll keep using it?

Again, inconclusive. Gotta see how my undiagnosed scalp fares a few days after the scrub. Will report back in the comment section.

Feature imageย byย Arthur Elgort/Conde Nast via Getty Images.

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