Drunk Elephant TLC Happi Scalp Scrub Review

This is a mini review/first impression of Drunk Elephant’s TLC Happi Scalp Scrub; I will update in 2 months (see update below). Happi Scalp Scrub is part of the new Drunk Elephant hair care line developed in collaboration with celebrity hair stylist, Chris McMillan. This product is an AHA/BHA blend that dissolves dead skin cells, oils and product buildup, while biodegradable exfoliating beads sweep them away. According to DE, the scrub should have about 36 uses. The hair line is color safe and is formulated for scalp health. Happi Scalp can also be used on the body and face. The hair and body lines seem more reasonably priced than DE skin care.

Ingredients: Water/Aqua/Eau, Cellulose Acetate, Glycolic Acid, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Glycerin, Cetearyl Alcohol, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Sodium Hydroxide, Coconut Alkanes, Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate, Lactic Acid, Sclerocarya Birrea Seed Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Citrullus Lanatus (Watermelon) Seed Oil, Passiflora Edulis Seed Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Adansonia Digitata Seed Extract, Salicylic Acid, Sodium PCA, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Seed Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Juice Extract, Sodium Lactate, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, PCA, Alanine, Arginine, Glycine, Histidine, Isoleucine, Phenylalanine, Proline, Serine, Threonine, Valine, Citric Acid, Aspartic Acid, Sorbitan Isostearate, Propanediol, Zinc Oxide, Polysorbate 60, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Tocopherol, Hexylene Glycol, Pentylene Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin

Happi Scalp uses a 10% TLC Framboos AHA blend (I assume this is similar to the face serum of the same name, which I have not tried). Cellulose acetate makes up the biodegradable spherical scrubbing beads that are very, very fine. This has a number of plant and seed oils and amino acids that nourish the scalp.

Directions: Before showering, on dry hair, apply directly to the scalp. Massage and let sit for 10 or more minutes. Shampoo and condition as usual. Happi Scalp can be used 1 to 2 times a week. There was a clip on Drunk Elephant’s IGTV with Chris McMillan applying the product. He sectioned the hair into one inch sections, applying the product down the part of the scalp, then massaged each section. I think, if done this way, the product would not last very long. It looks like he applied a lot of product. I parted my hair into four sections, applying a thin layer and felt this was enough product.

The scrub has a fine tip nozzle that makes for easy application onto the scalp. This has no added fragrance and smells like sweet almond (quite like almond extract found in the grocery store and used for baking).

I have fine hair. My scalp and hair get oily quite quickly, my scalp can get a bit itchy and I have a few dandruff-like or product buildup flakes. After a hair wash, by the end of the second day/beginning of the third day, it is already pretty oily and in need of a shampoo. I wash my hair once to twice a week, use dry shampoo once a week and a clarifying shampoo once every 3 to 4 weeks. I’ll usually need to shampoo two times each wash to get rid of the oils and buildup.

I’ve used the same products in my hair and have used the same styling process for a few months now – shampoo and condition with Briogeo Banana and Coconut Superfood shampoo and conditioner, apply a leave-in conditioner and Olaplex No. 7. I then spray Briogeo Blossom and Bloom volumizing spray on the roots and blow dry the hair, applying a few more drops of Olaplex No. 7 to smooth any fly-aways.

I used on fourth-day hair. The scrubby beads are very fine and I can’t really feel them while massaging on the scalp. Above, the scalp got a bit reddened due to a combination of the chemical and physical exfoliants and the massaging. Many of the beads seemed to sit on the hair and dropped down onto my shirt and bathroom counter. My scalp got mildly warm for the first couple minutes while the scrub sat on my scalp. The product feels oily on the fingers and the hair. After leaving on the hair for 10 minutes, I rinsed well before shampooing. Despite my hair itself being oily and the plant oils from the scrub added on the hair, as I was rinsing, the hair got much less oily, so this product does dissolve and rinse away some oil buildup even before shampooing.

Usually when I wash my hair, I need two shampoos as the first does not really lather up because of buildup. While shampooing after Happi Scalp, the first application gets quite sudsy and I can use less shampoo. The scrubby beads rinsed well and I didn’t notice any left on the hair after getting out of the shower.

After doing my normal styling routine, the hair looked and felt lighter and seemed to have more volume than usual; same with my next-day hair (usually my next-day hair will be slightly oily and a bit limp). My scalp still had some itchiness, so I guess, depending on the cause, Happi Scalp doesn’t really help with that (at least in my case).

I used Happi Scalp as a body scrub while in the shower. I want to use this mainly for the hair, so just used on knees, arms, elbows, heels and underarms. The scrubbing beads do not dissolve in water and are very fine, so not irritating to skin but also not very effective to smooth the body. On rinsing, the skin does not feel much smoother, but had a bit more moisture due to the plant oils. A sugar scrub works better than this and the pumice scrub from First Aid Beauty works even better. Happi Scalp is not very effective as a body scrub.

The scrub can be used on the face, keeping in mind other acids and retinols used in the skin care routine, and using the scrub on alternating days. I applied to clean, dry skin; this was too harsh even massaging very lightly, so I added some water, rubbed gently onto the skin and let sit for about 5 to 7 minutes. My face did not sting or get warm, but my cheeks got a bit red. The beads rinsed well, but I was left with an oily layer on the skin, so cleansed the skin again before applying a hydrating toner. My skin was very smooth and had a bit of a glow. I think I will likely use this on the face again once a week, but would use on my skin in the morning (since the skin is cleaner than in the evening) before cleansing and continuing with the rest of my routine.

I’ve only used Happi Scalp once (I will be using once a week) and will post an update here in 2 months. Thus far I really like this product and it might become a favorite. Happi Scalp Scrub is not a shampoo and does not have surfactants like that of a clarifying shampoo, but I can probably do less clarifying shampoos since the scrub does a good job of removing oil and product buildup on the scalp and roots. I likely will not need as much shampoo when I use this product.

Update (June 9, 2020):

I have been using Happi Scalp for 2 months now twice a week. When zooming in on the photos, in the before picture, I have a few flakes and what looks like oil sort of attached to the hair follicle, both of which have improved over the 2 months. The hair has continued to have more volume and feels lighter on the scalp. I am not sure how necessary the exfoliating beads are to this product and I wish it was a little thinner or at least more easily spread. I did end up sectioning the hair into 1-inch sections and applying a thin layer, as the product does not really go a long way. My scalp still gets mildly itchy a few hours after washing.

I’m not sure I can call this particular product a favorite, given that I’ve not tried any other scalp scrubs, but rather more of a favorite concept to add to my routine.

I am still happy with the scalp scrub and my scalp health has improved. I would purchase again, but feel the formula could be improved a bit.

Thank you for reading.


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