HAIR | Virtue vs. The Inkey List Scalp Exfoliant (Luxe vs. Reasonably Priced)

Purchased by me

Back in 2019, I got into scalp exfoliation and did a review of the Kristin Ess Bubble Mask and Scalp Scrub (here) as they were interesting products at the time with “entertaining” textures. They still are very unique ways of getting rid of scalp buildup, but I did find them a bit cumbersome to use at times even if they did the job. Last year, I was introduced to two scalp exfoliants – one fairly expensive and one relatively inexpensive so I decided to buy both and see how they compared to each other! Let the battle begin between Virtue and The Inkey List!


Virtue Exfoliating Scalp Treatment
This is a lightweight, dual action physical/chemical scalp exfoliant (using rice beads and fruit enzymes) and hair conditioner that has a whipped consistency and works to very gently lift aged scalp cells from follicles in addition to cleansing the scalp of buildup and impurities. Kalahari melon oil and jojoba oil provide just the right amount of moisture to the scalp and hair and Alpha Keratin 60ku repairs hair with each use. As this is my first time trying Virtue, I am only now learning that Alpha Keratin 60ku is their speciality and is a protein sourced from ethically sourced, untreated human hair that has been shown to repair hair in just 5 uses!

How did my scalp feel? Clean, but a little bit itchy still though. What I did like about this treatment was that it is essentially a treatment AND conditioner. The physical exfoliation felt like one of those more sparse facial scrubs with very small granules and was very easy to work through the hair and into the scalp. I easily worked the treatment from the roots to ends of my hair with my roots not feeling the slightest bit weighted down. The ends of my hair still needed a bit of a hydration boost so I used some Voir Luxury Hair Oil.

The Inkey List Salicylic Acid Exfoliating Scalp Treatment

This is a clear, watery pre-shampoo scalp treatment/chemical exfoliator that is fragrance-free and meant to help with itchy, flaky and/or oily scalps using the key ingredient of salicylic acid. Salicylic acid gets into the pore itself to remove sebum and build up that can cause itching and flaking (this happens to me if I use a lot of product or a dry shampoo that is very heavy). It also contains something called Fluidipure 8G which minimizes scalp inflammation and finally panthenol, a humectant, which hydrates and attracts moisture (and keeps it there!). 

I found the nozzle pretty standard, but perfect for the purpose of applying this product to my scalp. I just sequentially parted my hair and would tip the bottle over and run the nozzle along my scalp. The treatment has such a watery consistency that you can feel where you have applied the product and don’t really need to use a mirror. For the base of my scalp, I flipped my hair upside down and quickly ran the nozzle all over. Then, I used my fingers to massage the liquid in and all over my scalp and puttered around the house for 10 minutes before hopping into the shower to rinse it out. It rinsed out very easily with no residue whatsoever and as my first chemical scalp exfoliator, I much prefer it to the Kristin Ess physical scrub that I used a few years ago.

How did my scalp feel? Clean! It felt fresh, not itchy and was flake-free when I went in with my blowdryer. Sometimes, I still see a few flakes here and there, but this treatment seemed to do the job and my hair also felt like its normal self. It wasn’t any more or any less hydrated than usual which is totally fine! Sometimes, having certain things unchanged it OK!

Final verdict: Wow at two very different price points, both of these products had their pros and to be honest very few cons. I felt like when it came specifically to MY scalp that the “reasonably priced” Inkey List seemed to be more effective at making my scalp feel fresher, BUT I really liked the fact that the Virtue treatment was also a hair conditioner. I found both products MUCH less finicky to use than the Kristin Ess Bubble Mask and Scalp Scrub and honestly don’t mind having both in my rotation! If I was really on a budget though, the Inkey List Scalp Exfoliant is pretty damn good, but I think this is a case where I feel like both luxe and reasonably priced deserve a place in your shower caddy!
You can find both the Virtue and Inkey List Scalp exfoliants at

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