Each time you discover a new favorite product, it's hard to imagine how you ever even functioned without it. A new moisturizer becomes your beloved bedside companion, a fantastic comb never leaves your bag, and the idea of surrendering a game-changing shampoo at TSA is terrifying enough to make you actually (gulp) check a bag.
If you're at all into hair products, there's never been a better time to experiment. These days, the best launches are all loaded with high-tech formulas, innovative ingredients, and often boxed into sustainable packaging. One of the most notable trends in hair products lately, though, is a renewed focus on the scalp. As important to care for and fortify as the skin on your face, treating your scalp right is often the key to unlocking some of the healthiest, shiniest, and fullest hair of your life—which makes sense considering that's where hair grows from in the first place. Verb has always been in the business of stepping your haircare game up, but its latest launch, an extension of the brand's best-selling Ghost line, might be the biggest breakthrough yet.
Verb's Ghost Exfoliating Scalp Nectar ($18) harnesses the power of chemical exfoliation, mixes it with some tried-and-true moisturizers, and distills it down into one easy-to-use formula that leaves the scalp unobstructed and hair feeling utterly weightless—ghostlike, you might even say.
To put into context the grip the entire Ghost collection has on Verb fans, know that there was a 1,000-plus waitlist to get the new scalp nectar as soon as it arrived. Verb's Ghost line is marked by just how light the products make hair feel, even while mainlining moisture, styling assistance, and heat protection to hair. Though the line is ostensibly for finer hair that's easily weighed down by traditional products, it's suitable for all hair types—including this new exfoliator in particular.
"I appreciate the brand because they really think about what we’re incorporating into our hair and skin," says Nigella Miller, top celebrity stylist for major brands and stars like Chloe Bailey as well as a Byrdie Board advisor. She explains that truly healthy hair has to start with the scalp, and calls the root-targeting formula her go-to first step on wash days.
In recent years, there's been a real pivot to what many call the "skincare-ification" of hair products, and this scalp exfoliant is an excellent example. When you think of alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) and poly-hydroxy acids (PHAs), you'll probably think of skincare first, too, but they're Verb's secret weapon for clear, healthy scalps. AHAs and PHAs are similar, born from the same family of chemical exfoliants.
While PHAs in Scalp Nectar work to eliminate surface-level debris like dandruff and product buildup, AHAs penetrate a bit deeper to clear away dead cells and prompt regeneration. Plus, AHAs are extra-nice in haircare because some forms (like the humectant glycolic acid in this very formula) don't strip moisture, but rather prompt and attract it.
"Some of the benefits that you receive from incorporating a scalp exfoliant into your routine is absorbing moisture on a higher level and being able to treat your scalp by getting a deep cleanse," Miller explains. "So many scalp exfoliants available are harsh sugar or salt scrubs, but this exfoliant rinses clean, leaves your scalp feeling refreshed and your hair looking and feeling healthier."
Also among the exfoliating ingredients is vitamin C-heavy grapefruit extract that further helps clarify excessive scalp oil.
While the tag-team acids get to work clearing your scalp like little chemical street-sweepers, a healthy dose of moringa oil—a Verb-favorite ingredient—uses its natural fatty acid content to hydrate the scalp and smooth the hair shaft for maximum silkiness and shine. Finally, vitamin B-7 (better known as biotin) strengthens hair which protects it from breakage while improving your hair's keratin structure for more voluminous hair—and more hair in general.
How To Use It
Though this sure seems like a shower product, it's actually one you're better off storing with your skincare. Once a week (or when your hair's feeling weighed down or congested), part your dry hair into different sections, work a glob of the nectar directly into your scalp, and massage. The brand recommends concentrating the product around your hair part, temples, and hairline, too, as that's where people often have the most product buildup.
You'll want to leave it on for 10 minutes so it doubles as a great time to let your mind wander, like a bit of massage meditation. Bonus: That massage also helps prompt hair growth by stimulating improved blood circulation. When the 10 minutes is up, now you can hop in the shower and thoroughly rinse it out. In a lab-conducted clinical trial, 90 percent of participants saw marked improvement in their scalp's hydration levels and decreased product buildup over a 28-day period.
Once hair is weightless, floaty, and free, you'll be convinced—ghosting can actually be pretty great.
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Tang SC, Yang JH. Dual effects of alpha-hydroxy acids on the skin. Molecules. 2018;23(4):863. doi:10.3390/molecules23040863
Skin Appendage Disord. "A Review of the Use of Biotin for Hair Loss." 2017.