What is 'hair tapping'? Here's the scoop on the latest follicle-stimulating buzzword and its benefits

'Hair tapping' is yet another method of scalp massage that's entering the mainstream—but what is it, exactly?

Woman with her braided hair tied up in a bun and hair tapping/ massaging her scalp/ in a pink template
(Image credit: Getty Images/AndreyPopov)

While rosemary hair oil has been dominating the TikTok beauty community, there's another scalp massage method, known as 'hair tapping,' that's gaining some recognition. But what is 'hair tapping' exactly and why are follicle-stimulating regimes having such a moment?

Scalp massaging in general, has become a popular method of boosting hair growth, especially for those who have fine hair or are experiencing hair loss. As for whether it's backed by science, there have been numerous small studies conducted that do suggest that regular scalp massages—that target the hair follicles—can boost hair thickness. 

Hair routines like this, have seen a major boost on TikTok, especially around oil massaging and using specific brushes to tackle scalp irritation and dandruff. This then brings us to 'hair tapping'—the latest scalp-related term to enter the beauty zeitgeist, but what does it mean?

What is 'hair tapping'?

The term, which recently appeared in Vogue, refers to the practice of running your fingertips, in a tapping motion over your scalp.

According to Mane Addicts—an online space centered around all things haircare, founded by celebrity hairstylist (notably for the Kar-Jenner clan) and creator of Ouai, Jen Atkin—it's an 'effective way to stimulate hair growth.' It's also one of the many techniques performed at Korean and Japanese hair spas, which are also garnering a ton of attention over on TikTok.

They advise to, "Touch your scalp with your fingertips and start tapping gently but in a relatively fast rhythm," after coating your finger with a hair tonic of citrus oil (diluted!).

The drumming of your fingers against the surface of your scalp, like with all gentle methods of scalp massage and probing is intended to stimulate blood flow, and circulation, alleviate tension and also, to help the absorption of any of your hair lotions and potions.

Other popular methods include hair pulling, neck and scalp massaged and using a scalp brush in conjunction with the best shampoo bars in the shower—running in over your roots to again, get that blood flowing.

Why are scalp massages so popular?

The short answer is that they feel darn good! Seriously though, due to the links between follicle stimulation and massage, naturally those looking to boost their hair thickness, or ward off hair loss have been turning to these methods.

From in-shower, shampoo and brush massages to pre-shower oil routines, the hashtag for 'scalp massage' has over 300 million views. 


♬ Fall In Love Alone - Sped Up Version - Stacey Ryan

So, if you're wanting to try out your own follicle-boosting regime, we've included a few essentials to help you get started...

MIL's edit of scalp massage essentials

Naomi Jamieson
Lifestyle News Writer

Naomi is a Lifestyle News Writer with the Women's Lifestyle team, where she covers everything from entertainment to fashion and beauty, as well as TikTok trends for Woman&Home, after previously writing for My Imperfect Life and GoodTo. Interestingly though, Naomi actually has a background in design, having studied illustration at Plymouth University but lept into the media world in 2020, after always having a passion for writing and earned her Gold Standard diploma in Journalism with the NCTJ.

Before working for Future Publishing’s Lifestyle News team, she worked in the Ad production team. Here she wrote and designed adverts on all sorts of things, which then went into print magazines across all genres. Now, when she isn’t writing articles on celebs, fashion trends, or the newest shows on Netflix, you can find her drinking copious cups of coffee, drawing and probably online shopping.