10 Best Shampoos for a Dry Scalp
If you’re on this website reading this article right now, it’s likely because you, like many other people, have just recently discovered that you may have a dry scalp. Itchy and flaky, full of dandruff, and a real hassle personally and publicly – nobody wants to be seen with shoulders covered in dandruff, or go through an entire day itching their head until they want to rip it off, and nobody should have to.
Today, in this list, we will be taking a close look at the ten very best shampoos that help remedy a dry scalp, and hopefully, by the end, you will have found a shampoo that best suits your wants and needs.
How Do You Get a Dry Scalp?
A person gets a dry scalp when their skin is dehydrated; it is often the result of dermatitis or cold weather. Some people might suffer from a dry scalp since birth. Some people have problems with dryness in their scalp followed by or paired with dandruff issues. However, it is important to distinguish the difference – dry scalp and dandruff issues are not the same things. They just often go hand in hand.
How Do You Remedy a Dry Scalp?
At this point, this should be quite obvious; dry scalp occurs because of dehydrated skin, so the remedy lies in rehydrating the skin. Don’t beat yourself up for not putting any of this together previously, though. It has taken the human race centuries to figure these things out about our skin and our hair. Luckily for you, this is the golden age, and every problem has a solution.
The following ten shampoos have all the ingredients necessary to rehydrate your dry scalp and get your head looking and feeling great again, without you having to do anything extra.
Our Top Picks
Head & Shoulders is a name that defines the hair product industry, so much so, that it is impossible to do a list of hair products without including one of theirs. Renowned traditionally for their anti-dandruff solutions, but as it turns out (and to nobody’s surprise), they have a great shampoo for treating your scalp’s dryness, too.
The shampoo has almond oil as one of its major ingredients, which helps tremendously with treating dehydrated, dry skin. Your scalp can easily absorb almond oil. The shampoo also contains essential vitamins that promote the growth of your hair, so all around, it’s a great ingredient that’s doing wonders for you.
Also, since this is a Head & Shoulders product, it has the added benefit of dandruff treatment, too. Pyrithione zinc is an active ingredient of the mixture; it can deal with dandruff and is very effective against dry scalps. The sulfates used in the shampoo are also known for drying the scalp out.
They also help reduce dandruff, so unless you have severe dry scalp issues, the sulfates shouldn’t be too much of a problem and should be balanced out by the active moisturizers in the shampoo. However, your female companion might not dig the scent at night. But hey, we’re not judging!
- Almond oil is a great remedy for dry scalp
- Widely accessible trusted brand
- Dual-action moisturizes the scalp and removes dandruff
- Pleasant fragrance that lingers on even after showering
- Most likely a men-only product due to the old spice fragrance
- Contains sulfates
Our first pick is a great option for most people because it’s widely available, it’s world-renowned, and it’s very affordable. You can pick this up at your local grocer, and you’re good to go.
Neutrogena is a brand that has been widely popular for its facial products. More recently, they’ve invested their interests, time, and production in the hair product industry, too, and the results have some serious clinical studies backing them.
The Neutrogena T/Gel original formula therapeutic shampoo has been recommended by dermatologists to remedy a dry or itchy scalp. This is because it effectively treats the underlying conditions that cause dandruff, psoriasis as well as seborrheic dermatitis. The shampoo was formulated to typically be used daily. However, clinical studies have come to show that even weekly usage will result in a considerable remedial difference.
The label makes a remarkable claim — you can expect results within one week of usage, and so far, it’s proven to be true. So what’s making this formula so successful? Well, the Neutar solubilized coal tar seems to be the magic ingredient, and it’s backed up by the fact that it has been used for centuries for its anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and antiseptic properties. Be wary, though; the coal tar has a strong, unavoidable odor, and you should use the shampoo in moderation. Otherwise, it will do the opposite of what you want it to.
- Good for various scalp conditions
- Widely accessible trusted brand
- Clinically approved
- Dermatologist-recommended OTC product
- Contains sulfates, parabens, and perfume
- Contains contact allergens
Another widely accessible and trusted brand. This is a well-approved and dermatologist-recommended OTC product. However, do not let that fool you; if you have a sensitive scalp, this shampoo still could prove to be of more harm than good because of its sulfates and contact allergens. For the average person, however, it’s another great viable option.
If all-organic products are your thing, then the Honeyskin Organic Hair and Scalp Therapy Shampoo is probably your best bet. This shampoo is entirely sulfate and paraben-free, and it contains many earthly ingredients such as Manuka honey, Aloe Vera, and Cehami. All of these ingredients are good for reducing infections, soothing the scalp, and rehealing your skin overall. The pH-balance of 5.5 should also help retain natural scalp oils.
The product also claims to repair dry flaky skin and treat seborrheic dermatitis, psoriasis, and eczema, so the shampoo is full of all sorts of healing and soothing properties. However, there are no active ingredients involved in the formula, which means there isn’t necessarily any ingredient that serves as a driving force in your scalp recovery, but ultimately, it’s healthier for your skin.
- Sulfate-free, paraben-free, gluten-free
- Good for several scalp conditions
- 100% natural organic ingredients
- Manuka honey, Aloe Vera, and Cehami to moisturize and heal a dry and itchy scalp psoriasis
- Lacks any industry certifications for organic ingredients
- Relatively new in the market and no brand value
It’s pretty clear who this one is for. All you all-natural freaks (we mean that in a good way), embrace what is likely the best shampoo option you have. Full of all sorts of natural goodies, this one is a great explorative option but lacks proper certification, so be wary.
Much like Head & Shoulders, Dove is another renowned and established brand. Above all, it’s affordable and reliable. Many see it as Head & Shoulders for women (but don’t let that discourage you from exploring their products if you’re a man).
Dove just works. This time around, it’s due to their effective Dermacare formula, containing shea butter and coconut butter (to rehydrate the scalp), and the pH balance of the formula helps relieve itchiness, whilst also enabling healthy hair growth. It’s also impossible to look over the soothing scent of shea butter, very present in this shampoo.
It is worth mentioning, however, the active ingredient in this formula, pyrithione zinc, which again, is to be wary of.
- Targets both dandruff and dry scalp
- Widely accessible trusted brand
- PH balanced formula
- Contains sulfates and parabens
- Mainly targeted towards women
This is another well-known brand in the hair care industry. Their products are known to hydrate the scalp, no matter which one you use. But this product especially caters to dry and itchy scalp. This formula is suitable for both men and women who suffer from dry scalps. It will soothe your scalp, and it smells good.
The Avlon Keracare Dry & Itchy Scalp Anti-Dandruff Moisturizing Shampoo has gotten a lot of attention because it’s made up of a formula full of natural ingredients. It contains many moisturizing oils that are good for hydrating the skin, such as rosemary, garlic, arnica, and watercress.
However, the active ingredient, pyrithione zinc – as effective as it is in eliminating dandruff and flakes – is quite strong in this formula. Paired with other sulfates and contact allergens such as Cocamidopropyl betaine, it can have quite a negative impact on sensitive skin. Hence, if you fall under that category, it might be best to avoid this one.
- Cooling menthol to provide instant soothing to the scalp
- Suitable for men and women with all hair types
- Treats both dandruff and flakes
- Contains sulfates
- Contains many contact allergens
If you suffer from really sensitive skin, stay away from this shampoo. And for the rest, this dandruff-fighting shampoo will give your relief from that mind-numbing itch and flaky scalp. It is a very good choice for those men and women who don’t want to empty their wallets on a bottle of shampoo.
E45 has had a long-standing run as a trusted brand for hospitals and medical care facilities across several continents. For decades, they kept their services restricted to those institutions. However, they have recently expanded their range of products and availability to stretch across pharmacies and department stores in many regions. Their skincare products have been well regarded and loved by many for quite some time now, and their new venture into dermatological products has proven itself to be great too.
This brand has established itself with so much regard, because they adhere to a simple philosophy, which is that dry scalp can be treated with moisturization and restoration of the pH balance solely, rather than trying to treat it with ingredients containing harsh chemicals. This is an effective brand philosophy because it’s true, and it covers a lot of ground. Anybody can use this product and reap its benefits. You cannot say the same for products with sulfates and other active ingredients because those aren’t good for people with sensitive scalps. This, however, is. So, if you struggle with sensitive skin, this might be your best bet.
- Strong brand value and trusted name in dermatological medicare
- Restores pH balance
- Contains provitamin B5
- Doesn’t lather as much
- Contains sulfates
E45 is a brand you can’t go wrong with because it’s so well trusted. They follow a simple strategy, and it has proven to be effective. So, if you’re looking for simplicity, this is the one for you.
This is one of the best things to come out in the hair product market in recent times. A relatively new brand, Regenepure has developed a fast and steady following, because they use a formula in this shampoo that contains a plethora of ingredients. These include vitamins, oils, and organic extracts; this formula is full of natural goodies for your scalp and your hair growth.
The active ingredient in this product is ketoconazole. This acts against DHT, a follicle-destroying hormone. Similarly, salicylic acid is great at tackling dandruff issues. This formula contains ingredients that will ultimately dry your scalp out – exactly what you’re trying to avoid – if you overuse it. So be wary; only use this shampoo up to two times a week.
- A lot of beneficial ingredients to promote scalp care including hair regrowth, hair thickness, and scalp skin thickness
- Suitable for dry scalp, seborrheic dermatitis, and dandruff
- Safe for colored and treated hair
- No sulfates or parabens
- Compared to many other products, not as pocket-friendly
- May dry out our scalp if used more than twice a week
A newcomer so this brand has a lot of potential still. But what they have been coming out with has been impressive as well. This is a great hair product; it’s an affordable option, considering it’s full of essential oils and entirely sulfate and paraben-free.
Maple Holistics offer a wide range of essential oil shampoos that are relatively well regarded. The best-selling and most beloved by consumers, out of all these, is the Tea Tree Oil Shampoo. So, let’s take a look at why that is.
Well, it’s quite simple. This shampoo is entirely free of sulfates, parabens, or any other harsh chemical ingredients. This makes it a must-have for anybody who suffers from sensitive skin that reacts poorly to any of those ingredients.
They instead employ several natural ingredients, the main winner being tea tree, which is naturally germicidal and will fight off bacteria, yeast, and fungus (which are the main causes of itchy and dandruff infested scalps). It does the job of the parabens and sulfates without needing them.
Furthermore, the formula contains many other essential oils such as rosemary, lavender, argan, jojoba oil, all helping to nourish and hydrate your scalp.
- Tea tree and other essential oil benefits
- Sulfate-free, paraben-free, GMO-free and cruelty-free
- Also aids with head lice, hair thinning, dandruff, inflammation, and seborrheic dermatitis
- Money-back guarantee if unsatisfied
- One of the pricier options on this list, even if it’s justified
This one has developed a bit of a cult following on its own, and for good reason. The tea tree is an indulging element in this formula. Packed with all those other natural goodies, this is one cult trend you might want to get in on.
We’re gonna end this list with a couple more coal tar products and dive a little bit more into what coal tar does, and what effects it has – starting with the MG217 Medicated Coal Tar Shampoo. Now, right off the bat, this shampoo works to treat many hair and scalp conditions.
Coal tar decelerates the proliferation of scalp epithelial cells, which helps to reduce itchiness and inflammation. It is also an effective remedy for dandruff and several assorted conditions. The formula contains coal tar (3 percent), the maximum legal amount allowed without a prescription — strong stuff.
- Recognized by National Psoriasis Foundation and recommended by doctors
- Treats many scalp conditions including dandruff and dry scalp
- Leaves hair clean, manageable and smelling good
- Prolonged usage not advisable without a doctor’s advice
- Contains sulfates and parabens
A great coal tar hair product, even though the odor is quite overwhelming, to say the least. However, I don’t believe that is an issue for anyone seriously suffering from psoriasis, something this product will do a great job of treating.
The Art Naturals Argan Scalp 18 is the ultimate coal tar shampoo. If you’re convinced about trying coal tar and truly want the best coal tar hair product, this is your best option.
So what makes it your best option? Well, it effectively uses its 3% coal tar content to help reduce cell-reproduction and eliminate dead skin in the form of dandruff and flakes. It also does a good job of tackling psoriasis and dermatitis. It does not use any sulfates or parabens. Instead, it has several natural oils, including Moroccan argan, jojoba, lemon, and cypress oil — all working together to effectively moisturize, cleanse, and nourish your scalp.
These ingredients even subdue the strong coal tar odor quite a bit, so if that was a dealbreaker for you with the last product, perhaps you might want to consider this one.
- Organic natural ingredients
- No sulfates or parabens
- Contains coal tar and essential oils
- Subdued coal tar smell
- A bit pricy
- There still have been some complaints about the smell
Take everything I said about the MG217, and take out all the stuff about the odor, and you have this, what might be the best product on this list. Don’t overuse it, but if you can afford it, go for it.
What To Look for When Choosing a Shampoo To Remedy Dry Scalp
When choosing a shampoo to remedy a dry scalp, you want to look for a product whose formula does a good job of balancing the line between using explorative ingredients that efficiently remedy the issue, and not going overboard and having too many strong active ingredients.
1. Specific Products
Buy products that are specified for your dry and itchy scalp. It would only make sense to buy a shampoo that treats your dry scalp and not one that remedies hair fall. These shampoos are formulated to get rid of the flakes and itchiness without making your hair oily.
2. Avoid Sulfates and Similar Ingredients
Try your best to not use shampoos that have sulfates and parabens. They are not good for the health of your scalp and hair. People with eczema and sensitive skin should stay from it at all costs. They can even contribute to acne near the hairline and on your back.
3. Optimum PH
Buy shampoos that have a balanced pH. A scalp that has dandruff issues tends to be alkaline (high pH). To remedy that, you need a shampoo that has a pH of 6 to 7. Check the labels of the shampoos before you buy them. This way, your scalp won’t be stripped off of the natural oils.
4. Natural Products
Always opt for simpler and more natural products. The fewer synthetic ingredients, the better. Not all shampoos are gentle on your scalp. Shampoos with natural ingredients such as oils tend to be good for the health of your scalp and hair in the long run.
In conclusion, the final verdict is largely dependent on what kind of shampoo you need, and/or have the luxury of affording.
Without a doubt, the top picks on this list though, in my opinion, are the Art Naturals Argan Shampoo and the Regenepure DR Shampoo. They both do a great job of creating a formula that effectively battles dandruff and a dry scalp, without having to succumb to using strong active ingredients like sulfates and parabens.