Dandruff, regardless of its cause, isn’t fun for anyone. Luckily, trying out our picks for the best dandruff shampoos should help treat it in no time. The key when choosing a dry scalp shampoo is to pinpoint what else you want to treat in addition to dandruff.
Good news though: dandruff and scalp irritation are easy to treat. Dandruff shampoo certainly doesn’t have to feel medical! All you have to do is swap out your current shampoo for an anti-dandruff shampoo, or a shampoo specifically intended to heal dry scalps. Here, we’ve compiled the best dandruff shampoos out there to help you manage and treat dandruff well!
Do you want to make your hair less oily or keep your color intact? Maybe you’re looking for a little extra shine and softness to your hair, or maybe you just want a shampoo with a relaxing scent.
Whatever you decide, remember that anti-dandruff shampoos can be multi-functional. Why not revive your hair to its silkiest, while simultaneously getting rid of that constant itch?
What is dandruff?
Aren’t you wondering where the heck dandruff comes from? Does it randomly appear if you’re binging your favorite show on Hulu too much? Well, surprisingly not. There are a ton of reasons dandruff can appear though. If you notice your dandruff creeping up on you during the fall or winter, it’s likely because the colder and drier air is causing your scalp to flake around your hair follicles. This seasonal dandruff is common — welcome to the club!
If you have persistent dandruff or a dry scalp year-round, however, we suggest speaking to your doctor because it may be a skin condition like eczema, dermatitis, or even seborrheic dermatitis, which won’t necessarily be treated with anti-dandruff shampoo–we suggest you consult a trusted dermatologist!
As a seasonal dandruff candidate, the treatment shampoos don’t need to feel medicinal! Most of them have an incredible smell, and they typically make your hair feel extra silky too. When shopping for the best dandruff shampoo, you’ll want to consider the following active ingredients:
- Apple cider vinegar: Cleans your hair gently without stripping away moisture.
- Salicylic acid: Helps remove flaky skin.
- Tea tree oil: Opens blocked pores and soothe dry skin.
- Argan oil: Alleviates red, itchy, or inflamed skin.
- Oat: Soothes itchy and red skin and prevents dandruff from forming.
- Jojoba oil: Uses Vitamin E to reduce scalp irritation.
- Witch hazel: Helps control oily and flaky skin.
- Zinc pyrithione: Removes persistent dandruff.
The Best Dandruff Shampoos
Best Dandruff Shampoo for High Shine
Aveeno Apple Cider Vinegar Sulfate-Free Shampoo
If your hair needs a little extra balance and shine, Aveeno’s Apple Cider Vinegar Sulfate-Free Shampoo will fix any flaky scalp issues while giving your hair an extra dose of glow.
Nip dandruff in the bud before it even forms with this shampoo, which contains oats that help both treat and prevent dandruff. Plus, the added apple cider vinegar cleanses your scalp and helps retain moisture, amping up your hair’s shine and volume.
Best Natural Shampoo for Dandruff and Dry Hair
Yes to Tea Tree Scalp Relief Soothing Shampoo
With 97% natural ingredients, the Yes To Tea Tree Scalp Relief Soothing Shampoo uses tea tree and sage oil to cleanse and soothe your scalp, as well as salicylic acid, which actively works toward getting rid of dandruff. The shampoo formula is pH-balanced with no paraben or silicone and is Leaping Bunny Certified, meaning it’s cruelty-free.
This option also has a calming scent, which will revive and refresh you during your morning shower. It’s clinically proven to soothe your dry, itchy scalp in just eight days.
Best Moisturizing Shampoo for Dandruff
Neutrogena Moisturizing Healthy Scalp Hydro Boost Shampoo
Neutrogena’s Hydro Boost line does just that: boosts hydration. Specifically, the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Shampoo moisturizes both the hair and scalp, while also treating dandruff. One of the shampoo’s main ingredients, hyaluronic acid, retains more than 1,000 times its weight in water for ultra-hydrated hair and scalp.
The paraben- and the surfactant-free formula works well for all hair types, including dyed or colored hair. The formula is also pH-balanced, which will keep your scalp healthy and flake-free.
Best Dandruff Shampoo for Colored Hair
Love Beauty and Planet Sulfate-Free Shampoo
This plant-based formula is free of paraben, silicone, sulfates, phthalates, and dyes. The cruelty-free shampoo makes for a delightful vegan hair experience that leaves your color-treated hair vibrant and bright.
The Love Beauty and Planet Daily Clarifying Shampoo features ingredients like charcoal and bergamot to help fight dandruff and detoxify your scalp. The coconut in the formula will likely moisturize and soften your hair, while keeping the color intact.
Best Overall Shampoo for Dandruff
Head & Shoulders Supreme Dry Scalp Care and Dandruff Treatment
Head & Shoulders has been treating dry scalps with their iconic anti-dandruff shampoo since 1961. The main ingredient remains the same in 2022: Zinc pyrithione, an antifungal and antibacterial ingredient that treats dry scalp.
The brand’s shampoo has evolved to include soothing ingredients, such as jojoba oil and argan oil, which eliminate those white flakes and keep your hair soft and shiny. The shampoo comes with an anti-dandruff conditioner, and both are free of harsh ingredients, such as paraben, ethanol, phosphate, phthalate, and dye.
Best Shampoo for Serious Dandruff
Redken Scalp Relief Dandruff Control Shampoo
For persistent or excessive dandruff, Redken’s Scalp Relief Dandruff Control Shampoo contains 1% Pyrithione Zinc, which fights itchy scalps and dandruff. While Redken’s formula is the most expensive anti-dandruff shampoo on our list, it’s worth it if you’ve tried other shampoos but your scalp is still itchy.
Redken stands by its history — the brand has over 60 years of professional hair science experience. For a more intensive dandruff fix, you can leave this product in your hair for five minutes, then wet, lather, and rinse. This is also one of the best dandruff shampoos for men, as its scent isn’t overly strong or too feminine.
Why trust us?
When choosing the best products for your beauty needs, we conduct extensive research to determine the highest quality products we can find. We have processes set in place for quality control of ingredients, fact-checking and style guidelines, journalistic integrity, and implement several rounds of editing and review.
"We often receive complimentary products to review at Family Proof. Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team."