Don’t confuse dandruff for a dry scalp. They are two different conditions with different causes though with some similar symptoms. In both you’ll experience flakes falling off your hair. But while dandruff is caused by too much oil on your scalp, dry scalp is caused by too little moisture.
Knowing the difference is important in choosing the right shampoo that will help you. In the case of dry scalp, you need a shampoo that re-moisturises your hair and is gentle enough that it doesn’t cause more flaking and itching.
Obviously, the best shampoos for dry scalps have moisturising ingredients such as honey or natural oils. A good shampoo will hydrate both your scalp and hair, which reduces the amount of flaking and itching. It also softens your hair and makes it appear more glossy and vibrant.
Another thing to check when looking for a shampoo for dry scalp is harsh ingredients. This is especially important if you have sensitive skin. Certain ingredients like sulphates can worsen the itching in some people. Other ingredients to be careful about include parabens and synthetic dyes.
If you have colour treated hair, make sure you buy a shampoo that is labelled as colour-safe.
Some of the shampoos used to treat dry scalp are also used to treat dandruff. This is because they are formulated to deal with the same symptoms that manifest in both conditions – itchiness, scalp irritation and dry flakes.
We scoured online for the best shampoos for dry scalp. We checked the ingredients and also what users have to say. Here are our top 5 selections.
Remember to use the shampoo with a good moisturising conditioner to get the best results.
If you itching is really bad, try this shampoo. It has an immediate calming effect. You can go about your day without having to scratch your head every few seconds.
For those with dry and sensitive scalp, the shampoo is hypoallergenic and formulated for extra-gentleness. But as with any other hair product, do a patch test to be completely sure it will not affect you.
The shampoo also contains castor oil, sunflower seed oil and Tamanu oil all which provide deep hydration for your scalp. The oils penetrate deep into your scalp ensuring it remains soft and moisturised through the day.
What we like about it:
- Immediate calming effect for itchy scalp.
- Provides deep moisturization for both scalp and hair.
- Contains hair-nourishing ingredients such as rosemary extract.
Colloidal oatmeal (finely milled oatmeal suspended in a liquid) is one of those simple solutions that work magic on an itchy and dry scalp. When the oats combine with moisture gel-like polysaccharides are activated. The gel creates a protective barrier on your scalp, sealing in moisture.
This shampoo contains colloidal oatmeal to help restore your scalp’s natural moisture and seal it in. This eliminates any itching or flaking.
The shampoo is very gentle on your hair so you can use it as often as you want. You can even use it on your kids if they are experiencing a dry scalp.
What we like about it:
- Gentle and fragrance-free. It is suitable for all ages and hair types.
- Immediate relief from itching.
- Leaves hair feeling soft and smooth.
This soothing shampoo is formulated for sensitive scalps and delicate hair. It contains rice cream and oat milk which seal in moisture in your scalp and nourish your hair with vitamin B1, vitamin E iron and calcium.
So it’s not only good for your dry and itchy scalp, it’s also great for your hair. The creamy texture softens your hair without making it too heavy or greasy. It’s ideal for all hair types.
This shampoo provides instant relief from itching. Just lather it in your hair and leave it for a couple of minutes. It has a nice mild fragrance that remains even after rinsing.
You’ll be using it for quite a while thanks to the larger-capacity bottle. It’s a good buy if you’ll be sharing it with someone else in the house.
What we like about it:
- Gentle formulation that is safe for sensitive scalps, delicate hair and those with allergies.
- Plenty of hair-nourishing ingredients.
- Large bottle.
This shampoo fights both dry scalp and dandruff. If you have an itchy dry scalp, the rich non-drying ingredients in the shampoo provide quick soothing relief.
The shampoo spreads easily on your scalp, conditioning and rehydrating it. This prevents itchiness and flaking.
In addition to moisturising your scalp, the shampoo spreads the hydrating and nourishing benefits to your hair. It leaves your hair with a healthy vibrant shine and makes it stronger.
It has a very mild fragrance and is gentle on your hair. You can use it every day without worrying about further drying out your hair and scalp.
What we like about it:
- Gentle formulation that is safe for all hair types.
- Ideal for everyday use.
- Also good for treating dandruff.
This shampoo treats a wide range of hair and scalp problems that cause itching, dandruff and redness.
One of the main ingredients is polidocanol. It’s an antipruritic – it relieves itching. Another ingredient is urea. Urea is known for its itch-relief and moisturising benefits on the skin. While it can cause irritation, this shampoo contains safely low levels that won’t cause any issues even on a sensitive scalp.
Once you wash your hair with the Eucerin shampoo, it provides instant relief from itching through polidocanol and gradual rehydration of your scalp using urea.
Users suffering from scalp sensitivity and constant itchiness say this shampoo works really well. It even helps with symptoms of other conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.
What we like about it:
- Quick calming effect that instantly eliminates itching and general dry scalp discomfort.
- Non-fragrant and gentle formulation that makes it safe for sensitive scalps.
- Good for dry scalp and various other hair and scalp conditions.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How shampoo for dry scalp can help me?
If you’ve ever suffered the irritation and embarrassment that a dry, itchy scalp can cause, chances are you’re crying out for something to fix it. A dry scalp can not only be itchy and irritating, it can also cause dandruff, which is something nobody wants.
A shampoo that is designed specially for a dry scalp can get rid of these issues!
You need to choose the best shampoo for dry scalp for your particular issue, as there is no one size fits all treatment. There are a great many shampoos for a dry scalp out there, so don’t be worried that you might not find the perfect one for you.
A couple of points to remember however – you are looking for a shampoo that has no sulphates, as these can get rid of any natural oils you have, thus making the problem worse. Also, you should look for a shampoo that has a low PH, to prevent damage to the cuticles of the hair.
Q: Where to buy shampoo for dry scalp in the UK?
Your hairdresser should be able to point you in the right direction for the best shampoo for dry scalp – or, if your problem is particularly bad, it is definitely worth having a chat with your local pharmacist who should be able to help you find a suitable product.
If you don’t actually want to talk to anyone about your particular problem, then just have a quick browse online – there are a great many products out there that will help you.
Q: How to make shampoo for dry scalp?
Making your own shampoo has the advantage that you can tailor it exactly to your needs, depending on what sort of dry scalp you have and what your hair best responds to. The other benefit is that it is ridiculously easy, and you don’t have to buy expensive components – some of the best home made shampoos for dry scalp can be found right in your store cupboards!
- Coconut oil – All you need to do is warm the oil between your hands until it is nearly liquid, then apply to your scalp. Massage it in and leave it for 10-15 minutes before washing your hair with a gentle shampoo. This will improve your dry scalp, as well as making your hair super shiny.
- Apple cider vinegar – This is a clever ingredient that is anti fungal, antimicrobial and anti inflammatory. Mix one part cider vinegar with two parts water, then apply to your scalp. Let it sit for 5 minutes, then rinse out. You can follow with a conditioner if you wish, but this treatment alone will make your hair soft and smooth.
- Tee tree – Adding tea tree to your regular shampoo will help your dry scalp immensely, as it is antiseptic and anti fungal. You can either sprinkle a few drops into your regular shampoo, or add it to some coconut or olive oil and apply this to you hair (if you go for this route rather than adding it to your shampoo then you will need to wash your hair as normal afterwards).
- Baking soda and Olive oil – This formula is ideal if you have dandruff with your dry scalp, as they combine exfoliating and anti fungal properties with a moisturising agent. Mix equal amounts of baking soda and olive oil together, and massage well into your scalp. Let it sit for 5 minutes, then wash with your usual shampoo.
- Avocado – This delicious ingredient is as good for your hair as it is for the rest of you! They contain mono and polyunsaturated fats that will protect your skin and give it a boost of moisture. You can either go for the avocado itself, in which case you simply mix it with a few drops of carrier oil before massaging it into your scalp, or for the (admittedly less messy) version, opt for rubbing in some avocado oil. Let this work its magic for 10-15 minutes before you wash it out.
- Banana – Bananas are moisturising, nourishing and antimicrobial, which makes them ideal for improving a dry scalp. Mash a banana (or two, if you have long hair) with a few drops of a carrier oil, then rub it into your scalp and let sit for 15 minutes then wash it out.
- Eggs – These unassuming breakfast foods are brilliant at moisturising not only your scalp, but also the whole of the hair shaft, leaving it super smooth and shiny. Make a mixture of egg yolk and a few drops of olive oil, then apply to your head, wrap in a warm towel and let it work its way in for half an hour. Wash out using a gentle shampoo Make sure the water you use to wash it out is only lukewarm, as using hot water can cook the egg into your hair.
- Aloe vera – This wonder plant is great at moisturising, along with its other properties. You can buy a great many products containing aloe vera, or you can buy the pure gel. If you go down this route, simply apply it to your scalp, massage well and let it sit for 10 minutes. Wash out as normal.
You can use any one of these recipes for making shampoo for dry scalp, or a combination of them – but remember that they are not for daily use, as they are all so moisturising the you may end up with the opposite problem, and find that your dry scalp has turned into an oily one!
Once a week for any of these treatments is perfect, and you should notice a difference with your dry scalp very quickly.