14 best dry scalp shampoos to soothe and tackle dandruff

Dandruff, be gone 👋

best shampoo for itchy scalp

by Ellen Kinsey |
Updated on

We get it; dandruff is not the hottest topic and definitely not the easiest to manage. However, there are lots of people who suffer from a dry, itchy scalp – it’s not as uncommon as you would think.

A dry scalp and be caused by many things, from environment, cold or products you are using on your hair. Nevertheless, there is a way to tackle dandruff head-on. Shampoos are the first step for getting rid of a dry flaky scalp and we have rounded the best ones on the market.

If you are looking for a remedy to dry scalp or want to learn about some of the reasons you may be experiencing this read on.

We asked Stephanie Sey, a Trichologist who's working with Aveeno, to help with all your dry scalp questions...

So, what causes dry scalp?

"Dry scalp can be caused by many things, it could be your environment, the winter months, the products you use or potentially another condition. When you wash your hair, you dry out the scalp, depending on how often you wash it and which products you use." says Stephanie.

"Just like having dry skin on other parts of your body a dry scalp can cause itching, flaking, and irritation. If you are prone to dry skin then it's likely you'll suffer from a dry scalp, too."

Is having a dry scalp the same as dandruff?

Stephanie explains, "In short, no they are not the same, however, it is possible to have both dry scalp and dandruff. If you are starting to notice that your scalp is oily, itchy, you have greasy hair or large white or yellow flakes fall out when your ruffle or brush your hair, it is likely to be more than just dandruff."

"If the flakes are small and dry and you have dry skin elsewhere on your body, you most likely have a dry scalp."

"Dandruff is believed to be caused by fungal infections of the scalp, due to excess sebum, or due to a sensitivity to certain products. It could also be triggered by other factors such as diet, stress or environment."

What types of shampoos work best for a dry scalp?

"Stay away from any shampoos with ingredients like sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS), which can be irritating on the scalp and can dry out hair," warns Stephanie. "It is best to look out for shampoos with tea tree oil, oatmeal and zinc pyrithione."


SHOP: The best dry scalp shampoos

Dry scalp shampoo1 of 14
CREDIT: Amazon

Aveeno Skin Relief Soothing Shampoo 300ml

This shampoo provides relief to a sensitive and itchy scalp. It gently treats cleanses the scalp to keep it healthy. Made with colloidal oatmeal which soothes and protects the skin's natural balance for a comfortable scalp. Plus, it also gives you lovely soft hair.

Dry scalp shampoo2 of 14
CREDIT: Amazon

E45 Dry Scalp Shampoo, 200 ml

A sensitive scalp classic. This E45 Dry Scalp Shampoo is dermatologically tested and specially formulated to work for dry scalps and dandruff. The formula gently cleanses your scalp to give your hair a new lease of life. It is also perfume-free for those with sensitivies.

Dry scalp shampoo3 of 14
CREDIT: Amazon

Nizoral Anti-dandruff Shampoo, Treats and Prevents Dandruff, Suitable for Dry Flaky and Itchy Scalp, Contains Ketoconazole - 60ml

This Nizoral anti-dandruff shampoo not only treats and prevents dandruff. It also tackles any inflammation related to dandruff and will help with scalp redness and itching.

Dry scalp shampoo4 of 14
CREDIT: Cult Beauty

Leonor Greyl

This roller treatment shampoo is perfect for rubbing along your scalp to soothe any itchy places. If you suffer from itchiness when you dye your hair, roll this product on before you colour to reduce any irritation.

Dry scalp shampoo5 of 14
CREDIT: Feel Unique

Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Special Shampoo® 300ml

Tea tree oil has so many antimicrobial, antifungal, and antiseptic properties which help tackle any irritation in the scalp. This shampoo from Paul Mitchell contains tea tree oil, peppermint and lavender which will soothe your scalp and revitalise your locks.

Aveeno6 of 14

Aveeno Clarify and Shine+ Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo 354ml

This shampoo from Aveeno contains apple cider vinegar which is known to have clarifying qualities. This pH-balanced shampoo cleans and restores vibrancy and shine to your hair while also providing relief to an itchy or sensitive scalp.

Dry scalp shampoo7 of 14
CREDIT: Body Shop

Ginger Anti-Dandruff Shampoo (250ml)

This ginger scented anti-dandruff shampoo does what it says on the bottle. When dandruff is getting a little out of hand, this shampoo from The Body Shop provides a quick fix. The properties of ginger will deeply cleanse your scalp and leave your hair feeling fresh.

Dry scalp shampoo8 of 14

Neutrogena Therapeutic Shampoo 125ml

This medicated shampoo from Neutrogena should be used as often as your dermatologist or doctor recommends. This treatment will help tackle a consistently itchy, flaky scalp from disorders such as dandruff, seborrhoeic dermatitis and scalp psoriasis.

Dry scalp shampoo9 of 14
CREDIT: Amazon

Salcura Natural Skin Therapy

If you are looking for a child-friendly sensitive scalp shampoo then Salcura's Bioskin Junior Shampoo will be a suitable match. It uses a bio-scientific, natural formula to cleanse and revitalise to tackle severe dryness or sensitivity. It is also suitable for those children or babies prone to eczema, dermatitis and other skin allergies. The formula contains marigold, rose flower and chamomile nourish and soothe your little one's skin.

Regrowz Anti-dandruff Shampoo for Dandruff10 of 14
CREDIT: Amazon

Regrowz Anti-dandruff Shampoo for Dandruff

Made with only natural ingredients, Regrowz reduces flaking, itchy and stubborn dandruff after a few uses. It's vegan and chemical-free, with aloe vera, saw-palmetto and tea tree oil to help reduce dandruff and promote vibrant, shiny hair. You do need a fair amount to get a lather going, but it washes out easily and smells great.

Dry scalp shampoo11 of 14
CREDIT: Jason Natural Care

Normalizing Tea Tree Treatment Shampoo

Tea Tree oil can help bring relief to irritated skin. This shampoo from Jason Natural Care can help to soothe an itchy scalp. It uses gentle botanical surfactants such as wheat germ oil to nourish your hair and reduce any dandruff build-up on the scalp.

Dry scalp shampoo12 of 14
CREDIT: Look Fantastic

Pureology Strength Cure Shampoo 266ml

This shampoo not only revives damaged hair but using the smart-formula will strengthen every hair strand, remove any dirt build-up and works as a mild exfoliator. Made with a blend of raspberry, peach, and water flowers, this shampoo will give you hair a lucicous fruity scent.

Dry scalp shampoo13 of 14

Soak and Float Shampoo Bar

If are looking for a plastic-free sustainable option then this Soak and Float shampoo bar will soothe your scalp and your conscience. Lather this bar with warm water in your hands and apply it like regular shampoo. It can also be used up to 80 times and is great item to pack for your holidays as it's lightweight and doensn't need to go into your liquid bag.It has a sweet and smoky scent with fragrant rose oil, marigold petals and cade oil help to calm an itchy, dry scalp.

Aveda Pramasana Purifying Scalp Cleanser 150ml14 of 14
CREDIT: Feel Unique

Aveda Pramasana Purifying Scalp Cleanser 150ml

Massage this Aveda Pramasana Purifying Scalp Cleanser into the scalp before shampooing. Use it on wet hair for the ultimate scalp treatment. It will cleanse your hair and scalp while balancing sebum levels - making it perfect for those with oily hair.

Can a dry scalp cause hair loss?

Just like all infections, it is best to be treated as soon as possible in case symptoms get worse. Dandruff is no different, it can lead to hair loss if left untreated, but this is not common.

Certain medical conditions that are associated with hair loss, such as seborrheic dermatitis, eczema, scalp psoriasis, and scalp ringworm can cause dandruff.

It is also worth considering that constant scratching of the scalp can damage hair follicles, which may slow or stop hair growth over time. The key to treating dandruff is to target what the cause of it is. Speak to a dermatologist if you need help identifying the problem.

What causes an itchy scalp?

Some people tend to notice that their scalp is most itchy in the winter or when it starts to get colder. Other reasons could be that you are suffering from an itchy scalp after colouring your hair.

Others have symptoms like flakes or irritated plaques on the skin that may indicate that an itchy scalp is the result of a skin condition like seborrheic dermatitis or psoriasis.

The NHS has advice pages on dandruff and itchy skin which can give you a better idea of what's causing your problem.

The best epilators for easy hair removal

The best hair dryers for curly hair to make blow-drying bearable

9 best hair volume powders to amp-up flat hair

How can you treat an itchy scalp?

The best shampoos for an itchy scalp can help soothe any sensitivities, remove impurities and fight flakes. If you’re suffering from an itchy scalp, the best first step is purchasing a shampoo that targets sensitivities.

If your itchy scalp is accompanied by other symptoms, like red and inflamed skin patches with whitish plaques, cracking dry skin and soreness, you may be suffering from psoriasis – and should consult a physician.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us