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Best Shampoo for Dry Scalp

It's true, just switching up your 'poo could help fight that itch and fix it too.

Best Shampoo for Dry ScalpIf you’re suffering from a dry scalp, you’ll know it’s more than just simply dryness that you’re dealing with. Those itchy flakes coming off your head could be keeping you up all night, and the constantly scratching is literally making your hair fall out. Even worse, your skin could be cracking too, and you’re hounded by infections that make you way too self-conscious about your head. That said, a dry scalp is usually a sign of a deeper problem.

Luckily, you’re not the only one who’s been secretly fighting this itchy predicament, and something as simple as switching up the shampoo you use can go a long way. Shampoos have evolved over the years to accomplish more than just cleansing your hair. Many of them can soothe and moisturize your scalp too and restore it to a refreshed, balanced condition. Time to get your game plan on, and review the best shampoos for dry scalp.

Why is my scalp so dry?

Let’s start from more obvious factors. Like with the skin on your face, changes in weather can easily upset the delicate balance of your scalp. Cold, dry weather can easily whisk precious moisture away from your skin. Your dry scalp might escalate into a chronic condition like dandruff that can be caused by fungus, or psoriasis that results from an immune system problem.

But there’s more than that too. The products that you’re using everyday can also contribute to the dryness you feel. Harmful ingredients like harsh sulfates and synthetic fragrances can strip too much natural oil away from your scalp. Over time, this can lead to more dry skin on your scalp, or even a sensitive scalp that’s been weakened with harsh ingredients. Silicone is another ingredient that seals your hair cuticles and skin surface to make them feel silky smooth. But it’s also difficult to rinse off, prevents moisture from reaching your skin, and leads to drier skin over time. Silicone can also trap dead skin cells and gunk into your pores, contributing to the feeling of dryness. Harsh chemical ingredients can also irritate your skin, leading to conditions like contact dermatitis that lead to a scaly scalp.

It’s not as simple as skipping the ‘poo a few times a week. Not shampooing enough can actually make the problem worse if you’re not removing buildup. If you’re looking to minimize your time spent on scalp care, at the very least make sure to shampoo your hair when there’s buildup from sweat, grime, and dead skin cells.

How to choose the best shampoo for dry scalp

Your approach to this problem is actually quite simple: choose a shampoo that moisturizes your dry scalp without clogging pores, and balances your skin in the long run.

Not all moisturizing ingredients are the same. For example, cocoa butter might feel extra creamy, but it’s likely to clog your pores. Silicone does the same in smoothing out your skin, but can end up suffocating it instead if you don’t properly rinse it out. That’s why ingredients like jojoba oil, argan oil, and almond oil are more preferable. They’re light, fast-absorbing, and still incredibly moisturizing on both skin and hair.

Simply finding a moisturizing shampoo won’t fix the root of the problem either. Your skin functions best at its normal pH level, during which it’s soothed and perfectly moisturized, not feeling itchy or greasy. If your scalp feels dry, it’s likely that the pH of your skin is out of balance. Look for a shampoo that’s pH-balanced with botanical ingredients, and still gentle enough to use everyday. Find what works best for your hair type and scalp skin type, and stick to a reputable product that has consistently shown stellar results for other people.

Best shampoos for dry scalp

Burdock and Neem Healthy Scalp ShampooBurdock & Neem Healthy Scalp Shampoo from 100% Pure
Cruelty-free, vegan, gluten-free
If you’ve been struggling with an itchy scalp that’s been making you scratch your hair out, this purifying formula should be your first go-to. Neem and burdock help balance the pH of your scalp, while rosemary and tea tree oil purify your skin of any harmful bacteria or fungi. Aloe and kelp hydrate your hair and scalp, bringing you much-needed relief from that itch. Bonus: this shampoo is gentle enough for color-treated hair!Tea Tree Oil ShampooTea Tree Oil ShampooTea Tree Oil Shampoo from Maple Holistics
There’s a reason why you’ll find tea tree oil in so many scalp-balancing shampoos. It’s naturally antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory, making it a potent treatment for a variety of skin conditions like seborrheic dermatitis or dandruff. Tea tree works with other essential oils in this shampoo to soothe the scalp and leave it feeling refreshed. Argan oil and jojoba oil moisturize skin and dry hair without feeling greasy.

Organic Seeds Shampoo for Dry ScalpOrganic Seeds Shampoo for Dry ScalpOrganic Seeds Shampoo for Dry Scalp by Whamisa
If you prefer to avoid essential oils, the fermented plant extracts in this formula will still do the job of clearing away infection and imbalances on your scalp. They actually make up 68% of the formula!  Barley seed extract and aloe soothe skin while increasing hydration, leading to softer, calmer skin.

Natural Sulfate Free Shampoo for Dry, Itchy ScalpNatural Sulfate Free Shampoo for Dry, Itchy ScalpNatural Sulfate Free Shampoo for Dry, Itchy Scalp from Era Organics
Specifically looking for an anti-dandruff shampoo? This shampoo specifically works to repair your scalp with only moisturizing ingredients like argan oil, manuka honey, and aloe vera that leave hair soft and radiant. Over time, the vitamins in these ingredients also promote healthier hair growth. The formula is hypoallergenic, and is perfect for people suffering from dandruff or eczema.

African Black Soap Deep Cleansing ShampooAfrican Black Soap Deep Cleansing ShampooAfrican Black Soap Deep Cleansing Shampoo from Shea Moisture
A clogged up scalp can also lead to dryness. If you using a lot of styling products, or are just making the switch to cleaner products, this hardworking shampoo should do the trick in clearing up your scalp. Salicylic acid deeply cleanses pores, so that the luxe shea butter and mango seed oil are only sealing in moisture and vital nutrients.

Soapberry Shampoo Relaxing LavenderSoapberry Shampoo Relaxing LavenderSoapberry Shampoo Relaxing Lavender from Tree to Tub
Cruelty-free, vegan
Are normal scalp treatments drying your hair out too much? It’s hard to find the right balance. But Tree to Tub manages to do so with a powerful natural ingredient known as soapberry. It forms a creamy lather to balance the pH of your scalp, yet is still gentle on your hair. This shampoo is ideal for dry or damaged hair.

Scalp Relief ShampooScalp Relief ShampooScalp Relief Shampoo from Derma E
Cruelty-free, vegan, gluten-free
Want a no-nonsense solution that saves you time? This shampoo contains a blend of active botanical ingredients that combat any kind of discomfort on your scalp. Salicylic acid removes flake buildup, while menthol soothes itchiness that can lead to hair loss. Neem and burdock restore hydration to your dry scalp. Easy, effective, nourishment treatment.

Mega Moisture Shampoo from AcureMega Moisture Shampoo from AcureMega Moisture Shampoo from Acure
Cruelty-free, vegan
Pumpkin seed and argan oil bring intense moisture to your scalp, without clogging pores. This shampoo also contains antioxidants from rooibos tea extract, sea buckthorn oil, and even CoQ10 if you’re really looking to target your dry, damaged scalp at the root of its problem.

More tips for caring for a dry scalp

  • Wash your hair regularly to remove buildup from your scalp. For some people, this might been everyday.
  • Massage the shampoo thoroughly into all parts of your scalp, including near your hairline. Be sure to rinse it out fully, and use a conditioner as necessary.
  • Washing your hair everyday doesn’t need to be a risk, as long as you’re using a gentle shampoo and conditioner without harsh ingredients.
  • Thoroughly rinse out your shampoo, especially if it contains ingredients like coconut oil that can clog your pores if left too long on your scalp.
  • Avoid harsh heat or color treatments, or at least until your scalp recovers its balance!
  • Avoid blow-drying your hair too much.
  • Apply a hair mask to deep condition your roots and help promote healthy hair growth.
  • Eat a balanced diet, maintain regular exercise, and sleep enough to lower stress levels.
  • Consult your doctor before using any new product or ingredient. Patch test them if your skin is especially sensitive, and discontinue use if you notice any negative reaction.

While dry scalp is often caused by a chronic skin condition, using the right products and following a cleansing regimen can help calm down symptoms and relieve discomfort. And don’t feel too bad. Our scalps are incredibly sensitive, and it’s easy for them to be thrown out of whack with all the cosmetic products available for us to use all over our body. Take a deep breath, get your lather on, and treat yourself to a pamper session. You’ve got this.

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