A dry scalp is itchy and flaky.
Who wants to be scratching their head and brushing flakes of their clothes all day long?
Not you, either.
Let’s look at the best shampoos and conditioners for dry scalp.
We’ll find the solutions you need to look and feel better.
What Causes Dry Scalp?
There are several reasons why you might have a dry scalp.
It could be that you normally have dry skin, or your environment is making things worse.
Winter weather is notorious for this.
On the other hand, it could be dandruff, psoriasis, eczema, or an allergic reaction (1).
Also, it’s surprising how often hair care products strip essential moisture from the scalp.
The solution could be as simple as swapping your shampoo and conditioner for ones without sulfates (2).
Let’s jump to the reviews where I’ll describe how each product can treat dry scalp.
Head and Shoulders Shampoo and Conditioner, Moisture Renewal
Who knew that the best shampoo for dry scalp and color-treated hair was so inexpensive?
Head and Shoulders developed a line called Royal Oils specifically for curly and coily hair.
Both the shampoo and conditioner restore moisture to strands and scalp.
And the tasty coconut fragrance makes them delightful to use. Even if you don’t wash your hair every day, these products reduce odor.
Both formulas are free of drying sulfates, dyes, and parabens.
Head and Shoulders Deep Moisture Masque Conditioner Treatment
For extra conditioning, apply the Deep Moisture hair mask. It has a dandruff-fighting ingredient called pyrithione zinc.
As a result, it relieves itching and gets rid of flakes.
Like the shampoo and conditioner, the mask is free of sulfates, parabens, and dyes. It also has a coconut scent.
Dove DermaCare Scalp Coconut & Hydration Anti-Dandruff Shampoo
When I’m asked what shampoo is good for itchy scalp, my usual response is to recommend a dandruff shampoo.
Dove’s DermaCare has pyrithione zinc to soothe itching and stop flaking. You only need to use it twice a week to maintain a clear, healthy scalp.
Moreover, it doesn’t dry out the hair.
For best results, massage it into the scalp and let it sit for a couple of minutes before rinsing thoroughly. Then follow up with the conditioner below.
DOVE HAIR Dermacare Scalp Soothing Moisture Anti-Dandruff Conditioner
It seems like most women don’t have a problem using conditioner whereas men tend to see it as a hassle. In any case, don’t skip the conditioner when you have a dry scalp!
This product is pH-balanced and mild. It’s also cheap.
Give it a try for a month before you give up on it.
Garnier Fructis 1-Minute Hair Mask with Papaya Extract for Shine and Scalp Health
Here’s another drugstore conditioner for dry scalp. Garnier’s papaya mask treats both the scalp and hair.
It adds moisture to the skin and smooths the cuticle of the hair. But it does so without weighing down your locks with silicone.
You can use it as a deep conditioner right after you wash or as a leave-in conditioner on your ends.
Derma E Scalp Relief Conditioner
The Derma-E conditioner clears away flakes with salicylic acid. At the same time, it calms irritation and stops itching with tea tree and menthol.
Also, it prevents tangles with organic argan oil, aloe, and sweet almond oil.
Furthermore, the vegan formula is free of sulfates, mineral oil, parabens, lanolin, gluten, and GMOs.
If you can only make one change to your hair care routine, this product is worth the investment.
SheaMoisture African Black Soap Dandruff Control Shampoo
SheaMoisture has several good choices for dry hair and scalp. I selected the classic black soap shampoo as it clears up mild dandruff.
It uses willow bark, the source of salicylic acid, to clear away dead skin.
There is also tea tree oil, which is naturally antimicrobial. It stops the fungus that causes some types of dandruff.
Finally, aloe soothes and moisturizes the skin.
Aveeno Scalp Soothing Oat Milk Blend Shampoo
Aveeno’s shampoo balances moisture and relieves dryness with oat milk.
It’s made for all hair types, and it’s mild enough for washing daily. It doesn’t have dyes, sulfates, or parabens, so it’s safe for color-treated hair.
Aveeno Scalp Soothing Rose Water and Chamomile Blend Conditioner
If you have sensitive skin and fine or fragile hair, try Aveeno’s Rose Water Conditioner.
It’s especially calming and nourishing for dry scalps.
OGX Healing Plus Vitamin E Shampoo and Vitamin E Conditioner
Here’s another daily shampoo that repairs damaged hair and moisturizes the scalp. Try it if you have split ends.
It’s packed with Vitamin E, which is very healing to the skin.
With regular use, your tresses will be shiny once more.
Burt’s Bees More Moisture Baobab Shampoo and Conditioner
Burt’s Bees makes a very pleasant natural shampoo and conditioner for dry scalp.
They feature exotic baobab, avocado oil, and other rich moisturizers.
Obviously, neither bottle contains harsh sulfates, artificial fragrances, or parabens.
Castor Oil Shampoo and Conditioner by Shiny Leaf
Castor oil isn’t tasty to consume by mouth, but your hair and scalp will love it.
Not only does it promote hair growth, but it also detoxifies and repairs. Castor oil is packed with nutrients and emollients that are essential for healthy skin.
The vegan formula is gentle enough to use every day.
Mane ‘N Tail Combo Shampoo and Conditioner
Did you know that Mane N’ Tail shampoo was developed to bathe horses? It’s also good for shampooing dogs.
Somewhere along the way, someone discovered that it promotes healthy hair in humans, too. Fans say that it prevents tangles and leaves their locks extra shiny and smooth.
It also provides plenty of hydration for the scalp.
In case you’re wondering, it smells like apples.
ArtNaturals Organic Moroccan Argan Oil Shampoo and Conditioner
One of the best natural shampoos for dry scalp contains argan oil from Morocco. It’s cold-pressed from the kernels of the tree.
Argan oil is all-round useful. It fixes brittle hair and rejuvenates dry skin.
Both the shampoo and conditioner from ArtNaturals come with a money-back guarantee.
Avlon Keracare Dry Itchy Scalp Moisturizing Shampoo & Conditioner
The Avlon shampoo and conditioner start improving dry scalp and itchiness after only one use.
They fight seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff, but there’s no problem using them on a plain old dry scalp.
The slight herbal scent won’t override your perfume, either.
Instead of sodium lauryl or sodium laureth sulfate, the shampoo contains ammonium laureth sulfate, a milder surfactant. This means that it still lathers up nicely but won’t strip moisture from your hair and skin.
Meanwhile, the conditioner has silicone to smooth the cuticle.
Yes To Naturals Tea Tree & Sage Oil Scalp Relief Shampoo for Dry & Itchy Scalp
Tea tree and sage are very good for dry, itchy scalps.
Clinical tests found that this shampoo relieved symptoms within a week.
It feels tingly as you wash with it. Then your skin will thank you for the extra moisture from sweet potato and Kukui seed oil.
Yes To Naturals Tea Tree & Sage Oil Scalp Relief Conditioner
Follow-up each wash with this itch-relieving conditioner. Like the shampoo, it has potent natural moisturizers for the scalp and hair.
It’s also free of silicone and parabens and 95% natural.
Dr. Witch Aloe Shampoo and Conditioner
Here’s the best shampoo for dry scalp and hair loss.
Dr. Witch’s two-bottle set is ready to do magic for you.
It pampers color-treated, dry, and curly hair as it’s free of sulfates and pH-balance.
It stimulates hair growth and relieves sensitivity and itching on the scalp.
The products are vegan and made in USA. They come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
They are based on aloe, not water. Other key ingredients include cehami, cassava root, coconut, and orange peel.
Honeyskin Hair Growth Shampoo and Conditioner Set for Itchy and Dry Scalp
Honeyskin’s shampoo and conditioner relieve dandruff for adults and children. It won’t disrupt the natural pH balance of your skin, as that’s one of the main reasons your scalp is dry.
It’s also free of irritants like gluten, sulfates, and parabens.
Instead, it nourishes skin and hair with Manuka honey, aloe, and cehami. This last ingredient is botanical extract that stimulates hair growth and reduces inflammation.
MAJESTIC PURE Shea Butter Shampoo and Conditioner Set
Majestic Pure’s Shea Butter set contains one of the best moisturizers for sensitive skin. Shea butter won’t cause oiliness or weigh down the hair.
On the contrary, it rejuvenates dry skin and strands.
Like other products from this company, both bottles are free of parabens and packed with natural extracts. The shampoo is also free of sulfates.
Pantene Shampoo and Conditioner Kit, Soothing Rose Water
Pantene’s Rosewater shampoo and conditioner are free of sulfates and parabens. They are safe for chemically-treated hair.
The conditioner is also free of silicone and mineral oil.
Together, they revive dry scalp and hair.
If you prefer to stick with trusted name brands, these are a good bargain.
Herbal Essences, Shampoo and Conditioner Kit, Hello Hydration
Yes, this shampoo has sulfates, so why recommend it?
Sulfates are surfactants that lather away excess oil and dirt. They can also strip moisture from the skin like dish detergent does to hands. The end result is drier scalp and hair.
On the other hand, if the formula counterbalances the drying sulfates with moisturizers, the shampoo cleanses well without causing damage.
While I wouldn’t recommend this set to most people with dry scalp, it might be worth a try if you love the brand.
MG217 Psoriasis 3% Salicylic Acid Therapeutic 2 in 1 Shampoo and Conditioner
People with psoriasis benefit from salicylic acid on their scalp. It loosens the scales and reduces inflammation.
This shampoo/conditioner helps prevent flare-ups. It also calms irritation and itching.
Puracy Natural Shampoo and Conditioner Set
People with sensitive, dry skin love these products.
Puracy offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee on their shampoo and conditioner. They were developed by chemists in collaboration with hair care experts.
Try them for at least two weeks to stabilize your hair and scalp and restore them to health.
Both formulas are free of allergens like perfumes, parabens, and sulfates. The conditioner doesn’t have dimethicone, either.
But they aren’t just good for your body; they’re also biodegradable and cruelty-free.
The shampoo washes away impurities with a coconut-based cleanser. It also has potent moisturizers like squalane and beet sugar. The fresh scent comes from citrus, peppermint, and eucalyptus.
Then, the conditioner prevents tangles with plant-based ingredients like shea butter and sunflower seed oil.
Free & Clear Set
Doctors recommend Free and Clear shampoo and conditioner to people with eczema because they lack all the harsh chemicals that irritate the skin.
In fact, the list of ingredients is shorter than the list of things they leave out.
If every other product has failed you, these are the ones to get.
They have gentle surfactants and some of the best moisturizers science has to offer.
Home Remedies for Dry Scalp
Along with changing your shampoo and conditioner, you might have success with these home remedies.
They treat dry scalp and dandruff naturally.
- Apple cider vinegar– restores the acid balance, clears away flakes, but don’t use it on broken skin
- Avocados– mash them up and massage into your scalp for deep hydration
- Tea tree oil– treats dandruff, always dilute with a carrier oil like coconut oil
- Coconut oil– work it into the roots of your hair, then put on a shower cap for half an hour before washing
Try any of these treatments before washing and conditioning your hair as usual.
If your dry scalp persists, speak to your doctor about prescription treatments.
Heal and hydrate your dry scalp with the best shampoos and conditioners for your situation.
Be patient, as it may take a couple of weeks to undo the damage.
If you discovered products today that are working wonders for your hair and skin, tell us about them in the comments below.
1. https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/features/other-causes#1 by Matt McMillen, accessed December 4, 2019
2. https://www.aad.org/itchy-skin/relieve-scalp-itch accessed December 4, 2019