Are you struggling with an itchy, dry scalp?
Tired of having acne on your head?
Maybe psoriasis or eczema has flared up again.
Today let’s talk about the best shampoos and conditioners for sensitive scalps.
I think you’ll be happy because you have a lot of good ones to choose from.
I bet you’ll find the right hair care products for your sensitive skin.
What causes a scalp to be sensitive?
There are many reasons why your scalp might be sensitive.
It could be that you used harsh chemicals to wash and style. It’s not uncommon to have allergic reactions to fragrances, for example (1).
Over-styling and frequent color treatments might be making your scalp react.
Sulfates may also be the culprit. They are the ingredient that makes the lather in your shampoo. But unfortunately, they strip natural oil from the scalp, which makes them drying (2).
You could end up with scaling, flaking, pimples, and so on.
That’s why your first line of defense is the way you wash and condition your hair.
Let’s look at shampoos and conditioners for sensitive skin.
Free & Clear Set
We’ll begin with Free & Clear, also known as Vanicream.
They make several different products like moisturizers, deodorant, and shampoo and conditioner.
This set is frequently recommended by dermatologists as it’s very gentle. It shouldn’t trigger eczema or cause an allergic reaction.
That’s because both bottles are free of a long list of potential irritants.
To illustrate, they don’t contain artificial fragrances, masking fragrances, parabens, gluten, formaldehyde releasers, preservatives, or dyes.
Both are pH-balanced, too.
Now, for the downside. The shampoo will not lather up a lot. If you have oily hair, you might need to wash twice. But happily, the conditioner works well enough.
CLn Gentle Shampoo – Sensitive Scalp Gentle Shampoo
The CLn Gentle Shampoo helps clear up flaking if you have a mild case. It’s good for itchy, dry scalps.
It has sodium hypochlorite, also known as bleach. Don’t be shocked – dermatologists sometimes recommend bathing with a little bleach to treat atopic dermatitis or eczema. It calms itching and reduces scaling (4).
This is not a sulfate-free shampoo. But it does have the National Eczema Society Seal of Acceptance. And it’s free of artificial fragrances and parabens.
Derma E Scalp Relief Conditioner
Sometimes shampoos like the one above don’t seem to have an accompanying conditioner. In that case, keep this one on hand.
The Derma-E conditioner is like a dandruff treatment. It has salicylic acid to exfoliate flakes. Meanwhile, it soothes irritation and itching with menthol and tea tree oil.
Finally, it smooths frizz and tangles with aloe, sweet almond oil, and argan oil.
It does all this without parabens, gluten, lanolin, or mineral oil.
Puracy Natural Shampoo and Conditioner Set
Puracy’s set comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Try them for at least two weeks to normalize your scalp and hair.
Both are biodegradable and free of sulfates, parabens, and fragrances. The conditioner also lacks dimethicone, a silicone that might weigh down your hair.
The shampoo uses a coconut-based cleanser to wash away dirt and excess oil. But it also moisturizes with beet sugar and squalane. And the pleasant scent comes from essential oils like eucalyptus and peppermint.
Then, the conditioner uses only plant-based ingredients to reduce frizz and tangles. It has sunflower seed oil and shea butter.
Sebamed Everyday Shampoo
Sebamed is a company based in Germany. They make several products for sensitive skin, including this shampoo that you can use every day.
It’s made for adults with any hair type.
It’s pH-balanced at 5.5, which protects your skin from drying out. Think about what would happen if you washed your hair with dish detergent. That’s very alkaline and it would upset the natural acidity of your skin. This shampoo won’t do that.
While it doesn’t have harsh sulfates, it does have a fragrance. Fortunately, it might be moisturizing enough if you don’t have a dry scalp.
Otherwise, check out the conditioner below.
Sebamed Repair Conditioner
Sebamed’s conditioner protects against tangles and adds shine to dull hair.
The company says that they test their products clinically for sensitive skin. They say that the fragrance they use is hypoallergenic. In their case, this might be true as the European Union has stricter rules than the USA. They require proof that a product actually is hypoallergenic.
Bioderma NODE A Soothing Shampoo
When you see “NODE” shampoos made by Bioderma, you’ll know that they are “no-detergent” products.
The NODE A version was field-tested on people with sensitive skin. More than 90% of them said their scalp felt better after washing with it.
One of the key ingredients is D-Panthenol, which moisturizes and fortifies the scalp and hair.
The formula is free of sulfates, sodium, and parabens. It shouldn’t irritate the eyes, either.
Kerastase Dermo-Calm Bain Vital Haute Tolerance
Does your hairdresser use Kerastase? If so, ask to try the Dermo-Calm shampoo.
It calms inflammation and heals the skin with calophyllum oil, also known as Tamanu oil.
As you work it into your scalp, you’ll feel a gentle tingling because it contains menthol.
The only con is that this is not a sulfate-free shampoo.
Klorane Shampoo with Peony
Here’s a shampoo for sensitive scalp and colored hair. Peony extract diminishes itching and resolves dryness that results from styling, stress, and a harsh environment.
This is a product that’s free of parabens, sulfates, and silicone. It’s vegan and biodegradable.
Klorane Gel Conditioner with Peony
Don’t forget the conditioner; it might make all the difference. When your scalp is moisturized, it’s more resistant to irritants.
The gel conditioner doesn’t have silicone in it, so it won’t weigh down your hair. It has an applicator tip to help you get it right on your scalp for instant hydration.
The moisture should last up to twenty-four hours after you apply it. At the same time, your hair will be shinier and easy to manage.
Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk, Ultra-Gentle
Would you like to go for a day or two between shampoos? Then Klorane’s dry shampoo is the answer.
Most users say that it’s invisible once they’ve brushed their hair. There’s no chalky powder or residue left behind.
It has a mild scent, and it’s free of harsh chemicals. You can use it on color-treated hair.
Aveeno Scalp Soothing Oat Milk Blend Shampoo
If you’re a fan of Aveeno, you might already know about the oat milk shampoo. It’s very moisturizing for something that you use to cleanse oil and impurities.
It’s good for all hair types and fine to use every day.
Furthermore, it’s free of parabens, sulfates, and dyes.
Grab the accompanying conditioner, too.
Garnier Whole Blends – Oat Delicacy – Gentle Shampoo & Conditioner Set
Perhaps the best drugstore shampoo for sensitive scalp is Oat Delicacy by Garnier.
It has oat milk and rice cream in it, which makes it sound good enough to eat.
But these two ingredients boost shine and moisturize while they lessen inflammation.
I checked the ingredients and was a little disappointed to find that there are sulfates and artificial fragrance in the shampoo.
California Baby Super Sensitive Hair Conditioner
Have you ever tried baby shampoo as an adult? It might be just what you need for your sensitive scalp.
On the other hand, here’s a baby conditioner. It’s tear-free.
Leave it in or wash it out, whichever you prefer.
It has certified organic aloe and other plant-based ingredients. There’s even wax made from cabbages.
Of course, it’s free of parabens, sulfates, formaldehyde releasers, and artificial fragrances.
Carol’s Daughter Coco Creme Curl-Quenching Shampoo
If you have curly hair and a sensitive scalp, try this product. It’s a very moisturizing shampoo that sulfate-free.
When you wash with it, mango seed butter, Vitamin E, and coconut oil hydrate your scalp and hair.
Carol’s Daughter Cactus Rose Water Sulfate-Free Shampoo and Conditioner
I found this to be the best shampoo and conditioner for sensitive scalp and fine hair.
If you don’t mind the smell of roses, they are pleasant to use.
The shampoo is a clarifier that clears away build-up residue from styling products and conditioners with silicone. But it shouldn’t harm curls.
Both products promote hair growth with biotin and rich moisturizers.
Shea Moisture Coconut and Hibiscus Combination Pack Curl & Shine Shampoo, Conditioner
Shea Moisture caters to people with wavy, curly, and coiled hair.
This shampoo and conditioner are creamy and delicious. They’re also safe for color-treated and damaged hair.
After you wash with them, your scalp will be moisturized, and your curls defined.
OGX Healing Plus Vitamin E Shampoo and Vitamin E Conditioner
When you wash your hair every day, you need a mild shampoo that moisturizes.
The OGX Healing Plus products are rich in Vitamin E. They will help fix your scalp and split ends alike.
If you’re tired of having an itchy, flaking scalp and dull, dry hair, give them a try.
Free & Clear Medicated Anti-Dandruff Shampoo
Sadly, if you have a sensitive scalp, you might be prone to dandruff.
Well, the best shampoo for sensitive scalp and dandruff is this one.
It’s milder than the other dandruff shampoos on the market, but it’s still effective.
The dandruff-fighter is 2% zinc pyrithione that controls the fungus that causes seborrheic dermatitis.
Plus, it won’t turn your hair blue.
Let it work on your scalp for a few minutes before you rinse.
Like other products from Free & Clear, it doesn’t contain sulfates, gluten, dyes, phosphates, fragrances, masking fragrances, parabens, formaldehyde, or formaldehyde releasers.
Head and Shoulders Shampoo and Conditioner, Moisture Renewal
Here’s an inexpensive way to clear up flaking, stop itching, and revive your dry scalp and hair.
It’s made for curly and kinky hair, but that doesn’t mean that people with straight hair can’t enjoy it too.
The shampoo and conditioner are free of harsh sulfates, parabens, and dyes. They have an appealing coconut fragrance.
What’s more, they minimize odor in case you don’t wash your hair every day.
MG217 Psoriasis 3% Salicylic Acid Therapeutic 2 in 1 Shampoo and Conditioner
If you have a sensitive scalp due to psoriasis, you need salicylic acid. This shampoo quiets inflammation and softens scales.
It makes it easier to clear away the dead skin, so that skin and hair are clear. You’ll also notice less itching.
Additionally, using this one once in a while helps prevent flare-ups.
Neutrogena Anti-Residue Shampoo
If you need a clarifying shampoo for sensitive scalp, check out this one from Neutrogena. It’s made to be used once a week.
Washing with it removes almost all of the residue left behind by styling products.
Yet, it’s more gentle than many similar products.
The main con is that it has a fragrance and a sulfate.
Wella Calm Treatment for Sensitive Scalp
Leave-in conditioners and masques aren’t just for your hair. Here’s one for your scalp.
It refreshes your skin with menthol and boosts circulation with caffeine.
At the same time, bamboo, which is rich in silica, strengthens your skin and hair.
Massage it in, then leave the treatment on for up to ten minutes, and rinse well.
PHYTO Phytopolléine 100% Botanical Scalp Treatment
Yes, it’s a tiny bottle. But it’s so worth it.
The PHYTO scalp treatment is a game-changer for some people. It restores their scalp to health.
For some, it helps with hair growth.
It’s a blend of essential oils like rosemary, cypress, sage, eucalyptus, and lemon.
Apply it once a week and let it work for twenty minutes. Then shampoo your hair if you desire.
Dealing with a sensitive scalp can be a hassle.
But if you wash with shampoos and conditioners designed for sensitive skin, it gets easier.
They avoid harsh ingredients and add plenty of moisture to keep your scalp and hair in top condition.
If you found your new favorite shampoo and conditioner today, tell us about them in the comments below.
1. https://www.webmd.com/beauty/sensitive-skin-20-questions#1 published June 1, 2018, accessed December 19, 2019
2. https://www.self.com/story/sulfate-free-shampoo by Deena Campbell, published August 2017, accessed December 19, 2019
3. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/chemotherapy/in-depth/hair-loss/art-20046920 accessed December 19, 2019
4. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/atopic-dermatitis-eczema/expert-answers/eczema-bleach-bath/faq-20058413 by Lawrence E. Gibson published August 9, 2018, accessed December 19, 2019