Home Hair spa The 13 Best Shampoos to Treat a Dry Scalp

The 13 Best Shampoos to Treat a Dry Scalp


Karan Kapoor

There’s nothing a dry scalp can’t ruin. Maybe you have snowflakes falling on your shoulders that leave your friends saying, “Is it snowing outside?” Or maybe your scalp is so dry and irritated that even the slightest exposure to the sun can burn your head and need protection. Either way, a hydrated scalp is a healthy scalp, and luckily there are ultra-hydrating shampoos on the market that can help.

When it comes to a dry scalp, a number of factors can cause further irritation, so it’s important to stay hydrated and make sure you take care of your locks. Opting for a moisturizing shampoo that helps get to the bottom of the irritation is a great place to start. For ultimate hydration, scroll down and check out 13 of the best moisturizing shampoos you can add to your cart right now.

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Best shampoo bar

Radiance Set for Sensitive Skin


Ideal for shiny locks

Gloss.Me Moisturizing Shampoo


Ideal for hair prone to dandruff

Serene Scalp Anti-Dandruff Shampoo


Ideal for curls

Mild milk hair cleanser


Ideal for thick hair

African black soap revitalizing shampoo


Ideal for a scalp detox

Papaya scalp scrub


Best for Blondes

Balancing shampoo


Ideal for thick and frizzy hair

Nurture Hydrating Shampoo


Ideal for all hair types

The Ritual Shampoo


Ideal for hair repair

Luxury Repair Shampoo


Ideal for soothing the scalp

Anti-dandruff shampoo


Ideal for ultimate hydration

Hydration Shampoo


Ideal for moisture and repair

Don’t despair, fix it! Super hydrating shampoo

What causes a dry scalp?

A dry scalp “is caused by a loss of the natural oils that moisturize the scalp. This can happen for a myriad of reasons,” says Dr. Rodney. She says factors can include a change in your environment (perhaps the weather), stress, aging, excessive washing, contact dermatitis (a reaction to a product), or a skin condition like eczema or psoriasis. Cohen notes that the scalp is often drier during the winter, so opting for moisturizing and nourishing products in the colder months is always a good idea.

Dr. Frey explains that a dry scalp is often attributed to seborrheic dermatitis, aka our worst enemy: dandruff. Dandruff is basically caused by a yeast called malassezia which grows on the scalp and eats up healthy oils, leaving you with a dry scalp and lots of flakes.

How to prevent a dry scalp?

Dr. Rodney says we can take certain precautions to make sure our scalp stays hydrated and healthy. She recommends drinking plenty of water, managing your stress levels, avoiding harsh hair products, using a humidifier to rehydrate your surroundings, and if irritation persists or anything seems off, see a dermatologist.

Are there any ingredients we should avoid?

Cohen recommends going for something gentle and avoiding harsh sulfates that strip oils and shine from your hair. “Most shampoos in this country use a detergent-based surfactant system like sulfates or PEGs,” she says. “This type of cleansing system is what you see in shampoo commercials from the 90s – excessive suds and that squeaky clean feeling. I know it can make you feel super clean, but it takes away from your scalp. all the good healthy oils in the process.I recommend a naturally derived surfactant system for cleansing.

What should you look for in a shampoo for dry scalp?

Dr. Frey recommends looking for a pyrithione zinc shampoo, which helps stop dandruff and eliminate excess flaking. Dr. Rodney likes formulas with salicylic acid, which “promotes cell turnover, reduces flaking and redness.” Salicylic acid and other exfoliants like glycolic acid can help remove buildup on the scalp so you can start fresh. Rodney also recommends avocado oil, argan oil, aloe vera, pantothenic acid, and oatmeal to boost hydration.

Is there anything else we should add to our hair care routine?

“It’s important to keep the scalp hydrated and nourished — like a garden, you want to take care of the soil to keep the environment thriving,” says Cohen. She recommends opting for a scalp serum with hyaluronic acid for extra hydration and trying peppermint or tea tree oil for a dry, itchy scalp. Simply apply the oil to your scalp as a spot treatment to relieve irritation.

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