Nobody likes having an itchy, flaky scalp – so we’ve rounded up the best shampoos to help you bid dandruff adieu.
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Dandruff: it’s not exactly the most popular topic of conversation, but approximately 50 per cent of the general adult population worldwide have to deal with it, so the quasi-taboo around it seems pretty ridiculous.
That’s why we’re not skirting around the topic – nope, we’re jumping right into it.
According to organic hair brand AVEDA’s Education Lead, Mathew Wickham, dandruff is a “non-contagious medical condition that can result in flaky, oily scalp”. While Mathew recommends speaking to a trichologist or other hair specialist for professional diagnosis and advice, he also notes that there are a few steps you can take yourself to ease your itch.
“Finding your perfect routine is vital,” he says. “The right amount of cleansing and nourishing can help aid with symptoms.”
While dandruff may be an incredibly frustrating condition, there’s no need to fear: the flakes don’t have to be here to stay. There’s a number of great products out there that will not only rid your hair and scalp of dead skin, but also address the causes of dandruff to prevent it from coming back.
BEST DANDRUFF SHAMPOO
We’ve scoured the internet for the best-selling shampoos to getting rid of that pesky dandruff – so without further ado, here are the top contenders to get your mitts on – including one that has a whopping 36,000 five-star reviews on Amazon.
• Overall Best Dandruff Shampoo
– Nizoral Anti-Dandruff Shampoo, Amazon Australia, $54.95
• Runner Up Best Dandruff Shampoo
– Grown Alchemist Nourishing Shampoo, THE ICONIC, $44
– Philip Kingsley Flaky Itchy Scalp Shampoo, Adore Beauty, $55
– Nak Dandruff Shampoo, Oz Hair & Beauty, $29.95
– Sachajuan Scalp Shampoo, Sephora Australia, $41
• Best Cheap Dandruff Shampoo
– Jason Natural Dandruff Relief Treatment Shampoo, iHerb, $19.51
• Best Hydrating Dandruff Shampoo
– Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil Anti Dandruff Shampoo, Adore Beauty, $68
• Best Dandruff Shampoo for Afro-Textured and Kinky Hair
– Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal + Coconut Oil Micro-Exfoliating Shampoo, Revolve, $64.77
• Best Dandruff Shampoo for Coloured Hair
– L’Oreal Professionnel Serie Expert Instant Clear Pure Shampoo, Adore Beauty, $29
For the full breakdown on each of these top-rated products, keep on reading.
OVERALL BEST DANDRUFF SHAMPOO
Nizoral Anti-Dandruff Shampoo, Amazon Australia, $54.95
Clinically proven to keep dandruff off your head and shirt, this super popular shampoo relieves itchy and flaky scalps. Using ketoconazole 1 per cent that binds to your hair’s natural protein to kill dandruff, it’ll leave your hair manageable and shiny. The real reason this product sells so many bottles and maintains an incredible 4.5/5 star rating on Amazon (with 36,000 5-star reviews, no less) is because it works beyond banishing flakes to actually treat the cause of dandruff.
According to Nizoral, this shampoo fights the actual fungus that forms dandruff in the first place. In doing so, it prevents ongoing dandruff issues, so you stay flake-free but also don’t deal with an irritated, itchy scalp.
You only need to use a tiny amount twice a week (on any and all hair types) between your regular shampoo and conditioner washes, and the powerful formulation will clean things up like never before. It’s actually not the best idea to use anti-dandruff shampoos too regularly anyway, so it’s good to follow instructions such as this as over-doing it could actually further irritate your scalp, which isn’t ideal since that’s what you’re battling with already.
The reviews? Amazing. One reviewer left five stars, asking “what sorcery is this?” in response to the shampoo’s incredible effects. They continued: “Normal anti-dandruff shampoo has no use for me. Been living with it for all my life. So enough is enough, I decided to give this product a try based on super high reviews. It’s f****ng AMAZING. After one week of usage (three times), my condition reduced 90 per cent. No more pieces on my iPad, where I sit or on my shoulders. It’s a life-saver … Not to mention it also smells nice. Five stars period!” That’s a pretty impressive result. Others are raving about Nizoral for even the most intense cases of dandruff, with one reviewer mentioning that her husband sadly dealt with proper sores on his scalp due to psoriasis, a skin condition that leads to flaky, sore skin and scalp which, in turn, creates dandruff. “This stuff worked absolute wonders for us and I would recommend to anyone with slight dandruff issues to extreme Psoriasis conditions!” she said.
People are even saying this anti-dandruff shampoo changed their life. “I was told that I would have to get used my scalp and not much would help, I lived like that for 4 years, and now I mention this product to anyone who may listen,” one reviewer raved, listing everything they used to be insecure about when dealing with intense dandruff over the years.
RUNNER UP BEST DANDRUFF SHAMPOO
Grown Alchemist Nourishing Shampoo, The ICONIC, $44
Looking for a shampoo to nourish your hair and scalp? This one from Grown Alchemist will do the trick. It has a gentle, nutrient-rich formula that leaves hair shiny, clean, and strong. Micro wheat proteins and black pepper antioxidants nourish and stimulate the hair and scalp; azulenes and flavonoids from chamomile and Damask rose reduce the appearance of scalp and hair dryness; and bush tomato, rich in vitamin C, strengthens strands. You can pair it with the brand’s Nourishing Conditioner to match.
This clarifying, deep-cleansing shampoo address the causes of dandruff while also treating its symptoms. It gently cleanses the scalp, removes oil build-up, and relieves flaky, itchy skin. Don’t stress though, because it’s not a harsh treatment – it won’t dry out your hair or fade your colour, if your hair is dyed. Suitable for all hair types, you can use it daily until your dandruff clears up, then less frequently to keep flakes at bay.
“I have a really sensitive itchy scalp that gets oily between washes. I’ve tried SO many different type of shampoo and this is the first I’ve found that really does the trick,” wrote one five-star reviewer. “Zero itch, way less oil build up between washes, good lather and feels like your hair is clean. Plus, this lasted a surprisingly long time for a relatively small bottle (I shampoo twice a week and have long and thick hair). Couldn’t recommend more highly!”
Control and combat dandruff with Nak’s sulfate and paraben-free vegan formulation. It offers targeted cleansing to manage dandruff, flaking, scale and other mild scalp concerns. Harnessing the power of nourishing sea minerals and peppermint extract, it soothes itching and redness, and reduces general scalp irritation. At the same time, it creates stronger and shinier hair, with its gentle formula that can be used daily.
“Highly recommend, had problem dandruff for years and this actually works, and it doesn’t wreck your hair or strip your colour,” one reviewer said.
Let’s face it: dandruff is far from the sexiest topic to discuss, and the fact that most anti-dandruff treatments look like scary, unattractive bottles of medicine certainly doesn’t help. If you want something that actually works without scaring off guests who spot it in your shower, Sachajuan’s elegant Scalp Shampoo is the way to go. Containing rosemary oil, menthol, salicylic acid, and ginger extract; it manages to soothe irritated scalps while maintaining a healthy moisture balance.
A reviewer who had been suffering from a dry and itchy scalp said that after just one week of use, she found that the Scalp Shampoo “works miraculously”, noting that it’s “a tad pricey but I am willing to spend if it cures me of my dry and itchy scalp. Definitely a holy grail!”
BEST CHEAP DANDRUFF SHAMPOO
Boasting a 4-star rating with over 12,500 reviews, this paraben, sulfate, petrolatum and phthalate free shampoo is a great option for those sensitive to some of the chemicals included in anti-dandruff shampoos. Using sulfur and salicylic acid to deep cleanse and nourish the scalp, results are dandruff-free but also silky, soft strands.
Believe it or not, this is The Body Shop’s best-selling shampoo, with one bottle sold every four seconds – yep, it’s that good. Blended with ginger essential oil, Sri Lankan birch bark white willow extracts, and Community Fair Trade honey, it gently removes flakes while soothing the scalp. It’s 100 per cent vegetarian and as with all products from the brand, comes in super cute packaging. You can use the Ginger Scalp Care Conditioner for the full effect too.
Boasting a 4.7 out of five-star rating from over 400 reviews, it comes with plenty of glowing recommendations, like this one: “I literally bought this on Wednesday (it’s now Friday) and I’m amazed by the results. I’ve ALWAYS had really bad dandruff and scalp issues, to the point where my scalp scabs and bleeds sometimes. I’ve been on the hunt for a cruelty free anti-dandruff shampoo, and I’m kicking myself for not turning to The Body Shop sooner. My hair is so soft, the dandruff is completely gone and my scalp is on the mend! Cannot recommend enough.”
Formulated with flake-fighting selenium sulphide 2.5 per cent, Selsun Gold is proven not only to remove dandruff, but to slow down the rate of new cell production on the scalp – which in turn reduces scalp irritation, one of the main dandruff culprits. Medically tested to fight dandruff, seborrhoeic dermatitis, tinea versicolour, and tinea capitis, it’s a clever and affordable solution that addresses the root cause of dandruff to prevent it from recurring.
Five-star reviewers called it “a great anti-dandruff shampoo” and “the only thing that holds my scalp Seborrhoeic Dermatitis at bay”.
Not only is Klorane’s Soothing and Anti-Irritating Shampoo with Peony one of the more affordable options on the market, it also is vegan, pH-balanced, hypo-allergenic, biodegradable, and free from parabens, silicone, and SLS. Whew. Using peony extract to bring immediate and 24-hour soothing comfort and balance back to the scalp, it’s ideal for dry, itchy and irritated hair caused by stress, over-colouring, styling, or any other everyday irritant. Pair it with the Peony Conditioner Gel, for added hydration.
“This product worked wonders on my hair just after one use!” wrote one reviewer. “My scalp tends to be very flaky and irritated, and even after I wash it, there is still a build up of dandruff and oiliness. It just never feels 100 per cent clean. Now after ONE use of this shampoo, using only a small amount took off ALL the flakiness on my scalp and it feels so clean and refreshed. Also it feels very cooling on your scalp. I’ve never had this feeling with another shampoo. Will definitely repurchase!”
BEST NATURAL DANDRUFF SHAMPOO
Scalp Benefits Balancing Shampoo, AVEDA, $38
“This gentle shampoo cleanses hair and scalp so all hair types can look and feel healthy,” says Mathew. With a nurturing blend including burdock root to soothe scalps, echinacea to strengthen the hair follicle, and sage to restore moisture, Scalp Benefits “cleans down to the root, removes excess sebum and build-up, and creates the ideal foundation for healthy hair”. As a bonus, it has an enticing natural scent featuring vetiver, rosemary, cinnamon, and other pure flower and plant essences. For best results, Mathew advises combining it with the matching conditioner.
It doesn’t directly claim to reduce dandruff, but according to reviewers, it works nonetheless: “After just one use, I was no longer suffering from dandruff! I had tried heaps of other shampoos and scalp treatments but scalp benefits really solves the problem. It also smells great, amazing product”.
You may know and love Aesop for their very aesthetically pleasing stores, luxurious hand creams and natural skincare products, but their hair care products are definitely worth checking out. The Calming Shampoo is a mild formulation containing botanicals renowned for their soothing and purifying properties. Featuring sage leaf, chamomile flower, and lemon balm, it gently cleanses and refreshes the hair without causing further scalp irritation.
“I’ve been looking for a nice shampoo that doesn’t me to itch my sensitive, dry scalp (due to eczema) and this shampoo is great! I will definitely be repurchasing it,” one reviewer said.
BEST HYDRATING DANDRUFF SHAMPOO
Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil Anti Dandruff Shampoo, Adore Beauty, $68
If you think your conditioner is the only product in your hair regimen that can boost hydration, think again. This Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil Shampoo not only deeply cleanses, it also has a smoothing and nourishing effect on dry, dandruff-ridden hair. Enriched with shiso extract (also known as perilla oil), which is a natural antiseptic, it removes impurities and reduces irritation while boosting nutrients and promoting hair growth.
Reviewers love it, with one writing, “This is such a great and gentle dandruff shampoo on the scalp. I have always had dandruff and used dandruff shampoos but this is a completely different concept. Not only does it get rid of the dandruff but my hair feels healthy and hydrated”.
BEST DANDRUFF SHAMPOO FOR AFRO-TEXTURED AND KINKY HAIR
Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal + Coconut Oil Micro-Exfoliating Shampoo, Revolve, $60.75
If your hair is kinky, curly, coily or Afro-textured, and you suffer from dandruff, the Scalp Revival Shampoo from Black-owned brand Briogeo will be a lifesaver. The unique formulation infuses Binchotan charcoal to draw impurities from the scalp and hair follicle, while vegetable-derived micro-exfoliators remove dead skin cells and build-up. Cooling peppermint and spearmint oils reduces itchiness, and natural antiseptic Tea Tree oil reduces irritation and inflammation. Finally, coconut oil and panthenol work together to provide superior moisture to the hair and scalp, preventing dryness and strengthening overall hair health. The Scalp Revival range includes a Cooling Hydration Mask too, if you want the full set.
“Amazing! I struggle with dandruff and a dry scalp, but after using this my scalp felt so clean and my hair was so light weight and bouncy!! It smells great too, and feels amazing to scrub your scalp! I would definitely recommend!” wrote one happy reviewer.
BEST DANDRUFF SHAMPOO FOR COLOURED HAIR
L’Oreal Professionnel Serie Expert Instant Clear Pure Shampoo, Adore Beauty, $29
Offering salon-quality results, this L’Oreal shampoo uses Zinc Pyrithione to combat flakiness and soothe dry and irritated scalps. Its blend of powerful active ingredients leave the scalp feeling purified and balanced, but it’s gentle enough to avoid affecting your dye job.
“This cleaned my scalp right up within a week. Honestly I was so impressed, it’s affordable and truly gets the job done,” one reviewer noted. “If you’re thinking of purchasing, just do it!”
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Power up your hair routine with these added must-haves for dry, itchy scalps.
Clean, massage, and stimulate your hair and scalp with this top-rated Scalp Brush. Pair it with your shampoo to get that salon-quality cleanse – the flexible silicone bristles will provide a gentle yet deep massage that exfoliates skin and increases blood circulation. It also comes with a bonus body brush attachment for an all-over body scrub.
“This is the item you never knew you needed. I use it on my scalp in the shower while I still have conditioner on my hair. I never realised there were so many sensitive tense sections of my scalp. After using this for two months, my scalp is so much more relaxed. I feel so great after every shower,” wrote one reviewer.
This daily leave-in treatment uses salicylic acid to gently exfoliate, sugar beet extract to condition, lippia to purify, and rosemary, echinacea, and sage to soothe the scalp. Spritz it onto affected areas of your scalp after shampooing and don’t rinse it out, and after just one week, you can reduce flaking by up to 41 per cent.
“I was sceptical as I have been dealing with an itchy, dry scalp for a while now and no products seemed to help. But I am so glad I found this. It does a great job at soothing my scalp which then allows the itching and flakes to go away. I’m so happy that I found this! It is expensive but so worth it,” a reviewer said.
SHOULD I WASH MY HAIR EVERY DAY IF I HAVE DANDRUFF?
Check the instructions on the specific product you purchase – but many do advise washing your hair once daily using the treatment at least until symptoms begin to clear.
SHOULD I USE CONDITIONER IF I HAVE DANDRUFF?
Using conditioner is always essential, even if you have dandruff. “Daily, leave-in treatments can reduce flaking, and help to prevent reoccurrence, while also fighting itching,” says Mathew.
“Conditioners with plants and flowers can help, such as AVEDA Scalp Benefits, which contains burdock root, sage and echinacea to balance.”
WHICH OIL IS BEST FOR DANDRUFF?
“Dandruff can be caused by excessive oil,” advises Mathew. “Instead we suggest using the AVEDA Scalp Remedy Dandruff Solution.”
Plus, read up on our reviews of the top FOREO devices for every skin type, and the best anti-ageing facial creams for every stage of your life.
Then make sure you’re getting the best deals on your purchases by visiting news.com.au Coupons. There you’ll find discount codes for the biggest brands, including Adore Beauty, Sephora, and The Body Shop.