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Severe, uncomfortable dry scalp may benefit from a doctor’s care, but many at-home treatments, including using the right shampoo, can provide significant relief.
The shampoos on this list contain ingredients that are beneficial for dry scalp.
We also looked at consumer reviews, dermatologist recommendations, and cost to come up with these picks for the best dry scalp shampoos.
The active ingredient in Neutrogena T/Gel Therapeutic Shampoo is coal tar. The extra-strength formula contains twice as much coal tar as its regular formula.
Seborrheic dermatitis is typically associated with oily hair and an oily scalp. This shampoo moisturizes a scalp that’s dry or oily, plus it eliminates the flaking of dandruff.
Some people dislike its strong, cedar-like scent.
This shampoo and body wash can be used for babies, children, or adults.
CeraVe Baby Wash & Shampoo contains ceramides, including hyaluronic acid, to protect the scalp and skin from moisture loss. This also makes it a good option for sensitive skin.
It doesn’t contain potentially irritating ingredients, such as sulfates, fragrance, or parabens, and it has the National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance.
Available by prescription
Clobex is Galderma’s brand of clobetasol propionate shampoo. The active ingredient, clobetasol propionate, is a corticosteroid that functions as an anti-inflammatory, antipruritic agent.
Clobex softens the scales caused by scalp psoriasis and alleviates dry scalp. It doesn’t cleanse or condition hair. Many people who use it follow it up with a regular moisturizing shampoo.
It’s prescribed for people who have psoriasis that’s moderate to severe.
Clobex isn’t recommended for children under 18 years of age. It shouldn’t be used without a prescription, or for a period of time lasting longer than 1 month.
LivSo Moisturizing Shampoo for Dry Hair & Scalp
This shampoo includes the following ingredients:
- Coconut oil. This is beneficial for moisturizing a dry scalp and for alleviating inflammation.
- Glycerin. This is another plant-based ingredient that’s good for moisturizing skin.
- Xylitol. Xylitol has been found to remove staph bacteria from skin. This may potentially reduce infections or inflammation caused by scalp psoriasis or eczema.
- Glycolic acid. This is included to gently remove skin scales and flakes.
- Shea butter. Shea butter is an emollient that softens dry skin and an occlusive, which can act as a barrier and help keep moisture in the skin.
This shampoo can be purchased separately, or as a three-product pack, along with a conditioner and moisturizing lotion specifically designed for dry scalp relief.
LivSo Moisturizing Conditioner for Dry Hair & Scalp
Like LivSo’s shampoo, the moisturizing conditioner also includes:
- coconut oil
- glycolic acid
In addition, the conditioner includes several plant oils for their skin-soothing and moisturizing qualities:
LivSo conditioner also has an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA). As with any product containing AHA, it may make your skin more susceptible to sunburn.
Living Proof Restore Dry Scalp Treatment
This leave-in treatment is meant to be lightly massaged into the entire scalp several times per week. Its active ingredients are hyaluronic acid and vitamin B-3 (niacin).
Living Proof Restore Dry Scalp Treatment provides relief from itching, redness, and dryness. It can be used on any kind of hair, including color or chemically treated hair.
This scalp treatment is part of a full hair care product line by Living Proof.
A note on price
All of the products on our list are available for less than $40 per bottle. Our price indicator reflects how these products compare to each other.
Be sure to read ounces and ingredients so you know how much product you’re getting.
If you know the cause of your dry scalp, look for a shampoo designed to treat that condition.
Be sure to check the ingredients list to make sure you’re not allergic to any active or inactive ingredients contained in the shampoo. If you have sensitive skin, avoid ingredients that may be irritating, such as sodium lauryl sulfate.
In addition to using the right shampoo and dry scalp treatments, follow these tips to keep your scalp moisturized:
- Stay hydrated by drinking lots of water and other fluids.
- Wash your hair in warm or cool water. Water that’s too hot can dry out the scalp.
- Don’t overwash your hair. Daily washing, even with a gentle shampoo, may make your scalp dry.
- Avoid hair styling products that contain alcohol.
- Try using a humidifier if the air in your home is dry.
You’ll get the best results from using a dry scalp shampoo or mask by following product directions. To avoid irritating your scalp, don’t use the shampoo more than is recommended.
Dry scalp is a common condition with many causes. Using a shampoo designed to alleviate dry scalp can help reduce symptoms, such as dandruff, itching, redness, and irritation. Avoiding hair care products that are drying, and washing hair less frequently may also help.