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Dry scalp isn’t much fun, to say the least. If you have severe, uncomfortable dry scalp, you might find few things worse than the persistent irritation, itching, and flaking.

Here’s some good news: You can do a lot to address dry scalp and get relief at home, and you don’t need prescription medication to get started.

Learn more about home remedies for dry scalp.

A good first step involves choosing a shampoo that contains ingredients known to have benefits for dry scalp. In the guide below, you’ll find 11 options to try, based on your unique hair care needs.

Your scalp may become dry when your skin doesn’t get enough moisture. When this happens, you might notice a sudden increase in flakes or irritation.

Some potential causes of dry scalp include:

A dermatologist can offer more support with narrowing down what’s causing your dry scalp.

To narrow down our picks for the best dry scalp shampoos, we considered dry scalp shampoos for every hair type.

All of our picks for the best shampoos for dry scalp fulfill at least one of the following criteria:

  • The shampoo earns mostly positive customer reviews.
  • The shampoo features a formula designed to alleviate dry scalp symptoms.
  • The shampoo includes additional ingredients designed to boost hair health.

We also chose products with varying price, in order to include shampoos for a wide range of budgets.

Dry scalp shampoos can range widely in price, from $6 to $50, or more.

Most of the dry scalp shampoos on this list fall in the $9 to $18 range.

Here’s how we broke down the cost of our picks:

  • $ = $6–$15
  • $$ = $16–$30
  • $$$ = $31–$50

While all of our picks cost less than $50 per bottle, keep in mind these bottles may come in different sizes. So, a larger bottle will typically cost more, but it’ll also last longer. Checking the size and price per ounce will give you a better idea of the product’s comparative value.

Best overall

Neutrogena T/Gel Therapeutic Shampoo, Extra Strength

  • Price: $$
  • Key ingredients: coal tar
  • Best for: dry hair
  • Pros: fast acting, strong
  • Cons: strong scent

The active ingredient in Neutrogena T/Gel Therapeutic Shampoo is coal tar. Evidence suggests coal tar may effectively treat itching, redness, and scaling caused by several scalp conditions, including seborrheic dermatitis (dandruff) and psoriasis.

Seborrheic dermatitis typically involves symptoms like hair and scalp oiliness, but it can also leave your scalp feeling dry and itchy. This shampoo can help moisturize your scalp and eliminate the flaking of dandruff.

The extra-strength formula of this shampoo contains 1 percent coal tar, twice as much as the regular formula. Reviewers say they really notice a difference after using this shampoo. One reviewer even notes it works well for beards, too. Some people dislike its strong, cedar-like scent.

This 2-pack option may offer more value than purchasing a single bottle on its own.

Best fragrance-free shampoo for dry scalp

CeraVe Baby Wash & Shampoo

  • Price: $
  • Key ingredients: hyaluronic acid
  • Best for: sensitive skin
  • Pros: gentle, hydrating
  • Cons: doesn’t produce much lather

The whole family, from babies to adults, can use this shampoo and body wash. In fact, many reviewers say it’s the only wash their child’s sensitive skin can tolerate.

CeraVe Baby Wash & Shampoo contains ingredients that help protect the scalp and skin from moisture loss, including vitamin E, niacinamide, ceramides, and hyaluronic acid. Ceramides in particular make it a good option if you have eczema or psoriasis.

People say it does a great job easing itching, dryness, and irritation, while also leaving skin soft. Reviewers also praise the lack of fragrance.

Bonus: This shampoo doesn’t contain other potentially irritating ingredients, such as sulfates or parabens. It also has the National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance.

Best prescription shampoo

Clobex (clobetasol propionate shampoo)

  • Price: $$
  • Key ingredients: clobetasol propionate
  • Best for: psoriasis
  • Pros: fast-acting, anti-inflammatory
  • Cons: needs a prescription, not for children

Clobex is Galderma’s brand of clobetasol propionate shampoo. The active ingredient, clobetasol propionate, is a corticosteroid that functions as an anti-inflammatory, anti-itching agent.

Clobex can soften skin scaling caused by scalp psoriasis and help alleviate dry scalp, but it doesn’t cleanse or condition hair. If you use this shampoo, you’ll typically want to follow up with a regular moisturizing shampoo.

You’ll need to get a prescription to get this shampoo. A dermatologist or other prescribing clinician may prescribe it if you have moderate to severe psoriasis. Just keep in mind it’s only meant for short-term use, so you typically shouldn’t use it for more than a month at a time. It’s also not recommended for children under 18 years.

Best moisturizing shampoo

LivSo Moisturizing Shampoo for Dry Hair & Scalp

  • Price: $$
  • Key ingredients: coconut oil, glycerin, shea butter
  • Best for: all hair types
  • Pros: hydrating, good value
  • Cons: leaves skin more susceptible to sunburn

This shampoo includes moisturizing ingredients, such as coconut oil and glycerin, that can help soothe dry scalp and ease inflammation.

It also contains xylitol, which evidence suggests can help remove staph bacteria from skin. So, this shampoo could potentially help reduce infections or inflammation caused by scalp psoriasis or eczema.

Reviewers generally praise this product, saying it works well for both dry scalp and brittle hair without weighing their hair down. Many people say they noticed a difference right away. People also found the scent pleasant and not overwhelming.

You can buy the shampoo on its own, or in a three-product pack that also includes a conditioner and moisturizing lotion specifically designed for dry scalp relief.

Both the shampoo and conditioner contain glycolic acid. This alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) can exfoliate your scalp and help your skin retain moisture, but it leaves your skin more vulnerable to sunburn.

The conditioner contains safflower oil, avocado oil, and olive oil, which can help soothe and moisturize skin.

Best moisturizing scalp oil

Living Proof Restore Dry Scalp Treatment

  • Price: $$$
  • Key ingredients: hyaluronic acid, vitamin B3
  • Best for: all hair types
  • Pros: safe for color-treated hair, moisturizing, nongreasy
  • Cons: pricey

While not a shampoo, this leave-in treatment can complement a dry scalp shampoo by providing additional relief from itching, redness, and dryness. It features hyaluronic acid and vitamin B3 as active ingredients.

To use this product, you simply massage it into your entire scalp a few times each week. You can use it safely on any type of hair, including colored or chemically treated hair.

This scalp treatment does have a higher price tag, but reviewers seem to find it worth the price.

People by and large rave about this product, saying it does a great job treating dry scalp, flaking, and itchiness — and works quickly, to boot. Some people say this was the only product that helped their dry scalp.

Best affordable dry scalp shampoo

Aveeno Fresh Greens Blend Shampoo

  • Price: $
  • Key ingredients: colloidal oat extract
  • Best for: color-treated hair, fine hair
  • Pros: affordable, thickening, gentle
  • Cons: contains fragrance

This soothing shampoo features colloidal oat to help ease skin itchiness and irritation. It also contains peppermint and rosemary oils, both of which may help promote hair growth, and hydrating cucumber.

Beyond helping soothe a dry and itchy scalp, this shampoo also works to help protect and thicken hair. Reviewers say it works well for fine, thin hair, providing body and moisture without leaving residue or weighing hair down. Some people also say it left their hair softer.

This shampoo doesn’t contain sulfates, dyes, or parabens, but it does contain fragrance. Some people enjoy the scent, but others say it’s too strong. A few reviewers also say it dried out their hair.

Bonus: If you prefer to shop in person, you can find this shampoo at many drugstores.

Best dry scalp shampoo for itch relief

OGX Extra Strength Refreshing Scalp + Teatree Mint Shampoo

  • Price: $
  • Key ingredients: tea tree oil, peppermint, witch hazel
  • Best for: sensitive scalp, product buildup
  • Pros: hydrating, tackles dandruff well
  • Cons: may not work for curly hair

This shampoo features tea tree oil and peppermint for a tingling cleanse. Tea tree oil works to invigorate the scalp and help ease irritation. Witch hazel, a natural astringent, can also soothe irritation and inflammation and help remove product buildup.

Reviews suggest this shampoo does a great job cleansing oily hair, softening strands, and boosting scalp health. Though it may take around a week to begin clearing dandruff, people report immediate results when it comes to oily scalp and buildup — after the very first wash, in fact.

People also say this shampoo is gentle enough for people with sensitive scalps or eczema.

If you have coarse, textured, or very curly hair, you may want to skip this shampoo. A few reviewers say it may knot or tangle your hair.

Best dry scalp shampoo for men

Neutrogena Soothing & Calming Healthy Scalp Shampoo

  • Price: $$
  • Key ingredients: tea tree oil
  • Best for: all hair types
  • Pros: budget-friendly, gentle
  • Cons: added fragrance, strong scent

Searching for a basic shampoo that gets your hair clean and provides relief from dry scalp irritation with gentle, soothing ingredients? This formula from Neutrogena may do the trick.

This shampoo is designed to work for all hair types — short and curly, dry and flat, and everything in between.

What’s more, it contains none of those shampoo ingredients you might want to avoid, like parabens, phthalates, or sulfated surfactants (SLS and SLES). It does contain fragrance, though, so keep that in mind if you have a sensitivity to certain fragrances.

Reviewers call this a gentle, soothing shampoo, saying it helps cut down the oil in their hair and restores softness and shine. A few people say they prefer this shampoo to pricier options that don’t get the job done. A few people dislike the tea tree oil scent, saying it smells medicinal, but some say it fades quickly.

Best shampoo for dry scalp and oily hair

SACHAJUAN Scalp Shampoo

  • Price: $$$
  • Key ingredients: piroctone olamine, climbazole, rosemary oil, menthol, salicylic acid
  • Best for: oily scalp, dandruff
  • Pros: discreet packaging, thickening, treats dandruff
  • Cons: pricey

Facing the double whammy of dry scalp and oily hair? You may want to opt for this multitasking shampoo, designed to regulate oil production while boosting hair thickness and strength.

It contains piroctone olamine and climbazole, which evidence suggests may help relieve scalp itching and scaling while also conditioning hair.

Salicylic acid, another key ingredient, works to gently shed dead skin, promoting new cell growth. Ginger, menthol, and rosemary may also help refresh hair and soothe irritation.

Many reviewers praise this shampoo, saying it worked for persistent scalp irritation and dryness when nothing else helped. While many people say their scalp felt less itchy after just one wash, you’ll likely notice more significant results within a month or so.

Best shampoo for dry scalp and dandruff

Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal + Coconut Oil Micro-Exfoliating Shampoo

  • Price: $$$
  • Key ingredients: coconut oil, charcoal, tea tree oil
  • Best for: all hair types
  • Pros: exfoliates, treats dandruff
  • Cons: pricey

Dealing with a dry, itchy, and flaky scalp? Trying to cleanse persistent product buildup? This micro-exfoliating shampoo may work well for you. It contains coconut oil, panthenol, and tea tree oil to help promote hair growth and health while removing dead skin, excess oils, and impurities from the scalp.

Though it does come with a higher price tag, many reviewers say it’s well worth it. People say it helps relieve itching and flaking right away and leaves hair feeling refreshed without weighing it down.

Just keep in mind that daily use of this exfoliating shampoo may prove too harsh for a sensitive scalp. Instead, start by replacing your regular shampoo once or twice a week. The brand recommends using this product for 3 weeks for maximum benefit.

We tested this product and can confirm it really does help ease scalp itching and irritation while leaving hair shiny and fresh. You might also notice, as you’re lathering up, that it smells like mint chocolate chip ice cream.

Best allergy-friendly shampoo for dry scalp

Vanicream Shampoo

  • Price: $
  • Key ingredients: glycerin
  • Best for: all hair types
  • Pros: gentle, dermatologist-tested, affordable
  • Cons: does not lather well

Specially formulated for people with sensitive skin, this no-fuss shampoo from Vanicream gently cleanses hair and scalp with nonirritating ingredients. It’s designed to help control excess scalp oil, remove product buildup, and ease flaking and scaling.

It contains no fragrances, parabens, lanolin, parabens, sulfates, or formaldehyde. It also doesn’t contain botanical extracts or essential oils, which makes it a good option if you have allergies or sensitivities to common shampoo ingredients. Just note it may not produce the same sudsing action as your old shampoo.

Reviewers mostly rave about this shampoo, saying it works well to relieve scalp itching, dryness, and sores — without triggering an allergic reaction due to irritating ingredients. People do say, though, that it can be pretty drying, so you’ll want to make sure to follow up with conditioner.

NamePriceKey ingredientsBest forProsCons
Neutrogena T/Gel Therapeutic Shampoo, Extra Strength$$coal tardry hairfast-acting, strongstrong scent
CeraVe Baby Wash & Shampoo$hyaluronic acidsensitive skingentle, hydratingdoesn’t foam
Clobex (clobetasol propionate shampoo)$$clobetasol propionatepsoriasisfast-acting, anti-inflammatoryprescription only, not for children
LivSo Moisturizing Shampoo for Dry Hair & Scalp$$coconut oil, glycerin, shea butterall hair typeshydrating, good valueskin more susceptible to sunburn
Living Proof Restore Dry Scalp Treatment$$$hyaluronic acid, vitamin B3all hair typessafe for color-treated hair, moisturizing, nongreasypricey
Aveeno Fresh Greens Blend Shampoo$colloidal oat extractcolor-treated hair, fine hairbudget-friendly, thickening, gentlescented
OGX Extra Strength Refreshing Scalp + Teatree Mint Shampoo$peppermint, tea tree oil, witch hazelsensitive scalpshydrating, removes buildup, handles dandruff wellnot the best for curly hair
Neutrogena Soothing & Calming Healthy Scalp Shampoo$$tea tree oilall hair typesbudget-friendly, gentle, calmingmedicinal scent
SACHAJUAN Scalp Shampoo$$$rosemary oil, menthol, salicylic acidoily scalp, dandruffdiscreet packaging, thickening, treats dandruffpricey
Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal + Coconut Oil Micro-Exfoliating Shampoo$$$coconut oil, charcoal, tea tree oilall hair typesexfoliating, treats dandruffpricey
Vanicream Shampoo$glycerinall hair typesgentle, dermatologist-tested, budget-friendlydoesn’t lather well

As a general rule, your best bet involves finding a shampoo designed to address whatever is causing your dry scalp.

If you:

  • Have dandruff. You might have the best luck with a dandruff-friendly shampoo.
  • Live with severe scalp psoriasis. It could help to ask your care team about trying a prescription-strength shampoo.
  • Need more moisture in your hair and scalp. Choosing a moisturizing shampoo with nonirritating ingredients could make a difference.

You’ll also want to take your hair type into account. Some shampoos that work well for fine hair may not yield the same results for thick or curly hair. When in doubt, check the bottle to find out which hair type a specific shampoo is designed for.

And finally, checking the ingredients list can help you avoid potentially irritating active or inactive ingredients in the shampoo.

Learn more about shampoo ingredients for different hair needs.

Not sure how you’ll react to a shampoo’s ingredients? Always do a patch test first.

In addition to using the right shampoo and dry scalp treatments, follow these tips to help keep your scalp moisturized:

  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and other fluids.
  • Wash your hair in warm or cool water. Hot water can dry out your scalp.
  • Avoid overwashing. Daily washing, even with a gentle shampoo, may leave your scalp dry. If you wash daily, cutting back to every other day could make a difference.
  • 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 your dry scalp shampoo or hair mask by following the packaging directions. Using the shampoo more frequently than recommended could lead to more irritation.

Often, you can treat dry scalp at home by using a shampoo formulated for dry scalp or dandruff.

That said, shampoo alone may not be enough to heal your scalp, especially if your dry scalp relates to an underlying skin condition like eczema or psoriasis.

If you don’t notice much improvement after a few weeks of use, or the skin on your scalp appears swollen and inflamed, you’ll want to connect with a dermatologist or other healthcare professional.

It never hurts to get professional support if any of the symptoms listed below affect your scalp for longer than a few weeks:

  • itching, irritation, and inflammation
  • scalp tightness
  • persistent scaling and flaking
  • skin discoloration
  • swelling

What helps with a dry scalp?

If you’re trying to relieve scalp dryness, it could help to wash your hair less frequently and cut back on the number of hair products you apply each day, such as gel, leave-in conditioner, and styling spray.

If that doesn’t remedy the issue, a shampoo formulated for dry scalp could be a helpful next step. These shampoos can reduce dandruff, itching, dryness, and irritation.

Will conditioner get rid of a dry scalp?

Conditioner alone won’t cure dry scalp. All the same, conditioner can help moisturize your scalp and ease some of the uncomfortable dryness and itching.

Just be mindful of not overdoing it, since the oils in the conditioner can end up contributing to dandruff. As a start, try washing and conditioning every other day, or two to three times each week.

Should I shampoo more if I have dry scalp?

The key isn’t shampooing more frequently, but switching to a shampoo specifically formulated for dry scalp.

Shampooing too often could dry out your hair and scalp even more. If every other day still seems too frequent, try shampooing every third or fifth day.

Everyone’s hair is different, so it may take some trial and error before you find the right washing schedule for your hair.

Dry scalp can have a range of causes, but you can take steps to address this condition and get relief.

Using a shampoo designed to alleviate dry scalp can often ease dandruff, itching, irritation, and other discomfort.

It can also help to wash your hair less often and avoid hair care products that dry out your hair.