Call me a hippie or call me an optimist, but I truly believe that mother nature knows best. When it comes to treating and preventing dandruff, I'm a huge fan of natural dandruff shampoos that utilize gentle ingredients you can actually pronounce.
There are tons of factors that contribute to dandruff — including an overgrowth of yeast on your scalp, certain skin conditions, or a kind of fungus that feeds on your natural oils. Although most of the causes of dandruff are internal, the right shampoo can help manage the flakes and scalp discomfort associated with dandruff. Using a shampoo with salicylic acid is a great way to keep your scalp free of dead skin cells and other kinds of buildup which make dandruff and irritation worse. Other great ingredients to look for are tea tree oil and tar — two of nature's best dandruff treatments.
Aside from treating your dandruff with specific ingredients, it's also important to choose formulas that won't dry out or irritate your scalp in other ways. If you have sensitive skin, look for shampoos that are free of sulfates and artificial fragrance.
Not sure where to begin? These nine highly-rated dandruff shampoos treat dandruff with powerful natural ingredients — without harsh cleansing agents that can irritate your scalp further.
1. This Medicated Dandruff Shampoo With Two Percent Salicylic Acid
With botanicals, essential oils, and two percent salicylic acid, Avalon Organics Dandruff Shampoo helps keep your scalp comfortable and free of buildup and flakes. It's also free of parabens, synthetic colors, and fragrances, and it's a great option for sensitive scalps.
2. A Natural Option That People "Can't Live Without"
Because it uses healing ingredients like rosemary, olive oil, and jojoba, Jason's dandruff shampoo moisturizes dry scalps naturally. However, the real secret is colloidal sulfur, which eliminates dryness, flakes, and itch. "This cured my 25 year head itch and flaky scalp in 2 weeks!" says one reviewer, and others agree that they "can't live without this."
3. Plant-Derived Ingredients That Balance Hair & Scalp
Whether your hair is dry or oily, Giovanni Tea Tree Triple Treat Shampoo helps to heal, calm, and balance with natural plant ingredients like tea tree, rosemary, and peppermint. It cleanses away dirt and flakes without stripping your natural oils, so hair is much more hydrated and manageable. Reviewers also say it feels fresh and invigorating and has a nice smell.
4. This Modern Take On A Traditional Recipe
African black soap is a gentle cleanser made from shea butter, various oils, and plant ashes, and it's extremely effective when it comes to healing dry, flaky skin. SheaMoisture African Black Soap Dandruff Shampoo is a top favorite because it's a modern take on traditional ingredients, and it removes the dry patches without causing reactions or leaving your hair feeling oily.
5. This Tar And Coal Shampoo That Reviewers Call "A Miracle In A Bottle"
The key ingredients in ArtNaturals Scalp 18 are actually tar and coal, which have been used for years to treat things like eczema, psoriasis, dandruff, rashes, and other skin conditions. Miracle in a bottle," says one reviewer who's tried everything from high-end products to home remedies.
6. A Super Gentle Shampoo For The Most Sensitive Scalps
Over 1,100 reviewers are raving about Maple Holistics Shampoo, and that's because it uses pure tea tree oil to ease flaking and irritation. It leaves hair feeling clean and moisturized simultaneously, and reviewers say that it helps with a range of other scalp issues like acne, seborrheic dermatitis, and rashes.
7. A pH Balanced Shampoo That's Free Of Sulfates & Parabens
Because it's free of sulfates and parabens, Puriya Natural Dandruff Shampoo is a favorite for so many people. It cleanses and hydrates with 100 percent naturally derived ingredients, and it's pH balanced to help your scalp return to a healthy state. "I had a very itchy scalp, even to the point of being painful, so I gave this product a try," says one reviewer. "I'm glad to say that this product smells really fresh (almost minty - must be from the tea tree oil). It also leaves my hair feeling soft and conditioned but not greasy."
8. This Hemp-Based Shampoo That's Gentle On Sensitive Scalps
This gentle shampoo option uses virgin hemp seed oil to seal in moisture and reduce flakes. It also strengthens strands and balances oil production. It's a great option for scalps that are sensitive to other dandruff remedies, like tea tree oil, SLS, and peppermint. Reviewers say their dandruff is "almost completely gone" and their scalp "no longer itches."
9. This Shampoo That Cleanses & Hydrates With Natural Soapberries
This Tree To Tub Soapberry Shampoo is so effective at eliminating dandruff because it's got absolutely zero irritating ingredients. Instead, it uses soapberries, which are natural nuts that create a pH-balanced cleanser. It's also got calming and invigorating ingredients like aloe and peppermint, and reviewers agree, "After my first shampoo with this I had dramatically less flaking." Some don't even require conditioner.
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