These 8 Gentle Shampoos Will Soothe Your Sensitive Scalp

by Lisa Fogarty

If you have sensitive skin anywhere on your body, you probably put a lot of consideration into what you put on your skin — and the same should be true when it comes to caring for a sensitive scalp. Finding the best shampoos for sensitive skin means investing in products with ingredients that are gentle enough not to irritate your scalp, but effective enough to remove oil, product build up, and dead skin cells.

Shampoos for sensitive scalps shouldn't just be labeled "gentle," they also need to be free of harsh, irritating ingredients like sulfates, parabens, and even fragrances. Hypoallergenic shampoos that have been tested by dermatologists are often trust-worthy, as are many organic shampoos with oils and botanical extracts known to nourish the scalp and naturally prevent and treat dandruff and itchy skin. Avoid anything with a mile-long ingredient list of unidentifiable chemicals, as well as skin-drying alcohol and (heaven forbid) formaldehyde.

As with other shampoos, it's also important to keep your personal hair needs in mind — in addition to having sensitive skin, you may have dry hair, color-treated strands, or flat hair that makes you crave volume — all of which can be addressed with a kinder, gentler shampoo. These eight shampoos for sensitive skin have great reviews and have been proven gentle, but effective.


A pH Balanced Shampoo That Won't Leave Your Scalp Dry

Sebamed Everyday Shampoo, $11, Amazon

Washing your hair can actually cause your scalp's pH to become imbalanced — which is the last thing sensitive scalps need. This pH balanced shampoo has a pH of 5.5, which is what a healthy scalp should be, to help keep your scalp feeling comfortable after you wash your hair. The non-drying formula is also idea for frequent washings, which is perfect for sensitive scalps which can become irritated by washing too infrequently.


A Vegan Shampoo For Dry Hair That Contains Rose Hip Oil

Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair! Shampoo, $36, Amazon

Ideal for dry and damaged hair, this sulfate-free shampoo removes product and even hard water mineral build-up from the scalp and is safe on relaxed hair and color, keratin, and chemically treated hair. Its formula is made up of 95 percent natural ingredients like moisturizing algae extract, shea butter, and rose hip oil. The cherry on top: It's vegan and gluten and cruelty-free.


A Hydrating Formula With Watermelon, Vitamin B5, & UV Protection

Oribe Ultra Gentle Shampoo, $38, Amazon

This super gentle sulfate-free shampoo is rich in volumizing Pro-Vitamin B5, hydrolyzed soy protein to build stronger stands, and a unique complex of watermelon, lychee, and edelweiss flower to keep hair moisturized and shiny. It's safe for color-treated and keratin-treated hair and contains UV protection to shield hair from sun damage.


A Fragrance-Free Shampoo That Soothes The Scalp & Balances Moisture

Jason Fragrance Free Shampoo, $12, Amazon

Fragrances, both natural and artificial, can seriously irritate sensitive scalps, so this sulfate and fragrance-free shampoo is a safe bet if you're not quite sure which ingredients are contributing to your scalp discomfort. The gentle formula contains aloe juice, chamomile, sage, and panthenol to soothe irritation.


A Clarifying Shampoo That Color-Treated Hair Can Use

Acure Curiously Clarifying Shampoo, $7, Amazon

This sulfate-free clarifying shampoo removes dirt and oil from the scalp and is gentle enough to use daily — even if you have color-treated hair. It's also free of parabens, petrochemicals, silicones, and gluten, and boosts shine and manageability with avocado oil, organic argan oil, and lemongrass.


A Chamomile-Enriched Shampoo & Wash Safe Enough For Baby's Skin

Aquaphor Baby Wash & Shampoo, $16, Amazon

If it's safe enough for a baby's delicate skin, there's a good chance a gentle shampoo like this one will prove calming and effective on your sensitive scalp. This dye and fragrance-free shampoo (which doubles as a body wash) is enriched with soothing chamomile and panthenol.


A Gentle Shampoo With Seaweed Extract For Moisture & Shine

Aveeno Pure Renewal Gentle Shampoo, $12 (2 Pack), Amazon

With seaweed extract to help rebalance your scalp's natural oils, this gentle shampoo removes excess oils from the scalp and keeps hair shiny without the help of sulfates. It's safe for color-treated hair and helps relieve itchy scalps, according to reviewers.


A Dry Scalp Shampoo Treatment With A Nourishing Blend Of Argan & Essential Oils

Majestic Pure Argan Oil Shampoo, $10, Amazon

A blend of Moroccan argan oil, avocado, jojoba, camellia seed, almond, and coconut oils make this sulfate-free shampoo one to consider if you have a dry scalp and hair in need of moisture and conditioning. Reviewers (even those with oily skin) say this shampoo is good for all hair types.

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