The 5 Best Conditioners For Dry Scalps

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Treating a dry scalp can be tricky, but investing in the right conditioner is a great place to start. The best conditioners for a dry scalp will help reduce dryness, flaking, and itching without weighing your hair down or making your scalp feel greasy. Some of them do double-duty to help with other scalp-related concerns, like hair-thinning or dandruff, too.

It's not always obvious why you're experiencing a dry scalp — everything from skin conditions such as dandruff, eczema, or psoriasis can make your scalp feel dry, as can product buildup, washing your hair too frequently (or not frequently enough), a reaction to an ingredient in a styling product you're using, or even a change in the weather. So try and figure out what might be causing your dry scalp — and in the meantime, use one of these conditioners to help. (Similarly, be sure to pick up one of the best shampoos for a dry scalp to use pre-conditioner.)

Shop The Best Conditioners For Dry Scalps

In a hurry? These are the best conditioners for dry scalps:

1. The Overall Best: Yes To Naturals Tea Tree & Sage Oil Conditioner

2. The Best Conditioner For A Dry, Sensitive Scalp: Acure Buildup Balancing Hemp & Apple Cide Vinegar Conditioner

3. The Best Conditioner For Dry Scalp & Dandruff: Head and Shoulders Moisture Renewal Conditioner

4. The Best Conditioner For A Dry Scalp & Thinning Hair: Nioxin System 2 Scalp Therapy Conditioner

5. The Best Exfoliating Conditioner For A Dry Scalp: LivSo Moisturizing Conditioner

And if these conditioners for dry scalps don't help, speak with your dermatologist — you might require a stronger, prescription-strength hair treatment or shampoo.


The Overall Best Conditioner For A Dry Scalp

The combination of tea tree oil and sage oil in this conditioner from Yes To Naturals helps treat dryness and itching, while ingredients like sweet potato extract and kukui seed oil work to add moisture back to both the hair and scalp. The brand says it's clinically proven to help treat dryness and itching in as little as eight days, and like all their products, this conditioner is made of mostly natural ingredients and is Leaping Bunny-certified cruelty-free. At $8, it's priced pretty fairly, too.

A glowing review: “I have had scalp dryness and related issues (dry and itchy scalp with bleeding from breakage in the skin) the last couple years and this is the first product that actually helps me. I can wash my hair longer apart (which is my normal) without issues. It provides a cooling relief beyond just when it is on my scalp and I’ve been having less scalp issues and my hair is very healthy. I was very surprised (especially at its price point) that it worked so well when I have tried similar formulas and significantly more expensive products and I don’t remember the last time I was so pleasantly surprised at the quality of a product.”


The Best Conditioner For A Dry, Sensitive Scalp

Apple cider vinegar is an ingredient commonly used for its clarifying properties, so this Balancing Hemp & Apple Cider Vinegar Conditioner is a great choice for anyone who thinks their dry scalp might be caused by product buildup or swimming in chlorine. To avoid further drying out the scalp, the conditioner is infused with moisturizing ingredients like argan oil, hemp seed oil, and cocoa butter.

This is also a particularly great choice for people with sensitive skin because it's fragrance-free, which is pretty hard to find in hair care products in general. If you have an unknown allergy or sensitivity to artificial fragrance, using a scented conditioner could be exacerbating the scalp dryness you've been experiencing, so it might be worth switching to a fragrance-free shampoo and conditioner. This conditioner is also vegan and cruelty-free, like all Acure's products.

A glowing review: “Soothing for very sensitive, irritated scalp on very first time using it (paired with Shampoo). After washing my hair and scalp feeling clean, and moisturized.”


The Best Conditioner For Dry Scalp & Dandruff

When I spoke with board-certified dermatologist Dr. Candace Spann to discuss dandruff, she suggested that people with dandruff and dry scalps should use an over-the-counter product containing the antibacterial ingredient pyrithione zinc. If your dry scalp is due to dandruff, the budget-friendly Head and Shoulders Moisture Renewal conditioner treats dandruff and adds moisture back to dry scalps with coconut oil and pyrithione zinc. Plus, it costs just $7 on Amazon.

A glowing review: “I have suffered with dandruff and dry scalp for years and it gets especially bad in the winter months and in the spring time due to my allergies. There would be nights where I would have issues falling asleep because of my itchy scalp, but not anymore! [...] I was worried that with the coconut oil, my hair would become super oily, but that is not at all the case!”


The Best Conditioner For A Dry Scalp & Thinning Hair

If you're experiencing thinning hair, the entire line of hair care products from Nioxin, including their System 2 Scalp Therapy Conditioner, is meant to address that concern. This lightweight conditioner can help make hair look fuller using strengthening ingredients like biotin, while a blend of plant-derived oils and extracts (including peppermint, grapefruit, lemon, and nettle leaf) work to keep hair feeling moisturized, refreshed, and clean.

A glowing review: “The peppermint stimulates my scalp and smells wonderful when I use it. When I wash it out after letting it sit, 2-3 minutes my hair does not feel oily or like its got anything in it. I get lots of compliments on my hair since I started Nioxin shampoo and condition 2 years ago.”


The Best Exfoliating Conditioner For A Dry Scalp

In this LivSo conditioner, glycolic acid works to unclog pores and remove product buildup — two things that might be behind your dry scalp. It also contains moisturizing abyssinian oil, silk extract, and hydrolyzed oat protein to make hair look shiny and feel strong. The brand, designed with help from a dermatologist, is intended for people with all hair types with dry, itchy scalps.

Reminder, using any product with AHAs can make your skin more sensitive to the sun, so be sure to cover up your scalp with a hat or a scalp sunscreen when you go outdoors.

A glowing review: “Love this whole product line for dry and irritated scalp. This conditioner moisturizes my hair and scalp and takes the snarls out of my coarse curly hair.”

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