Best Dandruff Shampoo Reviewed
We are all familiar with that horrible itch we get after a particularly sweaty workout session. It can happen after a mild work out as well since we do tend to get sweaty heads even if the temperature rises just a little bit. The itch will probably go away once you wash your hair, but what happens when that itch turns out to be something entirely else? Once you scratch your head, does it looks like it snowed on your shoulders? Lucky for you and everyone else afflicted, there is a simple fix to all of your problems - dandruff shampoo!
With so many of them on the market, it’s understandable that you might be feeling confused. So many different brands, different choices and different ingredients, all claiming they work the best. Our guide is here to clear the confusion and help you choose the best shampoo out there!h
In a Hurry? The test winner after 5 hrs of research
Gentle Towards Hair
Requires Only Sporadic Use
Creates Thick Lather
Leaves Hair Silky Smooth
Top 10 Picks for the Best Dandruff Shampoo
1. Nizoral A-D Ketoconazole
Gentle Towards Hair
Requires Only Sporadic Use
Creates Thick Lather
Leaves Hair Silky Smooth
Can Harm Skin And Eyes
Nizoral is probably one of the most recognized brands of dandruff shampoo that contains ketoconazole, and it’s for a well-deserved reason. This all-mighty shampoo helps fight flaking, itching, and scaling which can all happen because of dandruff. It has a well-tested formula that contains 1% of ketoconazole, combined with other ingredients that make your hair soft and silky.Read more
All you have to do is use it twice a week between your regular shampooing session to control dandruff effectively. If you’ve got hair that is chemically processed it anyway, the shampoo won’t do you any harm and you shouldn’t worry about all of that! The shampoo turns into a thick, voluminous lather that cleans each and every speck of dirt while leaving you smelling fresh and divine! All you have to do is protect this shampoo from light and freezing temperatures, and you will have hair worthy of a commercial break.
2. Head & Shoulders Classic
Well-known Dandruff Shampoo
America’s Number One Shampoo
Light Classic Scent
Gentle Towards All Hair Types
For Daily Use
Head & Shoulders is, without a doubt, the most recognized brand when it comes to dandruff shampoo. There probably isn’t a person on the planet that hasn’t heard of them, even if they do not suffer from dandruff! If you use the shampoo on a regular basis, it will nourish your scalp three layers deep, to stop dandruff at its core.Read more
The active ingredient in the classic variant is pyrithione zinc, as it is one of the best ingredients that can effectively fight off dandruff. It offers multi-symptom relief, keeping you safe from dandruff and all the itching and flakiness related to it. The light and pH balanced formula lets you use the shampoo every day, and that is what you should do in order to see the best possible results! The shampoo has a light, breezy scent unique to this brand, as it leaves you smelling like a field of roses.
3. Selsun Blue Medicated
Menthol Cools Down Scalp
Selenium Sulfide Fights Dandruff
Targets The Source
Mild Medicinal Smell
One of the things that help set this shampoo apart from the others is the fact that it has a cooling property to it. This cooling effect will certainly calm down your scalp and relieve all of that annoying itchiness. But the cooling property will not damage your hair, leaving you with healthy locks and skin.Read more
Menthol is that key ingredient that calms down your scalp. The active ingredient in this shampoo is selenium sulfide. Selenium can cause allergies sometimes though, so if you experience more itching or rashes, you should stop using the shampoo. This is rare, and you will probably experience nothing but greatness from this shampoo. If you want to see the best results, you must use the shampoo at least twice a week and shake the bottle thoroughly before using it. It targets the source of your dandruff with supreme power, all thanks to that cooling property!
4. American Crew Plus
Restores Hairs Health
Controls Sebum Production
No Need For Conditioner
This might fine shampoo addresses the problem most men face today - a dry and oily scalp. The revolutionary formula in this shampoo will not only leave your scalp free of flakes and itchiness, but it will also work its magic on your hair strands, leaving them strong and luscious.Read more
This formula with zinc pyrithione also helps regulate the production of sebum, meaning the possibility of dandruff appearing is even smaller. It’s also soothing to the skin, giving immediate relief to itchiness. It makes hair stronger, making breakage and thin locks a thing of the past. To feel the full effects, you must leave it on for two minutes and then rinse it out!
5. Suave 2in1
Designed For Men
Combined With Moisturizing Conditioner
Advanced, Clinically Tested Formula
Suave has helped people fight dandruff for over 75 years, with tested and well-tailored formulas that are guaranteed to work. These formulas have been specifically developed for the hair of men and their individual needs.Read more
This shampoo is backed up by a smooth conditioner, so they work back to back to give you healthy, strong hair free of pesky flakes. You only need one step to achieve both cleaning and conditioning! Just like with many popular brands, the active ingredient in this dandruff shampoo is pyrithione zinc. It controls dryness, itchiness and, flaking while helping your hair maintain optimal levels of moisture. The advanced, clinically tested formula brings life back to hair without causing any harm!
6. Dove Dermacare
Fresh And Rich Scent
Makes Hair Smooth
pH Balanced Formula
Can Be Used Everyday
Two In One
Not So Effective
When you see the name Dove, a dandruff shampoo made by the company is probably one of the least likely things that would pop into your mind. But that doesn’t mean that the shampoo is not great, and it definitely deserves a spot on our list. Pyrithione Zinc is the magic ingredient here, as it helps soothe your scalp and defeats dandruff with passion.Read more
The shampoo is actually a 2 in 1 since it’s mixed with a conditioner that will leave your hair looking smooth and manageable. The fragrance is fresh, with rich tones and soothing properties. The pH balanced formula keeps your scalp healthy and doesn’t upset the delicate skin leaving it worse than it was before. The formula is truly gentle since you can use this shampoo every day without worrying about harming your skin and hair!
7. Neutrogena T/Gel
Neutar Fights Flakes
Recognized By Psoriasis Foundation
Works After One Use
Controls Psoriasis, Dermatitis
Use Only Once A Week
Stops Working After Use
The T/Gel is a shampoo that will probably be mentioned by your dermatologist at some point as a great solution for dandruff and itchy scalps! This shampoo is also recognized by the National Psoriasis Foundation, meaning it does show great efforts into solving many problems that can cause an itchy and scaly scalp. All you have to do is use it just once a week to start seeing results, meaning that in between using it you can try out many of the other shampoos you’ve been dying to try!Read more
Although you will be using it just once a week, do not worry about not feeling the results. You will experience long-lasting relief of itching, and flaking it too, making it unnecessary to use it for more than the recommended amount. It promises to start working just after one use, and it’s only up to you to find out. It also controls seborrheic dermatitis, meaning it fights dandruff on all fronts! It is formulated with Neutar, which normalizes the scalp. This ingredients slow down the growth of skin cells and reduce the chances of an infection occurring.
8. Maple Holistics Tea Tree
Tea Tree Oil
Fights Lice As Well
Promotes Hair Growth
Formula Keeps Changing
Essential oils are all the rage today, so why not try to give your hair the treatment it deserves with this lovely shampoo containing tea tree oil? Tea tree oil is a natural ingredient that is said to have antifungal and antibacterial properties. Since dandruff is caused by a fungus most of the times, you can see why washing your hair with tea tree oil can be very effective. It also chases away head lice, since they find the smell repulsive.Read more
Besides getting rid of dandruff, this shampoo also has a few aces up its sleeve. It promotes hair growth and hair repair, so if you are someone who suffers from thin hair and hair loss, do give this formula a try! While preventing shedding, it creates luscious and silky locks, leaving you looking better than ever before. The moisturizing oil is ideal for people with dry hair, since it locks up moisture, while cleaning the hair follicles, encouraging healthy skin and strong strands of hair. It soothes irritated scalps, slowing itching down while eliminating flakes. The formula is hypoallergenic, free of sulfates and other harsh chemicals that can leave your hair looking sad and tired.
9. Redken Scalp Relief
Pyrithione Zinc Shampoo
Glycerin Calms Skin
Fresh Lavender Smell
Dries Up Dyed Hair
This scalp saving shampoo comes backed up by pyrithione zinc, which is a well-recognized chemical great at fighting dandruff. In case you worry about putting such a chemical on your head, near to your very sensitive eyes, we are here to say that you shouldn’t, since this shampoo has been dermatologically tested and approved. The brilliant formula leaves the scalp free of flakes while keeping it soft and relieved.Read more
All you have to do is carefully apply it to your wet hair, and leave it on for no more than five minutes. Once your time is up, rinse your hair thoroughly and dry it to discover a dandruff free scalp and gorgeous strands. The best part is, you can use this formula every day, but you must use it at least twice a week in order for it to work its magic. This formula also contains glycerin, which is the very ingredient that keeps your scalp soft, and a fresh lavender smell soothes and clarifies your hair. An interbond scalp system acts as a carrier of the key ingredients, bringing them to your scalp and hair - once the key ingredients reach the targeted areas, they break apart and bind to where they are meant to be, providing excellent results!
10. PURA D’OR Keto & Coal
Ketoconazole And Tar Combo
Argan Oil And Aloe Vera
Amino Acid Rich
PURA D’OR is a company that believes everyone should have a chance of trying out superior elements that can solve even the toughest hair problems. Each and every formula is pure and natural, keeping you safe from harsh chemicals and their effect on our skin. The company resides in southern California, and is dedicated to helping save the environment, using recyclable packaging and renewable energy.Read more
This golden formula contains 0.9% ketoconazole and 0.5% tar extract. While a tar extract might not sound safe, it has been clinically proven that it cannot harm the skin, and that it will help your hair free itself from the clutches of dandruff. A combination of argan oil and aloe vera calms down the itchy scalp by bringing moisture to hidden layers and by bringing life to your exhausted strands. The keto and coal work in unison to destroy dandruff, leaving the scalp flake and itch free. Some ingredients that can be found there are rich in amino acids and other nutrients, which protect your hair even more by promoting hair growth with strong and shiny strands. It does so by reducing breakage, meaning the strands that would usually break off will keep their length, making your hair fuller and healthier!
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Using shampoo is pretty straightforward - all you have to do is squeeze some goop on your hands and smear it all over your head, making sure to reach every spot. While this may be true, for regular shampoo, the story changes slightly when it comes to dandruff shampoos.
One of the first things you should make sure you did right is checking whether or not you’ve chosen the right kind. Most of the times, the only purpose of shampoo is to remove dirt, product build-up, and to make your hair smell nice. Dandruff shampoos have a different use - their job is solely to control the growth of dandruff, and nothing else. Each and every dandruff shampoo has written instructions on how to use, but in case you are unsure, we will list some guidelines to help you get started.
Before you start using the shampoo, make sure you know what’s actually causing your dandruff. A lot of different skin conditions can cause dandruff, and it’s vital that you get a shampoo that’s right for your case. One of the very first things you should do is avoid regular shampoo. They remove all of the sebum from your scalp, leaving it dry and irritated, which is something you do not want when you have dandruff. Most of the times, dandruff is caused by a fungus called Malassezia. It grows naturally on the skin of your body, and some of it must remain there to ensure you have a balanced skin flora. But if the fungus starts growing wildly, it reacts with the natural oils your skin produces, also called sebum. This reaction creates oleic acid, which is the reason why you get dandruff.
Once you know the cause of your flakiness, and you’ve chosen the right kind of shampoo, you can start preparing yourself to use it. Before the shampoo even reaches your hair, you must rinse it out with water first. This is an important step because you must moisturize your hair. Make sure the water reaches your scalp and moisturizes it well because warm water will open the cuticles of your hair. Once they are open, the shampoo can then reach deeper layers of your skin and do its magic. One more reason why your hair should be wet first is that the shampoo will lather easily. If your hair is not wet, it will be hard to distribute the shampoo all around your hair and you won’t get all the benefits. But you also must make sure that your hair is not dripping wet since this can rinse out the shampoo before time.
After your hair is wet enough, grab your bottle and squeeze the shampoo on your hands. Before you do so, make sure you read the instructions on how much liquid you should use. If it’s not indicated anywhere, a good guideline is to use a moderate amount, not too much and not too little. If you applied it on your hair and feel like you should apply more to cover all the surfaces, do so, but make sure you don’t use too much. The shampoo must cover all of your hair and scalp, and if you’ve got long hair you will need to use more. Once you start applying the shampoo onto your hair, make sure you are applying it evenly. This way it is not possible to miss any build-up or sebum, and you end up with a cleaner and less itchy head. The reason why the shampoo must reach your hair strand as well is that sebum is in direct contact with it, and when you run your fingers through your hair to get all that sweat away, you spread the sebum all over it. Just use your fingers or a wide-tooth comb to make sure all of your hair is covered up.
Once you do that, you can start massaging your scalp. By doing this, you relax your skin and yourself from your strenuous exercise session, but you also distribute the shampoo everywhere. The massage can also help your blood flow better. Don’t use your fingernails to scratch your scalp, because you can irritate your skin even more. Use just your fingertips, and if you by any chance have long fingernails, you must exercise caution.
You must not rinse the shampoo right away. After massaging your head for around 5 minutes, leave the shampoo in for the same amount of time. This gives the shampoo a big enough window of time to work its magic. Once you do so, rinse the shampoo out completely. Make sure none of it is left in your hair or on your scalp since this can dry out your hair and irritate your skin.
And the most important step is to not overuse the shampoo. You should use it 2-3 times a week, ideally right after you exercise. If you feel the need to wash your hair more often, opt out for a daily shampoo that has no harmful ingredients in it, like sulfates. This way you can smell and look clean while keeping your dandruff under control.
Now once you understand how to use the shampoo, you might start to wonder does the shampoo even work in the first place. If you know the underlying cause, and you’ve chosen the right kind of shampoo, you are in the green and you probably won’t see the pesky flakes anymore.
But if you don’t know the cause of your dandruff and you do not treat it properly, the unsightly head snow will make a comeback. Milder dandruff shampoos work by softening the upper layer of the scalp, so you can wash it away with ease. Newer, more-recent shampoos actually work by suppressing the growth of the fungus that usually causes it, making dandruff less and less apparent. They are also more gentle towards your skin and can be used frequently. If you use your shampoo just the way you are supposed to do, you will start seeing less and less of dandruff. If you start using it less regularly, expect to see the return of the flakes. But if it starts returning no matter what you do, start using shampoos that contain ketoconazole. But be careful, because you must not use this type of shampoo for more than three times a week, because the chemical can be too harsh. If you don’t see any benefits when using the shampoo, it’s time to head to your dermatologist, who can prescribe you a topical antifungal cream, which will bring balance back to the skin of your head. You should know that using the shampoos will not make the condition worse - that only happens if you don’t follow the instructions properly.
Dandruff shampoos are surely a lifesaver, but do you know what they are made out of, and how do those chemicals actually work? It isn’t easy to create a formula that effectively cures dandruff, and the key ingredients have to be tested time and time again, to see if there’s maybe a better solution. These ingredients not only fight dandruff, but they also leave the hair looking silky and smooth, just like any regular shampoo does.
Some of the most common dandruff fighting agents you will find are zinc pyrithione, selenium sulfide, ketoconazole, salicylic acid and zinc carbonate, which is exclusive to Head & Shoulders. Zinc pyrithione, or ZP, is that key ingredient that fights off most of the dandruff away. This ingredient prevents that pesky fungus from forming the irritants that cause dandruff. It is also one of the most common ingredients found in dandruff shampoos. Besides ZP, ketoconazole can also be found in shampoos. You must know that this ingredient is an antifungal medication, which is used to treat the fungus. It can be found in the form of pills and creams too, and once you do get a shampoo with it, be sure to follow the instructions diligently, because you can overuse it and end up with an irritated scalp. Salicylic acid is one of the most recognized ingredients that is meant to treat acne and other skin problems. It controls your pH and brings balance to your skin flora while removing dirt and other build-ups. This type of shampoo is great if your dandruff is caused by something other than fungus. It can also do a great job at cleaning the rest of your skin, so you shouldn’t worry about acne forming when you sweat. Selenium sulfide is a powerful compound that fights severe flaking conditions, usually caused by seborrheic dermatitis. Zinc carbonate is a special ingredient that moisturizes the scalp while keeping ZP active and powerful.
Other ingredients include cleansers, moisturizers, stabilizers, lathering agents, fragrances and so on and so forth. All of these are found in regular shampoo, and they help the shampoo work the way it’s supposed to. They will not affect your condition, and you can use them without a worry on your mind.
Since dandruff shampoo is a form of medication, you might also start to wonder whether there are any side effects when you use it. These shampoos do contain powerful ingredients meant to fight off the causes of dandruff, and they can be harsh to your skin.
Zinc pyrithione, one of the most common ingredients found in dandruff shampoos, can cause some minor side effects. If the shampoo manages to get into your eyes, and you are particularly sensitive to it, it can irritate the skin around them, or the eye itself. It can also sting your eyes and make them red, which is why you should rinse it out of them as soon as you can. If you are particularly sensitive to this ingredient, or even allergic, you may even experience rashes and hives, and if you do, you should avoid using shampoos which contain this ingredient.
Some dandruff shampoos use coal tar to fight it off. While this ingredient is banned in most of the corners of the world, like in the EU and Canada, it can still be found in over-the-counter shampoos in the USA. It is ranked as a carcinogen, but only when you are exposed to it for a long time, and it cannot truly harm your skin. While it can spell trouble for workers working around coal, coal tar is an effective way to fight psoriasis and eczema, and if you suffer from any of these do not fear coal shampoos.
Salicylic acid loosens dead skin crusts, and when it does you may feel it sting and burn. But these are only temporary, and shouldn’t worry you that much. If you don’t want to deal with these side effects, there are many other ways you can fight off dandruff.
Ketoconazole is an antifungal compound found in many strong dandruff shampoos. Once you start using it, you may start to feel itchy, which is the very thing you want to avoid. If you are sensitive or even allergic to it, the usual things you experience with allergies may happen here, like rashes and hives. Do not ingest it though, because it can cause some harm to your digestive tract if larger quantities find themselves inside.
Selenium sulfide is also quite common, but some people experience allergies to it. Just like with the other ingredients, you will experience redness, itching, rashes or hives if you are allergic to it, and if you are then you should avoid it.
Hair loss, loss of hair color and other side effects that are often talked about are perpetuated myths, that were once true when the ingredients were different. Now the story has changed, and the only things you can suffer from are the ones we listed here.
Believe it or not, dandruff shampoo can do some other helpful things, besides getting rid of your flakes. One of the very first things your dandruff shampoo can do is treat your acne. This is because many dandruff shampoos contain ingredients that can get rid of the problem which is causing your flare-ups. All of the ingredients in your shampoo kill the fungus that causes dandruff, and the fungus that can sometimes cause acne is quite similar to it, and also responds well to this treatment. Dandruff can also be caused by psoriasis or other types of skin inflammation, which can sometimes be misdiagnosed as acne. But again, the ingredients in our lovable shampoos can also control the diseases we just mentioned, keeping your pores clean and healthy. All you have to do is apply the shampoo on your problem areas 2-3 times a week and it could save you some troubles.
Since the dandruff shampoo treats fungus, you can also use it for one more thing, and that is to treat Athlete’s foot. Since this disease is again caused by the very same fungus found everywhere on the skin, using shampoo to treat it can be quite effective. All you have to do is wash your feet in the shampoo nightly. Soak your feet in the shampoo for about 5-10 minutes, and rinse it off. Repeat this until you start feeling better, and continue doing it for a week or so after you don’t see the fungus anymore, just to prevent it from coming back.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Sometimes, if you’ve got a flaky and itchy scalp, it doesn’t mean that you’ve got dandruff. If you’ve been using the shampoo for two or three weeks and saw no improvements, there are other things that could be causing this problem. One of the most common culprits is psoriasis, an itchy and flaky skin disease that is difficult to treat. Although dandruff shampoo can calm the disease down, it won’t get rid of it completely, and you might be left wondering why you’ve still got dandruff. If your dandruff shampoo is simply not cutting it, it’s time to pay the dermatologist a visit a see what’s the underlying cause!
Although there is no cure for dandruff, there are a few things you can do to help reduce outbreaks and inflammation. One great way to reduce that itch is by hitting the gym and getting a great workout in. When you get your blood pumping it can help ease inflammation, leading to happier, healthier skin.
Other Factors to Consider
Dandruff shampoo is, just like we already mentioned, a form of medicine, and as such, it constantly evolves and has new ingredients that are less harmful to your skin and more harmful to the flakes. By making sure to include only the most recent shampoos, we kept you protected from all the harm older versions of these shampoos caused. These side effects were usually hair loss, stripping of hair dye, and even serious skin diseases. Newer shampoos do not do any of that, and can only cause harm if you are allergic to some of the ingredients present in the formula. Newer shampoos are also more effective in treating the fungus that usually causes dandruff, and you will be seeing results faster. We care about the health of your scalp, and these shampoos are truly the best!
Dandruff shampoos are a very helpful tool with which we can control those silly flakes with ease. Whether you’ve suffered from dandruff before, still suffer from it, or only worry you might suffer from it one day due to being sweaty all the time from training, we’ve got you covered, and you can always look at this article to see just what you need to help your skin get better. You shouldn’t fear dandruff shampoos, and you should always give them a try, no matter how much bad things you’ve heard about them - after all, who knows, maybe you’ll find just what you’re looking for right away, without any trouble at all!
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Can dandruff be cured?
Dandruff is very annoying, and many people have wondered can you get rid of the problem for good. Truth be told, if you are someone that is prone to getting dandruff, you will probably see it for the rest of your life. That doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to control it, and by treating the problem before it begins, or in other words, using the shampoo all the time, you will be able to keep dandruff at bay. You can also take other preventive measures to avoid flare-ups, like avoiding saturated fats. They can cause your sebaceous glands to produce even more moil, which can make the problem even worse. You can also drink a probiotic - good bacteria that help keep the yeast population controlled.
q: Should I wash my hair with dandruff shampoo every day or after I exercise only?
Many people say that you should only wash your hair two or three times a week, to keep your scalp healthy, because otherwise you strip your hair from the natural oil your scalp produces. But, in your case, this is exactly what you need to do, because that oil combined with yeast is the root of your problems. By washing your hair every day, you don’t let the yeast multiply, and you keep dandruff controlled. If your hair is dry, you can also find dandruff conditioners which keep your hair looking good. If you’ve got a shampoo that is stronger, then you can wash your hair 2-3 times a week and still enjoy dandruff free hair!
q: Is dandruff shampoo dangerous?
Contrary to popular belief, dandruff shampoo is really not dangerous. It has been in the past, because we didn’t know that much about the harmful ingredients we used to treat it, but today technology is advancing and we can certainly treat dandruff while keeping you healthy. The only way dandruff shampoo can harm you is if you are allergic to any of the ingredients present there - if you are, simply switch up the shampoo for a different one that does the same thing without that one ingredient.
q: How to choose the right dandruff shampoo?
This all depends on what is causing your dandruff problem in the first place. If the root problem of your dandruff is an overgrowth of yeast, then you can buy mostly any dandruff shampoo that you can find. If you’ve got a lot of the fungus and regular dandruff shampoo is not working, you can buy stronger shampoo with ketoconazole. Just be careful since this ingredient is harsh, and you should use it only 2-3 times a week. If you notice the shampoo is not working at all, then you’ve got a different problem which should be addressed by a dermatologist!
q: Is there a natural solution to dandruff?
If you still worry about dandruff shampoos, or you suffer from allergies or skin sensitivity, there are some things you can try to get rid of it naturally. You can apply lemon juice to your scalp can hair, and distribute it evenly. Do wait 20-25 minutes - your skin will itch, but don’t worry about that. Rinse out the juice carefully, and be noted that lemon juice can lighten the color of your hair! This is just one of the many solutions you can find, but if you want to treat dandruff effectively and long term, stick to dandruff shampoos.