Dry scalp isn’t just itchy and annoying. Embarrassing flakey dandruff and hair loss often accompanies dry scalp, and sadly, it’s very common.
As it turns out, our scalps are quite sensitive. Dry scalp has a wide range of culprits including extreme weather (especially the dry cold in the winter), stress, not drinking enough water and even washing your hair too often, but it can also be a symptom of medical conditions like eczema or psoriasis. All of these boil down to the scalp not producing or retaining the proper amount of moisture. In other words, it’s easy to end up with a dry, itchy scalp – and those pesky white flakes.
The good news? Dry scalp is fairly easy to treat. Besides upping your water intake and washing your hair less (most guys should only wash 2-3 times a week), there are several easy hacks to fix a dry scalp. Below are some upgraded shampoos and conditioners, as well as oils and supplements that moisturize and rejuvenate the scalp, leading to better hair and an itch-free life.
1. Neutrogena T/Gel Therapeutic Shampoo
The first and most effective move in defeating dry scalp is upgrading your shampoo. We like this T/Gel because it comes from the dermatology experts at Neutrogena, and it contains a hard-to-come-by special ingredient: coal tar extract. Molecules of coal tar stay in your hair after you’ve rinsed out the shampoo, continuing to fight dry scalp as you go about your day. Unlike some specialized shampoos, it’s very affordable at $11 for a 16 ounce bottle. For best results, Neutrogena recommends using the shampoo twice a week.
2. Maple Holistics Tea Tree Oil Conditioner
Many drugstore conditioners are silicone-based and lead to dryness by coating the scalp. Make the switch to a moisturizing conditioner like this one from Maple Holistics as soon as possible when dealing with a dry scalp. The conditioner has a few key ingredients – tea tree oil, jojoba and lavender – that work together to moisturize and protect not only the hair but the scalp as well. Users say it works as promised, moisturizing the scalp and hair while providing a nice tingling sensation. Apply it to your wet hair after shampooing (again, only 2-3 times per week), massage for a minute or two, and then rinse.
3. Viva Naturals Coconut Oil
BEST COCONUT OIL
Coconut oil is a go-to skin treatment used in many body and face moisturizers. Although the scalp is hidden under that mop, it’s still in need of moisturizing. Coconut oil will provide almost instantaneous itch relief by moisturizing the scalp, but it’ll also provide long-term aid by increasing circulation. This helps the body send a normal supply of nutrients to the scalp, improving natural health. We suggest this organic option from Viva Naturals, as it’s the highest-rated option on Amazon with almost 15,000 reviews and 4.7 stars. To apply the oil to your hair and scalp, start by liquifying the whole jar in a warm bath. Then apply a tablespoon of the coconut oil to dry hair, let it sit for 1-2 hours, and finally rinse it out with shampoo.
4. Garden of Life Zinc Vitamin
Supplements are another great way to treat a dry scalp from the inside out. One of the best vitamins is zinc, as it controls overground bacteria that may be to blame for an itchy scalp or dandruff. While fixing the issue at the root, zinc’s anti-inflammatory powers also calm the scalp, relieving itchiness and irritation. Plus, zinc has a range of other benefits including acne management, immune support and eye health. Take two capsules a day (with or without food) for best results.
5. Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar
BEST APPLE CIDER VINEGAR
Apple cider vinegar has some serious benefits outside of the kitchen. It’s an antimicrobial, meaning it can kill whatever bacteria or fungus might be causing the itchiness. Plus, like zinc, apple cider vinegar is an anti-inflammatory, which works to treat dry scalp by exfoliating. To use the liquid as a dry scalp treatment, mix one part apple cider vinegar with two parts water. Apply the mixture directly to the scalp, let it sit for five minutes, and then wash it out with shampoo.
6. Leven Rose Jojoba Oil
BEST JOJOBA OIL
Raw Jojoba is another great essential oil to use on a dry scalp. It’s an effective moisturizer anywhere on the body – like coconut oil – making it a solid bet for relieving itchiness due to a dry scalp. Plus, anti-inflammatory properties boost its effectiveness. There are a ton of jojoba oils on the market, but we recommend this one from Leven Rose because it’s genuinely 100% jojoba, and comes very highly-rated with 4.7 stars and over 8,200 reviews. Rub a small amount into your hair and scalp with wet hair just after showering to moisturize.
7. ArtNaturals Tea Tree Oil
BEST TEA TREE OIL
While tea tree oil is utilized in many dry scalp shampoos and conditioners, it’s also effective on its own. Tea tree oil is similar to jojoba and coconut oil, but it’s probably the best of the bunch due to strong antiseptic, antifungal, and antibiotic properties. It’s these powers that make tea tree oil a favorite in dry scalp treatments. Put a few drops in your favorite shampoo, or rub a small amount directly onto the scalp.