7 Best Anti Dandruff Shampoos: Which is Right for You?

best anti dandruff shampoo

If you’re looking for the best anti dandruff shampoo you’ll likely in a battle with the white flakes. While dandruff can be embarrassing, it doesn’t say anything bad about you. You don’t get dandruff because you’re dirty or gross or something. It’s just something that happens to over half of all adults. So give yourself a break.

But why do you get dandruff?

Good question–complicated answer.

There are several causes and types of dandruff. Knowing which type you have tells you which treatments to try and which to avoid.

What Are the Best Anti-Dandruff Shampoos?

anti dandruff shampoo, dandruff shampoo, shampoo for dry scalp Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Best for dandruff caused by fungus
  • Same ingredient as prescriptions
  • Doesn't need to be used every day
Price: $9.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
anti dandruff shampoo, dandruff shampoo, shampoo for dry scalp Amazon Customer Reviews
  • For dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis
  • Cruelty-free
  • Nice fragrance
Price: $17.47 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
anti dandruff shampoo, dandruff shampoo, shampoo for dry scalp Amazon Customer Reviews
  • For dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis
  • Eco-friendly
  • Paraben free
Price: $32.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
anti dandruff shampoo, dandruff shampoo, shampoo for dry scalp Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Great for all hair types
  • For dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis
  • Color safe
Price: $42.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
anti dandruff shampoo, dandruff shampoo, shampoo for dry scalp Amazon Customer Reviews
  • For dandruff and seborrheic dermatits
  • Breaks down flakes
  • Soothes irritation
Price: $24.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
anti dandruff shampoo, dandruff shampoo, shampoo for dry scalp Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Cools irritated scalps
  • Cruelty-free
  • Moisturizing
Price: $19.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
anti dandruff shampoo, dandruff shampoo, shampoo for dry scalp Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Botanical ingredients
  • Antimicrobial and anti-fungal
  • Good for sensitive skin
Price: $46.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Our Unbiased Reviews
  1. 1. Nizoral A-D Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

    Pros:
    • For dandruff caused by fungi
    • Same active ingredient as prescription dandruff shampoos
    • I've seen it work first hand
    Cons:
    • Contains sulfates
    • Synthetic treatment
    • Strong medicine has potential for negative reactions

    For dandruff caused by fungus, which is probably the most common cause of dandruff, Nizoral A-D is one of the strongest medicated shampoos to stop the flakes you can get without a prescription.

    If you were to go to a dermatologist for your dandruff, it’s likely you would get a prescription for a treatment that contains ketoconazole–the same active ingredient of this shampoo. This is the brand my husband uses and he’s seen a huge improvement from large itchy flakes to barely anything at all.

    You substitute Nizoral A-D for your normal shampoo twice a week for six to eight weeks and watch the difference. It won’t be immediate so keep at it.

    After rinsing out the Nizoral A-D, try to only apply your conditioner to the length of your hair and not to your scalp so the Nizoral A-D can be fully effective. This shampoo has a dedicated following, but just be aware that because it is stronger, a small number of people could have a negative reaction to the medicine and develop swelling or a rash. If nothing else has worked, it’s definitely worth the risk.

    For fungal dandruff, certain acne pillowcases are also worth trying as they’re anti-fungal and can help protect your scalp biome.

  2. 2. The Body Shop Ginger Scalp Care

    Pros:
    • Treats dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis
    • Anti-fungal botanicals
    • No animal testing
    Cons:
    • Contains sulfates
    • Not strong enough for everyone
    • Formula is thin

    If you prefer a slightly more natural approach, try Ginger Scalp Care from The Body Shop. This shampoo uses willow bark extract and birch bark extract to soothe irritated scalps while breaking down flakes. At the same time, ginger root, honey, and piroctone olamine get fungal populations under control.

    This dandruff shampoo will give your hair a healthy (flake-free) bounce instead of feeling dried out and stripped. One thing to keep in mind is that the actual shampoo is a thin liquid and not as easy to deal with as gel shampoos are. It does lather well, but it feels watery.

  3. 3. Davines Purifying Anti Dandruff Shampoo

    Pros:
    • Treats dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis
    • Paraben free
    • Calming botanicals
    • Eco-friendly brand
    Cons:
    • Smell isn’t awesome
    • Not color safe
    • Too moisturizing for some

    Davines is an eco-friendly brand and their Nature Tech line uses natural ingredients to balance your scalp. This shampoo is formulated for both dry and oily scalps, but some people with overly oily hair might find it too moisturizing.

    Extracts of dandelion are included for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The main dandruff fighting ingredient in this is selenium sulfide which is anti-fungal and antiseptic.

    Treatments that use sulfur have a hard time hiding the smell. Sulfur is very effective at killing fungus and other microbes, but it has that boiled eggs smell to it. So depending on how sensitive you are to that, some people might find the smell of this one off-putting.

  4. 4. Philip B Anti-Flake II Relief Shampoo

    Pros:
    • Treats dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis
    • Sulfate free, paraben free, and color safe
    • Great for all hair types
    • Dandruff fighting and scalp calming botanicals
    • Luxury brand
    Cons:
    • Contains silicone
    • Pricier than others
    • Not as strong as some

    The Anti-Flake II Relief Shampoo uses zinc and essential oils to combat dandruff, seborrheic dermatitis, and psoriasis. Zinc pyrithione stops fungi and bacterial cells from being able to divide.

    Because they can’t multiply, these microbes eventually die off. As far as dandruff treatments go, this is about medium strength, not too harsh, not too mild. It also contains extracts of tea tree, sage, juniper berry, burdock root, aloe vera, chamomile, calendula, and geranium.

    The first few are antimicrobial the last few soothe skin irritation. I like that this shampoo won’t dry out your hair.

  5. 5. Phyto Phytheol Intense Anti-Dandruff Treatment Shampoo

    Pros:
    • Treats dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis
    • Breaks down large flakes
    • Contains soothing botanical extracts
    • Long lasting bottle
    Cons:
    • Contains sulfates
    • Not strong enough for everyone
    • Not color safe

    This shampoo is formulated to combine the antibacterial and anti-fungal powers of piroctone olamine and prickly ash extract to bring the microbe population on your scalp back to normal. Salicylic acid breaks down large flakes into smaller, less noticeable ones while the anti-fungals work their magic.

    Extracts of licorice, fenugreek, and willow calm itching and irritation of the scalp. You only need a very small amount of this to get the job done so your bottle will last you a long time.

  6. 6. Rituals Samurai Cool Hair Shampoo

    Pros:
    • Cruelty-free
    • Cools uncomfortable scalps
    • Moisturizing botanical extracts
    Cons:
    • Contains sulfates
    • Might not be strong enough for some
    • Not for seborrheic dermatitis

    This cooling shampoo will calm the itch, nourish your hair, and gently treat dandruff with antimicrobial botanical extracts. This high-end brand is known for its calming scents and for promoting a relaxing atmosphere.

    The Samurai Cool Hair Shampoo strengthens and moisturizes hair with sea minerals and extracts of wakame seaweed, bamboo, and Japanese peppermint. Peppermint extract has long been known as a mild antibacterial and anti-fungal and an herb that helps jump start the immune system. Plus it has a cooling tingle to soothe irritated skin.

    This is a great one for mild to moderate dandruff.

  7. 7. Leonor Greyl Paris Bain Traitant a la Propolis Gentle Anti Dandruff Shampoo

    Pros:
    • Antimicrobial and anti-fungal botanicals
    • Gentle on hair
    • Good for sensitive skin
    Cons:
    • Contains sulfates
    • Might not be strong enough for some
    • Not for seborrheic dermatitis
    • Not vegan

    In case you can’t tell by the name, this is a product of France. This shampoo uses naturally derived ingredients to treat the causes of dandruff and soothe the itchy scalp. As the name states, it’s a propolis treatment.

    If you’re not familiar with it, propolis is a substance that honeybees create as part of the structure of their hives. It’s naturally antibacterial and anti-fungal and has been used in natural medicine for thousands of years.

    Leonor Greyl also includes other gentle antimicrobial and anti-fungal botanical extracts including chamomile, garlic, onion, sage, and horseradish. Don’t worry, it doesn’t smell like garlic or anything.

    As it doesn’t contain any of the harsher anti dandruff chemicals, this one is extremely gentle on hair and your scalp. That does mean, however, that it might not cut it for severe dandruff cases.

Your dandruff profile.

Let me just put this out there to be totally clear: I am in no way a doctor or a substitute for seeing one. I've just read a lot of medical articles and I'm passing on the goods.

Flakes are dry, thin, and white. Your scalp is itchy, inflamed, and red. Onset is fast.

Sounds like contact dermatitis.

This is sort of good news! You're having an allergic reaction to a hair product and once you remove that allergen your scalp should go back to normal. If you just got a new shampoo when this started, ditch it. 

Flakes are thick, oily, and yellowish. Your scalp is itchy and inflamed. Flakes don't come off easy and tend to clump together and stick to your scalp.
Sounds like seborrheic dermatitis.

It's considered a form of eczema and can affect other parts of your body. It's not contagious but it is a chronic condition. You can manage it with dandruff shampoos containing ketoconazole, selenium sulfide, zinc, or coal tar. This post is for you.

Flakes are medium thick, slightly oily, and white to grey. Your scalp is itchy as anything. Flakes come off with light scratching.

You have dandruff.

Vague, right? You have actual dandruff, and not one of the "dandruff plus" conditions. The good news is we know how to treat it. The bad news is, there isn't a cure. We now know that dandruff is caused by a fungus related to yeast called malassezia. Don't freak out. Malassezia is a totally normal thing and most people have it on their scalps.

Sometimes, because of scalp unbalance, the malassezia population increases causing the skin cells in your scalp to grow and die at an increased rate. Normally a skin cell on your scalp has a life cycle of around a month. When you have dandruff, that cycle has been reduced to two to seven days. All the shampoos on this list target your dandruff.

Stopping the dandruff cycle.

Chill out. I'm serious. Stress makes dandruff (both kinds) worse. Your body is a complex system and anxiety messes with the balance. Find small mindful ways to relax that work for you.

Every scalp, even with the same kind of dandruff, is different. What works for you may not work for me. But you have to start somewhere. If tea tree doesn't work, that's okay, don't give up. Try the next active ingredient on the list.

Switch it up. Using a medicated shampoo every day can make your scalp get used to it and dandruff can come back. Once your flakes are under control, use the dandruff shampoo one to two times a week (or a directed) to keep dandruff at bay.

Dandruff is comfortable, stressful, and embarrassing. Let's stop learning about it and get to the solutions.

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