Dandruff is probably one of the most annoying hair conditions one may have. When your hair is greasy or dry, all you have to do is wash it or apply some leave-in conditioner. The results are almost immediate.
However, when you have dandruff, you can wash it however often you want; if it’s not the formula that your scalp wants, you’ll be snowing out of your head. And it wouldn’t be a problem if it weren’t such a visible condition.
Fortunately, there are several types of dandruff shampoos to choose from. These products may or may not be available in your local store – but if you do find a way to purchase one, it will likely solve your problem.
Our Recommendations For Best Dandruff Shampoo
Still, it’s fairly difficult to choose the best dandruff shampoo – so let’s see what a few popular options are. Not only will we show you some good-rated products, but we’ll also teach you how to choose them.
Winner: Nizoral A-D Anti-Dandruff Shampoo
Nizoral is one of the top runners when it comes to the best dandruff shampoo, mostly because it has the last resort, this-is-definitely-going-to-work type of ingredient: ketoconazole.
Ketoconazole is a common antifungal agent that will treat the source of your dandruff problem. Plus, it works by binding the protein to your hair – therefore leaving your hair feeling stronger.
Considering its anti-fungal properties, Nizoral A-D comes from the “medical department” – so it might be safer to ask your doctor before buying it.
It’s generally prescribed for people that actually have scalp conditions – so if your problem is minor, then this shampoo might be overdoing it. The shampoo might not cause any side effects, but you’ll be paying unnecessary money for this product.
This shampoo is highly efficient – and while it might not be a miracle, instant worker, it will show visible results after three or four washes. Dandruff does not go away just like that – so you’ll have to be patient.
The scent of this shampoo is not anything fancy; however, it is fresh and clean, leaving your hair smelling accordingly. It’s not too sweet, nor too sharp – so it may be used by every member of the family.
This anti-dandruff shampoo also works with every type of hair – even colored hair. Most shampoos cause the color to fade, but this one will not speed up the process. It will be relatively gentle on your hair.
Nizoral A-D may not have any fancy hair growth benefits; however, it does leave your hair feeling soft, non-greasy, and without a trace of dandruff. Plus, it will make it smell fresh for days in a row.
Bear in mind that Nizoral does not have to be used every single day for you to see results – nor is it actually recommended. Since it’s basically a “clarifying shampoo,” you might want to use it only once every two or three days, to avoid scalp damage.
Overall, when used accordingly, Nizoral A-D is the best dandruff shampoo that will clear your hair of dandruff in a few easy steps. It will tackle the underlying problem, leaving your hair smooth and clean after you wash it.
Runner-Up: Neutrogena T/Sal Scalp Buildup Control
Neutrogena has always been popular with most of its beauty products, regardless if you were using them for skincare or makeup. It’s generally the affordable option to any moderate beauty problem.
The shampoos they come up with are in no way different, fact which can be proven by their T/Sal shampoo. It has been described by many users as the best dandruff shampoo – and every review reinforces our belief.
The active ingredient that Neutrogena uses in the T/Sal is salicylic acid – in other words, aspirin.
The other ingredients are inactive, but they still work to make your hair smooth, manageable – and most importantly, dandruff-free.
Perhaps one of the best features provided by this shampoo is the fact that it’s sulfate-free.
Sulfates are basically the agents that cause the shampoo to foam – the detergents that clear your hair of dirt from within the follicle.
The problem with sulfates, however, is that they are harsh on the scalp and hair – which is why a shampoo with these agents is not recommended for daily use.
However, considering that this shampoo is free of sulfates, it will not be harsh on your scalp – and you can use it without issues. You may, however, have to massage or use more shampoo – since it only lathers slightly.
Bear in mind that this shampoo does contain an exfoliating agent – and that is the aspirin. You might want to avoid using it more than 3 times per week – and even less, if your dandruff is mild to moderate.
The smell may not be one of the best that a shampoo company can come up with – but that is mostly because it’s medicated. It is, however, bearable – and the fact that it’s not packed with chemical fragrances is considered a plus.
Overall, this shampoo will leave your hair dandruff-free, with effects visible from the first wash. Plus, it is great for irritations, with the salicylic acid acting as an anti-inflammatory agent:
Alternative 1: Matrix Biolage Antidandruff Shampoo
If you’re looking for the best dandruff shampoo for women that will also work well for the man of the house, then the Matrix Biolage dandruff shampoo is definitely the right choice for you.
Being a relatively organic shampoo, Biolage should do a perfect job without damaging your hair or causing any side effects. It is particularly useful for dandruff of fungal origin and is generally prescribed for medium to severe scalp conditions.
Using Zinc Pyrithione as the active ingredient, this shampoo helps balance the pH of your scalp and hair. Its formula also combines citric acid and piroctone olamine to gently push off dandruff – but also prevent its reappearance.
While not all traces of dandruff will go away from the very first wash, you’ll notice that the amount has greatly decreased after the third wash.
However, you will see that your hair will be left soft and shiny, starting with the very first use.
Since the purpose of this shampoo is to clear away the impurities of your hair – including grease and dandruff – it is relatively stronger than your average daily shampoo. For this reason, you may want to follow up with a conditioner.
The shampoo has a creamy texture, and its consistency is fairly moderate.
The lather it produces is also fairly decent. For short hair, you will not need more than half of a coin size – so, a little goes a long way.
The smell is also good – flowery, but not too sweet. It’s neutral enough so that it can work for both men and women.
Overall, if you are looking for the best dandruff shampoo to take off dandruff and eliminate scalp irritation, this shampoo is the right choice for you. Plus, it doubles as a clarifying shampoo, so you can use it even between regular washes.
Alternative 2: Krieger + Söhne Men’s Anti-Dandruff Shampoo
Those looking for the best dandruff shampoo for men will definitely appreciate this bottle. Not only does it look classy and fresh, but it will also clear your hair of those flaky pests.
While this shampoo may be dedicated to men, there’s no reason why ladies should not be able to enjoy it. If you like the scent of fresh peppermint, then you won’t have any problems using it.
Unlike other shampoos for dandruff, this one uses a mix of tea tree oil as well as other active agents. Like with most similar products, the result will not be immediate; it will take a couple of washes to see any changes.
This shampoo is invigorating, soothing both your senses and hair. It will offer your hair a soft, clean feel, regardless of its thickness (or thinness). Its purpose is to restore the health of your scalp, therefore reducing dandruff.
This one counts as the best dandruff shampoo also because it’s mostly natural. Considering that it does not have any additives, your hair will grow stronger than it would with any other kinds of shampoos.
The K + S product also doubles as a daily shampoo, thanks to the fact that it does not have many harsh chemicals. Because of that, it can also be considered the best natural dandruff shampoo.
It also treats the itchy scalp problem while promoting hair growth – so, if you’re a man that likes having a long mane, this shampoo is the perfect choice for it. The oils in the shampoo will also work to nourish the hair, giving it shine.
Overall, this shampoo is one of the rare non-medicated shampoos that can help you get rid of dandruff. Plus, it gives strength to your hair, making you literally feel like a “warrior” (as the name of the brand goes).
Alternative 3: DHS Zinc Dandruff Shampoo
While it is a budget alternative, those looking for the best dandruff shampoo might find this product highly useful. Having a Zinc Pyrithione base, it works by attacking dandruff on a fungal level, healing your scalp as you are washing your hair.
This shampoo has no sulfates, which makes it less harsh on your hair. However, if your hair is not thick or voluminous by nature, you will have to follow up with a clarifying shampoo every few days, because it might leave a greasy residue.
The smell is gentle and neutral, meaning that both men and women can use it.
Plus, considering that it has medical-oriented active agents, it can also be used to treat conditions such as seborrheic dermatitis.
The results are fairly long-lasting, so you will not have to continuously use the shampoo to prevent its apparition.
You may, however, want to use it once every few weeks – just to be safe.
Overall, this shampoo is a great anti-dandruff option for both men and women, no matter if they have greasy or oily hair.
Plus, its soft formula allows you to use it daily, meaning that your dandruff will go away in just a couple of days.
Why Should You Use An Anti Dandruff Shampoo?
No one really knows what causes dandruff. Some say that it’s because of a hormone that kicks off during adolescence. Others say that it’s caused by the way you wash your hair – or the shampoo that you use on your scalp.
The end result is that your scalp becomes flaky, shedding layers of skin (scales) that are literally dead cells. Normally, these cells would be replaced by new ones; however, in these case, the “falling” is relatively stopped by the hair.
How do we get rid of dead cells? Simple: by exfoliating. But we can’t simply start scrubbing our scalp; it might just make the matter worse. Instead, we need to find something that acts as a scrub – without the actual exfoliating particles.
Furthermore, we need something that will moisturize the scalp. Basically, just like your skin starts exfoliating when you lose moisture, this is also the case with your scalp. If it’s moisturized, it won’t start flaking all of a sudden.
A dandruff shampoo will have a special ingredient list meant to hydrate the scalp. If washing the scales off with regular shampoo does not work, you may want to look for shampoos that have “healing” properties.
Some producers add antifungals in their shampoo. Others, on the other hand, prefer adding exfoliating agents such as aspirin. This will need to be enforced by hydrating ingredients – but make sure that you use water-based products instead of oil-based ones.
The best dandruff shampoo does not have to be used every time you wash your hair. It is recommended that you only use it when you are having a dandruff episode – and then switch back to regular shampoo once it’s gone.
Do not forget to massage your scalp whenever you are washing your hair since it will improve the blood circulation – therefore promoting the healing process. Do not scrub, as it may cause even more damage to the scalp.
Things To Consider When Using Dandruff Shampoo
There are several factors to keep in mind when you are choosing anti-dandruff shampoo. Depending on these factors, a product might be good for your hair – or it might do nothing. Here’s what you need to look out for.
The best shampoo for dandruff will have a specific list of ingredients. Some are meant to moisturize the scalp, and others have the purpose of forcefully taking off dandruff. However, they all work together in preventing any future “episodes.”
Ketoconazole is an antifungal agent that doctors generally recommend for different types of fungi. And considering that dandruff is pretty much considered a fungus, it works with this condition as well.
It is generally the last resort when it comes to dandruff – but it’s certainly the most effective one. It is usually given with a prescription, but you may also find it in the form of generic store brands.
Also known as common aspirin, salicylic acid is a mild acid that works by softening the skin and stripping away the scales from your scalp.
With this type of shampoo, results generally vary. Some people had positive results while others experienced even more flaking and dryness. When using shampoos with this ingredient, you may want to follow every time with a hydrating conditioner.
Like Ketoconazole, zinc pyrithione is also an antifungal listed in most dandruff shampoos. These shampoos are particularly efficient in removing dandruff that has a fungal cause.
Selenium sulfide acts by limiting the cell production on the scalp – therefore minimizing the flaking. It also helps control the itching – therefore reducing the irritation that eventually leads to flaking.
Tar-based shampoos are particularly useful when it comes to dandruff. They work by slowing down the flaking rate of the dead cells – therefore reducing the amount of scales that you shed.
Keep in mind that tar can discolor your hair, so use with caution if you have dyed hair.
Aside from the above-mentioned ingredients, the best anti dandruff shampoo will also come with a set of benefits. Depending on the state of your scalp, you may find shampoos that advertise the following:
Build Up Scalp
The best shampoo and conditioner for dandruff will work as a healing agent; it will be like medicine to your hair. Look for shampoos that have antifungal agents that help clear the dead skin and promote the growth of new skin.
Shampoos with exfoliating features are also a good option, but you may want to make sure that you don’t use them more than once or twice a week.
Indeed, they will strip away the scales from your scalp – therefore promoting the growth of new cells – but they may end up over-drying your hair. Sure, your scalp may look nice – but your hair will look all dry and frizzy.
The best dandruff shampoo will also have a moisturizing effect. Keep in mind that moisturizing does not mean nourishing. Moisturizing shampoos are water-based while nourishing shampoos are oil-based.
A nourishing shampoo is generally good for dry scalp/hair that is not flaking. If it’s already flaking, the oil in the shampoo will prevent dandruff from coming off, simply because it will be acting like glue.
Some shampoos have an extra kick of vitamins and minerals that promote hair growth. These are a very good option if your hair seems to take forever to grow – especially considering the state of your scalp.
It is definitely not easy – and is sometimes even scary – to buy the best dandruff shampoo. There are so many ingredients to choose from – and most of the times, the best results come from trial and error.
Every person’s scalp is different. If a friend of yours gets along well with a type of shampoo, this does not necessarily mean that you’ll reap the same results. It all depends on the way your scalp accepts it.
Hopefully, our guide allowed you to make your choice, no matter if you were looking for the best anti dandruff shampoo for men or for women. None of them is very expensive, and they work even for people on a budget.