15 Best Dry Scalp Treatments that Actually Work

Updated 5 years ago

There’s something about the timeless look of an all black outfit. But if you suffer from a dry scalp, that means flaking by the boatload, which is particularly visible on that black top you wanted to wear. Before you obsessively dust off each and every flake, we have your scalp woes covered with this list of our favorite dry scalp treatments. Take your pick from the wide variety of scrubs, oils, serums, and lotions to restore your scalp (and hair) to its true glory. 

Our Top Picks for Dry Scalp Treatments

Carol's Daughter Mimosa Hair Honey Clarifying Scalp Treatment

For those who tend to wear braids or weaves and experience a tremendous itch due to the product buildup, Carol’s Daughter offers you the most amazing scalp treatment that will nip the problem right in the bud. It contains a blend of Mimosa Flower, Orange, and Mint Oils to gently exfoliate and purify the scalp and hair. Massage a dollop size of this onto your scalp directly and it will instantly calm down irritated and inflamed scalps while reducing the amount of flaking of dry skin.

Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Hair and Scalp Treatment

This award-winning scalp treatment bagged the Esquire’s 2018 Grooming Award for Best Healthy Scalp Product. We think that alone speaks volume about the product’s effectiveness in alleviating stubborn scalp issues. Using a hydrating mix of Soy Protein, Panthenol, Vitamin E, and Shea Butter, this fan favorite soothes inflamed, scaly patches for lasting relief. The antiseptic nature of the added Tea Tree Oil and Peppermint means that scalp fungus and bacteria don’t stand a chance at all. It’s definitely what your dry scalp needs to stay comfortable in the coming winter months.

R+Co Crown Scalp Scrub

This scrub offers a gentle exfoliation on your scalp to keep it healthy and clean. The Salicylic Acid in it cuts through the buildup of oil, dirt, and impurities on the scalp to unclog follicles and slough off dead skin. Kaolin and Ecuadorian Ivory Palm Seed Powder have also been added to boost the exfoliating power of the scrub. The end result is dramatically reduced dandruff flakes and a healthy, itch-free scalp. Apply a walnut-sized amount onto your scalp and massage it until it dissolves completely to reap the full benefits of it.

Moroccanoil Dry Scalp Treatment

Highly recommended by professional stylists to restore a dry, flaky scalp back to its healthy state, this oil-based treatment contains the superstar ingredient, Argan Oil, to nourish and rehydrate your irritated scalp. It is further fortified with soothing Lavender and Geranium Oils to rebalance and revitalize a weakened scalp. Coupled with exfoliating Salicylic Acid, it is no wonder that dry scalp types have sworn by this product as their go-to treatment in eradicating flakes and dryness. In fact, those with sensitive scalps can also use this before a color treatment to protect the scalp from the sensitivity-causing itch. A few drops go a long way and make sure to comb through your tresses so that the ends of the hair can soak in its goodness too.

dpHUE Apple Cider Vinegar Scalp Scrub

Known as the motherlode of all scalp scrubs, this award-winning scrub by dpHUE will leave your scalp smooth, moisturized, and flake-free in no time. The minimalistic packaging that encased the light and dark hues of pink Himalayan sea salt crystals is to-die-for. ACV has long been touted as a natural exfoliant for removing dead skin and product buildup and relieving the annoying itch. The gritty specks of sea salt crystals provide added oomph to the exfoliating factor of the scrub. By massaging it into your scalp, the crystals melt away effortlessly so what you actually get is a moisturizing balm that leaves your head clean and refreshed. The best part about this scrub has got to be its enhanced color locking technology that will keep your hair color intact.

OGX Extra Strength Tea Tree Mint Scalp Treatment

If your scalp is feeling extra thirsty, this synergistic blend of Tea Tree Oil and Peppermint might just be what it needs. A user who had suffered from a severe case of scalp seborrhea attributes her current healthy state to this miracle worker. Just a few drops of the product on a regular basis softened the thick, painful scales which then helped her hair to grow back in previously bald patches. Others have also noticed a reduced frequency of dandruff and dryness once they started using this treatment. Thanks to the Hydrolyzed Wheat Proteins in it, it also leaves your hair with swoon-worthy, gorgeously-sleek locks.

LivSo Moisturizing Scalp Lotion

Created by dermatologist Dr. Shari Hicks-Graham, LivSo is the brand to help soothe all your scalp issues while protecting your textured hair. This lightweight yet ultra-moisturizing lotion is infused with soothing Coconut Oil, Hydrolyzed Oat Protein, and Abyssinian Oil to calm down a thirsty and itchy scalp, and prevent unwanted hair loss. It also has Glycolic Acid in it to gently exfoliate your scalp and remove the buildup of dead skin and dry flakes. Use it alone or as part of the brand’s three-step hair-care system which includes the shampoo and conditioner too.

Kerastase Initialiste Advanced Scalp and Hair Serum

This miracle potion is the be-all and end-all for all your scalp and hair woes. It has SP94, a powerful gluco-peptide to enhance the hair fiber’s resilience and strength, Wheat Protein Derivative to make your hair smooth and silky, and a blend of six Amino Acids to spark hair regrowth. It normalizes the scalp and resolves itchy, dry patches that are causing hair loss. The serum also keeps your hair sleek and shiny without weighing it down. A few drops of it is sufficient to cover the entire scalp which means that it is well worth the splurge.

Mizani Scalp Care Calming Scalp Lotion

If your braids, extensions, or weaves are making your scalp drier than usual, try this lotion from Mizani. Using a moisturizing blend of Aloe Vera, Avocado, and Eucalyptus Oils, the lotion repels dryness and irritation so that your scalp is kept comfortable all day. It also smooths down the scaly patches and prevents dry skin from flaking. If you had trouble applying lotion directly to your scalp, the user-friendly design of the bottle means that you can directly squeeze the lotion out onto your scalp without getting the product caught in your braids or weaves. This means less product wastage and more pampering for your scalp. The petite packaging also makes it easy to store in your bag as a convenient scalp booster on the go.

Amplixin Scalp Therapy Shampoo

Formulated specially for dry, itchy scalps and breakage-prone hair, this therapeutic shampoo contains Aloe Vera, Willow Bark Extract, Tea Tree Oil, and Rosemary to promote a healthy scalp environment. It has become a cult favorite as users noticed the dry, scaly patches on their scalp lessening. It also helped to stop the itch and dandruff completely after consistent usage. Those who had previously experienced hair loss due to extreme dryness also credited this product for promoting hair regrowth in the balding areas. For maximum effectiveness, it is recommended to massage the shampoo into your scalp and let it marinate for at least three minutes before rinsing off.

SheaMoisture African Black Soap Dandruff & Dry Scalp Elixir

A concentrated treatment to assuage scalp itching and flaking, this top-rated product has captured the hearts of countless users for preventing their scalps from drying out. The easy-to-use spray packaging means that the elixir comes out in a fine mist to cover your entire scalp effortlessly. Users were amazed that the itching and flaking went away within a mere four weeks’ of regular use. Continued use thereafter kept their scalps calm and happy, and prevented the symptoms from coming back again. The elixir also does not make your scalp and hair sticky or greasy, which adds bonus points in our book.

Cantu Shea Butter Tea Tree & Jojoba Hair & Scalp Oil

This highly affordable oil-based treatment is not only light on your purse but also spares you the agony of a dry and itchy scalp. It uses Pure Shea Butter, Tea Tree Oil, and Jojoba Oil to condition the scalp and restore its natural moisture balance. It also doubles up as a thermal barrier against hot styling tools to prevent hair damage and split ends. With a no-drip formula, this means less wastage and is suitable for going in between those twisty braids, hair extensions, and weaves. Use it daily by applying a few drops onto your scalp and comb through with a boar bristle brush to spread the oil evenly from root to end.  

Design Essentials Anti-Itch Hair and Scalp Treatment

Made with Salicylic Acid, this treatment controls scalp irritation, dryness, and flaking. It provides instant relief against dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis while adding a healthy shine to your hair strands as a result of the rich emollients in it. Fans of the product liked how applying the product to the affected areas on their scalps immediately stop the itch and dryness. Others also noticed lesser white flakes and healing of the red, inflamed areas within the first few uses. The lightweight formula is suitable for daily use or several times a week, depending on personal preference.

PHYTO PHYTOPOLLÉINE Botanical Scalp Treatment

Harnessing the restorative power of natural essential oils like Rosemary, Sage, Cypress, Eucalyptus, and Lemon, this potent blend is what a weakened scalp needs. Highly raved by countless users, this product has been vouched as the cure-all for all scalp ailments, including a dry and imbalanced scalp. It stimulates scalp circulation and purifies the skin so that your scalp becomes strong and healthy to support natural hair growth. For best results, use it at least once or twice a week and apply it to a dry scalp 20 minutes before you hit the shower.

Each and every one of these scalp treatments has been proven to alleviate the symptoms of a dry scalp so that you never have to fuss over the itch, redness, or flaking again. Time to introduce one, or several of these babies, to your bathroom shelf.

Head and Shoulders Dry Scalp Care 2 Minute Moisturizer Scalp & Hair Treatment

Of course, this list of dry scalp treatments won’t be complete without the leading brand, Head & Shoulders. This household brand has a moisturizer that can be applied to your scalp and hair after shampooing and conditioning. The rich cream rinses out easily and leaves your dry, itchy scalp moisturized and comfortable with a slight tingling sensation. It also doesn’t make your hair greasy and instead gives it a luscious-soft texture. Users also experienced reduced to no flaking at all once they used this moisturizer on a regular basis.

What Causes Dry Scalp?

Besides the harsh chemical agents that are found in most shampoos at your nearest drugstores, your dry scalp may also be triggered by other factors. These factors may cause your scalp to act up and flake off like there’s no tomorrow. Some may even suffer from more severe symptoms of burning, soreness, red lesions, or hair loss due to excessive scratching as a response to the ever present itch. Knowing what is causing your condition may prevent future flare-ups or a recurrence.

  • Overwashing: washing your hair too frequently could be what is actually causing your dry scalp. We all know that our scalp produces sebum to keep it moisturized and healthy. Excessive shampooing may actually remove that protective layer of natural oils and cause your scalp to become drier than usual. Since we cannot stop shampooing altogether, consider using a gentler shampoo. Skipping the hot water is also a good idea to prevent these natural oils from being removed by the heat.
  • Insufficient Conditioning: if your scalp is feeling extra parched, it’s probably not getting enough moisture. This could mean that you haven’t been conditioning it regularly. Conditioners contain emollients, humectants, and hydrators to replenish the moisture levels in your skin so that the scalp stays smooth and scale-free. It also keeps your hair soft and glossy instead of the dreaded frizz. Try to use a regular conditioner every other day or a deep conditioner at least twice a week.
  • Heat Styling: for those who tend to use styling tools and products on their manes, it might be a good idea to lay off them for a while. Heat styling can be damaging to the external layer of the skin and increase the chances of worsening an already irritated scalp.
  • Diet: the dryness in your scalp could also be caused by nutrient imbalance which means you should start looking at what’s missing in your diet. Nutritionists recommend stocking up on foods that are rich in omega fatty acids, zinc, vitamins A & E as a way to address the internal causes behind your scalp dryness.
  • Color Treatments: Dying your hair can make a dry scalp even worse because of all the harsh ingredients in hair dyes. Make sure you use a shampoo for color-treated hair to hydrate and maintain your new color.

Like we have said before, dry scalp is usually triggered by external or internal causes, and sometimes can be attributed to a combination of one or more of these factors. That said, it does not mean that your dry scalp cannot be resolved. Identifying the triggers and stamping them out of your routine is usually the recommended way to clear up the symptoms. Add in an extra booster like a good ole’ scalp treatment, and your scalp woes will be all taken care of.

Wrap Up

We like to think that you and your scalp will be prepared to take on the winter temperatures more stoically than before. With the aid of one of these trusty scalp treatments, we believe that dry scalp will no longer be a problem for any season.