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Best Itchy Scalp Shampoos

Updated June 2022
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Best of the Best
Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Special Shampoo
Paul Mitchell
Tea Tree Special Shampoo
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Customer Favorite
Bottom Line

A deeply nourishing shampoo that cools and calms itchy scalps.


Moisturizes and soothes your dry, itchy scalp. Lathers well. Invigorating minty scent. Gives hair a nice shine.


A few have complained about leaking or broken bottles.

Best Bang for the Buck
Nizoral Anti-Dandruff Shampoo
Anti-Dandruff Shampoo
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Simple Yet Solid
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A low-priced yet highly effective remedy for an itchy, flaky scalp.


For those who have suffered from chronic dandruff, this shampoo may be the solution. Customers rave about its quick-working effectiveness. Protects your hair, no matter your hair type. Some customers have even found success using this as an acne remedy.


This shampoo does not work for everyone.

PHILIP KINGSLEY Flaky Itchy Scalp Shampoo
Flaky Itchy Scalp Shampoo
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Potent Option
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A potent scalp-soothing shampoo that will leave your hair looking healthy and vibrant.


Stops flaking and itching in just a couple of uses. Fresh scent. Leaves hair feeling soft and shiny. Doesn't irritate sensitive skin.


Expensive for the amount you get.

DERMA-E Scalp Relief Shampoo
Scalp Relief Shampoo
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Natural and Gentle
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A natural shampoo that employs a botanical blend to calm itch without irritating your scalp further.


Uses natural ingredients. Tea tree and menthol help cool itching rapidly. Fresh mint scent. Sulfate-free. Gentle on color-treated hair.


Not as effective on flakes as it is on itching.

Malibu C Scalp Wellness Sulfate-Free Shampoo
Malibu C
Scalp Wellness Sulfate-Free Shampoo
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Best for Everyday Use
Bottom Line

A good everyday shampoo for those that suffer from dry, irritated scalps.


Leaves hair looking healthy and hydrated. Sulfate-free. Notice results in as little as one use. Good price. Scented with essential oils.


Some have said it dried out their hair.

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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. About BestReviews  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.About BestReviews 

We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

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Buying guide for Best itchy scalp shampoos

Itchy scalp can have many causes, but it always leads to the same result: irritation. It’s frustrating to deal with, and if you scratch it you can damage your scalp even more, which only makes the problem worse. Fortunately, there are a number of itchy scalp shampoos on the market that can help combat the problem.

The trouble is, if you don’t understand why your scalp is itching in the first place, you might have a hard time pinpointing the right for you. Some shampoos are also more effective than others because they contain better skin-soothing ingredients. Other shampoos that claim to soothe itchy scalps could actually contain ingredients that irritate them more.

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Follow your itchy scalp shampoo with a nourishing conditioner to keep your hair and scalp moisturized.

Causes of itchy scalp

When choosing an itchy scalp shampoo, it’s important to understand what is causing the problem so you can treat it properly. Not even a top-of-the-line itchy scalp shampoo is going to make much of a dent in the problem if the root cause is lice. In that case, you need a special shampoo that’s specifically designed to kill lice.

Seborrheic dermatitis: One common cause of itchy scalp is seborrheic dermatitis, a skin condition that causes your scalp to break out into scaly, red patches and can lead to dandruff. It’s often caused by excess oiliness and a buildup of dead skin cells on the scalp. Washing your hair regularly and using an itchy scalp shampoo can help to get rid of seborrheic dermatitis, although it can come back. If you believe this to be the cause of your itchy scalp and you’re also suffering from dandruff, you might want to look for a shampoo that specifically targets dandruff.

Dry skin: An itchy scalp can be caused by dry skin. This condition can be confused with dandruff because it can also produce flakes, but dandruff is caused by too much oil, which is not the case with a dry scalp.

Matching hair type to itchy scalp shampoo

Dry hair: If you have dry hair and a dry scalp, moisture is the key. Look for a shampoo that hydrates, and avoid harsh ingredients like sulfates that can strip moisture out of your hair. If this is the cause of your dry skin, it should begin to clear up once you begin giving your hair the nourishment it needs.

Oily hair: If you have oily hair, moisturizing shampoo might not be what you need because it could make your problem worse. In this case, you want to look for shampoos that contain skin-soothing ingredients and any necessary topical medications to treat the cause of your itchy scalp.

Color-treated hair: Individuals with color-treated hair have to be careful when choosing an itchy-scalp shampoo to make sure that the type they choose won’t wash out the color. You can usually find out if a shampoo is safe for color-treated hair by checking with the manufacturer or reading through customer reviews online.

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For your safety
Wash your hair regularly, and make sure you rinse out all of the shampoo and other products. You want to avoid any buildup that could trigger an itchy scalp.

Itchy scalp shampoo ingredients

Itchy scalp shampoos employ a number of skin-soothing ingredients to help calm the itch and nourish the hair and scalp. Here are a few of the most popular.

Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil has antifungal properties and is soothing on skin, which makes it a popular choice in itchy scalp shampoos, especially those designed to treat dandruff. It has also been proven to help with skin inflammation. It’s considered safe for most people to use, but some people are allergic to it. For those people it can cause many of the conditions it would normally treat, like dermatitis. If you use a shampoo containing tea tree oil and you find have a reaction to it, stop using it immediately.


Menthol is derived from herbs like peppermint and eucalyptus. It’s been shown to help decrease inflammation and reduce pain when applied topically. It also has a cooling effect when it is applied, which can be very soothing on an irritated scalp.

Salicylic acid

Salicylic acid is an ingredient commonly found in acne medications. It might not do very much to soothe your irritated scalp, but it can help to eliminate some of the dead skin cells that build up and cause an itchy scalp in the first place. However, there is usually only a small amount of salicylic acid in shampoo because it can be too drying if you use too much. If you find this to be the case for you, you might want to back off and use it less frequently or switch to a different formula that doesn’t contain salicylic acid.

Itchy scalp shampoo prices

Itchy scalp shampoo tends to cost a little more than standard shampoo because of its specialty ingredients. While you can get a bottle of regular shampoo for under $5, you can expect to spend from $10 to $40 or more for itchy scalp shampoo. We recommend spending at least $15 if you want a quality product. These usually contain beneficial ingredients like tea tree oil and menthol but no harsh ingredients like sulfates.

When choosing an itchy scalp shampoo, it’s also important to pay attention to the size of the bottle and how many uses you’ll be able to get out of it. If you’re trying to determine which shampoo offers the best value, divide the cost by the number of ounces in the bottle and compare products based on the price per ounce.


  • Wash your hair regularly. It’s important to get rid of the dead skin cells and oil that can build up and cause irritation.

  • Be patient. It can take several uses before you notice a significant improvement from itchy scalp shampoo, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t see a change right away. Stick with it.

  • If you don’t see results, consult your doctor. If you’re unsure of the cause of your itchy scalp and the shampoos you’re trying aren’t working, consult with your doctor to make sure there isn’t something else going on and get other recommendations.

  • Focus on relieving the itch. Don’t worry about whether the shampoo is strengthening or volumizing for your hair. Focus on one that is soothing to your scalp and use it until the condition goes away. Then you can switch to a different shampoo.
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If your itchy scalp isn’t improving after using the shampoo for a couple of weeks, you might want to consult with your doctor to see if you would benefit from a prescription-strength shampoo.


Q. How often should I use the itchy scalp shampoo?

A. For best results, you should use it once per day unless the manufacturer instructs you to do otherwise.

Q. Will I have to use an itchy scalp shampoo forever?

A. Probably not. Once you control the condition that is causing the itchy scalp, you will most likely be able to switch to a normal shampoo. But it’s important to choose one that isn’t going to bring your problem back. For example, if your itchy scalp was caused by dry skin, you don’t want to choose a normal shampoo that’s going to dry out your hair and skin all over again.

Q. How do I tell the difference between dandruff and dry skin?

A. Dandruff usually creates larger, oily flakes that may appear yellow in color. It might also cause red, scaly skin on your scalp. Dry skin usually has much smaller flakes that appear white in color, and it usually doesn’t make skin red and scaly.

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