Best Of The Best Shampoos For Dandruff: Top 5 Flake-Free Hair Washes Most Recommended By Experts

Even though dandruff isn’t severe enough to be considered a medical condition, it can be incredibly frustrating to deal with. The flakes and itching can become too much sometimes. For most, the best bet is to shop around for a dandruff-fighting shampoo product. But as with any wellness product, it can be hard to figure out which is the best option. So we’ve compiled the best, expert-backed dandruff shampoos to help your search go a bit smoother.

Contrary to what some may believe, dandruff isn’t caused by lack of hygiene. According to the Academy of Dermatology, it’s extremely common for multiple reasons that are much more nuanced than that. Experts say that several things can contribute to flake buildup such as certain hair coloring and styling products, fungal overgrowth, having dry skin exacerbated by cold weather or environmental factors, and not shampooing enough to meet your hair’s specific needs.

According to recent studies, around 50 million Americans and 50% of the worldwide population are affected by these pesky flakes, or will be at some point in their life. Although scientists haven’t pinpoint the exact reasons for dandruff,  there’s several effective products available that can help combat this.

If you’re done dealing with the constant itchiness, look no further for the best shampoos to fight back against dandruff. We’ve done the searching across 10 expert websites to find you the top five most recommended by hair experts. If you have a recommendation to share that isn’t listed here, feel free to comment below! Additionally, if you feel that your symptoms are more serious than just dandruff, consult with a medical professional.

The List: Best Shampoos For Dandruff, According To Pros

1. Nizoral Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

The primary fungus implicated in dandruff is Malassezia, and this product contains an active ingredient that kills it.

“Nizoral contains ketoconazole, a potent anti-fungal that’s often used in prescription-grade dandruff medications. But unlike some stronger formulas, Nizoral is still gentle enough to use on color-treated hair and offers a thick lather that leaves a clean scent behind. explains board-certified dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, M.D., director of cosmetic and clinical research at Mount Sinai Hospital, to Prevention Magazine.

If you’re worried about the product drying your hair, which is common with deep-cleaning shampoos, there’s ways around that too.

“Despite how tough it is, though, it does lather nicely, spreading easily throughout your entire head. And if you are worried about it drying out your hair too much, try only applying the product only to your problem areas,” InStyle writes.

2. Neutrogena T/Gel

This extra strength product contains 1% coal tar, which makes it effective for itch relief no matter the cause.

“Dandruff is primarily depicted as white flakes or scales around the scalp, but this condition can also be very itchy. For cases of dandruff accompanied by itchiness, as well as conditions like seborrheic dermatitis and psoriasis, dermatologists recommend therapeutic shampoos formulated with coal tar,” Health writes.

Since it acts as more of a therapy, dermatologists recommend pairing it with a shampoo product that thoroughly cleans.

“This shampoo should be used more like a scalp treatment in conjunction with a mild dandruff shampoo and conditioner,” Dr. Zeichner says to Prevention Magazine.

3. Head & Shoulders Clinical Strength Dandruff Defense

Head and Shoulders has been trusted by many for years, and for good reason.

“When it comes to fighting dandruff, there’s nothing more recognizable than the Head & Shoulders brand. This clinical-strength formulation contains one percent selenium sulfide to help fight off flakes with regular use,” InStyle writes.

It’s recommended for cases of severe dandruff, and thus is formulated to work on an array of hair types.

“Marketed for severe dandruff symptoms, the shampoos are labeled as safe for color-treated, curly, and textured hair types,” Healthline writes.

4. Jupiter Balancing Shampoo

This shampoo stands out among the crowd due to its moisturizing, yet deep cleansing properties.

‘The star ingredient in Jupiter’s Balancing Shampoo is one percent pyrithione zinc, which means this shampoo is especially great for sensitive scalps. In order to keep the skin on your crown free of flaking and irritation, this shampoo is also infused with coconut oil and squalane, two ingredients that are known for their moisture-retaining abilities,” Allure writes.

It’s vegan, carefully-made formula is also a strength.

“It’s safe for color- and chemically-treated hair because it’s sulfate-, paraben-, phthalate-, cruelty-, and dye-free, which all tend to be too harsh for delicate strands,” InStyle writes.

5. Selsun Blue

This product is powerful enough to keep yeast from overpopulating and causing problems, while also allowing your hair to still hold moisture.

“Dandruff and dryness tend to go hand-in-hand. Since dandruff shampoos often contain strong ingredients, some may make dryness worse. Dermatologists recommend Selsun Blue for dandruff since it treats itchiness and flakiness while increasing hair and scalp moisture,” Health writes.

It leaves your hair feeling refreshed and soothed after each use as well, thanks to its special formulation.

“Cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Michele Green points out that it also has the added benefits of containing menthol to soothe irritation and make it feel extra refreshing,” Byrdie writes.


Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. Study Finds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This post may contain affiliate links.

About the Author

Shyla Cadogan

Shyla Cadogan is a recent graduate from the University of Maryland, College Park with a Bachelor’s of Science in Nutrition and Food Science. She is on her way to becoming a Registered Dietitian, with next steps being completion of a dietetic internship at the University of Maryland Medical Center where she currently is gaining experience with various populations and areas of medical nutrition such as Pediatrics, Oncology, GI surgery, and liver and renal transplant. Shyla also has extensive research experience in food composition analysis and food resource management.

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