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We won’t bore you with the nitty-gritty of scientific facts, but newsflash: Everyone has the potential to be affected by dandruff. The white specks and flakes you notice on your scalp is the response to a natural yeast that’s found on the skin, and it tends to flare up with stress and cold, dry weather. And while many of us label our hair as dry, it’s quite possible we actually suffer from dandruff, too.
Although dandruff is not at all dangerous, it can be distressing for sure. No one wants to live with an irritated scalp or feel like they’re constantly leaving flakes everywhere they go. As such, we rounded up the best anti-dandruff shampoos that actually work.
Below, we dish on our favorite flake fighters that go the extra mile.
Best Overall: Nizoral A-D Anti-Dandruff Shampoo
Find relief from dandruff with this powerful anti-dandruff shampoo formulated with ketoconazole 1%, an ingredient known to fight dandruff at the source. Itchiness and flaking will also subside, so you can finally go back to wearing your favorite black clothing without worry.
Another bonus? Unlike some other dandruff shampoos, this one is gentle enough to use on all hair types, including color-treated, chemically processed, and gray hair, and has a thick, rich lather that rinses clean. What's more, you don’t have to constantly shampoo with this formula to maintain results. On the days you're not shampooing with Nizoral, you can use all your favorites lined up on the sides of your shower.
Best Classic: Selsun Blue Medicated Maximum Strength Dandruff Shampoo
This classic option contains the necessary moisturizers to nourish dry, brittle hair while relieving the itch or dandruff flakes that can spoil your day/week/life. Thanks to the inclusion of menthol, there's a cool, soothing sensation that leaves the scalp feeling super refreshed and clean.
Best Splurge: Oribe Serene Scalp Anti-Dandruff Shampoo
So your hair is super flaky, but you’re not into the strong medicinal smells that most dandruff shampoos provide. Boy, do we feel your pain. But thankfully Oribe heard our cry and offers this sweet-smelling (think notes of watermelon, lychee, and edelweiss flower extract) anti-dandruff shampoo.
It will eliminate dandruff flakes, relieve dryness and reduce redness in one wash. Bonus: Bilberry fruit and sugar maple extracts soothe the scalp while protecting against free radical damage. Make no bones about it—this is the holy grail of luxury dandruff shampoos.
Best Budget: Head & Shoulders Royal Oils Moisture Boost Shampoo
Head & Shoulders is no-doubt a favorite when it comes to shampoo—dandruff concerns or otherwise. Its Royal Oils collection doesn't disappoint either; this shampoo transforms into a creamy lather to cleanse and remove buildup while hydrating the hair and scalp thanks to the infusion of coconut oil. It's an ideal choice for dry, damaged hair in need of a moisture boost as well as a solution to the flakes and itchiness associated with dandruff.
Best Prevention: Dove DermaCare Scalp Coconut Anti-Dandruff Shampoo
When Dove crafted this anti-dandruff shampoo they not only wanted to target dandruff-prone hair, but they ensured the product was a mild, pH-balanced formula that left hair strands smooth and shiny, too. Its fresh and rich scent reminds us of a warm summer afternoon, which is super relaxing to boot.
For more shampoo picks, peep our guide to the best shampoos available at Walmart.
Best Drugstore: Neutrogena T/Gel Therapeutic Dandruff Treatment Shampoo
Generally speaking, a flaky scalp is fairly easy to get rid of—with proper care, most flakes can be minimized over time—but if you’re not careful, dandruff can seemingly reappear after you’ve thoroughly cleansed. But T/Gel Therapeutic Dandruff Treatment Shampoo is different.
Scientific tests prove that the anti-fungal ingredient in the shampoo continues to work for hours even after the shampoo session. It’s also laced with neutar (a solubilized coal tar extract), which has been proven to control symptoms of dandruff, scalp psoriasis, and seborrheic dermatitis.
Read more reviews of the best drugstore shampoos available today.
Best for Oily Hair: Phyto Phytocedrat Sebo Regulating Shampoo
This is one of the pricer shampoos on our list, but it is indeed worth it. For starters, it regulates the scalp with natural ingredients like lemon oil, pine bark, geranium, rosemary, and sage, then it prevents the spread of sebum (an overproduction of skin oil) in the oil glands and hair follicles. Ultimately it reduces the frequency of shampoos per week, and there's nothing to complain about there.
Check out our guide to the best shampoos for oily hair.
Best for Colored Hair: Redken Scalp Relief Dandruff Control Shampoo
If you're looking for a non-greasy shampoo that will maintain your hair color while fighting dandruff, you'll love Redken Scalp Relief Dandruff Control Shampoo. A little goes a long way with this formula that’s gentle enough to use every day. We also appreciate that it’s formulated with pyrithione zinc to help not only combat actual dandruff, but also the annoying symptoms.
Read more reviews of the best shampoos for colored hair.