Tea tree oil is one of those unique essential oils that pulls double duty, equally beneficial in both skincare and haircare formulas—thanks to its proven anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties. That's why it’s often lauded as a top acne-fighting ingredient, an effective natural alternative to options such as salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide.
Byrdie Researched & Approved
Our top pick is the best-selling Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Special Shampoo, which uses tea tree and a combination of essential oils to purify for a refreshed scalp. We also love the more affordable Love Beauty & Planet Tea Tree Oil & Vetiver Shampoo because it's sulfate-free and hydrates while cleansing.
When it comes to your scalp, it’s delivering those same benefits, just for the skin on your head. It is said to be particularly beneficial for those dealing with scalp issues such as dryness, itching, flakes, and even full-on dandruff. Not to mention that the essential oil innately feels refreshing, a major win for anyone who craves that ultra-clean, totally refreshed sensation. The easiest way to reap these benefits? With a tea tree oil shampoo, of course.
To find the very best of tea tree oil shampoos, we conducted hours of research—evaluating each on active ingredients and thousands of customer reviews. We also looked for any additional key features, like if they were sulfate-free or contained fragrance. With expert recommendations from Chicago-based celebrity hairstylist Alex Brown and after considering dozens of formulas, we landed on these top-rated tea tree oil shampoos.
Ahead, find the best tea tree oil shampoos on the market.
John Paul Mitchell Systems Tea Tree Special Shampoo
Balances oily hair
Can be drying
This is the haircare giant’s best-selling shampoo, no small feat considering the vast array of competition. The tea tree oil works to deeply purify and is paired with peppermint oil and lavender oil to make it feel extra refreshing and even a little tingly (in a good way), a nice pick-me-up on sleepy mornings. All those essential oils also give this a signature clean and spa-like scent.
Reviewers note that this shampoo is a pro at getting rid of dandruff, so it's a great choice if you're dealing with an itchy or flakey scalp, Along with being effective at cleansing, we also love that it revives lifeless hair for strands that look voluminous and vibrant.
Price at time of publish: $25.50 for 16.9 oz bottle
Hair Type: All | Sulfate-Free: No | Scent: Tea tree | Size: 10.1 ounces, 16.9 ounces, 33.8 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
What Our Testers Say
"The best thing about Paul Mitchell's Tea Tree Special Shampoo is definitely the feeling. Like a mint for your scalp, it’s tingly, refreshing, and super invigorating. Results-wise, I found it did a great job at restoring volume and movement, all without stripping away my natural oils." - Emily Algar, Product Tester
Love Beauty & Planet Tea Tree Oil & Vetiver Sulfate Free Shampoo
Doesn't have a strong lather
In theory, tea tree oil can be a bit stripping, which is why we appreciate that it’s combined with coconut oil to keep your strands nice and hydrated in this option from Love Beauty & Planet. It’s also sulfate-free, relying on plant-based cleansers instead—which is always a good thing if your hair goal is to maintain moisture. And even though you can nab this shampoo at the drugstore, the sophisticated scent is much more like something you’d find in a pricier option. It’s a go-to for Brown, who praises not only the scent and price, but also points out that it adds a nice amount of volume to the hair as well.
Price at time of publish: $6.99
Hair Type: All | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Scent: Vetiver | Size: 13.5 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Yes To Tea Tree & Sage Oil Scalp Relief Shampoo
Has salicylic acid
Bottle can leak
Here, you get not only tea tree but also soothing sage oil and gently exfoliating salicylic acid, a choice ingredient for helping to break down any flakes, too. The formula is 97 percent natural and pulls in plenty of great reviews from satisfied customers. Plus, it’s another great wallet-friendly option.
Price at time of publish: $16.99 for 2-pack
Hair Type: All | Sulfate-Free: No | Scent: Carrots, fresh | Size: 12 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Avalon Organics Scalp Treatment Tea Tree Shampoo
Safe for sensitive scalps
Doesn't have a strong lather
“I love that this supports scalp health with both tea tree oil and vitamin E and contains quinoa protein for hydration and strength,” says Brown. “It cleanses effectively and gently, and it’s also a good option if you’re sensitive to fragrance.” Not to mention that it's squeaky clean with an organic formula that’s even EWG verified and NSF certified (two accreditations that aren’t easy to come by).
Price at time of publish: $19.49 for 32 oz bottle
Hair Type: Dry | Sulfate-Free: No | Scent: Tea tree | Size: 11 ounces, 32 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best for Oily Scalps
OGX Hydrating + Tea Tree Mint Shampoo
Has witch hazel
Has a satisfying tingle
Can be drying
If your scalp is constantly oily and greasy, consider taking this for a test run. Along with purifying tea tree oil, this formula also has witch hazel, a known astringent that’s especially good at absorbing excess oil. Peppermint oil gives it an invigorating feel, and this earns bonus points for also having an accompanying tea tree conditioner, too.
Price at time of publish: $7.99
Hair Type: All | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Scent: Tea tree, mint | Size: 13 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
Best for Itchy Scalps
Desert Essences Tea Tree Replenishing Shampoo
Rebalances scalp pH
Can be drying
Tea tree oil and peppermint oil deliver tons of soothing benefits, but this formula also claims to be specially made to help rebalance the pH of your scalp and help alleviate itch in the process. It also touts yucca extract, which has some nice effects on the hair, namely, leaving it smoother and shinier.
Price at time of publish: $10.77 for one 12.7 oz bottle
Hair Type: All | Sulfate-Free: No | Scent: Tea tree | Size: 12.7 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
HoneySkin Tea Tree Oil Shampoo & Conditioner
Reviewers note pump bottles sometimes stop working
Brown says that the addition of coconut oil makes this pick ideal for helping to hydrate the hair, though both the shampoo and conditioner (you get both as a set) are still lightweight enough that they won’t weigh down the hair. Further upping the hydration ante are aloe vera and manuka honey.
Price at time of publish: $26.34 for two 8 oz bottles
Hair Type: All | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Scent: Tea tree | Size: 8 fluid ounces, 16 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best for Dandruff
Head & Shoulders Dandruff Shampoo and Conditioner with Tea Tree Oil
Has a satisfying tingle
Tea tree oil can be a great pick for those dealing with dandruff, and reviewers note that this shampoo is especially great at getting rid of flakes. This formula also boasts pyrithione zinc, which is another proven anti-dandruff ingredient.
Price at time of publish: $5.94
Hair Type: All | Sulfate-Free: No | Scent: Tea tree | Size: 13.5 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
For the best results, let it sit on the scalp for a few minutes before rinsing.
Best for Natural Hair
Eden Bodyworks Peppermint Tea Tree Clear Clarifying Shampoo
Balances hair's pH level
Leaves hair soft
Reviewers note that smell can be strong
Since some tea tree oil shampoos can be stripping, natural hair types might think they should avoid them. But this sulfate-free formula is a great choice because it efficiently cleanses and removes product buildup without drying out the scalp. Reviewers love that their scalp felt clean and refreshed, and that their hair was easier to detangle and style after use.
Price at time of publish: $14.95
Hair Type: Curly, wavy | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Size: 8 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
Luseta Tea Tree Shampoo
Can be drying
If you have a scalp that’s easily irritated or have hair that’s dry or damaged, seeking out a sulfate-free shampoo is always a good move. This one fits the bill and is paraben-free, too. Tea tree oil makes for a nice deep clean, while argan oil softens, smooths, and adds plenty of shine to your strands. It’s an Amazon fan-favorite, with reviewers pointing out how well it works on both their hair and scalp.
Price at time of publish: $18.99 for 16.9 oz bottle
Hair Type: All | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Scent: Tea tree, argan oil | Size: 16.9 ounces, 33.8 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Tea Tree Oil
Briogeo B.Well Australian 100% Tea Tree Skin & Scalp Oil
Mixes with any shampoo
Doubles as a skincare product
Ever wish you could transform your favorite shampoo into a tea tree oil shampoo? You can with this pick—a pure version of tea tree oil. All you have to do is add a few drops to any shampoo, and you're on your way to a hydrated and itch-free scalp. And because this contains just straight-up tea tree oil, you can also easily use it for skin care purposes. Multi-tasking for the win.
Price at time of publish: $32
Hair Type: All | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Size: 1 fluid ounce | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Our top pick is the Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Special Shampoo. It deeply cleanses the hair and has a great refreshing feeling to it, thanks to the addition of lavender and peppermint oil. However, if you're looking for something that won't break the bank, you can't go wrong with the Love Beauty & Planet Tea Tree Oil & Vetiver Sulfate-Free Shampoo.
Meet the Expert
Alex Brown is a Chicago-based celebrity hairstylist and the owner of her private hair studio, Space by Alex Brown. She previously worked with celebrity stylist, Jen Atkin and has worked with celebrities across the globe.
What to Look for in a Tea Tree Oil Shampoo
Tea Tree Oil
Sounds silly, but do a quick check to make sure it’s high up on the ingredient list to ensure that there’s actually enough of it in the formula to make a difference. The lower it is in the ingredient list, the less effective it may be. Since you're most likely using a tea tree oil shampoo for a specific hair concern, you want to make sure that the ingredient is prevalent in the overall formula.
According to Brown, this is one of the more important criteria to look for. If you’re using a tea tree oil shampoo, you likely have some type of issue happening with your scalp, and sulfates will only exacerbate that. Sulfate-free formulas are usually more gentle on the hair, and can cleanse without irritating your scalp,
What are the benefits of tea tree oil shampoo?
“Tea tree shampoo is helpful for unclogging hair follicles without stripping away the natural oils,” says Brown, who also points out that it’s great for addressing both scalp irritation and dandruff.
How often should you use tea tree oil shampoos?
Tea tree oil is a great ingredient, but too much of it can have the opposite of its intended effect. Rather than using it daily or every time you wash, Brown suggests using it every other day or every other wash.
Why Trust Byrdie
Byrdie contributor Melanie Rud has over a decade of experience in the beauty industry, writing for some of the biggest magazines and websites out there.
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