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Tea tree oil is one of those unique essential oils that pulls double duty, equally beneficial in both skincare and haircare formulas. Credit its proven anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties; it’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.
When it comes to your scalp, it’s delivering those same benefits, just for the skin on your head. And that can 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.
No matter whether you use it daily, or simply work it into your shower routine whenever your scalp needs a little extra TLC, these are the best tea tree shampoos that are sure to please.
Best Overall: Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Special Shampoo
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.
Best Natural: Avalon Organics Scalp Treatment Tea Tree Shampoo
Byrdie’s Editorial Director, Faith Xue, recommends this sudser. 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). Tea tree oil plus aloe plus vitamin E work in tandem to soothe scalp irritation, while quinoa protein helps keep strands healthy and strong.
Best for Dandruff: Head & Shoulders Dandruff Shampoo with Tea Tree Oil
Per our point about tea tree being anti-microbial, it can be a great pick for those dealing with dandruff; it helps combat the yeast that causes this pesky condition. This formula also boasts pyrithione zinc, another proven anti-dandruff ingredient.
For max results, just make sure you let it sit on your scalp for a few minutes before rinsing.
Best for Oily Scalps: OGX Tea Tree Mint Shampoo
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.
Best Budget: HASK Tea Tree & Rosemary Shampoo
You don’t need to shell out the big bucks to reap the benefits of tea tree. Case in point: This wallet-friendly pick, which pairs the ingredient with rosemary leaf oil. The latter is thought to help boost circulation in the scalp, further ensuring strong and healthy hair growth. It’s also ultra-purif2ing; we like using it for a deep clean after going hard on dry shampoo for one too many days in a row.
Best Hydrating: Love Beauty & Planet Tea Tree Oil & Vetiver Shampoo
In theory, tea tree oil could be a bit stripping, which is why we appreciate that here it’s combined with coconut oil to keep your strands nice and hydrated. It’s also sulfate-free, relying on plant-based cleansers instead, always a good thing if your hair goal is to maintain moisture. And despite the fact that you can nab this shampoo at the drugstore, the sophisticated scent is much more like something you’d find in a pricier sudser.
Best for Itchy Scalps: Yes to Tea Tree & Sage Oil Shampoo
Given its anti-inflammatory qualities, tea tree oil is a great ingredient in and of itself for an itchy scalp. Here, you get not only tea tree but also soothing sage oil and gently exfoliating salicylic acid to break down any flakes, too. The formula is 97% natural, and pulls in plenty of great reviews from satisfied customers.
Best Splurge: Aesop Calming Shampoo
It’s a little on the expensive side, yes, but consider this formula if you’re looking for a shampoo to simply use once or twice a week to give your scalp and strands a little extra love. It contains pretty much every good-for-your scalp oil there is, including tea tree, of course, plus peppermint and rosemary, as well as a slew of other soothing botanical extracts. The ultra-chic bottle and packaging is just the icing on the cake.
Best Multi-Tasker: Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Liquid Soap Tea Tree
There’s really no wrong way to use this majorly multi-purpose cleanser. It works great as a shampoo for irritated scalps, for sure, but you can also use it as a face wash, as a pet shampoo, heck, even to wash dishes. It’s also three times more concentrated than other liquid soaps (and meant to be diluted), so one bottle will last forever.
Best Sulfate-Free: CHI Tea Tree Oil Shampoo
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 peppermint oil gives it a refreshing feel and scent. There’s also soothing chamomile in the formula, along with silk to help strengthen your strands.