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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. 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.
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.
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 Drugstore: Love Beauty & Planet Tea Tree Oil & Vetiver Sulfate Free 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 even though you can nab this shampoo at the drugstore, the sophisticated scent is much more like something you’d find in a pricier sudser. It’s a go-to for Chicago-based celebrity hairstylist Alex Brown, who lauds not only the scent and price but also points out that it adds a nice amount of volume to the hair as well.
Best Exfoliating: Yes To Tea Tree & Sage Oil Scalp Relief Shampoo
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% natural and pulls in plenty of great reviews from satisfied customers. Plus, it’s another great wallet-friendly option.
Best Natural: Avalon Organics Scalp Treatment Tea Tree Shampoo
“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 this sudser is squeaky clean with an organic formula that’s even EWG verified and NSF certified (two accreditations that aren’t easy to come by).
Best for Oily Scalps: OGX Hydrating + 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 for Itchy Scalps: Desert Essences Tea Tree Replenishing Shampoo
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.
Best Hydrating: HoneySkin Tea Tree Oil Shampoo & Conditioner
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.
Best for Dandruff: Head & Shoulders Dandruff Shampoo and Conditioner with Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil can be a great pick for those dealing with dandruff. 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 Sulfate-Free: Luseta Tea Tree 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 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.
Best Tea Tree Oil: Briogeo B.Well Australian 100% Tea Tree Skin & Scalp Oil
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 voila. And because this contains just straight-up tea tree oil, meaning you can also easily use it for skin care purposes. Multi-tasking for the win.
Our top pick is the Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Special Shampoo (view at Amazon). 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 (view at Walmart).
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.
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.
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/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.
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 Jen Atkin and has worked with celebrities across the globe.