10 anti-dandruff shampoos for clearing congestion and soothing your scalp
Wash your way to a flake-free life
By Delaney Loane
Digital Beauty Editor / November 27 2023
Nothing kills a 'damn, my hair looks good' vibe like dandruff. Because if you've washed, blow-dried and styled your hair to absolute perfection, only to find pesky white flakes falling from your scalp, you're no doubt going to be pretty damn frustrated.
What makes dandruff even more annoying is that it can be tricky to diagnose exactly what's behind the flare-up. It could be hormones disturbing your scalp's pH balance, harsh hair products stripping your hair of moisture, or even the opposite; an oily scalp desperate to rid itself of congestion.
Luckily, though, regardless of the reason, it's not something you just have to accept. In fact, there are a whole slew of treatment products designed to detox your scalp and get it back to its former flake-free glory. Anti-dandruff shampoos, for example, are often the best place to start.
These scalp-soothing and congestion-clearing formulas are designed to counteract the excess yeast and oil production and slow down the shedding of skin cells by restoring the scalp’s natural pH balance, while also making sure they don't over-dry the scalp and start the whole cycle again.
Just remember, though, if you're dealing with a dry, flaky scalp that seems set on shedding every chance it gets, an anti-dandruff shampoo should be a solid part of your regular routine, not just an occasional treatment. Dandruff is a recurring condition so consistent maintenance is the best cure.
So, to make sure you stock up on the best anti-dandruff formula for you, we've lined up some of our favourites...
Sachajuan Scalp Shampoo
Didn't think scalp shampoo could be chic? Well, Sachajuan made it just that. The hero ingredient is purifying ginger extract, as well as freshening rosemary and exfoliating salicylic acid. It definitely gets the flake-evicting action going, but it can be a touch harsh on hair due to how effective it is, so we recommend following with a super hydrating conditioner (taken from mid-lengths to ends to avoid undoing the build-up clearing work you just did on the scalp).
$44 at Adore Beauty
DERCOS Anti-Dandruff DS Shampoo for Dry Hair
This scalp-friendly shampoo knows addressing dandruff calls for both skin and hair-aiding benefits. Specifically designed to combat scalp itchiness and dandruff without leaving your hair dry and brittle (as this variant is geared toward dry hair types), it's a dermatologist-recommended formula you can trust! Consumer trials of the DERCOS range saw 100 per cent of visible dandruff eliminated from first use (a massive feat), and you can take comfort in the fact that it also works to fight dandruff on a long-term basis with every use, providing 6 weeks of anti-dandruff relief without relapse.
$21.49 at Chemist Warehouse
BodyBlendz Scalp & Hair Scrub Shampoo
BodyBlendz Scalp & Hair Scrub Shampoo is a hair scrub and shampoo in one handy tub. It's perfect for dry, dull hair, or for those with a flaky scalp. Ultra-fine Himalayan salt crystals purify the hair and scalp, while abyssinia oil strengthens and protects hair strands as it promotes thicker hair growth. The natural, multi-ingredient conditioning formula also revitalises and hydrates scalp and hair cells.
$31.99 at BodyBlendz
Kérastase Specifique Anti-Dandruff Shampoo
If you want professional, salon-standard results at home, Kérastase is the expert haircare brand to keep in your bathroom. Specifique Bain Anti-Pelliculaire is a mild shampoo designed to reduce and prevent dandruff on even the most sensitive of scalps.
$45.90 at Adore Beauty
The Body Shop Ginger Scalp Care Shampoo
Enriched with Sri Lankan ginger and Ethiopian honey, this dandruff-fighting formula is the brand's best-selling shampoo (which is really saying something considering how extensive the range is). Wondering why it's so popular? The ginger's purifying properties work to sweep away the congestion that causes dandruff (as well as the discomfort that comes with it), while the honey helps to hydrate and keep dryness in check.
$18 at The Body Shop
BondiBoost Dandruff Repair Shampoo
You've no doubt seen Bondi Boost pop up on your Instagram feed a time or twelve, but it's not a brand solely designed to fit into flatlays. In fact, this Australian-made natural dandruff shampoo is totally defying the whole 'natural haircare doesn't measure up' assumption. The formula contains essential oils of peppermint (to soothe), rosemary (to remove white flakes) and sandalwood (an anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal hero) to keep the scalp healthy while also unclogging blocked pores.
$32.95 at Oz Hair & Beauty
Straand Crown Cleanse Shampoo
What's to thank for this shampoo's scalp-cleansing talents? The power of prebiotics, of course! Not only will this nourishing blend clear away congestion, but it'll also hydrate and smooth as it goes. It also looks very vibrant on a shower shelf.
$28 at Straand
MooGoo Milk Shampoo
If you want gentle, this is just about as gentle as it gets. Natural ingredients help to control the micro-flora of the scalp to improve its pH balance, while a derivative of glycerin works to condition the skin and scalp. It's also packed with hydrolysed milk protein (which softens strands like a dream) and allantoin (a skin-calming ingredient that cleans away dead tissue to allow for the growth of the fresh stuff). Basically, it's everything your stressed scalp could ever want.
$18.50 at HealthyLife
Selsun Blue Replenishing Anti-Dandruff Shampoo
Selsun is a haircare range completely dedicated to kicking dandruff to the curb, but the pretty blue packaging means you won't feel weird about showing it off on your shower shelf (though you shouldn't anyway, FYI; dandruff is crazy common). It's enriched with vitamin E to calm and condition the hair and scalp, plus panthenol for a hit of cooling relief, and is specifically designed to ease the all-too-frustrating itch we all know and hate.
$5.99 at Chemist Warehouse
Head & Shoulders Apple Fresh Anti-Dandruff Shampoo
When you hear the word dandruff, no doubt good ol’ Head & Shoulders comes to mind. That’s probably because it’s cemented itself as the best dandruff shampoo in the game, and we assure you, it completely lives up to the hype; it conditions the scalp to keep it flake-free while also cleansing and hydrating the hair. You really can't go wrong with any of its options, but this 'Apple Fresh' formula is our favourite, because the scent smells so damn good...
$12.99 at Chemist Warehouse