7 anti-dandruff shampoos for clearing congestion and soothing your scalp
Wash your way to a flake-free life
By Delaney Loane
Digital Beauty Editor / February 11 2022
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 frustrating 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 that 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...
The Body Shop Ginger Scalp Care Shampoo
Enriched with Sri Lankan ginger and Ethiopan 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.
$5 at The Body Shop
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.
$17.50 at MooGoo
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.
$5.49 at Chemist Warehouse
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.
$34.95 at BondiBoost
Shu Uemura Art of Hair Anti-Dandruff Soothing Cleanser Shampoo
Shiso extract is the star of this soothing shampoo – it's a multitasking ingredient that's great for clearing away the impurities and chemical build-up that tend to sit on the scalp, but it's also jam-packed with omega-3 fatty acids, so it'll leave hair purified but not parched. It's a rare unicorn of a dandruff-fighting shampoo that calms and cleanses the scalp, but legitimately moisturises your mane to the point where you could just about skip conditioner.
$68 at Adore Beauty
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 their options, but this 'Apple Fresh' formula is our favourite, because the scent smells so damn good...
$5 at Super Buys
Sachajuan Scalp Shampoo
Didn't think scalp shampoo could be chic? Well, Sachajuan made it just that. This one heroes purifying ginger extract as well, 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).
$41 at Sephora