There's nothing sexy about dandruff. Those tiny white flakes that fall all over your head and shoulders are impossible to hide, unless, of course, you’re caught out in the middle of a snowstorm. Visible dandruff occurs when the growth cycle of the scalp's top layer speeds up and cells grow and die off too quickly. Although having a flaky, itchy scalp is common—and not at all contagious—there’s still a stigma attached to having and dealing with the issue. If you experience dandruff, finding elixirs that relieve the itching and to clear visible flakes involves a lot of product testing.
Since having a flaky scalp is kept so hush-hush, chances are if you're dealing with the issue, you haven’t branched out from the products you’ve been using for years—even if they aren’t all that effective. Luckily, brands have taken note, and there’s a variety of options to try, whether you’re looking for immediate relief from itching, or a long-term minimization of flakes. We’ve compiled the best products, from masks to shampoos—dandruff begone!
1. Nioxin Scalp Recovery Soothing Serum
Apply this leave-on serum infused with pyrithione zinc and soothing green tea to your scalp before heading to bed to help relieve the itchiness and irritation caused by dandruff, along with minimizing visible flakes.
2. Phyto Phytopelleine Botanical Scalp Treatment
Dandruff and itchiness are among the signs of an unbalanced scalp. Regain balance by massaging in this treatment, an essential oil blend of rosemary, sage, and cypress, before shampooing.
3. Kiehl's Scalp Purifying Anti-Dandruff Shampoo
So many dandruff treatment shampoos can smell medicinal. Kiehl's rosemary-scented formula cleanses away visible flakes and prevents future ones, but doesn't feel any different than using your regular shampoo.
4. Flaky Scalp Treatment Set
Finding dandruff treating products that actually work is nearly as stressful as dealing with actual dandruff. Trichologist Philip Kingsley, MD’s solution is genius: Compile all the products needed for each step in the process and package them into a convenient kit. His line’s trio includes an exfoliating scalp mask, flaky scalp shampoo, and toner to lift and wash away flakes, and cleanse the scalp.
5. Alterna Haircare Caviar Clinical Exfoliating Scalp Facial
Just like your complexion, your scalp needs to be exfoliated regularly. Alterna's hair exfoliator is equipped with a scrubbing brush to instantly slough off dead skin and excess oil while also preventing new flakes from forming.
6. Sachajuan Scalp Shampoo
A few weeks of washing your hair with this shampoo, formulated with rosemary oil, salicylic acid, and ginger root extract, and your mane will look just as beautiful (and, most importantly, flake-free) as its clean, minimal bottle does sitting in your shower.
7. Head and shoulders Nourishing Hair and Scalp Care Dandruff Shampoo, Lavender Essence
There’s no arguing that this drugstore classic gets the job done, but the addition of a calming lavender scent that will linger throughout the day will almost make you forget about your dandruff.
8. DCL SA Scalp Therapy Shampoo
On top of nourishing hair and keeping it shiny, using this gentle exfoliating shampoo will eliminate oily buildup and clear away dead cells on the scalp to minimize itching, flaking, and scaling.