THERE are various reasons why you may find yourself with an itchy scalp.
But there's no reason you should suffer, as the best shampoos for itchy scalps can help clear up dandruff and other skin conditions that are giving you hair hell.
What causes itchy scalps?
Some people find their scalp gets itchy seasonally, when it starts to get colder, or perhaps you are suffering from an itchy scalp after colouring your hair.
Others have symptoms like flakes or irritated plaques on the skin that could mean their itchy scalp is the result of a skin condition like seborrheic dermatitis or psoriasis.
The NHS has advice pages on dandruff and itchy skin which can give you a better idea of what's causing your problem.
How can you treat an itchy scalp?
The best shampoos for an itchy scalp can help soothe any sensitivities, remove impurities and fight flakes – we've rounded up the top-rated ones online.
If you’re suffering from an itchy scalp, one of the best places to start when it comes to helping your hair is with the right shampoo.
Try to ditch any shampoos with ingredients like sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), which can be irritating on the scalp and can dry out hair.
Instead, look out for tea tree oil, oatmeal and zinc pyrithione, an anti-dandruff ingredient.
If your itchy scalp is accompanied by other symptoms, like red and inflamed skin patches with whitish plaques, cracking dry skin and soreness, you may be suffering from psoriasis – and should consult a physician.
The temptation to pick off any scales or aggressively rub your scalp to scratch it can be high, but avoid this at all costs as it can exacerbate your condition – and your discomfort down the line.
Here's our selection of the best shampoos for itchy scalps.
1. Philip Kingsley Flaky/Itchy Scalp Shampoo
Flaky/Itchy Scalp Anti-Dandruff Shampoo, £25.50 from Lookfantastic – buy here
An editor favourite, this award-winning formula from the famed trichological clinic has a lovely apple scent and rave reviews, with people claiming it banishes a flaky, itchy scalp – even from the first use.
2. The Body Shop Ginger Anti-Dandruff Shampoo
- Ginger Anti-Dandruff Shampoo, £7.50 for 250ml from The Body Shop – buy here
This gorgeous shampoo can help soothe a dry, flaky scalp and relieve dandruff symptoms thanks to a combination of Sri Lankan ginger, birch bark, white willow extracts and Community Trade Honey.
This review sums up the general love for this product: "I bought two bottles on my first order and love it.
"It was after the second wash: NO MORE DRY, ITCHY AND FLAKY SCALP, NO MORE DANDRUFF. Absolutely love it."
If you're worried about committing, start with the 60ml travel size, which only costs £2 and see how you like it.
3. Johnson's Baby Shampoo
- Johnson's Baby Shampoo, from £4.17 from Amazon – buy here
Whilst this shampoo might be designed to cleanse and moisturise the delicate hair of babies, fans of this shampoo certainly aren't limited to that demographic.
Described as "as gentle as pure water", happy customers have also said Johnson's baby shampoo is mild, prevents dandruff and stops itching.
Some claim it's great for removing eye makeup and cleaning makeup brushes too.
4. Wella Professionals Elements Renew Shampoo
- Wella Professionals Elements Renew Shampoo, £7.50 from Amazon – buy here
Shampoos with SLS ingredients can leave scalps feeling dry and exacerbate any itchy skin conditions.
Ensure you have a sulphate-free shampoo at home to gently cleanse your hair without overworking it.
Wella is the pros' favourite brand and customers love it, too.
One user said: "Drugstore shampoos were leaving me with dried out hair and an itchy scalp… I tried Wella Professionals Elements Renew Shampoo…
"My scalp no longer itches like it does with other shampoos. This shampoo lathers well, no need for conditioner or detangler as my hair now combs out easier. The scent is light, so pleasant."
5. Aveda pramāsana purifying scalp cleanser
Pramāsana purifying scalp cleanser, £24.50 from Aveda – buy here
Aveda products do have that gift of making you feel as though you're having an experience that's in between being in a salon and a spa – in your own shower.
This deep scalp cleanser is extremely gentle yet cleanses thoroughly and exfoliates.
It contains a mix of babassu extracts, wintergreen derived salicylic acid exfoliates, seaweed extract, lactobacillus, tamanu oil, grapefruit, neroli, cypress and other pure flower and plant essences.
Reviewers rave that it has relieved their itchiness. Apply before shampoo and then rinse off.
6. Head & Shoulders Classic Clean Anti-Dandruff Shampoo
- Head & Shoulders Classic Clean Anti-Dandruff Shampoo, £5 from Boots – buy here
Head & Shoulders is known for its anti-itch, anti-dandruff shampoos – on a budget.
This latest product from the brand is free from parabens, phosphates and paraffins.
The general consensus? It actually works.
As one reviewer writes: 'Head and Shoulders is fantastic value for money, as a little goes a long way. A lovely rich lather makes my scalp feel clean and fresh and also helps with itchy scalp'.
7. Australian Bodycare Hair Clean
- Australian Bodycare Hair Clean 250ml, £8.39 from LookFantastic – buy here
Tea tree oil is an antifungal agent that can be effective in relieving an itchy scalp and managing dandruff.
This shampoo is a favourite for those suffering from dermatitis, and those with dry, sensitive scalps.
It contains antibacterial Australian Tea Tree Oil, as well as moisturising Glycerin to keep your hair balanced with a soft, cleansed scalp.
8. Aveeno Skin Relief Soothing Shampoo
- Aveeno Skin Relief Soothing Shampoo, £9.99 from Superdrug – buy here
Nice and gentle, Aveeno's shampoo has colloidal oatmeal to soothe irritated scalps and cleanse hair, plus it provides relief for itchiness.
You get a generous bottle of 300ml for just £9.99.
9. Neutrogena T/Gel Therapeutic Shampoo
- Neutrogena T/Gel Therapeutic Shampoo, £5 from Amazon – buy here
This shampoo is an over-the-counter remedy for psoriasis sufferers, and contains coal tar, proven to reduce inflammation and help treat itchy, flaky scalp disorders.
People rave about this shampoo, with one ecstatic reviewer saying: "Miracle product! I tried everything to cure my psoriasis and this is the only thing that worked. Life changing!"
10. Noughty Care Taker Scalp Soothing Shampoo
- Noughty Care Taker Scalp Soothing Shampoo, £5.80 from Feel Unique – buy here
A sulphate and silicone-free formula (which translates to no SLS), Noughty's Care Taker contains bisabolol and oatmeal to soothe irritated scalps. It hydrates without leaving hair greasy and helps alleviate dandruff.
11. Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal + Coconunt Oil Micro Exfoliating Shampoo
- Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal + Coconunt Oil Micro Exfoliating Shampoo, £35.95 from Beauty Bay – buy here
The Scalp Revival Charcoal + Coconut Oil Micro Exfoliating Shampoo by Briogeo gives your scalp a deeper-than-deep cleanse, unclogging pores and getting rid of dead skin cells.
"I have used this shampoo every other wash for the past 2 weeks, and today for the first time in years, my scalp is clear. Could not be happier!!" writes one review on Beauty Bay.
12. Redken Scalp Relief Dandruff Control Shampoo
- Redken Scalp Relief Dandruff Control Shampoo 250ml, £13.15 from Lookfantastic – buy here
Incorporating lavender extract, pyrithione zinc and glycerin, the Redken Scalp Relief Dandruff Control Shampoo promises to eliminate dandruff, relieving your scalp and leaving your hair feeling healthy.
Make sure that you leave it on for at least five minutes before rinsing to really see the results.
What is the best shampoo for an itchy scalp?
There are so many shampoos available that strive to relieve itchy scalps. You should look for ingredients such as tea tree oil, pyrithione zinc, glycerin and antioxidants to give your hair a repairing cleanse.
All of the brands on this list will help with an itchy scalp, from Redken to Aveeno and Neutrogena.
Can dry shampoo cause an itchy scalp?
Dry shampoo itself will probably not cause an itchy scalp, but the act of not washing your hair for weeks on end and using dry shampoo to disguise that could cause you to have an itchy scalp.
If you use it for too long, dry shampoo can clog up your pores, creating dandruff, acne and all the unwanted things that cause an itchy scalp.
What's the best conditioner for an itchy scalp?
Most of the brands that we have featured also stock conditioners for itchy scalps, with some our favourites being from Aveda, Kérastase and Philip Kingsley,
It all depends on your budget.
Where to buy shampoos for an itchy scalp
Almost every drugstore or beauty retailer stocks shampoos for an itchy scalp, because it is such a common problem for people.
Whether you want to hit up Boots or Superdrug on the high-street, or to order from Amazon, BeautyBay, LookFantastic or CultBeauty, the options are endless.
How much do they cost?
The price of scalp-treatment shampoos ranges from below a fiver up to over £20.
Some of the more expensive formulas actually give you the same effects, so we recommend not judging shampoos on their price.
What to look for in a shampoo?
When shopping for shampoo, you should consider what you're trying to achieve with it.
If your hair is dry and flat then you're going to want to opt for a moisturising, volumnising product.
Suffering from greasy hair the day after you've washed it? Look for shampoos that give you a deeper cleanse, ridding your scalp of excess oils.
We’ve designed Sun Selects to help you find everything you need when you’re shopping around the web. Click the link to find more of our top picks.
Considering switching to animal-free products? We've rounded up the best vegan beauty products available on the market today.
Enjoyed our roundup of the best shampoos for itchy scalps? Then head over to the beauty section for more amazing product selections.
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