The Best Dandruff Shampoos for Women 


Did you know about 50% of the world’s population suffers from dandruff at some point in their lives? Not only do sufferers experience visible flakes in their hair and on their clothing, but they also often have painful, irritated scalps.

Dandruff can be an uncomfortable, embarrassing  and persistent problem, but there is help out there. Finding a good shampoo to suit your particular circumstances can be a real lifesaver.

We’ve counted down our 30 best dandruff shampoos for women. They vary from formulas using powerful chemicals like ketoconazole, to more natural concoctions with rosemary, mint, and tea tree. Enjoy! 

1. Blu Atlas Shampoo


This shampoo is very gentle and formulated using 98% natural ingredients. Biotin and saw palmetto strengthen hair, while jojoba protein repairs damaged locks and aloe vera calms the scalp. It’s gentle enough to use everyday, and it comes in classic and delicious coconut apricot flavors.

People who struggle with dandruff have said this shampoo works wonders. Blu Atlas shampoo is vegan, paraben-, phthalate-, sulfate-, and cruelty-free—great for you and the environment. Pair with Blu Atlas conditioner for an amazing hair day.

2. Head and Shoulders Classic Clean Shampoo 


This pH-balanced shampoo is a tried and true favorite of people who struggle with dandruff. It reduces flakes, plus helps with itchiness, oiliness, and dryness. The active ingredients include zinc pyrithione, an antifungal commonly found in dandruff shampoos. 

It’s paraben-free, and has a distinctive, light scent. Customers say it leaves their hair feeling clean and hydrated.

3. Dove Dryness and Itch Relief Anti-Dandruff Shampoo 


With regular use, this shampoo leaves hair flake-free. It’s also deeply hydrating, and it soothes dry and itchy scalps, leaving you with smoother, less frizzy hair. 

It’s coconut and shea-butter scented, and pH-balanced. The active ingredient of this shampoo is also zinc pyrithione. 

For maximum shine, it can be followed with an anti-dandruff conditioner from the same range.

4. Avalon Organics Anti-Dandruff Itch and Flake Shampoo


This shampoo contains aloe and chamomile to soothe your scalp, as well as 2% salicylic acid and tea tree oil to get rid of flakes. It’s vegan and biodegradable—you can buy it safe in the knowledge that it’s not going to hang around in the environment. 

Plus, it’s made without parabens, harsh sulfates and preservatives, phthalates, artificial colors and fragrances, and animal testing. It has a pleasant citrus smell and customers say it’s great for seborrheic dermatitis. Use it with care, however, if you have very sensitive skin.

5. Biolage Anti-Dandruff Shampoo 


This shampoo will cool your scalp and improve its condition. The dandruff-fighting ingredient is zinc pyrithione, and it also contains mint, which has soothing and anti-inflammatory properties.

It’s received some rave reviews from anti-dandruff sufferers, and it’s safe for color-treated hair.  Plus, it’s vegan, cruelty-free, and comes in a recyclable bottle.

6. Shea Moisture Apple Cider Vinegar Anti-Dandruff Shampoo 


Infused with Fair Trade shea butter, apple cider vinegar, Vitamin B3, and salicylic acid, this shampoo cleans your scalp, removing build up and quelling the itchiness and irritation that comes with dandruff. 

No animal testing, sulfates, parabens, phthalates, mineral oil, or petrolatum are involved in producing this shampoo. Follow with conditioner for soft, hydrated hair.

7. Oribe Serene Scalp Anti-Dandruff Shampoo 


Another color-safe choice, this shampoo alleviates irritation and dermatitis. It contains salicylic acid, orange and lemon extracts, bilberry fruit and sugar maple, and also watermelon, lychee, and edelweiss flower extracts. 

You’ll be left with hair that’s deeply nourished and hydrated. Best of all, it has a light, fruity scent.

8. Dr Organic Coffee Mint Anti-Dandruff Shampoo


This UK-based shampoo has an interesting twist—it’s blended with organic ingredients including coffee bean and ginger, peppermint oil, patchouli, and cedarwood. 

Customers are impressed by this fragrant shampoo, and say it’s very effective at removing flakes and reducing itchiness. Additionally, it’s vegan, and SLS- and paraben-free.

9. Percy & Reed I’m no flake anti-dandruff shampoo


From another UK-brand, this shampoo uses piroctone olamine to target the root cause of dandruff and pro Vitamin B5 to strengthen hair and leave it looking silky and shiny. It’s suitable for all hair types (including color-treated hair). 

Reviewers say Percy & Reed’s I’m not flake anti-dandruff shampoo is quick and effective, with noticeable results after just one wash. In the UK, it’s considered one of the best dandruff shampoos for women.

10. Vanicream AntiDandruff Shampoo 


This product contains 2% zinc pyrithione, and it’s specially formulated for the most sensitive scalps. It’s not only free from parabens and sulfates, but other nasty chemicals like lanolin and formaldehyde, as well as dye, fragrance, and gluten. 

If you have sensitive skin and dandruff, this is a great option for you.

11. Jupiter Balancing Shampoo 


Another formula containing zinc pyrithione, this shampoo also includes mint, vanilla, sage, and lavender. It controls the amount of oil produced by your scalp and eliminates flakes—plus it’s also supposed to strengthen your hair and reduce the amount of breakage you experience. 

It’s recommended for mild to moderate dandruff only.

12. Ouai Anti-Dandruff Shampoo 


This shampoo is from high-end, Parisian-inspired brand Ouai. The salicylic acid in this shampoo exfoliates the scalp and helps to stop itchiness and flaking. Designed to combat dandruff without drying out your hair, its other ingredients include ginger, spearmint, and green fig. 

It smells delicious and customers have found it very effective. All of that’s contained in  sustainable packaging and with no parabens, sulfates, or animal testing.

13. First Aid Beauty Anti-Dandruff Shampoo


With 1% zinc pyrithione, silk peptides, Vitamin E, and calendula this shampoo will soothe your scalp and leave your hair looking lovely, moisturized, and smooth. 

It’s good for both straight and curly hair. Made without parabens and sulfates, you’ll be pleased to know it’s also vegan and gluten-free.

14. Nizoral Anti-Dandruff Shampoo 


Nizoral is a powerful treatment for severe dandruff. It contains 1% ketoconazole, which kills the fungus that causes the condition. To go any stronger than this shampoo, you would probably need a doctor’s prescription!

Nizoral is not for long-term use—it should cure your dandruff within a month. Reviewers have described it as a “miracle drug.” Use it with caution, however, if you have sensitive skin.

15. Mizani Scalp Care Dry Scalp Shampoo


This mint-scented shampoo contains zinc pyrithione as its active ingredient. It’s specially designed for curly and textured hair, and it also contains peppermint oil and cucumber extract to moisturize the scalp and leave it feeling soothed and refreshed. 

Follow up this product with conditioner or scalp calming lotion. Users say this shampoo produces great results with consistent usage.

16. Body Shop Ginger Scalp Care Shampoo for Dry, Flaky Scalps



This ginger-based formula from the Body Shop draws from traditional Ayurvedic medicine. Ginger is particularly useful in the treatment of dandruff due to its anti-inflammatory properties, which should calm an irritated and inflamed scalp.

It also contains vegan silk protein, birch bark, and white willow bark extracts, which have exfoliating and astringent properties. After washing away loose, flaky dandruff, it will leave your scalp rebalanced and hydrated, and your hair healthy and shiny. It’s cruelty-free and ethically sourced.

17. Philip Kingsley Flaky Itchy Scalp Shampoo


This shampoo contains salicylic acid and panthenol, and it’s designed to reduce flakiness and itchiness and nourish your sensitive scalp. Anyone can use it, but it’s particularly good for color-treated hair. It will keep your locks looking fresh and vibrant.

Users have said they’re particularly impressed by the way it combats dandruff without leaving hair feeling dry—it’s been described by some as a “miracle product.” It’s good for the environment, with 100% recyclable packaging.

18. Aveda Scalp Benefits Shampoo


This anti-dandruff shampoo contains a blend of powerful plant-based ingredients. They include burdock root, sea buckthorn, echinacea, and sage, which together remove dandruff, calm the scalp, and encourage healthy hair growth. 

A coconut and babassu-derived agent is also used to condition and moisturize the hair. Reviewers are impressed by how it leaves their hair feeling thicker and stronger.

19. Bed Head by Tigi Resurrection Shampoo 


This shampoo is rejuvenating and refreshing, and a great choice for damaged hair. It provides intense nourishment and hydration to dry scalps. 

Note that it may not be that helpful if you suffer from very severe dandruff, but it will help moderately dry and flaky skin. People who use it say it leaves their hair soft, shiny, and more manageable.

20. Maple Holistics Tea Tree Shampoo 


A gentle dandruff-control shampoo with a salon-feel, Maple Holistics Tea Tree Shampoo has a tea tree and lavender scent. It also contains jojoba oil, rosemary, and botanical keratin (a strengthening agent). 

It’s sulfate- and paraben-free, and perfect for moderate cases of dandruff. It’s also great for dry, tangly hair.

21. Love Beauty and Planet Radical Refresher Tea Tree Oil and Vetiver Shampoo 


This gentle shampoo contains tea tree oil and vetiver (from the family of plants that includes lemongrass and citronella). It’s soothing and calming. 

The shampoo is vegan, and made without animal testing. Free from parabens, dyes, and silicones, customers say this shampoo is effective (not just for dandruff but for issues like body acne). However, they also report a drying effect if your hair is already brittle or damaged. Best used with conditioner—you could even invest in a hair mask or serum afterward.

22. L’Oreal Instant Clear Shampoo 


From beauty giant L’Oreal, this shampoo contains both salicylic acid and zinc pyrithione to combat dandruff. It also contains menthol, which soothes and cools the scalp. It’s suitable for all hair types, including color-treated hair.

Reviewers say that it’s great for clearing up occasional dandruff, and it has a pleasant minty scent, but if you use it for more than a couple of weeks at a time, it can have a drying effect on hair. Use with conditioner, and/or other moisturizing hair products.

23. Mane’n Tail Two in One Anti-Dandruff Shampoo and Conditioner 


Originally this company produced only horse shampoos—but after the equestrian community found they could also use the product on their own hair, Mane’N’Tail started making products for  people too!

The anti-dandruff formula contains natural herbs and olive oil, as well as conditioners that give hair more volume and a great silky texture. It’s suitable for all hair types, including dyed hair.

Reviewers describe its scent as light and summery, and some have described it as one of the best two-in-one dandruff treatments out there.

24. Neutrogena T/Gel Therapeutic Shampoo


This shampoo is designed to treat dandruff, psoriasis, and seborrheic dermatitis. It uses tar, a dandruff remedy that has been around for centuries. The other active ingredient is neutar, which along with coal tar, helps to slow down sebum production, plus reduce itchiness and flakiness.

Follow the instructions on the label carefully. If you have color-treated hair, it’s best to use a different product. It’s also not recommended for use if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.

Most reviews of this product are very positive, and some even describe it as a miracle cure for psoriasis. The downside is not much can be done to mask the distinctive smell of tar!

25. Milkshake Purifying Blend Shampoo 


Designed to thoroughly clean the hair and remove buildup, this shampoo contains essential oils to cleanse the scalp. It also has nettle extract, zinc pyrithione, and antioxidant seaweed extract to protect the hair from pollutants. It’s free from parabens and sulfates.

Most reviews of this product are good, with customers saying it left their hair feeling clean, healthier, and shiny, and that it reduced scalp problems.

26. Goldwell Kerasilk Revitalise Detoxifying Shampoo 


Designed for oily scalps, this shampoo cleanses and removes flakes, as well as hydrating the scalp and decreasing frizziness. It contains red algae and grapeseed oil, to purify hair, and engineered keratin to strengthen hair. 

This product is infused with a light floral fragrance. Users say it’s also effective for normal-to-dry hair.

27. Klorane Shampoo with Organic Peony 


This vegan, pH-balanced shampoo uses organic Chinese Peony extract to cleanse and soothe hair. It’s designed to reduce itching and calm irritated scalps from the first use. 

Reviewers say it helps conditions like dandruff and psoriasis with regular use, and it isn’t as harsh on hair as some other options. It also has a refreshing floral scent, rather than a “medicated” smell. 

28. Christophe Robin Purifying Shampoo with Jujube Bark Extract


Made with jujube bark and cherry blossom, this lightweight formula is designed to soothe irritated scalps for up to 72 hours after use, and remove excess sebum.

When used consistently over a period of weeks, it will clear up minor-to-moderate scalp issues you have, and leave your hair looking fantastic.

29. JASON Normalising Tea Tree Treatment Shampoo 


Tea tree oil, grapefruit extract, wheat germ oil, and other nourishing natural ingredients in this product work to control dry, flaky skin, and rebalance the scalp. It’s also good for treating hair lice.

Reviewers say it feels “invigorating” and leaves their hair feeling ultra-soft and moisturized. However, this shampoo might not be suitable for people with very sensitive skin, or those who are sensitive to fragrances.

30. Ethique Calming Solid Shampoo Bar 


It’s not specifically marketed as anti-dandruff, but this shampoo bar is great for relieving itchiness and scalp sensitivity. Customers say it’s a terrific product, though it doesn’t last as long as a traditional shampoo. 

Soap-free, pH-balanced, and kiwifruit flavored, the neem and karanja oils in this formula will soothe your scalp and leave you feeling refreshed.

Frequently asked questions

What causes dandruff? 

Dandruff is often caused by Malassezia, a non-contagious, yeast-like fungus that lives on the scalp. Having Malassezia is completely normal, but in some people this fungus causes a reaction—leading to excess oil and the scalp shedding dead skin cells (which look like white flakes sitting in the person’s hair). 

Weather and climate can also have an impact on dandruff. Cold weather exacerbates dryness, while hot weather can make Malassezia grow more quickly.

Severe dandruff can also be caused by a related condition, seborrheic dermatitis, which doesn’t only affect the scalp, but other areas of the body that produce sebum as well, including the face, chest, and sometimes the back. It appears as patches of itchy and scaly red skin, and it also causes cradle cap in infants. 

If you think you or your child have seborrheic dermatitis, it’s best to go straight to the doctor as you will likely need prescription medication. Other potential causes of dandruff include eczema and psoriasis, or allergic reactions to hair products.

Who gets dandruff?

It’s estimated that about 50% of the population will struggle with dandruff at some point in their lives. Adult men are slightly more likely than women to suffer from dandruff. The condition can be temporary, in response to hormonal changes (for instance, during pregnancy or in adolescence).

Which synthetic ingredients combat dandruff? And which one is best? 

  • Ketoconazole: This is one of the best antifungal ingredients available—it’s as effective as steroids when it comes to treating seborrheic dermatitis. However, it isn’t usually included in dandruff shampoos because it is very strong and it has some potential side effects, including potential hair discoloration and even hair loss. It’s best to exercise caution when using shampoos that contain this ingredient and follow the instructions on the label carefully. It’s usually not recommended for children under 12, or pregnant and breastfeeding women. 
  • Selenium sulfide: This antifungal is not as strong as ketoconazole, but it’s still very effective at fighting Malassezia. It slows down the growth of yeast and bacteria, and it’s often found in anti-dandruff treatments. 
  • Zinc pyrithione: This ingredient is not as strong as either selenium sulfide or ketoconazole, but it’s one of the most commonly used ingredients when it comes to fighting dandruff. Shampoos containing this ingredient are a great starting point for combatting mild-to-moderate cases of dandruff. 
  • Salicylic acid: Rather than an antifungal chemical, salicylic acid is an anti-inflammatory. It’s great at treating both psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis. It also has “keratolytic” properties, removing skin flakes and improving itchiness. 
  • Piroctone olamine: This is a fairly new ingredient, but it’s very effective when it comes to dandruff control. It’s another antifungal, and it works particularly well when combined with salicylic acid and coal tar. 
  • Coal tar: Although it’s a tried and true dandruff cure, as well as a cure for scalp psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis, coal tar is still relatively uncommon in shampoos due to its pungent smell and texture. It’s also a surprisingly obscure substance—it contains more than 10,0000 chemicals, but half are still to be identified. Because of this, many people are cautious when using shampoos that contain this ingredient. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should either avoid shampoos using this ingredient or consult a doctor first.  

What should I do if I think I have dandruff? 

If you keep finding white flakes in your hair and on your shoulders, the first step is usually to look for a good anti-dandruff shampoo and follow the instructions on the label. There’s a wide variety of shampoo options out there, and you don’t have to go straight for a more “medicinal” brand. Some of the best dandruff shampoos for women will leave your hair silky and smooth, and smell like normal hair products.

Some experts also suggest going easy on other hair products, like gels and sprays, while you’re suffering from dandruff. Too much product can potentially make the issue worse. Likewise, until the issue is resolved, try not to blow dry or straighten your hair too much. It’s also best to avoid itching your head if you can.

If you start experiencing side effects from your dandruff shampoo, or if your dandruff will not go away, have a talk to a doctor or dermatologist for advice.

Which natural ingredients can help dandruff?

People often want to know if there are gentler, natural alternatives to anti-dandruff shampoos. Here are a few plant-based remedies that are reported to be particularly helpful:

Tea tree oil

This is found in many shampoos and conditioners and is antibacterial and antifungal. If you have young children, it is also a way of preventing hair lice. It is powerful, though; before you use a tea tree product, do an allergy test first if you have sensitive skin. You can buy the oil itself at the pharmacist—but ALWAYS dilute it before you try to apply it to your scalp.

Apple cider vinegar

There are a few anti-dandruff products out there that include this natural antifungal agent. Alternatively, you might be able to make a home remedy, mixing vinegar with warm water. Test a patch of hair first, to guard against irritation.

Aloe vera

Great at calming itchy skin, this is an extremely popular ingredient in many hair and skin products. You should easily be able to find a mild shampoo containing aloe vera to soothe your scalp and reduce irritation.


This is not really a common ingredient in shampoo, due to its distinctive and pungent smell, but it is a very effective home remedy for dandruff. It contains allicin, a natural anti-fungal that will halt the growth of Malassezia. If you want to try this, you might need to prepare a concoction yourself. Adding more garlic to your diet is also supposed to be effective.

Walnut oil

Walnuts are a great source of zinc and omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce inflammation. They also contain Vitamin E and biotin, which help protect against hair dryness and hair loss. You might be able to find some shampoos or hair treatments that include walnut oil, or alternatively, you can also try adding more walnuts to your diet. 

Coconut oil

This oil contains fatty acids and is a great moisturizer that penetrates the hair shaft and nourishes hair. It’s a popular ingredient among hair care product manufacturers, and it makes your hair smell delicious. It’s  included in some of the best dandruff shampoos for women. If you want to try a home remedy, you can also try to source the essential oil, which can be applied straight to your scalp.


This herb is also said to be quite effective in boosting the overall health of your hair and scalp—you can purchase rosemary oil, or try a mixture of warm water and loose-leaf rosemary. It is quite a common ingredient in shampoos and conditioners.

Is there any way to prevent dandruff? 

Dandruff has been linked to stress. When you’re under pressure, your body’s natural defenses can become a bit out-of-whack, and your system might have a harder time keeping Malassezia in check. Learning strategies to deal with everyday stressors (such as meditation or journaling) can be helpful. Sleeping well, staying hydrated, and eating a balanced diet can also halt the development of dandruff before it becomes a problem.

Allergies are another cause of dandruff, so if you think a hair product might be causing you irritation, try to transition to a shampoo and conditioner more suitable for sensitive skin/hair. People who are prone to dandruff sometimes experience fewer outbreaks if they reduce the number of hair products they use (i.e., gels, mousses, sprays) and air dry their hair when they can, rather than using a hair dryer.

Finally, not brushing your hair regularly can actually lead to the development of dandruff. This is caused by clogged hair follicles, a buildup of oil and grease, and even poorer circulation (because brushing stimulates blood flow to your scalp). Take care of your hair, and your hair will love you for it!

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