The Best Shampoos For Oily Hair and Dandruff


Dandruff can be so frustrating to deal with—we’ve been there and we hear your frustrations. On top of that, whenever you touch your scalp, there is an icky sticky feeling to it. If dandruff is dry flakes falling from your scalp, why does your scalp feel so oily to the touch? A quick search on the web produces so many results about what the possible reasons are. There are a wide range of explanations ranging from climate, hormonal, environmental, genetics, and even the amount of stress you encounter on a day-to-day basis. All are said to contribute to dandruff and oily hair.

Honestly, though, the best approach is to find a dermatologist and have your scalp checked to figure out the root cause (pun intended!). There are just so many reasons for dandruff and an oily scalp! But if you do not want to spend good money on this, then perhaps you can try and test some of these products, which may work for you. 

Let’s explore the best shampoos for oily hair and dandruff available today!

1. Blu Atlas Shampoo


The one that tops our shopping list is definitely Blu Atlas shampoo. Although it is not marketed as a shampoo exclusively for people with oily hair and/or dandruff, it has everything that makes a good shampoo suitable for all types of hair. It is important to choose a shampoo that does not have too many artificial ingredients and chemicals that can do more harm to your scalp. Its gentle formula is made up of ingredients like plants, fruits, and minerals, which is great for scalps that are itching for some tender loving care! 

For scalps that are constantly itching, this shampoo contains aloe vera to help soothe the scalp and coconut-derived surfactants that will cleanse away dirt and oil that has been sitting on the scalp the whole day.

On top of all the cleansing and soothing, what your strands also need is some really good strengthening. When you’re dealing with dandruff and oily hair, your hair follicles are likely producing hair strands that are weak and rather fine. The truth is, these will grow finer and finer over the long term, so you might start to look like you have really fine hair. This shampoo contains jojoba protein and vegan biotin, which can help to repair hair strands that have been all frizzed out and weakened from the scratching and pulling. Biotin can also be taken orally to improve your hair, skin, and nail quality—check out your local drugstore for it!

The Blu Atlas shampoo is gentle enough to be used daily. Just lather a quarter-sized dollop onto your palm and massage it through your wet scalp. If we could recommend just one shampoo for oily hair and dandruff, this would be it!

2. NatureLab Perfect Clean 2-In-1 Scalp Scrub & Clarifying Shampoo


Is every nook and cranny of your bathroom stuffed with bottles of new shampoos and conditioners you hoped would solve your oily hair and dandruff problem? Each bottle is too precious to throw out and yet…none of them seems to work. We totally understand that. 

How about giving this NatureLab 2-in-1 scalp scrub and clarifying shampoo a spin? It is a two-in-one product, which means that it will save you precious bathroom counter space and money when trying to fix your oily hair and dandruff condition.

This clarifying scalp scrub and shampoo combo is grainy to the touch as it contains ‘sugar grains’ meant to be massaged into your wet scalp and rinsed out right after. It lathers up well so you can use it just like a regular shampoo, and its refreshingly light scent with notes of violet and almond is bound to brighten up any bathroom routine.

Probiotics are not only for your gut. This scalp scrub and shampoo combo is made up of sake water, which is a source of probiotics, and promises to restore and balance pH levels for a healthy scalp.To avoid stripping off the moisture that is on your scalp, it also contains hyaluronic acid, which can help to secure moisture in your hair and keep it healthy and moisturized. That means less of that oily feel you get even after rinsing your shampoo off. 

We also love that this shampoo is formulated without sulfates, parabens, and mineral oil and is cruelty-free! Not many brands can say that, making this a great find that is value for money. 

3. Redken Hair Cleansing Cream Clarifying Shampoo


It always pays to know the reason behind your dandruff. If you have been using a lot of hair products in your daily routine and there is an accumulation of product buildup on your scalp, Redken’s Hair Cleansing Cream might be the solution for you. It is a clarifying shampoo that removes product buildup, excess oil, and pollution residue in just one use. It is suitable for all hair types and colored hair—making it a great choice if you have been playing around with multiple hair styling products and colors!

Showering in hard water is one of the contributors to dandruff, which can lead to a dry scalp and thereafter, one that produces oil to overcompensate for the lack of moisture available. This clarifying cream from Redken removes the minerals that are commonly found in hard water (i.e., copper, iron, magnesium, and calcium) and on top of that, strengthens hair cuticles and adds a lustrous shine to your locks.

If you already have Redken products in your bathroom, feel free to pair it with the conditioner! You shouldn’t neglect your conditioner—even if it feels like you shouldn’t be using it when you have such oily hair.

4. Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal + Coconut Oil Micro-exfoliating Shampoo 


Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal + Coconut Oil Micro-exfoliating Shampoo may be a mouthful, but it is an important shampoo that you should consider for your bathroom routine. If you have an oily scalp and dandruff flaking from it, it is crucial that you hydrate and moisturize your scalp even as you clear it of buildup. 

The main ingredient in this shampoo is binchotan charcoal, which detoxifies and draws out impurities that clog the hair follicles and any other kind of buildup that have been plaguing your scalp. It also contains a blend of peppermint and spearmint oils to reduce itch on your scalp. The addition of these oils are not going to further clog your hair follicles, though! What it will do is to give you that cool minty feel that you associate with washing your hair thoroughly. 

Sometimes, you cannot help but scratch at your scalp, leaving unsightly red blotches—ones you may not be able to see, but that you can totally feel. This shampoo contains tea tree oil, which has antiseptic properties to help heal the scars that you leave after scratching. It keeps the area clean and hygienic while the skin on the scalp heals. 

This scalp scrub shampoo has been voted Best of Beauty in Allure’s 2018 Beauty Awards and has been clinically shown to reduce up to 82% of dry scalp flaking. 

5. KRISTIN ESS HAIR Deep Clean Clarifying Shampoo for BuildUp, Dirt + Oil


Kristin Ess may be relatively new on the scene, but it has been making waves! The Kristen Ess Deep Clean Clarifying Shampoo for BuildUp, Dirt + Oil is great for removing product buildup, excess oils, and silicones that have accumulated on your scalp over time. It lathers up well and that lather enables you to get deeper into your scalp to obtain a deeper and more satisfying clean.

It contains Kristin Ess’ proprietary “Zip-Up Technology,” which is designed to fortify split ends and “zip them up” as well as target the weaker areas of the hair to make your locks shine. Note that while it promises to protect hair from environmental stressors and “zip up” damaged cuticles, some reviews state that it might not be good for extremely frizzy or curly hair.

If you don’t belong in the frizzy hair camp, it is worth giving this shampoo that is formulated without parabens, phthalates, and silicones a try. One small point, though—this shampoo comes in a ‘soft’ shampoo bottle, so once you are nearing the end of the bottle, it might get a teeny bit harder to get the shampoo out. A small inconvenience to pay to try a shampoo that has received many good reviews!

6. Kitsch Tea Tree & Mint Clarifying Shampoo Bar


We know we have provided quite a list of clarifying shampoos, but this one is probably the most eco-friendly option so far. The Kitsch Tea Tree & Mint Clarifying Shampoo comes in a  102g bar formula and one bar is estimated to last 100 washes.

Sometimes people ask: Is it possible to have oily hair and a dry, flaky scalp at the same time? And the answer is yes! Excess sebum production causes more dirt and impurities to be lodged in your hair follicles, so if your hair’s oily, it is vital to use a shampoo that can gently remove buildup and excess oils on your scalp to clean it thoroughly.

The tea tree and mint essential oils included in the formula will deal with that, plus ensure your shower will be a truly refreshing experience.

7. First Aid Beauty Anti-Dandruff Shampoo with 1% Pyrithione Zinc


First Aid Beauty Anti-Dandruff Shampoo with 1% Pyrithione Zinc is one of the best shampoos for oily hair and dandruff out there. The reason is that it contains Pyrithione Zinc (OTC, 1%), which specifically targets the root cause of dandruff. Pyrithione Zinc helps to combat flakes and irritation of the scalp, meaning that you scratch your scalp less. Less scratching means less white flakes falling on your favorite black t-shirt!

First Aid Beauty is also made for colored hair, so you wouldn’t have to worry if you just dyed your hair a beautiful bleach blonde but still want to tackle dandruff at its root cause. It lathers up really nicely and has a light tropical scent, which guarantees you a great bath experience. 

First Aid Beauty Anti-Dandruff Shampoo with 1% Pyrithione Zinc also contains silk peptides, which helps to soothe frizzy and distressed hair, giving it a more lustrous look and feel.

In fact, First Aid Beauty actually commissioned a consumer perception study involving 51 participants after ten days of use of this product. Of the participants, 85% of participants said that this shampoo actually helped to “eliminate the look of their dandruff flakes.” 

This shampoo is widely available at pharmacies and chain beauty stores, so check it out today.

8. Head & Shoulders Dry Scalp Care Anti-Dandruff Shampoo


We cannot talk about the best shampoos for oily hair and dandruff without mentioning the #1 dermatologist-recommended brand, Head & Shoulders. It’s been on the market since 1962—that’s more than half a century! It’s probably the first anti-dandruff shampoo available, and most of us have reached for it to help solve our dandruff and oily hair problem at some point in our lives.

Head & Shoulders Dry Scalp Care Shampoo lathers up very well and since it is medicated, it treats symptoms like dryness of the scalp, itchy scalp, and flakes. All of this works to ensure that your scalp looks and feels healthy. This product uses what Head & Shoulders calls “scalp shield technology,” which provides an “invisible shield of protection against dandruff” and helps to “renew your protection” every time you use it in the shower. It can be used regularly or daily to protect against dandruff without drying up your scalp due to the addition of almond oil.

An inexpensive addition to your shower routine, it does make sense to always keep a bottle of Head & Shoulders Dry Scalp Care Anti-Dandruff Shampoo handy to treat pesky passing dandruff! 

9. SheaMoisture Anti-Dandruff Shampoo


Apple cider vinegar is an inexpensive way to make shampoo more acidic, so that it exfoliates the scalp, stripping it off flakes, oil, and product buildup. If you are not confident about adding apple cider vinegar to your regular shampoo, you can always try SheaMoisture Anti-Dandruff Shampoo. Apple cider vinegar is part of the SheaMoisture Apple Cider Vinegar Anti-Dandruff System, which helps to strengthen your hair follicles and keep dandruff at bay. 

It also includes Vitamin B3 and salicylic acid, which also assist to gently cleanse and remove the flaking and itching associated with dandruff and oily hair. Although your hair feels oily to the touch due to excessive sebum production, that does not mean you should avoid moisturizing or conditioning your hair! This apple cider vinegar-focused shampoo includes fair trade shea butter and is designed to care for your scalp’s pH level, keeping it healthy and moisturized after every wash. 

If you have moolah to spend, you can consider buying SheaMoisture’s conditioner to pair with the shampoo to strengthen your hair and prevent breakage. As a bonus, all SheaMoisture hair care products are ethically-traded, sustainably-produced, and cruelty-free. 

10. Bringadi Hair Cleanser


If you want to give a more natural option a try, you could look for Kama Ayurveda’s Bringadi Hair Cleanser. This hair cleanser might not be readily available so may take some effort to locate, but it’s so worth it! 

Bringadi Hair Cleanser includes a unique formulation with bhringraj, amla, liquorice, and indigo extracts. These help to enhance the natural volume of your hair after every wash. Bhringraj oil increases blood circulation to the scalp and roots, which promotes hair growth by activating the hair follicles. 

If you notice that your hair has been thinning, amla is the right ingredient to use to increase the volume of your hair. Historically, amla has been used to strengthen hair follicles and reduce thinning of your hair. You do not see indigo extracts very often, but perform a useful function in balancing the scalp’s oiliness, which helps to prevent fungal infections on the scalp. 

In a four-week clinical study on this product involving men and women who had moderate to severe hair fall due to dandruff, participants observed an 18% reduction in dandruff flakes and had a five-time improvement in natural hair volume in just 28 days. Those are some good stats!

11. Jack Black Big Sir Body & Hair Cleanser


Like the NatureLab 2-in-1 clarifying shampoo we mentioned at the start of the article, this Jack Black’s Big Sir Body & Hair Cleanser is an aromatic cleanser that works on both body and hair, gently washing away dirt and sweat. Jack Black is a popular brand with men, but it does not mean that females cannot use it too! It contains aloe vera that helps soothe, calm, and soften the skin on both the scalp and body. It also contains panthenol (pro-Vitamin b5) which provides sorely-needed moisture for both your scalp and hair.

The bonus is that it smells great too! It includes bergamot, marine, and woody amber notes combined to create a refreshing shower experience for you.

12. Head & Shoulders Clinical Strength Dandruff Defense + Dry Scalp Rescue Shampoo


If you have been battling oily hair and dandruff for a long time now, perhaps it is time to introduce a heavyweight shampoo: introducing Head & Shoulders Clinical Strength Dandruff Defense + Dry Scalp Rescue Shampoo.

This is a clinical version of Head & Shoulders’ anti-dandruff shampoo that promises extra strength and benefits. It contains 35% more dandruff-fighting power compared to ordinary anti-dandruff shampoos and is actually made with 1% selenium sulfide, which is a prescription-strength level for dandruff relief and flaking protection.

If your oily scalp has pus coming out whenever you scratch at it, you may have seborrheic dermatitis, which requires a much higher concentration of ingredients to treat. To keep your scalp moisturized and healthy, this shampoo also includes manuka honey. Its moisturizing properties are coupled with its antiseptic properties, which helps with keeping your scalp healthy.

For best results, it is recommended that you use the shampoo at least twice a week, but if you are looking for maximum control, you should use it every time you shampoo your hair. 

If you are unsure about how often you should be using this Head & Shoulders shampoo, consult a doctor.

13. Biolage SCALP SYNC Anti-Dandruff Shampoo


The Biolage Professional range is a staple in beauty salons because of its high-quality natural ingredients and professional standards. This product, Biolage Professional Scalp Sync Shampoo, contains pyrithione zinc, which helps to target excessive dandruff and control the appearance of visible flakes on your hair.

It also contains mint leaf extract, which calms your oily scalp and keeps bacteria at bay. It is certified cruelty-free under the Leaping Bunny Program and is 100% vegan.

Fun fact: Biolage became the #1 American salon haircare brand in 1996, after just six years on the U.S. market. To date, it is still popular with American salons and you can see their products displayed alongside salon stalwarts like Kerastase and Revlon.

14. Hairpy Birthday Scalp Serum 


A small product that is made fresh to order, the Hairpy Birthday organic scalp serum may not be a shampoo per se, but it could play an essential part in making sure your scalp stays healthy! After shampooing, you should consider spraying this organic scalp serum directly on your clean scalp and massaging the product into your hair.

Made of entirely natural ingredients like rose water, mint, and rosemary, it can last up to eight weeks as it does not contain any preservatives. Studies have shown that the inclusion of rosemary is actually similar to minoxidil (typically used to treat hair fall) in terms of effects—and with none of the itchy side effects that minoxidil has. It also has antifungal and anti-bacterial properties that can help when you have been scratching away at your scalp.

Besides adding a beautiful scent to your shower routine, rosewater can also help to balance excessive sebum production and restore balance to the scalp environment so your oily hair doesn’t get out of control.

The small bottle makes this product easier to apply after your shampooing. We highly recommend adding this organic serum to your routine.

15. Alpecin Double Effect Shampoo 


Made in Germany, Alpecin is a household brand that everybody knows. It is a fairly strong formula that tackles dandruff in a two-step process every time you wash your hair. 

It is usually used in pharmaceutical products to create anti-dandruff products, but Alpecin has now packaged it in a 2-in-1 shampoo, making it accessible for the masses. With this product, you say no to flakes every time you brush your hair! 

In the first step, this Double-Effect Caffeine Shampoo loosens scaly, keratinous cells and thoroughly removes dandruff from the scalp. It combines salicylic acid and piroctone olamine, which help to take care of cosmetic (top layer) dandruff first, enhancing the resilience of the scalp. Piroctone olamine has an antimicrobial effect on the scalp, which stops the formation of new dandruff in its tracks.

In the second step, the caffeine complex kickstarts new hair growth to replace the weak hair strands caused by blocked hair follicles. The dosage of caffeine is so high that it actually contains a warning to athletes who need to avoid caffeine, as it will actually penetrate into the hair roots about two minutes after you use it.

The lowdown

Whether you are struggling with oily hair or dandruff, or both at the same time, do not fret! The best thing you can do for yourself is to first see a dermatologist to determine the reason for your flaky scalp. You don’t have to do this alone—dandruff and oily scalp are more common than you think. 

The next best thing you can do for yourself would be to stress less in life, as stress is a contributor to excessive sebum production, which causes hair and scalp problems. 

Last but not least, give yourself time to experiment with different shampoos, conditioners, and serums to get the best result. Don’t worry if the first few shampoos you buy don’t work for you; just like skincare, you will have to take time to find out what works and what doesn’t. All the best on your hair care journey!

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