The 8 Best Scalp Treatments, According to Customer Reviews
Think of your scalp as an extension of the skin on your face. You have a dedicated, multi-step routine to keep skin clear, smooth, and healthy, right? Meanwhile, your scalp gets a dose of shampoo and conditioner (at best), and in-between it has dry shampoo, styling products, oil, and your day-to-day environment to contend with.
There is a direct relationship between healthy hair and your scalp. Your scalp can cause nearly every hair problem you can think of, such as dandruff, excess oil, decreased body or shine, and hair thinning or loss, says William Gaunitz, certified trichologist and founder of Advanced Trichology. "If your scalp is unhealthy, meaning it is inflamed, dry, or dealing with an overgrowth of fungus or bacteria, then you will not have healthy hair."
These are the best scalp treatments, according to customer reviews:
- Best for Dry Scalp: Living Proof Scalp Care Dry Scalp Treatment
- Best for Oily Scalp: Moroccanoil Oily Scalp Treatment
- Best for Dandruff: Nioxin Scalp Recovery Serum Soothing Serum
- Best for Itchy Scalp: Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal Tea Tree Cooling Hydration Mask for Dry, Itchy Scalp
- Best for Inflammation: Hairstem DHT Blocker Hair Growth Shampoo
- Best for Buildup: OGX Extra Strength Refreshing Scalp Teatree Mint Scalp Treatment
- Best for Skin Conditions: Yes To Tea Tree Gentle & Soothing Pre-Shampoo Scalp Scrub
- Best for Curly, Coily Hair: Head & Shoulders Royal Oils Daily Moisture Scalp Cream with Coconut Oil
The first course of action to maintaining a healthy scalp is making sure you aren't deficient in any vitamins, specifically vitamin D3, iron, ferritin, zinc, and folate, which are all needed for a healthy scalp and hair growth. Schedule an appointment with your doctor to have your levels tested, so you can decide which vitamin supplements are right for you. Optimal nutrition can also help control dry scalp and eliminate dandruff, because it optimizes the scalp to have nutrients available to nourish the area, explains Gaunitz.
And even if you're not washing your hair daily, it's important to brush it out. A natural boar brush is ideal to remove excess oil from the scalp and deposit it through the length of your strands. "The 'glow' we talk about when hair is healthy refers to the even spread of the skin's natural oil (called sebum) along the hair shaft," Ted Lain, MD, a dermatologist in Texas, previously told Health. Scalp treatments can remove buildup and dead skin from your roots, and brushing can help distribute oils on the scalp more evenly.
Besides nutrition and daily maintenance, there are treatments that can address your specific scalp concerns. Ahead, the best scalp treatments, according to customer reviews.
Best for Dry Scalp: Living Proof Scalp Care Dry Scalp Treatment
Just like dry winter air, heat, or a lack of moisture can wreak havoc on your face, it can also cause your scalp to feel dry and itchy. A leave-in moisturizing cream can drive hydrating ingredients, like vitamin B3 and hyaluronic acid, straight to the source to soothe and calm inflammation.
One reviewer wrote: "Worth it. For YEARS I've had super dry scalp with flakes and itching... I can't believe the dryness is finally gone. I'm fair-skinned and generally have really dry skin but have never found a product specifically for dry scalp (most are for dandruff) except for greasy hair masks. I used to be able to scrape a comb across my scalp and have a full head of little white flakes, but after a few weeks (it does take some time) my scalp became healthy and flake-free. I only wash my hair once a week, and after the first wash and the next rinse I use this. A bottle has already lasted me like four months and it's maybe half gone. I also feel like my hair is generally healthier looking (and not greasy) overall. I will keep buying this."
Best for Oily Scalp: Moroccanoil Oily Scalp Treatment
While a shampoo cleanses strands, sometimes it's not strong enough to accurately clean your scalp, too. This pre-shampoo serum goes on dry hair and is left for five to ten minutes before your normal shampoo and conditioner routine, in order to remove oil, sweat, and product buildup. The serum contains ginger root oil to minimize oil production, biotin peptide complex to support healthy hair, and argan oil, which nourishes the hair and scalp.
"I have fine, thin hair that gets oily and greasy-looking in the blink of an eye," shared a customer. "If I shower before bed, I'll wake up the next day looking like my last shower was a few months ago. So I was excited to try this, as I've used multiple Moroccanoil products and loved them. This is applied to your hair before you wash it. It smells absolutely wonderful, of course, I would expect no less. It washed out easily and left no residue in my hair or my shower. I've used it a handful of times and I can actually go a few days between washing my hair without looking like a grease bomb, and having to use half a can of dry shampoo. I will definitely keep using this!!"
Best for Dandruff: Nioxin Scalp Recovery Serum Soothing Serum
Dandruff, characterized by a flaking, itchy scalp, can be uncomfortable but also embarrassing to manage. Pyrithione zinc is an antifungal, antimicrobial, and antibacterial ingredient that inhibits the overgrowth of yeast—the main factor in dandruff—and the active ingredient in many dandruff treatments. This Nioxin soothing serum is the last step in a three-step dandruff relief system, coming after shampoo and conditioner. The leave-on cream provides relief from the itching, as well as helps to eliminate flaking and irritation.
"I have pretty bad dandruff every now and then. After using the product for a week straight I noticed a significant difference in how itchy and flaky my scalp was," reported a shopper. "You do have to use it regularly to treat it, as it doesn't go away forever, but having some with you whenever you do have an issue, it really helps."
Best for Itchy Scalp: Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal Tea Tree Cooling Hydration Mask for Dry, Itchy Scalp
Your scalp becomes dry, flaky, and irritated so you scratch to relieve the sensation—which leads to more irritation and flakes, and around and around you go. Break the vicious cycle by adding in a scalp mask that gently exfoliates build-up, soothes irritation, and nourishes the skin. This one contains charcoal to detox, tea tree, peppermint, and spearmint oils for a cooling effect and reduce itchiness, as well as aloe vera and hyaluronic acid to hydrate.
One fan said: "My itchy scalp has literally NEVER been happier. I was nervous this would damage my hair, but it didn't at all and it left my scalp feeling so much better and flake-free."
Best for Inflammation: Hairstem DHT Blocker Hair Growth Shampoo
"If your scalp is already inflamed or if you're dealing with a microbial overgrowth, I would highly recommend switching to this shampoo and conditioner," says Gaunitz. The shampoo is designed to decrease inflammation on the scalp by controlling dandruff and flaking caused by bacteria and fungus. After you apply, be sure to scrub your scalp with the pads, not nails, of your fingers for one minute, before rinsing clean and conditioning, suggests Gaunitz.
"This is a natural and effective shampoo that cleanses well without harsh chemicals or over-drying my hair. My scalp feels clean and less irritated. Hair is less oily the day after shampooing since I shampoo every other day. Having a healthier scalp helps with hair loss. My hair does seem slightly thicker after use," noted a customer.
Best for Buildup: OGX Extra Strength Refreshing Scalp Teatree Mint Scalp Treatment
What could be easier than a liquid you pour over your scalp to wash away buildup? Answer: almost nothing. And that's exactly what this scalp treatment delivers. After shampooing, towel dry hair, and squeeze a little bit on section by section. The tea tree-witch hazel mixture balances the scalp, while the mint gives you a refreshing, tingly sensation.
"I've had a problem with dry/ flaky scalp for as long as I can remember. Grease and other heavy oils do nothing but weigh my hair down and add unsightly product buildup. However, this product is just light enough and refreshing enough for my scalp. I use it after a workout when my scalp usually feel irritated and itchy. After applying, my scalp feels refreshed and moisturized. FYI, I have African textured hair," shared a reviewer.
Best for Skin Conditions: Yes To Tea Tree Gentle & Soothing Pre-Shampoo Scalp Scrub
Scalp scrubs use a salt or sugar base to gently exfoliate the scalp and lift away product buildup, excess oil, and dead skin cells. This formula takes that process a step further by adding naturally clarifying ingredients, such as tea tree, witch hazel, and apple cider vinegar. Use once or twice a week on wet hair as a pre-shampoo treatment. (Psst, and if you have sensitivities or skin conditions, like psoriasis, customers say it's still gentle enough to use.
One shopper wrote: "I have psoriasis on my scalp, this helped wonderfully. I used it twice the first week and once a week after. I also used it on our Chihuahua and helped heal hot spots!"
Best for Curly, Coily Hair: Head & Shoulders Royal Oils Daily Moisture Scalp Cream with Coconut Oil
Curly and coily hair types crave moisture. Keeping hair moisturized and your scalp clear and healthy can be a tricky balance. While there are creams, masks, and oils that hydrate strands, a scalp-specific product can help get dryness and flakes under control. This scalp cream contains coconut oil to seal in moisture, yet is lightweight and sinks in quick so you can style after applying.
"I'm telling you this is definitely for curly-haired people, I used the shampoo along with the conditioner in the shower. I dried my hair until it was damp and added the scalp cream. No flakes!!!! It feels very good, I will definitely be ordering again," said a customer.