How can we find the best shampoo for very dry scalp? This is an important question when your scalp is on fire because it’s dry, irritated, itchy and inflamed. None of this is fun, so choosing the best shampoo for very dry scalp is wise. There are other methods you can use to relieve the symptoms of dry scalp, which this article will also explain.

What to Expect with Dry Scalp

The following are symptoms that you can expect of a dry scalp.

  • Small, dry flakes

  • Itching

  • Burning
  • Soreness

  • Hair loss

  • Bumpy, red patches


Dry scalp occurs when there’s too little moisture in your scalp. This causes the skin to become irritated, so it starts to flake off. The main causes of dry scalp include:

  • Cold, dry air

  • Age

  • Contact dermatitis, a reaction to products you apply to your scalp.

Lifestyle Tips to Combat Dry Scalp

The following lifestyle tips can help treat and prevent dry scalp, and can be incorporated in addition to using the best shampoo for very dry scalp.

Drink Water

It’s little known that dry scalp can actually be caused by dehydration, in the same way that dry skin can be caused by this. Staying hydrated allows your scalp to stay hydrated, enabling it to hold on to water and moisture and tackle the symptoms of dry scalp, including itchiness and irritation.

Scalp Treatments to Condition, Nourish and Heal

Nourishing scalp treatments can work to help the scalp out when it’s not producing enough natural oil sebum. Providing the scalp with the nutrients it needs to heal and calm down, a scalp treatment can get to the root of the cause, encouraging the scalp to produce more oil whilst absorbing the nutrition. This can really calm down any irritation and itching.

Choose a conditioning mask for your specific hair type. Another important thing to consider is the ingredients list. Nature offers many ingredients that works wonders for healing. Products certified organic by the Soil Association here in the UK ensures that those products are truly pure and organic without any nasty hidden, and potentially harmful ingredients.

Leave your chosen scalp treatment on for at least 20 minutes to allow for proper absorption of nutrients. This could be a plant oils with a couple of essential oils diluted down, or simply a plant oil on its own. Alternatively, you could look for natural, organic products with exceptional ingredients that fight against dry scalp.

Scalp Massage

Giving yourself a scalp massage can be an extremely useful way to combat dry scalp. Use gentle, circular motions over your scalp when washing your hair with your chosen shampoo. Use the same circular motions if you choose to use oil for a scalp massage in addition to your hair wash.

By increasing the blood flow towards the hair follicles and stimulating the production of natural oils, massage enables more nutrients and nourishment to get to the scalp whilst also promoting hair growth.

Certain oils such as coconut oil, argan oil and jojoba oil can be beneficial for scalp massage when used lukewarm. This can provide anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial relief to soothe an irritated, inflamed scalp.


The right nutrition is vital for maintaining healthy skin, and this does not miss out the skin on your scalp. Eating the key nutrients may provide relief for your condition, or in the future, even prevent it from occurring in the first place. If you’re experiencing dry scalp, you might want to consider topping up on these nutrients, and this may improve your condition:

  • `Omega-3 fatty acids

Dry skin and poor blood circulation, and subsequently dry scalp, can be caused by a lack of omega-3 fatty acids. If you have dry scalp, you might be deficient in omega-3 fatty acids, in which case consuming sources of this may help to alleviate a dry scalp condition.

  • Vitamin A

Vitamin A supports the maintenance and function of skin cells. Dry scalp can be treated and prevented, and symptoms may potentially be reduced, by topping up the vitamin A levels in your diet.

  • Zinc

This nutrient is required for healthy tissue growth and repair. It’s indicated by research that hair, teeth and nails cannot grow without zinc.

Ingredients to Look for in your Shampoo

The following ingredients may be found in the best shampoo for very dry scalp. You may also use these in other types of products such as conditioning scalp treatments and hair oils. You may want to make your own DIY products for a healing combination of ingredients for your dry scalp.

Tea Tree Oil

Australia’s Tea Tree leaves produce the tea tree essential oil many of us know and love. Tea tree oil has been used medicinally for thousands of years. It’s a brilliant cleaning agent because of its antimicrobial properties, and was used by Australia’s aboriginal people to clean wounds and treat infections. For this same reason, as well as for its antiseptic and antifungal properties, tea tree is ideal for the treatment of scalp conditions. This is why it’s used in many hair products.

Much research has been done on the effects of Tea Tree for your scalp, with studies showing that it can dispel many types of viruses, bacteria and fungi.

Before using Tea Tree on your scalp, patch test it first on a small patch of skin. Monitor this area for the next 24 hours for any signs of irritation. If no irritation occurs, you can dilute the Tea Tree oil in a carrier oil like Coconut oil, for example. Never apply pure tea tree oil to your scalp as this is extremely likely to cause irritation. Once diluted, you can massage in to your scalp as a treatment oil. Leave on for 20 minutes before rinsing off. You can then optionally follow up with your chosen best shampoo for very dry scalp to help rinse out the oil thoroughly.


Chickweed oil helps combat an itchy scalp and may reduce hair loss. White star-shaped flowers bloom on the chickweed plant, which is how it gets its name, ‘snow in the summer’. This oil has often been used to treat psoriasis and eczema on the scalp, and elsewhere. It’s also used as a topical medication for insect bites. Chickweed works as an emollient, locking in moisture, which is beneficial for dry scalp. As an anti-inflammatory, Chickweed is commonly used to relieve arthritis and joint pain.

Red Clover

Red Clover has traditionally been used in the treatment of psoriasis, eczema and skin ulcers, not excluding the area of the scalp. In fact, red clover tea is often used as a hair rinse because its rich isoflavones content help to prevent dandruff and scalp irritations! It makes the hair healthier and stronger, softening the hair. For its scalp soothing properties, it’s a great ingredient to find when searching for your best shampoo for very dry scalp.


Aritha has been used to treat hair since ancient times, and is one of the ingredients being used in natural alternative shampoos as opposed to some of the chemical concoctions we can find on the market. It’s known to provide lustre and shine, whilst making the hair more manageable. It’s also used in the treatment of eczema, psoriasis, acne and blackheads. With a great cleaning effect, it has a gentle impact on the skin for a healthy scalp.

Sandalwood Essential Oil

Sandalwood is anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antiaging, cicatrizing and astringent. Its anti-inflammatory properties are great for soothing scalp and skin inflammation. The aroma is rich, woody and warm, making any shampoo for very dry scalp smell amazing. Its brilliant emollient properties moisturise and hydrate dry flaky skin. It also increases the skins ability to retain moisture for a healthier scalp.

Rose Essential Oil

Rose oils antiseptic, antiviral, antibacterial and stimulating properties all make it a great scalp tonic. In Ayurveda, rose oil is traditionally used for skin and hair health. Its ayurvedic properties for the skin are cooling and moisturising. With vitamins A, B, E, C and K all in Rose oil, skin can be strengthened. The potassium and iron content of rose oil are also essential for healthy skin and scalp. The oils antioxidant power allows the skin to dispel toxins more easily and speed up the healing process so that the skin can regenerate.

Argan Oil

Argan oil is now famous in the West for use on the hair, but the Berber women have been using this golden oil for thousands of years. This article on argan oil uses explains all the uses of argan oil, including for the hair. Argan oils high antioxidants, essential fatty acids, and vitamin E promote healthy hair and scalp, increasing hair’s elasticity and restoring shine. Vitamin E is also soothing and healing for the skin and scalp, whilst protecting hair follicles from damage and preventing split ends.

Avocado Oil

Avocado oil can be used to re-hydrate skin on the scalp. You can use avocado oil on its own to massage into the scalp before washing and conditioning to help your scalp. Alternatively, you can find it as an ingredient in your search for the best shampoo for dry scalp. Avocado oil can also reduce dandruff as the moisture it provides prevents the scalp from drying out and becoming flaky. A 2005 study found that massaging certain plant oils into the scalp can coat the hair follicles and prevent damage from the roots for hair that grows stronger with less damage later on down the line.

Sweet Almond Oil

As an emollient, Sweet Almond oil can soften and smooth the hair, whilst making it more manageable. For the scalp, it’s often used to treat dry scalp, including conditions, seborrheic dermatitis and scalp psoriasis. There are very limited studies on the effects of Almond oil on the scalp, but it’s been used in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine for centuries, as massaging almond oil into your scalp increases blood flow to increase the nutrients for adequate nourishment to heal.


Brahmi, also known as Gotu Kola, has regenerative properties that strengthens the scalp tissue and supports circulation of the scalp for increased blood flow and nourishment. Brahmi is known to be calming, reducing stress and tension, so massage that scalp and chill out with Brahmi oil. Using lukewarm Brahmi oil in this practice allows more nutrients to reach the scalp for healthier, stronger hair growth. In Ayurveda, Brahmi is used to treat and prevent the greying of hair.


Neem is another popular herb part of the traditions of Ayurveda. Evidence suggests that Neem has been used for as long as 4500 years since the ancient communities of India were using it for its healing properties. Different part of the Neem tree have been used for various health and wellness purposes, and its seed oil, bark, and leaves are known to nourish gums and teeth, as well as the skin, nails and scalp. By softening and moisturising the skin, neem can be an important component of your best shampoo for very dry scalp.

The above ingredients can be found in the following products. You can use Fushi’s Really Good Hair Oil as a scalp treatment. Fushi’s Scalp Soother Shampoo and Conditioner are beneficial for irritated scalps. Alternatively, you might want to try the Argan and Amalaki range (shampoo and conditioner) which is full of natural ingredients that may aid in the healing of the scalp. Get in touch if you have any questions and we would be happy to help!

Written by Jess Burman

Wellbeing writer

BA (Honours) in Writing