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The Best Dry Scalp Treatment for Moisturizing Relief

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Written by Kristie Olivieri

If you’re like most people, your hair care routine consists of shampooing and conditioning. You may also use some styling products, but that’s about it. But if you’ve ever dealt with dry scalp, you know how annoying it can be. Itchy and flaky, a dry scalp can make you want to scratch your head constantly just to relieve the itch. But there’s more to a dry scalp than just an uncomfortable feeling on your head. If left untreated, it can lead to hair loss and even a fungal infection.

The good news is that there are many dry scalp treatments that can help prevent all these problems — and they don’t involve expensive trips to the dermatologist or having to scrub your head raw with medicated shampoo. To assist you, we’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite dry scalp treatments of 2023. From hair masks to leave-in conditioners, these products will help you get rid of that dry, itchy feeling and give your hair a healthy luster again.

Buying Guide: The Best Dry Scalp Treatment

Dry scalp is a tricky condition. It can start out so subtle that it’s hard to notice, but over time it can become so severe that it interferes with your everyday life. Whether it’s caused by a dry winter or an ongoing problem with the texture and health of your hair, it’s essential to address the issue so you don’t end up with a severely dry, itchy scalp that’s prone to infection. In this guide, we’ll go over the causes of scalp dryness, what to look for in products designed to solve this kind of problem, and how to use them properly to achieve optimal results.

Causes of Dry Scalp

Chemical Exposure

Hair products like hair dyes and shampoos often contain harsh chemicals like chlorine, bleach, and sulfates that strip away your scalp’s natural oil and make it more susceptible to dryness. Often, this type of damage is seen as dandruff or seborrheic dermatitis.

If you’re dealing with dandruff or an itchy scalp that causes redness and irritation, try using a moisturizing shampoo that contains ingredients like tea tree oil and peppermint oil.

Over-washing or Under-washing

There are some people who wash their hair too often and some people who don’t wash their hair enough. If you wash your hair too often, it will strip off all the natural oils from your scalp, resulting in dryness. On the other hand, if you don’t wash your hair enough, then there will be oil and dirt on your scalp, which can clog up the pores and cause dandruff.

To avoid these issues, it's recommended that you use lukewarm water when washing your hair and limit the number of washes to every two to three days.

Scalp Infections

One of the most common reasons for dry scalp is psoriasis. The condition causes skin cells on your scalp to grow in thick, scaly layers that shed off easily. If you have psoriasis, the scales may contain flakes of skin or even blood.

While you can use OTC products to relieve the symptoms of a dry scalp caused by psoriasis, it’s best to get treatment from your doctor. You may be advised to take prescription medications or use ointments that contain corticosteroids.

What to Look For in a Dry Scalp Treatment


Just like other skin care products, the ingredients in a dry scalp treatment play a huge role in your skin’s overall health. You want to look for products that contain natural ingredients like tea tree oil, aloe vera gel, and shea butter, as these will nourish your scalp without drying it out further. Some even contain active ingredients like salicylic acid and lactic acid, which help exfoliate dead skin cells on the scalp to reduce flaking.

Besides these ingredients, you should pay close attention to the product’s formulation. While some dry scalp treatments are simply a mixture of essential and carrier oils, others contain ingredients like alcohol, parabens, and sulfates. Although these chemicals will give you the instant relief you’re looking for, they’ll also dry out your scalp and cause further problems down the line.


When choosing a dry scalp treatment, it’s important to consider its consistency. While most people are familiar with the difference between liquids and creams, there are many other types of products that will suit different hair types.

For example, if your hair is very thick and curly or coarse, you may want to choose an oil-based product over something water-soluble like shampoo. Similarly, if you have fine, thin hair that’s prone to frizziness, a gel or mousse will help keep flyaways under control.

Easy of Use

If you don’t want to spend a lot of time in the shower each morning, you should probably choose a hair care product that’s easy to use. These days, many come with a convenient nozzle or a comb applicator, making the application process a cinch. If you’re looking for something even more simple, look for products that don’t require rinsing out or leave behind any residue.

Comparing the Best Dry Scalp Treatments of 2023


Aromatica Dry Scalp Treatment


  • Food-grade formula
  • Free from harmful preservatives
  • Refreshing, calming scent
  • Sustainable packaging


  • Small bottle
With the Aromatica dry scalp treatment, you can finally put an end to your dry scalp problems. Formulated with food-grade rosemary essential oil and extract, this revitalizing treatment helps tackle stubborn flakes and soothes itchiness while strengthening roots. This product is further infused with seven essential vitamins and salicylic acid that help slough away dead skin and unclog scalp pores for healthy hair growth. Unlike other dry scalp treatments that contain harsh chemicals, this one is free of silicone, sulfate, and parabens, so you can use it without worrying about damaging your hair. Thanks to its leave-in formula, it can also be used as a post-shower conditioner for frizz-free, soft, and manageable hair. Even better, it comes with a convenient nozzle that makes application easy and mess-free. To use it, simply spray a generous amount onto the affected area and let it work its magic. This product is recommended for all hair types, including color-treated, curly, and straight hair. Because of its effective formula, mess-free application, and pleasant scent, we’ve crowned this dry scalp treatment as the best overall product on our list.

Head & Shoulders Dry Scalp Treatment


  • Rich, nourishing formula
  • Provides 24-hour protection
  • Suitable for curly and coily hair
  • Can be used as a leave-in conditioner


  • May require frequent application
Want to take your hair from dry to dazzling? The Royal Oils dry scalp treatment by Head & Shoulders is just what you need to improve your scalp health. Designed specifically for curly and coily hair, this product contains pyrithione zinc as an active ingredient, which helps prevent the recurrence of flaking and itching associated with dandruff without stripping away the scalp’s natural oil. It’s infused with cooling menthol, peppermint oil, and a host of other nourishing ingredients that help balance and restore scalp health. Even better, if you hate washing your hair every day, this dry scalp treatment can also be used as a leave-in conditioner, providing soothing relief for your scalp without weighing down your tresses or making them feel greasy. Most importantly, this product is free from harmful chemicals like silicone, so you can be sure it won’t damage your locks when used regularly. And unlike other dandruff shampoos that can leave your scalp feeling dry and tight after rinsing out the product, this one leaves your hair feeling soft and supple — so much so that you’ll probably forget about having dandruff in the first place!

OGX Dry Scalp Treatment


  • Promotes health growth
  • Non-greasy formula
  • Free from harmful chemicals
  • Suitable for all hair types


  • Difficult to apply
Keep annoying flakes at bay with the OGX dry scalp treatment. Formulated an optimal blend of hair-nourishing ingredients, this contains tea tree oil that deeply moisturizes the scalp to reduce dryness and itchiness, while the peppermint extract stimulates blood circulation in the scalp to provide you with a fresh feeling. Even better, this product contains witch hazel that helps reduce excess sebum production, preventing dandruff and flaking. Don’t mistake this pick as an ordinary hair tonic — this powerful product also works as a deep-conditioning agent to nourish the scalp from within, so you can rock silky, smooth, and healthy hair. This product is also sulfate and paraben-free, so you can be sure that it won’t harm your precious locks. Best of all, this dry scalp treatment has a fragrance with notes of sweet peppermint, iced vanilla, and fresh tea tree that will make your hair smell amazing.

Pharm To Table Dry Scalp Treatment


  • Purifies the hair and scalp
  • Lightweight, cruelty-free formula
  • Easy to use
  • Suitable for all hair textures


  • Scent might be overpowering for some
Tired of putting up with dry, itchy scalp and frizzy hair? The Pharm to Table dry scalp treatment will nip any and all scalp issues in the bud. This product is infused with tea tree oil, crisp mint, and nourishing coconut oil that helps purify the scalp and soothe itchiness while moisturizing dry hair strands. It’s also spiked with vitamin C and E that boosts circulation to the scalp and strengthens hair follicles, making your hair look healthier from the inside out. This one-of-a-kind hair product can also be used as a daily moisturizer to detangle those messy bedhead locks or as a leave-in conditioner to tame flyaways and restore your hair’s natural sheen. Unlike other hair care creams and serums that often turn your hair stiff and sticky, this product rocks a lightweight, non-greasy formula, so you can style your locks without worrying about buildup and residue. For added convenience, this dry scalp treatment also comes in a pump bottle with a convenient nozzle, making it easy to spray just the right amount of product onto your hair. The best part? It’s also infused with a subtle yet refreshing scent that leaves your locks smelling fresh and clean all day long.

Yes To Dry Scalp Treatment


  • Formulated with natural ingredients
  • Dermatologist-tested formula
  • Cruelty-free and Leaping Bunny-certified
  • Includes a comb applicator for easy application


  • Cannot be used as a leave-in conditioner
Say goodbye to dry scalp and hello to soft, silky hair with Yes To dry scalp treatment. This all-in-one treatment is packed with tea tree oil and sage oil that helps eliminate itchiness and combat flakiness without irritating your skin or hair follicles. In addition to these powerhouse ingredients, this product is also infused with witch hazel and apple cider vinegar — two natural astringents that work to get rid of excess oil and dirt buildup on your scalp, so you’ll flaunt smoother, healthier-looking locks. Designed specifically for color-treated hair, this product helps to restore your hair’s vibrancy and shine while preventing fading and brittleness. And, unlike many other dry scalp treatments, this product is free from parabens, sulfates, and phthalates, so you can use it without worrying about the harmful side effects. It also features a lightweight formula that won’t weigh down your hair or leave behind any residue after use — making it the perfect solution for those with fine or thinning locks that typically lose volume quickly. Best of all, this pick comes with a comb applicator that allows you to easily distribute the product throughout your hair without making a mess!

As I Am Dry Scalp Treatment


  • Fights off severe dandruff
  • Soothes itchy scalp
  • Fast-absorbing formula
  • Vanity-worthy packaging


  • Not ideal for thin hair
If you’re suffering from seborrheic dandruff or psoriasis, you might want to consider adding As I Am dry scalp treatment to your hair care stash. Enriched with two powerful tea tree oils, this scalp treatment helps to treat flaking, scaling, and itching while promoting healthy hair growth. Meanwhile, the premium active ingredient, salicylic acid, helps to exfoliate dead skin cells and remove excess oil from your scalp to prevent future outbreaks. Coming to you in a 4-ounce bottle, this product has an ultra-lightweight formula that works in harmony with your hair’s pH to provide deep hydration and an instant boost of softness and shine. Unlike other products that only work on straight and fine hair, this dry scalp treatment is suitable for all hair types and textures. Also, it can be used alone or as part of a two-step routine. To use it, simply section out your hair, apply the scalp treatment and gently massage it for even absorption. And, as the cherry on top, this scalp treatment has a light and pleasant tea tree scent that’ll make your hair smell amazing!

Tea Tree Dry Scalp Treatment


  • Contains scalp-soothing ingredients
  • Paraben and gluten-free
  • Color-safe formula
  • Available in two sizes


  • Difficult to wash off
When it comes to dry scalp and brittle hair, the Tea Tree hair and scalp treatment is a real game changer. Formulated with soy protein, panthenol, and shea butter, this hair mask penetrates the hair shaft and repairs damage on the inside of your locks while relieving dry scalp, so you don’t have to worry about dandruff-related issues. Just like other products on our list, this product is free from parabens, sulfates, and phthalates. Most importantly, the formula is safe for color-treated hair, so you don’t have to worry about the product affecting the color of your locks. Unlike other products that require frequent application, this hair mask is designed to be used just once a week. To use it, simply massage the formula into your scalp and hair, focusing on the problem areas. Then, leave the product on for five minutes before rinsing with warm water. Available in two different sizes, this dry scalp treatment is great for those who want to try it out before committing to a full-sized product.

People Also Ask

  • Q: Can dandruff shampoo help with a dry scalp?

    A:Yes. Dandruff shampoo can help with a dry scalp and reduce flaking, but only if you choose the right product and use it correctly. This means choosing a dandruff shampoo that contains ingredients like zinc pyrithione or selenium sulfide, which will help reduce the yeast and bacteria on your scalp. Similarly, the usage frequency and duration should also be taken into consideration. If you wash your hair every day, using a dandruff shampoo may cause excessive drying of your hair and scalp. The best approach is to wash your hair every other day or use a clarifying shampoo at least once a week. You may also want to use a hair moisturizing mask once a week in conjunction with anti-dandruff shampoo to nourish the scalp from root to tip and seal in moisture.

  • Q: How do I exfoliate my dry scalp?

    A:Exfoliating your dry scalp will help unclog the hair follicles and remove dead skin cells before they clump together and cause dandruff or scaling. You can use a specially designed derma brush that gently removes dead skin cells without irritating healthy skin.

  • Q: Can my diet affect my scalp health?

    A:Yes, it can. The food you eat affects your health in every way possible, including your hair. A healthy diet is rich in nutrients and low in calories, sugar, and sodium. If your diet is high in protein and iron —which helps keep hair strong — you may notice fewer split ends or breakages and fewer hair-related issues. The same goes for your scalp; a healthy diet can help keep it hydrated and nourished, which means less dandruff and itchiness.

  • Q: Will a dry scalp go away on its own?

    A:The answer to this question is yes and no. As discussed earlier, a dry scalp can be caused by many different things, including allergies, medication, or diet. If your dry scalp is caused by one of these things, it may go away once you stop taking the medication or eating certain foods. But, if your dry scalp is caused by something more severe like psoriasis or eczema, you may have to seek treatment from a doctor or dermatologist.

  • Q: When should I see a doctor for my dry scalp?

    A:If you notice any redness or swelling, severe itching, and pain, or any crusting or flaking on your scalp, it’s time to see a doctor. Dry scalp is usually harmless, but sometimes it can be an indication of a serious medical condition that must be treated immediately.

  • Q: I have dry hair. Could that be causing my dry scalp?

    A:While most people assume that dry hair and dry skin go hand in hand, that’s not always the case. In fact, your hair can be dry while your scalp is oily or vice versa — it all depends on whether or not you have an imbalance in your sebum production. But if you still think that you have dry hair and a dry scalp, there are a few things you can do to help remedy the situation. First, try using a clarifying shampoo once or twice per week to remove buildup from your strands. Make sure it’s free of any sulfates or parabens — otherwise, it could strip away too much moisture! Next, follow up with a hydrating conditioner and air-dry your hair instead of blow-drying it. This will help to lock in moisture and prevent frizziness. Finally, try a leave-in conditioner or oil on your hair every morning before styling, which will help keep it soft and hydrated throughout the day, especially if you live in a dry and cold climate.

  • Q: Is it possible to have dandruff without itching or flaking?

    A:Yes. If you have dandruff but no itching or flaking, it’s more likely that your scalp is just dry. In this case, a moisturizing shampoo may help control or reduce it.

  • Q: Is it okay to rub aloe vera on dry scalp?

    A:Yes, aloe vera is a great natural remedy for dry scalp. Known to have anti-inflammatory and moisturizing properties, it can help soothe scaling or flaking skin and promote hair growth. You can also use fresh aloe leaf juice as a conditioning treatment for your locks. But it’s important to keep in mind that aloe vera can be irritating to sensitive skin, so use it sparingly on your scalp. If you have a very dry scalp and notice redness or irritation after using aloe vera gel, try diluting the juice with water first before applying it directly to your hair.

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By Kristie Olivieri

Kristie is a documentary enthusiast, horror movie lover, and avid gamer. When not lost in a virtual world, they enjoy curling up with a good book and their feline friends.