14 Top Shampoos for a Sensitive Scalp

We all want healthy hair that looks great, but choosing the right products can be difficult. Here are the top shampoos for a sensitive scalp.
Shampoos for a Sensitive Scalp

One key component to any beauty routine is our shampoo, and using the right one can make all the difference in how your hair looks and feels. There is a wide variety of options available for every hair type and situation, from oily to normal to color-treated hair and everything in between. For women with a sensitive scalp, though, the shampoo that you choose can make or break your day. To help alleviate the discomfort that comes with a dry, flaky scalp, we’ve put together a list of the top shampoos for a sensitive scalp to help you find the right option for you.  

What Causes a Sensitive Scalp?

A sensitive scalp can be a bothersome and uncomfortable condition, often characterized by tenderness, irritation, itching, or pain in the scalp area. While the exact cause of scalp sensitivity can vary from person to person, several factors may contribute to this condition.

Allergic reactions: Sensitivity to certain hair care products such as shampoos, conditioners, hair dyes, or styling products can trigger allergic reactions in the scalp. Ingredients like fragrances, preservatives, sulfates, and parabens are common culprits. Additionally, sensitivity to certain metals in hair accessories or jewelry can also cause scalp irritation.

Scalp conditions: Various scalp conditions, such as seborrheic dermatitis, psoriasis, eczema, or folliculitis, can lead to scalp sensitivity. These conditions are often characterized by inflammation, redness, flakiness, and itching, which can make the scalp more sensitive to external stimuli.

Dryness: A dry scalp, often caused by factors like harsh weather conditions, overuse of hair care products, or insufficient hydration, can result in sensitivity and itching. Lack of moisture can lead to flakiness, tightness, and discomfort in the scalp.

Excessive washing: Overwashing the scalp or using hot water can strip away natural oils, disrupt the skin barrier, and cause irritation and sensitivity. Similarly, using harsh or abrasive hair care techniques like vigorous scrubbing or brushing can exacerbate scalp sensitivity.

Stress: Psychological stress and anxiety can manifest physically, including in the form of scalp sensitivity. Stress can disrupt the body’s immune system, trigger inflammation, and exacerbate existing scalp conditions, leading to heightened sensitivity and discomfort.

Hormonal changes: Fluctuations in hormone levels, such as those experienced during puberty, pregnancy, or menopause, can affect the skin’s sensitivity and reactivity. Hormonal imbalances may exacerbate existing scalp conditions or trigger new sensitivities.

Addressing scalp sensitivity often involves identifying and avoiding potential triggers, using gentle and hypoallergenic hair care products, maintaining scalp hydration, and practicing stress management techniques. Consulting a dermatologist or trichologist can help diagnose any underlying scalp conditions and provide personalized treatment recommendations for managing sensitivity effectively. However, just adjusting your haircare products can make a world of difference.

14 Top Shampoos for a Sensitive Scalp

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Aveda Rosemary Mint Purifying Shampoo and Weightless Conditioner

Discover the power of rosemary, the trending hair care ingredient right now. Skip your morning coffee and wake up to the invigorating zing of rosemary mint purifying shampoo and weightless conditioner. It gently clarifies your hair and removes buildup. Shop Aveda’s rosemary mint collection!

Divi Volumizing Shampoo

Elevate your hair to new heights with our Volumizing Shampoo, a powerhouse formula designed to deliver effortless lift, bounce, and volume. Formulated with a blend of postbiotics, green tea, and glucosamine, as well as microalgae, tea tree oil, and biotin, this shampoo is specially crafted for thinning hair to remove product and oil buildup, nourish and balance the scalp and cleanse the hair without stripping.

Tree to Tub Deep Hydrating Lavender Shampoo

The formulation in this moisturizing argan oil shampoo includes soapberries, a naturally occurring gentle cleanser that also moisturizes and nourishes the skin, combined with organic aloe vera, other soothing botanicals, and lavender essential oil instead of chemical fragrance. Plus, it’s sulfate, paraben, silicone, and sls-free!

Seen Essential Bundle

If you struggle with a dry, flaky, and/or itchy scalp, remember that a healthy scalp is essential for healthy hair. SEEN Shampoo optimizes and nourishes the condition of the hair and scalp (as well as every square inch of skin from head to toe). In addition, all SEEN products are developed by a Harvard-trained dermatologist and clinically proven to be non-comedogenic (which means they won’t clog pores) and non-irritating.

Better Not Younger Full Transparency Pure Revitalizing Shampoo

Let the shine come through with our fragrance-free, dermatologist-tested, and hypoallergenic shampoo designed to gently cleanse and add luster and liveliness to aging hair without irritating even the most sensitive scalps.

Nécessaire: The Shampoo- Scalp Cleanse With Hyaluronic Acid + Niacinamide

Nécessaire offers a clinically tested balancing cleanse to remove scalp build-up and hydrate hair. It also preps for hair growth treatment and is color-safe and dermatologist-tested.

Briogeo Scalp Revival™ Dandruff Relief Charcoal Shampoo

This fragrance-free, vegan option is a powerful yet gentle shampoo that harnesses the power of salicylic and lactic acids to address scalp flaking and irritation—without stripping hair of vital moisture and nutrients.

Serene Scalp Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

Serene Scalp Anti-Dandruff Shampoo $52
Serene Scalp Anti-Dandruff Shampoo $52

Let the shine come through with this fragrance-free, dermatologist-tested, and hypoallergenic shampoo designed to gently cleanse and add luster and liveliness to aging hair without irritating even the most sensitive scalps.

Nioxin Scalp Relief System Shampoo

This scalp relief shampoo cleans your hair gently yet effectively while providing immediate relief to your scalp. It’s made with aloe vera, a scalp-neutral pH, and a clean-label fragrance formulated without parabens, sulfates, and colorants.

BIOLAGE Scalp Sync Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

Inspired by the anti-bacterial and calming properties of the mint leaf, BIOLAGE scalp sync anti-dandruff shampoo has Pyrithione Zinc that helps target dandruff, control the appearance of visible flakes, and relieve scalp irritation.

Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal + Coconut Oil Shampoo

Scalp Revival is an exfoliating, sulfate-free scalp scrub shampoo treatment that removes impurities and buildup. It balances and soothes an itchy, irritated scalp for long-term scalp and hair health. The creamy, micro-exfoliating scalp scrub shampoo contains coconut-derived cleansers and plant-based exfoliators to help gently remove dead skin, excess oils, and impurities from the scalp.

NATURALTECH Calming Shampoo

CALMING Shampoo $36

This scalp therapy shampoo has a moisturizing blend of aloe vera, tea tree oil, biotin, vitamin B, vitamin E, argan oil, and other key ingredients. They work to nourish the scalp, minimize irritation, and reduce the appearance of dryness. They also encourage stronger, healthy-looking hair with a blend of extracts and oils that ease and nourish, providing dry scalp relief.

Neutrogena Gentle & Soft Healthy Scalp Shampoo

This healthy scalp shampoo helps maintain your scalp’s natural barrier. This sensitive scalp and pH-balanced shampoo helps maintain the scalp’s natural barrier with regular use and is free from parabens, phthalates, sulfated surfactants, SLS, and SLES.

Kiehls Amino Acid Shampoo

This moisture shampoo hydrates dry, chemically treated, and normal hair with avocado oil. It makes hair feel soft and nourished and contains UV protection while being safe for color-treated hair. To keep from irritating even the most sensitive scalp, it’s hypoallergenic and fragrance, paraben, dye, and colorant free.

Leave-In Treatments for a Sensitive Scalp

Living Proof Dry Scalp Revitalizing Treatment

This dry scalp revitalizing treatment is powered by the Healthy Follicle Complex™. It’s a nighttime treatment that combats visible adverse effects from environmental stressors for fuller, thicker, healthier-looking hair that starts at the root.

Head and Shoulders Scalp Elixir Treatment

This instant soothe scalp elixir helps balance and restore scalp health if you use it regularly. It’s a fresh, cooling, leave-in formula that invigorates the scalp and comforts it to provide instant relief; no rinsing is required!

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