We’ve found the best dandruff shampoos – and they actually work

Say goodbye to flakes and hello to silky smooth hair 👋

the best dandruff shampoos - heatworld

by Caitlin Casey |

We've all been there. Your hair looks fresh and fab and then... the dreaded white specks start appearing. Talk about frustrating.

There's nothing to be ashamed of with dandruff because it's a lot more natural than we realise. But even though it is just a biological reaction, it is very annoying.

So that's why we've come together to find the best dandruff shampoos on the market - the ones that actually work in getting rid of those pesky specks and make your hair ridiculously glossy. From your high-end hair brands to the options you can get at any supermarket, there's something for everyone.

Before we dive into what anti-dandruff treatments you should be getting your hands on, it's always good to know why dandruff is happening. If you're constantly thinking "why do I have a flaky scalp?" then join the queue, because this is actually a more common problem than you think.

What causes dandruff in hair?

We spoke to Jessica Patching, Founder of Marla Hair, to get the total low-down on dandruff and how we can combat it. Here's what she had to say:

"Dandruff can be caused by many different medical conditions as well as stress, cold weather and product build-up. It could be something as simple as a product that's disagreeing with your scalp or added stress levels making dandruff more noticeable. Or, it may be a medical condition that has made an appearance over the scalp that is causing dandruff.

"Conditions such as seborrheic dermatitis, eczema, contact dermatitis and psoriasis could possibly be the cause of your dandruff, too."

So, is there any way we can prevent dandruff?

"If it's to do with product build-up or a product that hasn't agreed with the scalp then using a clarifying or detox shampoo will help remove the product and any excess skin so reduce the dandruff levels. If the dandruff is being caused by a medical condition then a doctor may be able to prescribe a specific shampoo or scalp treatment to help."

What are your three top tips on dealing with dandruff?

  1. "Don't panic! It's a very common thing."
  1. "If you don't know what is causing it or it's getting worse, make a visit to your doctor."
  1. "Try using shampoos that have the right ingredients to help treat it."

Do I have dandruff or dry scalp?

There are a few differences between dandruff and dry scalp so it's worth noting down. Next time you have a flare-up in your hair, check closely because you may be looking at something entirely different.

The biggest factors which show that you will be suffering from dandruff is that they are larger flakes that are yellow or white and your skin is likely to be oily and red.

On the other hand, dry scalp shows up with smaller, dry flakes and doesn't carry the inflamed look on your scalp. You may suffer from dry skin generally across your body and it's just appearing on your scalp now.

As well as this, it's possible to have both dry skin AND dandruff at the same time. Talk about stressful.

These differences are subtle so it may be worth checking in with your GP to check what's really going on up there.

SHOP: The best dandruff shampoos to buy 2021

So, with all this in mind, the question is: what really is the best dandruff shampoo out there? We're sick of having shampoos with no results, so we've hunted down these shampoos to see which ones really work.

Remember you can also invest in many anti-dandruff conditions and these options may even come in a pack. Get the full experience and tackle that dandruff.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this page, we never allow this to influence product selections.

Best vegan anti-dandruff shampoo
The Body Shop Ginger Anti-Dandruff Shampoo
The Body Shop
The Body Shop Ginger Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

The Body Shop is a frontrunner for sustainable, effective beauty products and that's why we love its Ginger Anti-Dandruff shampoo. The ginger works to soothe irritated scalps, whilst clearing flakes from your hair.

First things first, it's totally vegan (certified by The Vegan Society) and made with 90% ingredients of natural origin, so it's a total win. Ginger is known for being a favourite for dry scalps and dandruff in traditional Chinese medicine. What more could you want?

Verdict: Perfect if you’re looking for a sustainable dandruff option that works

Features: Vegan, 90% natural ingredients, sustainably sourced, great ginger smell

Review: “I have been using this shampoo for several months now after a well-known high street beauty store stopped selling the only other shampoo that worked for me. I am so pleased I was introduced to this; I have had no problems since switching and I love the ginger smell. It is also great value for money, especially if you buy the 400ml bottle.”

Best high-end dandruff shampoo
Percy and Reed Anti-Dandruff I'm No Flake Shampoo
Percy and Reed
Percy and Reed Anti-Dandruff I'm No Flake Shampoo

If you're happy to splash out a little bit more to keep your scalp in check, this Percy & Reed anti-dandruff shampoo is dermatologically tested and will soothe your scalp.

They rave about using gentle ingredients, perfect for anyone with sensitive skin. Not only does it rid of flakes, but it also prevents them from coming back with Piroctone Olamine. Wave bye-bye to dandruff for good.

Verdict: A little bit more expensive, but worth it as it soothes, protects, conditions and prevents so that your dandruff won’t be coming back.

Features: Clinically proven and dermatologically tested, fragrance-free, essential oils, suitable for sensitive skin

Review: “I’ve had occasional folliculitis and eczema on my scalp since childhood and have tried so many shampoos - this soothed and calmed my scalp in one use. And it has completely cleared up my eczema. It is brilliant and soothes my scalp without drying out my hair. Really recommend it!”

Best trusted brand dandruff shampoo
offer Umberto Giannini Scalp Restore Scalp Reviving Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

If you're into your haircare, you've probably heard of Umberto Giannini by now - and now the brand is doing a scalp reviving anti-dandruff shampoo with superfruit enzymes to remove build-up.

A vegan formula, it increases cell renewal and acts as a natural antioxidant to clear your scalp of any unwanted flakes. It destroys the fungus infection responsible for dandruff and decreases oil output for future prevention.

Verdict: Grab this if you want a trusted brand using proven ingredients to stop dandruff

Features: Free from sulphates, silicones and parabens, vegan and cruelty-free

Review: “I have a very dry scalp and have quite bad dandruff. I bought this along with the conditioner and scrub and it has worked wonders to calm and soothe my head. My hairdresser told me how soft my hair feels so this is working really well!”

Best coffee dandruff shampoo
Dr Organic Coffee Anti-Dandruff Shampoo 200ml
Holland and Barrett
Dr Organic Coffee Anti-Dandruff Shampoo 200ml

You read it right. It's anti-dandruff coffee shampoo. Not only can you get your daily dose of coffee that you drink, but now it can awaken your hair too. With the caffeine alongside natural ingredients, it's proven to tackle those dandruff problems you get.

Verdict: A good option if you’re looking for something different to try, using caffeine and natural ingredients to tackle dandruff

Features: Organic coffee bean extract, proven anti-dandruff active, natural ingredients

Review: “After just a handful of uses I’ve gone from a scalp that itches at the slightest touch to no itching at all even after vigorous brushing. Amazing product, I love it.”

Best trending dandruff shampoo
La Roche-Posay Kerium Anti-Dandruff Shampoo 125ml
La Roche-Posay Kerium Anti-Dandruff Shampoo 125ml

La Roche-Posay has been taking over our feeds recently, so it's no surprise that it has a killer dandruff shampoo. An intensive formula that eliminates stubborn dandruff, it also has micro-exfoliating LHA with root targeting technology.

Verdict: We love La Roche-Posay skincare, and now we also love their haircare

Features: Free from parabens, hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic, tested on sensitive skin, micro-exfoliating LHA, Root Targeting Technology

Review: “I’ve used it for two weeks now and it’s done the job! It’s super easy to use, very foamy and doesn’t smell pharmacy too much. It had visible results since the first use, I’m very happy with it, highly recommended.”

Best dandruff shampoo for flaky scalps
PHILIP KINGSLEY Flaky Itchy Scalp Shampoo (250ml)
Cult Beauty
PHILIP KINGSLEY Flaky Itchy Scalp Shampoo (250ml)

This dandruff shampoo by 'hair doctor' Philip Kingsley is one of our more expensive options, but perfect if you're looking for high quality with high effectiveness. This was formulated for Sir Laurence Olivier and is multi-award winning. They must be doing something good.

Verdict: Pricey but worth it if you want instant results and a gentle formula

Features: Multi-award-winning formula, proven in consumer trials, gentle for sensitive skin

Review: “Amazing. Does what it says on the tin. Instantly relieves itching scalp and moisturises dry scalp and smells gorgeous too. Will definitely be buying again.”

Best sustainable dandruff shampoo
Faith In Nature Lemon & Tea Tree Shampoo 400ml
Holland & Barrett
Faith In Nature Lemon & Tea Tree Shampoo 400ml

Faith in Nature is a great brand to go to for sustainability, with 99% natural origin and no SLS or parabens. Although this isn't specifically anti-dandruff, we recommend this shampoo because of its gentle, natural formula that works well with sensitive scalps.

Verdict: Our top choice of the best anti-dandruff sustainable shampoo.

Features: 100% natural fragrance and essential oils, 100% recycled & recyclable packaging, vegan society approved and cruelty-free, made in the UK.

Review: “The lemon and tea tree shampoo smells lovely and fresh. It leaves my hair so soft and shiny. I will definitely buy this again.”

Best itchy scalp dandruff shampoo
Head & Shoulders Itchy Scalp Shampoo 500ml

We couldn't have an anti-dandruff article without legendary Head & Shoulders. This shampoo tackles itchy scalps specifically, soothing and with up to 72 hours of protection from flakes and dryness. If you don't particularly suffer from itchy scalp, you can invest in the classic anti-dandruff Head & Shoulders.

Verdict: A well-known brand that’s proven to work. You can easily grab this on shop shelves and online

Features: Dermatologically tested, pH balanced, boosted with antioxidants

Review: “Good shampoo which my husband uses regularly. Smells nice and leaves hair feeling fresh. Easy to use and rinses out well.”

Best dermatological dandruff shampoo
E45 Dermatological Dry Scalp Shampoo 200ml

E45 is known for dealing with dry skincare and their dry scalp shampoo is a perfect option if you're getting frustrated with your scalp. It's really gentle and great for those who struggle with eczema. Soothing and subtle but effective.

Verdict: E45 tackles dry skin specifically and is a great option if you suffer from sensitive skin

Features: Perfume-free, hypoallergenic

Review: “I am very prone to eczema, especially in my hair and this shampoo has really helped me. I’ve tried a few shampoos for scalp conditions and this has proven to be the best for me as it alleviates my dry, itchy scalp!”

Best fairtrade dandruff shampoo
Urtekram Organic Fairtrade Brown Sugar Shampoo 250 ml

Urtekram has put together a formula with natural cane sugar, proven to provide extra moisture to the hair and have an anti-inflammatory effect. We love that it uses Fairtrade brown sugar and that it's certified by Ecocert.

Verdict: Grab this Urtekram dandruff shampoo if you want extra moisture and a soothing formula

Features: Certified by Ecocert, vegan, natural ingredients, Fairtrade

Review: “A shampoo with a faint clean earthy aroma that would be suitable for men as well as the girls, advertised as nourishing and volumizing, it does seem to add volume and leaves hair manageable. An important thing for me is that it is not tested on animals - I would buy again and recommend.”

Best dandruff shampoo for acne
Nizoral Anti-dandruff Shampoo - 60ml

This shampoo has a great effect if you suffer from acne around your forehead and neck. Not only does it get rid of those flakes but it also treats skin sensitively, it will improve skin and you don't have to use it for long to see the effects.

Verdict: Great if you suffer with acne, for a gentle, effective treatment

Features: Dermatologically tested, fragrance-free

Review: “Purchased this after seeing it on ‘This Morning’ recommending it for acne so I purchased this for my son who suffers from acne on his forehead and neck. We used this product for four weeks and his skin has dramatically improved. Definitely recommend.”

Read more beauty & skincare:

8 of the best skin tints for a natural and dewy finish

The £4.99 air dry cream that means you can ditch the hairdryer

All the best vegan foundations that you need in your life

What anti-dandruff shampoo is best?

There are loads of options out there if you’re looking to tackle dandruff with shampoo. It depends on what you suffer with as a whole.

If you’re looking for vegan or sustainable options, we recommend Faith In Nature Lemon & Tea Tree Shampoo or The Body Shop Ginger Anti-Dandruff Shampoo.

If you want a high-end dandruff shampoo Percy and Reed Anti-Dandruff I'm No Flake Shampoo or PHILIP KINGSLEY Flaky Itchy Scalp Shampoo.

There are loads of options out there so just make sure you do your research. We have rated every shampoo above with specifications and features, so read into them before you decide.

Say goodbye to dandruff and be flake-free with all these options!

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us
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