Sulfate Free Dandruff Shampoos that are Worth Buying

Last Updated on January 3, 2023 by Gaga

Scalp flaking happens because of increased skin cell turnover, which can be triggered by skin dryness during the cold winter months. It also can be caused by a fungus called Malassezia, which can irritate your scalp and cause flaking.

For years, anti-dandruff prescription shampoos have been considered the top choice for controlling the appearance of dandruff. Unfortunately, some of those shampoos contain ingredients such as coal tar, selenium sulfide, zinc pyrithione, and ketoconazole, which are known to be harsh on the skin.

Many over-the-counter, chemical-based shampoos are formulated to target this problem. Ideally, the perfect dandruff shampoo should provide relief without the use of abrasive chemicals that may cause harm to your health.

Natural dandruff shampoos are formulated with gentle ingredients such as plant extracts and essential oils that help balance the scalp. Such herbal-based shampoos are known for their non-toxic nature, so you can feel confident that you are not harming your skin and body.

Young girl with dandruff problem in front of the mirror

7 Naturally Based Dandruff Shampoos

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1. Maple Holistics Sage Shampoo for Dandruff with jojoba, argan, and organic tea tree oils is formulated to fight moderate to severe dandruff. Sage herb is a dermatologist-recommended for its’ ability to combat dermatitis. Spikenard and sage work together to promote hair growth. Jojoba and argan oils add shine to hair, balance sebum production, and nourish the scalp. Like most natural shampoos, it doesn’t create rich leather. Its strong herbal aroma doesn’t linger in the hair.

2. ORIBE Serene Scalp Anti-dandruff Shampoo is a gentle dandruff shampoo that contains 2% salicylic acid. Salicylic acid gently exfoliates the scalp to remove sebum build-up and dead skin cells. This shampoo is designed to relieve and prevent dandruff and soothe dry and irritated scalps.

Scalp soothing and healing ingredients include Bilberry Fruit & Sugar Maple Extracts, Caffeine, Sugarcane Extract, and Orange & Lemon Fruit Extracts.

This anti-dandruff shampoo is formulated without sulfates, parabens, and sodium chloride. It is safe for colored and chemically straightened hair.

Leave-on Treatment: ORIBE Serene Scalp Soothing Leave-on Treatment is formulated to reduce scalp irritation and nourish dry and itchy scalps. This fast-absorbing, leave-in treatment rejuvenates hair follicles and exfoliates the scalp while removing loose flakes.

3. Pure Tea Tree Oil Shampoo for Dandruff is formulated with natural anti-fungal and anti-bacterial ingredients to reduce dandruff, soothe itchy scalps, and control hair loss and acne breakouts. This shampoo doesn’t contain any harsh chemicals, which is important if you have sensitive skin. It has a mild, soothing scent. This product is color-safe and free of parabens, harsh sulfates, and animal testing.

4. Davines Purifying Anti-Dandruff Shampoo is formulated with anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial ingredients to fight microbial attacks and clear up dandruff.

It works either for dry or greasy dandruff and helps soothe itchy scalps.

This potent clarifying and detoxifying shampoo helps to cleanse and balance the scalp to keep the follicles in good condition and promote healthy hair growth.

It contains selenium sulfide (0.6%) – a chemical that is not recommended for longer contact with the skin, but this ingredient increases the ability of this shampoo to efficiently control persistent dandruff.

The smell is quite strong but still less irritating than with most medicated anti-dandruff shampoos.

This shampoo is not color-safe, so keep that in mind if your hair is freshly colored and you want to keep the color looking vibrant. Another downside is its low ability to create leather which makes it hard to spread. To get richer foam, add a bit of your regular shampoo.

5. SheaMoisture African Black Soap Dandruff Control Shampoo is formulated with natural and certified organic ingredients to deeply cleanse hair and scalp, remove product build-up, and soothe the dry, itchy, and flaking scalp. African Black Soap, Bamboo Charcoal, Tea Tree Oil, and Willow Bark Extract help calm dandruff without the use of harsh chemicals. This shampoo also revitalizes hair and leaves it feeling fresh and clean.

6. If you travel a lot, you will need a compact anti-dandruff treatment to pack in your carry-on bag. Naturel Soothe Dandruff Shampoo Bar perfectly meets your needs while protecting your luggage from spills.

7. Another travel-friendly dandruff shampoo is Solid Shampoo Bar for Dandruff or Touchy Scalps by Ethique. This eco-friendly solid shampoo bar is formulated with natural oils to combat dandruff and calm itchy scalps.

a woman washing her hair with an anti-dandruff shampoo

What Results are Realistic to Expect?

A natural anti-dandruff shampoo won’t eliminate severe dandruff. However, it can significantly reduce symptoms and keep your condition bearable. A sulfate-free dandruff shampoo leaves your scalp moisturized and nourished. It also makes your hair softer and more manageable.

Although sulfate-free shampoos don’t produce many suds, they are effective in cleaning your hair and scalp.

a woman brushing her long healthy hair

How to Get Maximum Results from Using a Natural Dandruff Shampoo?

  1. Be sure to leave the product in your hair for at least a couple of minutes to allow your scalp to absorb all the therapeutic benefits. Massage gently for a couple of minutes to rub the product into your scalp. Rinse and repeat because the first shampoo gets the scalp clean, while the second one nourishes it.
  2. Do not give up if you don’t see the results from the first use. Dandruff is going away with each wash. It can take a few shampoos to see a noticeable difference.
  3. Rinse your hair with cool or lukewarm water. The cool water rinse helps reduce irritation. Your scalp can get itchy and dry if you wash your hair with hot water.
  4. Apply a vinegar rinse once a week to help reduce flaking and add sheen to your hair.
  5. Add a few drops of jojoba oil to your favorite shampoo or conditioner to help dissolve the dandruff scales and keep the pores clean.
  6. Use a good conditioner because shampoo can be a little drying on the hair, and combing it out can be a challenge. Maple Holistics Tea Tree Oil Conditioner is a good accompaniment to any dandruff shampoo.
  7. If you have been using the same shampoo for several months, your scalp may become immune to it. Once you figure that the effectiveness of your current shampoo is decreased, start to rotate brands. Switch to a different brand every few months. Such a combination of multiple shampoos can provide you with better and longer-lasting results than using a single product.  
Happy woman after washing hair with dandruff shampoo

Good Reasons to Use Sulfate-free Dandruff Shampoos 

  1. Having a very dry scalp can cause flaking which provides a good environment for fungi to grow. Sulfate-based products can strip the scalp of natural oils that protect your skin from fungal infections. Natural anti-dandruff shampoos are much less drying than sulfate-containing shampoos. Your scalp and hair are clean without feeling stripped. They do a good job of keeping dandruff under control without harming your scalp and hair.
  2. Sulfate-free, naturally-based dandruff shampoos are gentle enough to be used on very sensitive skin. This is important if you are allergic to preservatives and certain chemicals in skincare products. Many popular dandruff shampoos contain irritating ingredients that can cause scalp flaking or inflammation. Artificial fragrances and harsh chemical ingredients often trigger or exacerbate dandruff. Natural dandruff shampoos not only reduce dandruff but also nourish your scalp.
  3. Some active ingredients in medicated antidandruff shampoos can affect the vibrancy of your hair color. Sulfate-free shampoos are gentle on your colored hair. After dying your hair, you can use sulfate-free, anti-dandruff shampoo with no problem.
  4. If you recently have received a keratin treatment, you need to use only sulfate-free products including sulfate-free dandruff shampoos. Natural dandruff shampoos are the only keratin-safe shampoos you can use to keep your dandruff under control.
  5. Scalp inflammation can inhibit healthy hair growth, contributing to thinning hair or hair loss. Gentle sulfate-free shampoos help reduce the severity of hair thinning associated with scalp inflammation.
  6. Natural dandruff shampoos don’t leave your head with an unpleasant medicated scent that most prescribed anti-dandruff shampoos do. Instead, they have a relaxing and refreshing herbal fragrance that doesn’t linger on your hair.
  7. Sulfate-free shampoos are not harmful to the environment. When washed away there are no toxic chemicals enter the water system.

Related post:

Which Anti-Dandruff Shampoo to Use on Color-Treated Hair?

About the author

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Gaga is a blogger and founder of the Softer Hair website. She often says that insomnia is to blame for her first blogging attempts. Being the night owl, she hated the morning alarm. She left her office job and returned to what she loved most - writing.


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