6 Color-Safe Dandruff Shampoos

If you’re plagued by an itchy, flaky scalp, you have surely wondered how to treat it without damaging everything else you’ve worked so hard to achieve with your hair. You’re not alone in dealing with this problem; dandruff affects almost half of the world’s population. 

The most common causes of dandruff include fungal infections, overactive oil glands, excessively dry skin, and other skin conditions such as seborrheic dermatitis, eczema, or psoriasis.

To determine the cause of your scalp issues, it is best to consult a specialist who will help you manage the condition.

Anti-dandruff shampoos are the most commonly used product for managing dandruff. Special medicated anti-dandruff shampoos are available with a prescription, while over-the-counter dandruff shampoos can be purchased freely in pharmacies and drugstores.

Woman washing the hair with clarifying shampoo

Medicated Dandruff Shampoos

The active anti-dandruff ingredients found in medicated dandruff shampoos are synthetic anti-microbial agents: selenium sulfide, salicylic acid, sulfur, zinc pyrithione, piroctone olamine, and ketoconazole.

Although effective for dandruff, medicated shampoos can be harsh on colored hair. Selenium sulfide, coal tar, sulfur, and piroctone olamine may stain light hair or cause discoloration of hair dyes. They also don’t smell great.

Most over-the-counter dandruff shampoos are also packed with harsh cleansing agents and other chemical ingredients that can leave your hair dry and may cause your color to fade faster.

If you want to keep your color vibrant and shiny, you must avoid chemical-based antidandruff shampoos.

Your goal is to effectively treat your dandruff while maintaining the luster of your color, which can be quite tricky. Pay attention to the ingredients on the product label to ensure that the shampoo is formulated to improve your condition without stripping the color.

Color Safe Dandruff Shampoos

Plant-based dandruff shampoos are a safe alternative to the various synthetic additives currently used in prescription shampoos and over-the-counter dandruff shampoos. They can help to control dandruff without unwanted effects.

Natural anti-dandruff shampoos contain naturally-delivered antifungal agents and scalp soothing ingredients such as plant extracts and essential oils. Herbal ingredients in hair shampoos that have anti-dandruff properties are henna, neem extract, tea tree oil, rosemary oil, licorice, sage extract, eucalyptus, jojoba oil, basil extract, witch hazel, soap nuts, sandalwood, and Aloe Vera.

Here are some natural anti-dandruff shampoos that are color-friendly and won’t leave your hair overly-dry.

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1. Maple Holistics Sage Shampoo (also available at Walmart) is filled with essential oils that can help manage dandruff in a natural way. This sulfate-free shampoo contains a blend of essential oils and is gentle on color-treated hair.

Active anti-dandruff ingredients:

  • Salvia officinalis: Sage oil has amazing anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties to combat dermatitis, a common cause of dandruff.
  • Rosmarinus officinalis: Rosemary essential oil has potent anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties, making it a perfect remedy for controlling dermatitis, dandruff, and eczema.
  • Melaleuca Alternifolia: Tea tree oil has powerful antimicrobial, antiseptic, and skin healing properties that help eliminate yeast infections and soothe a dry, itchy scalp.
  • Simmondsia Chinensis: Jojoba oil balances your natural oil production and helps dissolve accumulated dead skin cells.

2. Scalp Rescue Shampoo by Max Green Alchemy is formulated to support scalp health and make your hair stronger and more manageable.

Botanical extracts such as licorice root, burdock root, tea tree, calendula, rosemary, geranium, lavender, and aloe vera help soothe the itchy, flaky and irritable scalp and relieve dandruff.

This pH balanced shampoo is gentle and safe for color-treated hair.

3. Giovanni Tea Tree Triple Treat Shampoo contains a potent blend of dandruff fighting ingredients including Tea Tree Oil, Peppermint oil, Eucalyptus oil, Rosemary Extract, Sage Extract, Grapefruit Seed Extract, and Aloe Vera Leaf Juice.

It is designed to deeply cleanse hair and scalp, alleviate dry scalp flaking, and boost blood circulation to the scalp.

It leaves your scalp clean and invigorated. The minty smell doesn’t linger in your hair.

4. 100% Pure Burdock and Neem Healthy Scalp Shampoo is developed to cleanse the scalp and hair, boost circulation, and help control dryness, itching, and flaking.

Active herbal ingredients that help maintain a healthy scalp include neem extract, aloe leaf juice, burdock root, rosemary leaf, peppermint leaf extract, eucalyptus oil, and tea tree oil.

This shampoo is gentle on your hair and scalp and suitable for all hair types, including color-treated hair.

Woman with colored hair shopping for a dandruff shampoo

5. The Wonder Seed Hemp Shampoo is made to help manage dry scalp, provide dandruff control, and relieve itchy scalp.

Ingredients with antiseptic, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties include Aloe Vera, Camphor Essential Oil, Borage Seed Oil, Jojoba Oil, Echinacea Extract, Licorice Root Extract, and Ivy Extract.

This hemp oil shampoo also contains a blend of botanical ingredients to prevent hair loss and to encourage hair growth.

This organic formula is safe for color-treated hair.

 6. T’zikal Deep Hydrating, All-Natural, Organic Shampoo is formulated with 30 natural, plant-based ingredients that possess reparative and protective properties. It is pH-balanced, hypoallergenic, cruelty-free, and safe for colored hair.

The formula uses Sodium Coco-Sulfate– a gentle coconut oil delivered surfactant which is a safe alternative to harsh sulfates and is also biodegradable. This cleansing agent has the ability to create a rich foam, while gently cleansing your hair and scalp without stripping natural oils.

Lavender extract has antiseptic properties that help keep the scalp soothed and refreshed with a refreshing aroma.

Botanical extracts and powerful essential oils moisturize the scalp and hair and keep the cuticle healthy and subtle. This helps keep the color inside the hair shaft and improve softness and shine.

How to Properly Use Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

Make sure to read the directions before using your shampoo, but here are some general guidelines on how to get the most of your anti-dandruff shampoo treatment while preserving the luster of your color:

  1. Apply the recommended amount of the shampoo to wet hair and massage gently into your scalp using circular motions for about two minutes.
  2. Use a shampoo massage brush to help distribute the treatment evenly. The scalp massage loosens the dead skin cells, lessening the amounts of white flakes in your hair.
  3. Keep the shampoo in your hair for a few minutes before rinsing it off thoroughly.
  4. Rinse your hair with warm or cool water to keep your color vibrant for longer.
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1 thought on “6 Color-Safe Dandruff Shampoos”

  1. Well, I have no idea when this article was written, so hopefully, this page is still being managed so someone can answer my question. Otherwise, it’s just gonna hang out here in cyberspace I guess, lol. Anyway, I have seborrheic dermatitis and have used prescription and over the counter shampoo with ketoconazole. It has been the only ingredient that has worked for me. The article didn’t touch on this type of shampoo as to whether or not it affects colored or otherwise chemically treated hair, so I was hoping someone could give me some insight. I have major grey action, so I have my roots done, and since I have seborrhea and keep the treatment shampoo on my scalp for a few minutes, I am wondering if this could be affecting the amount of time that my hair color is lasting. Also, I have been trying to keep up on my ombre color so that my hair is not just a solid blanket of brown, so I have my ends toned when I have my roots done, and I am wondering if this type of shampoo can affect the toning job on my ends as well.
    Thanks in advance for your help!

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