The 24 Best Shampoos and Conditioners for Sensitive Scalps
Are you struggling with an itchy, dry scalp?
Tired of having acne on your head?
Maybe psoriasis or eczema has flared up again.
Today let’s talk about the best shampoos and conditioners for sensitive scalps.
I think you’ll be happy because you have a lot of good ones to choose from.
I bet you’ll find the right hair care products for your sensitive skin.
Free & Clear Set
- Helps remove flakes and scaling
- Prevents damage and breakage
- Moisturizes your skin
Derma E Scalp Relief Conditioner
- Calms and nourishes itchy scalps
- Perfect for daily usage
- 100% vegan and eco-ethical
CLn Gentle Shampoo – Sensitive Scalp Gentle Shampoo
- Moisture rich shampoo
- Suitable for all types of hai
- Smells fresh and clean
What causes a scalp to be sensitive?
There are many reasons why your scalp might be sensitive.
It could be that you used harsh chemicals to wash and style. It’s not uncommon to have allergic reactions to fragrances, for example (1).
Over-styling and frequent color treatments might be making your scalp react.
Sulfates may also be the culprit. They are the ingredient that makes the lather in your shampoo. But unfortunately, they strip natural oil from the scalp, which makes them drying (2).
But conditions like psoriasis and eczema make your skin sensitive. And chemotherapy, as well as certain medications, may contribute to the problem (3).
You could end up with scaling, flaking, pimples, and so on.
That’s why your first line of defense is the way you wash and condition your hair.
Top Shampoos and Conditioners for Sensitive Scalps
1. Free & Clear Set
We’ll begin list of the best shampoos for sensitive scalp with Free & Clear, also known as Vanicream.
They make several different products like moisturizers, deodorant, and shampoo and conditioner.
This set is frequently recommended by dermatologists as it’s very gentle. It shouldn’t trigger eczema or cause an allergic reaction.
- Dermatologically tested shampoo
- Helps with dandruff and scales
- Moisturizes and nourishes your scalp
That’s because both bottles are free of a long list of potential irritants.
To illustrate, they don’t contain artificial fragrances, masking fragrances, parabens, gluten, formaldehyde releasers, preservatives, or dyes.
Both are pH-balanced shampoo and conditioner, too.
Now, for the downside. The shampoo will not lather up a lot.
If you have oily hair, you might need to wash twice. But happily, the conditioner works well enough.
- Removes flakes and other impurities
- Doesn’t dry out your skin
- Prevents hair damage and breakage
- Dries out thin hair
- The 33 Best Shampoos and Conditioners for Oily Scalp
- The 20 Best Drugstore Shampoos and Conditioners for Oily Hair
2. Derma E Scalp Relief Conditioner
Sometimes shampoos like the one above don’t seem to have an accompanying conditioner. In that case, keep this one on hand.
The Derma-E conditioner is like a dandruff treatment. It has salicylic acid to exfoliate flakes. Meanwhile, it soothes irritation and itching with menthol and tea tree oil.
- Aloe vera extract
- Beneficial vitamins including B5
- Salicylic acid for extra deep cleanse
- Tea tree oil and menthol
Finally, this conditioner smooths frizz and tangles with aloe, sweet almond oil, and argan oil.
It does all this without parabens, gluten, lanolin, or mineral oil.
- Deeply cleanses and removes all the flakes
- Doesn’t dry ut your skin
- Moisturizes and nourishes your scalp with beneficial nutrients
- Causes loosening in your curls
3. CLn Gentle Shampoo – Sensitive Scalp Gentle Shampoo
This sensitive scalp shampoo helps clear up flaking if you have a mild case. It’s good for itchy, dry scalps.
It has sodium hypochlorite, also known as bleach.
- Gentle cleansing
- Fragance free
- Lightweight formula
- Hydrates and smoothes
Don’t be shocked – dermatologists sometimes recommend bathing with a little bleach to treat atopic dermatitis or eczema. It calms itching and reduces scaling (4).
This is not a sulfate-free shampoo. But it does have the National Eczema Society Seal of Acceptance. And it’s free of artificial fragrances and parabens.
- Leaves your hair smelling fresh and clean
- Helps with itching and flaking scalps
- Moisturizes and fights dried out skin
- Has sulfates
4. Puracy Natural Shampoo and Conditioner Set
Puracy’s set comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Try them for at least two weeks to normalize your sensitive scalp and hair.
Both are biodegradable and free of sulfates, parabens, and fragrances. The conditioner also lacks dimethicone, a silicone that might weigh down your hair.
- Vitamins B5 and E
- Citrus and mint scent
- Olive oil-based squalene
- Beet sugar extract
The shampoo uses a coconut-based cleanser to wash away dirt and excess oil.
But it also moisturizes with beet sugar and squalane. And the pleasant scent comes from essential oils like eucalyptus and peppermint.
Then, the conditioner uses only plant-based ingredients to reduce frizz and tangles. It has sunflower seed oil and shea butter.
- Creates rich, luxurious foam
- Cleanses all the impurities and moisturizes
- Leaves a fresh smell of peppermint and citrus
- Can dry out your hair
5. Sebamed Everyday Shampoo
Sebamed is a company based in Germany. They make several products for sensitive skin, including this shampoo that you can use every day.
It’s made for adults with any hair type.
- pH balanced formula
- Perfect for daily usage
- Effective for all types of hair
It’s pH-balanced at 5.5, which protects your skin from drying out.
Think about what would happen if you washed your hair with dish detergent. That’s very alkaline and it would upset the natural acidity of your skin. This shampoo won’t do that.
While it doesn’t have harsh sulfates, it does have a fragrance. Fortunately, it might be moisturizing enough if you don’t have a dry scalp.
Otherwise, check out the conditioner below.
- Keeps your hair healthy and shiny
- Moisturizes your scalp and leaves no flakes
- Protects your hair against dryness
- Can cause hair falling
6. Sebamed Repair Conditioner
Sebamed’s conditioner protects against tangles and adds shine to dull hair.
The company says that they test their products clinically for sensitive skin. They say that the fragrance they use is hypoallergenic.
- Silk protein for more strength
- Nourishing complex
- Beneficial vitamins and fatty acids
In their case, this might be true as the European Union has stricter rules than the USA. They require proof that a product actually is hypoallergenic.
- Deeply moisturizes your skin
- Provides all the needed nutrients for healthy skin
- Removes dried out flakes and ensures normal skin pH
- Doesn’t have the best smell
7. Bioderma NODE A Soothing Shampoo
When you see “NODE” shampoos made by Bioderma, you’ll know that they are “no-detergent” products.
The NODE A version was field-tested on people with sensitive skin. More than 90% of them said their scalp felt better after washing with it.
- Formulated with natural ingredients
- Gentle cleanse and perfect lather
- Perfect for dry hair
- Paraben, sulfate free
One of the key ingredients is D-Panthenol, which moisturizes and fortifies the scalp and hair.
The formula is free of sulfates, sodium, and parabens. It shouldn’t irritate the eyes, either.
- Moisturizes and nourishes your hair
- Works best with dried out scalps
- Removes irritation and flakes
- Doesn’t work for oily and normal hair
8. Kerastase Dermo-Calm Bain Vital Haute Tolerance
Does your hairdresser use Kerastase? If so, ask to try the Dermo-Calm shampoo.
It calms inflammation and heals the skin with calophyllum oil, also known as Tamanu oil.
- Perfect for normal hair
- Calming effect on your skin
- Fights dried out scalps and dandruff
- Beneficial nutrients and vitamins
As you work it into your scalp, you’ll feel a gentle tingling because it contains menthol.
The only con is that this is not a sulfate-free shampoo.
- Moisturizes and cleanses your skin
- Doesn’t brake or damage the hair
- Works perfect with normal types of hair
- Works bad with oily hairs
9. Klorane Shampoo with Peony
Here’s a shampoo for sensitive scalp and colored hair.
Peony extract diminishes itching and resolves dryness that results from styling, stress, and a harsh environment.
- pH balanced formula
- Amazing peony scent
- Extreme comfort
- Best for irritated scalps
This is a shampoo that’s free of parabens, sulfates, and silicone. It’s vegan and biodegradable.
- Provides immediate comfort for dried out scalps
- Leaves an amazing peony scent
- Works with all types of water
- Doesn’t smell at all
- The 15 Best Silicone-Free Shampoos and Conditioners
- The 16 Best Shampoos and Conditioners for Balayage Hair
- The 22 Best Deep Conditioners for Bleached Hair
10. Klorane Gel Conditioner with Peony
Don’t forget the conditioner; it might make all the difference. When your scalp is moisturized, it’s more resistant to irritants.
The gel conditioner doesn’t have silicone in it, so it won’t weigh down your hair. It has an applicator tip to help you get it right on your scalp for instant hydration.
- Beneficial vitamins and fatty acids
- Nourishing effect
- An amazing scent
- Instant hydration
The moisture should last up to twenty-four hours after you apply it. At the same time, your hair will be shinier and easy to manage.
- Moisturizes and fights flakes
- Leaves your hair silky smooth
- Makes your scalp more resistant to irritation
- Makes your hair frizz
11. Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk, Ultra-Gentle
Would you like to go for a day or two between shampoos? Then Klorane’s dry shampoo is the answer.
Most users say that it’s invisible once they’ve brushed their hair. There’s no chalky powder or residue left behind.
- Plant-based shampoo
- Oat milk usage
- Beneficial vitamins and nutrients
- Extra moisturizing effect
It has a mild scent, and it’s free of harsh chemicals. You can use it on color-treated hair.
- Moisturizes and soothes your hair
- Protects and nourishes the scalp
- Helps keeping a natural balance of the scalp
- There’s no smell
12. Aveeno Scalp Soothing Oat Milk Blend Shampoo
If you’re a fan of Aveeno, you might already know about the oat milk shampoo. It’s very moisturizing for something that you use to cleanse oil and impurities.
It’s good for all hair types and fine to use every day.
- Balanced moisture
- Perfect for all types of hair
- Free of sulfates and parabens
- Safe for color-treated hair
Furthermore, it’s free of parabens, sulfates, and dyes.
Grab the accompanying conditioner, too.
- Hydrates and strenghtens your hair
- Moisturizes the scalp
- Actively fights dryness and flakes
- Overwhelming perfume
13. Garnier Whole Blends – Oat Delicacy – Gentle Shampoo & Conditioner Set
Perhaps the best drugstore shampoo for sensitive scalp is Oat Delicacy by Garnier.
It has oat milk and rice cream in it, which makes it sound good enough to eat.
- Gentle shampoo and conditioner
- Deeply cleaning and moisturizing effect
- Oat milk and rice cream
But these two ingredients boost shine and moisturize while they lessen inflammation.
I checked the ingredients and was a little disappointed to find that there are sulfates and artificial fragrance in the shampoo.
- Boosts shine and moisturize
- Doesn’t leave inflammation untreated
- Fights scap dryness
- Has sulfates and artificial fragrance
14. California Baby Super Sensitive Hair Conditioner
Have you ever tried baby shampoo as an adult? It might be just what you need for your sensitive scalp.
On the other hand, here’s a baby conditioner. It’s tear-free.
Leave it in or wash it out, whichever you prefer.
- Organic aloe vera
- Wax made of cabbages
- Free of parabens, sulfates and artificial fragrances
- It’s tear free
It has certified organic aloe and other plant-based ingredients. There’s even wax made from cabbages.
Of course, it’s free of parabens, sulfates, formaldehyde releasers, and artificial fragrances.
- Perfectly moisturizes and nourishes your skin
- Doesn’t leave any untreated flakes
- Works great with sensitive skin
- Doesn’t condition very thick hair
15. Carol’s Daughter Coco Creme Curl-Quenching Shampoo
If you have curly hair and a sensitive scalp, try this product. It’s a very moisturizing shampoo that sulfate-free.
- Extremly moisturizing
- Perfect for very dried out skin
- Plenty of vitamins and minerals
- Coconut oil and mango seed butter
When you wash with it, mango seed butter, Vitamin E, and coconut oil hydrate your scalp and hair.
- Moisturizes and hydrates your skin
- Works great with over-dried scalps
- Leaves your hair shiny and undamaged
- Not the best smell
16. Carol’s Daughter Cactus Rose Water Sulfate-Free Shampoo and Conditioner
I found this to be the best shampoo and conditioner for sensitive scalp and fine hair.
If you don’t mind the smell of roses, they are pleasant to use.
The shampoo is a clarifier that clears away build-up residue from styling products and conditioners with silicone. But it shouldn’t harm curls.
- Pleasent rose scent
- Contains silicone to clean build-ups
- Repairs damaged hairs
- Contains biotin and other nutrients
Both products promote hair growth with biotin and rich moisturizers.
- Enhances hair growth with different nutrients
- Leaves your hair smelling nice and fresh
- Deeply cleanses and moisturizes your skin
- It makes your hair flat
17. Shea Moisture Coconut and Hibiscus Combination Pack Curl & Shine Shampoo, Conditioner
Shea Moisture caters to people with wavy, curly, and coiled hair.
This product are creamy and delicious. They’re also the shampoo and conditioner that safe for color-treated and dry damaged hair.
- Creamy and delicious
- Coconut and hibiscus combination
- Smells great
- Perfect for dry damaged hair
After you wash with them, your scalp will be moisturized, and your curls defined.
- Cleans your hair and makes it better-looking
- Moisturizes and nourishes your scalp
- Provides all the nutrients for a healthy scalp and hair
- Doesn’t work well with thick hair
18. OGX Healing Plus Vitamin E Shampoo and Vitamin E Conditioner
When you wash your hair every day, you need a mild shampoo that moisturizes.
The OGX Healing Plus products are rich in Vitamin E. They will help fix your scalp and split ends alike.
- Plenty of vitamin E
- Extreme healing effects
- Perfect for daily usage
If you’re tired of having an itchy, flaking scalp and dull, dry hair, give them a try.
- Moisturizes your scalp
- Fixes split ends and broken hairs
- Helps with itchy, flaking scaps
- Not the best choice for dry hair
19. Free & Clear Medicated Anti-Dandruff Shampoo
Sadly, if you have a sensitive scalp, you might be prone to dandruff.
Well, the best shampoo for sensitive scalp and dandruff is this one.
It’s milder than the other dandruff shampoos on the market, but it’s still effective.
- 2% zinc pyrithione
- Effectively fights dandruff
- No sulfates, gluten or dyes
- Only natural ingredients in the formula
The dandruff-fighter is 2% zinc pyrithione that controls the fungus that causes seborrheic dermatitis.
Plus, it won’t turn your hair blue.
Let it work on your scalp for a few minutes before you rinse.
Like other products from Free & Clear, it doesn’t contain sulfates, gluten, dyes, phosphates, fragrances, masking fragrances, parabens, formaldehyde, or formaldehyde releasers.
- Controls the fungus that causes dandruff
- Moisturizes your scalp and hair
- Removes all the flakes from your hair
- You might get an allergic reaction
20. Head and Shoulders Shampoo and Conditioner, Moisture Renewal
Here’s an inexpensive way to clear up flaking, stop itching, and revive your dry scalp and hair.
This is a shampoo made for curly and kinky hair, but that doesn’t mean that people with straight hair can’t enjoy it too.
- It isn’t very expensive
- Made for curly and kinky hair
- Free of sulfates and parabens
- Minimizes odor
The shampoo and conditioner are free of harsh sulfates, parabens, and dyes. They have an appealing coconut fragrance.
What’s more, they minimize odor in case you don’t wash your hair every day.
- Makes your scalp stop itching and flaking
- Invigorates dried out scalps
- Moisturizes and repairs damaged hairs
- Not the best scent
21. MG217 Psoriasis 3% Salicylic Acid Therapeutic 2 in 1 Shampoo and Conditioner
If you have a sensitive scalp due to psoriasis, you need salicylic acid. This shampoo quiets inflammation and softens scales.
It makes it easier to clear away the dead skin, so that skin and hair are clear. You’ll also notice less itching.
- 3% salicylic acid
- Nourishing effect form the conditioner
- Efectively fights dandruff and psoriasis
Additionally, using this 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner once in a while helps prevent flare-ups.
- Clears away dead skin
- Smoothens inflammation
- Makes your scalp less itchy
- Might not help with psoriasis
22. Neutrogena Anti-Residue Shampoo
If you need a clarifying shampoo for sensitive scalp, check out this one from Neutrogena. It’s made to be used once a week.
Washing with it removes almost all of the residue left behind by styling products.
- Once a week usage
- Gentle formula
- Perfect for sensitive skin and oily hair
Yet, it’s more gentle than many similar products.
The main con is that it has a fragrance and a sulfate.
- Deeply cleanses all the residue from styling products
- Moisturizes and nourishes the scalp
- Prevents further dryness
- Has a fragrance and a sulfate
23. Wella Calm Treatment for Sensitive Scalp
Leave-in conditioners and masques aren’t just for your hair. Here’s one for your scalp.
It refreshes your skin with menthol and boosts circulation with caffeine.
- Menthol and caffeine
- Contains bamboo extracts
- Perfect for your scalp
- Plenty of nutrients and vitamins
At the same time, bamboo, which is rich in silica, strengthens your skin and hair.
Massage it in, then leave the treatment on for up to ten minutes, and rinse well.
- Boost the circulation
- Calms itchy scalps and removes flakes
- Refreshes your scalp skin
- Doesn’t have a smell
24. PHYTO Phytopolléine 100% Botanical Scalp Treatment
Yes, it’s a tiny bottle. But it’s so worth it.
The PHYTO scalp treatment is a game-changer for some people. It restores their scalp to health.
For some, it helps with hair growth.
- Extraordinar scent
- Plenty of beneficial nutrients
- Nice formula with blend in essential oils
It’s a blend of essential oils like rosemary, cypress, sage, eucalyptus, and lemon.
Apply it once a week and let it work for twenty minutes. Then shampoo your hair if you desire.
- Leaves your scalp healthy
- Helps with hair growth and shyness
- Moisturizes and nourishes
- You might not like the smell
Dealing with a sensitive scalp can be a hassle.
But if you wash with the best shampoos and conditioners designed for sensitive skin, it gets easier.
They avoid harsh ingredients and add plenty of moisture to keep your scalp and hair in top condition.
If you found your new favorite shampoo and conditioner today, tell us about them in the comments below.
Free & Clear Set
Helps remove flakes and scaling
Prevents damage and breakage
Moisturizes your skin
Founder & Hair Beauty Specialist
I’m Aida and this is my blog where I write mostly about beauty and make up related stuff, but I like to spice it up a bit with lifestyle and photography posts. Or with whatever that comes to my mind. Hope you will enjoy the reading enough that we will ‘see’ each other more often!
1. https://www.webmd.com/beauty/sensitive-skin-20-questions#1 published June 1, 2018, accessed December 19, 2019
2. https://www.self.com/story/sulfate-free-shampoo by Deena Campbell, published August 2017, accessed December 19, 2019
3. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/chemotherapy/in-depth/hair-loss/art-20046920 accessed December 19, 2019
4. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/atopic-dermatitis-eczema/expert-answers/eczema-bleach-bath/faq-20058413 by Lawrence E. Gibson published August 9, 2018, accessed December 19, 2019