Choosing the best dandruff shampoo traditionally conjures up visions of medicated, nose-wrinkling potions that are not that fun to shop for—or use. Dandruff can be annoying even in the mildest cases, but especially when its symptoms include an itchy, dry scalp, irritation, and flakes that seem to get over every article of dark clothing you own. 

According to Carlos Wesley, M.D., a cosmetic surgeon and hair-loss specialist in New York City, dandruff is caused by “an overproduction of oil” or “increase in normal yeasts” on your scalp. The oil blocks dead skin cells from shedding, and in turn these cells become more apparent—hence the flakes. The good news is you can usually treat dandruff—or seborrheic dermatitis as its scientifically called—with over-the-counter products. A specially formulated shampoo goes a long way in getting those familiar symptoms of flaking and itching under control. And thanks to the innovation of haircare brands, these formulas are now a lot more appealing than they were in the past.

Whether you’re looking for a no-frills formula or want something that comes with additional hair benefits, there are a few basic ingredients to look for. Wesley recommends starting with anti-fungals like pyrithione zinc or selenium disulfide, which should work within several weeks of use. Long-term, you can also opt for a slow and steady approach with anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial botanicals, like rosemary or lavender oil. Salicylic acid (the same one powering your blemish-clearing face wash) is also a derm-approved option for regulating the turnover of the skin cells on your scalp. 

Whichever one you choose, you probably want the formula that works as quickly and noticeably as possible. With that in mind, we trawled online reviews to find out which of the best dandruff shampoos deliver on their promised results. Below, 15 picks worth stocking up on.

All products featured on Glamour are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.


Redken Scalp Relief Dandruff Control Shampoo

Star rating: 4.4 out of 5

Key selling points: A specialized hair treatment that heals dandruff with pyrithione zinc while keeping hair shiny and hydrated. Reviewers particularly like using it as a weekly or monthly scalp treatment.

What customers say: “I have trained my hair to only be washed once a week. Dandruff shampoos that need constant use won’t work on my hair. My stylist told me dandruff shampoo is really a scalp treatment, not a shampoo. His advice was to massage the shampoo onto my dry scalp before getting in the shower, leave it in 5-10 minutes, then wash it out in the shower. I then use my regular shampoo on the lengths of my hair. Following these instructions, I only have to use Redken Scalp Relief once a month. Before, I had to use dandruff shampoo every wash. My colored hair and scalp look and feel great. Love this stuff!” —Quazel, Ulta

$21 at Redken


Klorane Shampoo with Peony

Star rating: 4.2 out of 5

Key selling points: A sulfate-free formula that’s equally effective on dandruff as it is on other scalp conditions. The gentle formula provides immediate soothing effects thanks to a base of peony extract.

What customers say: “My scalp tends to be oily and is so sensitive. It breaks out in bumps and some shampoos and conditioners really irritate it. But this one is great and does not irritate at all, while also actually cleaning. It’s really difficult to find shampoos that clean without drying out too much and a lot of the sensitive scalp ones tend to leave my hair feeling too oily. But this Klorane shampoo is just about perfect for me.” —bandpam, Ulta

$20 at Klorane


DHS SAL Shampoo Maximum Strength

Star rating: 5.0 out of 5

Key selling points: A derm favorite that controls scalp buildup and soothes inflammation. Salicylic acid breaks down residue and provides continuous benefits for scalp conditions including dandruff, psoriasis, eczema, and seborrheic dermatitis.

What customers say: “This is a great shampoo for addressing flaky scalp issues. It works well, lathers up nicely and doesn’t have a strong or off-putting smell like some other shampoos meant for this purpose. I used it 2-3 times per week and it’s had a noticeable impact.” —Anonymous, Dermstore

$11 at DHS


Kenra Professional Dandruff Shampoo

Star rating: 4.0 out of 5

Key selling points: Another zinc pyrithione-based bottle with rave reviews. The formula helps noticeably with both flaking and itching.

What customers say: “I have struggled with dandruff build up on my scalp for many years. And now my preteen daughter is struggling with it. This shampoo, although expensive, has helped our scalp so much! We only use it 2 or 3 times a week, which is how often we wash our hair. We are on our second bottle only because our build up was very bad. I can actually scratch my head and not have build up under my nails! That is huge to me, since I have suffered from scalp build up for so long!” —Krystal, Ulta

$17 at Kenra Professional


Leonor Greyl Gentle Dandruff Treatment Shampoo

Star rating: 5.0 out of 5

Key selling points: It’s fairly rare that dandruff shampoos get praise for smelling good, but this formula manages it with a base of oat amino acids, propolis, chamomile, and sage. The silicone and sulfate-free formula is especially gentle, but still effective on irritated scalps.

What customers say: “I love, love the way this smells! Most dandruff shampoos are really overpowering but this has a clean smell and seems really gentle on my hair. Whenever I have any flare-ups, I whip out this shampoo and the dryness is gone in no time.” —AH, Dermstore

$46 at Leonor Greyl

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Nioxin Scalp Recovery Cleanser

Star rating: 4.3 out of 5

Key selling points: Pyrithione zinc treats a number of scalp conditions, while green tea polyphenols impart an instant soothing effect. Reviewers recommend pairing this with the accompanying conditioner to prevent dryness through the lengths of the hair.

What customers say: “I waited for a sale to buy this (since it’s definitely on the spendy side) and bought both the shampoo and conditioner. I have never in my life been so pleased with a shampoo/conditioner set. I dye my hair regularly and have not noticed the products stripping the color any more than a normal shampoo would. The shampoo does seem to dry out my hair quite a bit, but once I use the conditioner, I never notice. I have struggled with an itchy/dry scalp and dandruff literally as long as I can remember, and nothing has worked to fix it. This is the first product set that has ever brought me some relief. I don’t scratch my head anymore and I don’t find flakes on my black clothes. I am over the moon with these products and if you are on the fence, just go for it; you won’t be sorry.” —Ashley, Ulta

$23 at Nioxin

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Derma E Scalp Relief Shampoo

Star rating: 4.6 out of 5

Key selling points: A palatably priced option that works just as well as its expensive counterparts. The formula—which contains a base of salicylic acid paired with botanicals like tea tree, burdock, and bearberry—simultaneously cleanses, deflakes, soothes, and hydrates.

What customers say: “I’ve had a scalp condition since I was 14 years old—I am now 44. My scalp burns, itches, and flakes. I saw a dermatologist and was given prescription medications, which did control my symptoms but did not cure them. The itchiness and flakes would worsen with the change of seasons. If I did not use the medications daily, my scalp would act up. I decided to try to look for something else. I have used this faithfully for one month and then ran out. I just purchased four bottles and am highly considering going to auto delivery. My itchiness and flakiness have decreased significantly. The burning is gone. I can actually wear dark-colored shirts now. I still have flakes, but far and few between. Also, it makes my hair shiny and manageable. I give this product an A+.” —Julie A, Ulta

$11 at Derma E


Oribe Serene Scalp Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

Star rating: 5.0 out of 5

Key selling points: A color-safe option with salicylic acid to remove scalp buildup and caffeine to stimulate hair follicles. Oribe’s signature formula also keeps hair from drying out, so you don’t need to pile on the conditioner.

What customers say: “I bought this shampoo with hopes of no more dandruff. Well, first off, this works. Second, you only need a tiny amount of shampoo because it lathers soo good and smells amazing. This has been by far the most expensive hair product I’ve tried to date, but it’s worth every penny! My scalp has not had any flaking or dry patches since I bought this.” —JG, Dermstore

$46 at Oribe


Philip B Anti-Flake Relief Shampoo

Star rating: 5.0 out of 5

Key selling points: A botanically-powered shampoo that heals and soothes, while keeping hair voluminous and soft. Active ingredients include zinc omadine, aloe, sage, tea tree oil, and juniper berry.

What customers say: “This product is a godsend. It’s a total package for anyone who has ever had a dry and itchy scalp. I have suffered from an itchy scalp for over two years now. I used to wake up in the middle of the night scratching my head and constantly worried about flakes. I do suggest leaving this shampoo in your hair for longer than three minutes so you get a good treatment each time you use it. It has been a few weeks and already my scalp has changed dramatically.” —Anonymous, Dermstore

$42 at Phillip B


Bumble and bumble Bb.Sunday Shampoo

Star rating: 4.7 out of 5

Key selling points: A clarifying solution that removes residue and buildup between washes without drying hair out. Reviewers love the deep-cleaning sensation that goes into effect as soon as it’s applied.

What customers say: “I love this product! I have suffered from really bad dandruff and a constant dry, flaky, itchy scalp for as long as I can remember. Now that I have introduced this product into my routine it has truly changed my life. I went from having to wash every 1-2 days to now once every 5-6 days. It provides the most refreshing, cooling feeling and it really helps get all of the buildup off my scalp so it’s way less irritated. This has helped me heal my scalp, and I have also noticed significant growth at my roots since introducing this into my routine!” —Cheyanne, Ulta

$27 at Bumble and bumble

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Curlsmith Wash & Scrub Detox Pro-Biotic

Star rating: 4.7 out of 5

Key selling points: Works on all hair types, but especially designed for curls. This clarifying, exfoliating gel has a superfine texture that penetrates deeply and washes out without leaving residue. It’s packed with scalp-balancing probiotics, clarifying apple cider vinegar, and follicle-stimulating ginger.

What customers say: “I’ve struggled with scalp buildup over the years, even when I was not using products. I learned that the dandruff was hereditary. I recently started researching and trying products to get my hair back to its healthiest. This was my first scalp scrub, and my hairdresser was first to tell me this was the healthiest she has seen my scalp in over 10 years. Would definitely recommend and buy again.” —Kimberly, Ulta

$28 at Curlsmith


Matrix Biolage Scalpsync Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

Star rating: 4.3 out of 5

Key selling points: A salon-grade shampoo that can be used daily without stripping color or moisture. Calming mint leaf works in tandem with pyrithione zinc to target symptoms instantly and improve them over time.

What customers say: “I’ve had the hardest time finding a shampoo for my hair. I have a dry, flaky scalp, but get terrible buildup—so it looks like I haven’t showered after my hair has dried. I have tried soo many shampoos, and nothing has worked. Every shampoo I tried leaves residue behind or way too much oil in my hair. This shampoo balances my scalp, and is also color-safe. I usually do a double cleanse with this because it lathers really well the second time. After I shower, I add in a hair oil so I can control the oil I am putting back in. My hair is now weightless, soft, and balanced. Please try this out! I can finally wear my hair down now.” —Sarah, Ulta

$30 at Matrix


Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal + Coconut Oil Shampoo

Star rating: 5.0 out of 5

Key selling points: Reviewers love the scent, which is reminiscent of thin mints. Binchotan charcoal, mint, and tea tree oils clarify the scalp and reduce buildup and flaking. A dose of coconut oil keeps everything moisturized, without leaving a greasy residue behind.

What customers say: “This shampoo was great for exfoliating my scalp. It decreased dryness and I saw a difference in the amount of dandruff I had after using this shampoo. I use it once a week and it works well for my hair. Recommended!” —Anonymous, Dermstore

$42 at Briogeo

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Bondi Boost Dandruff Shampoo

Star rating: 4.4 out of 5

Key selling points: A much-hyped formula that fully lives up to its claims. The flake-fighting actives include anti-inflammatory botanical extracts like aloe, mint, and sea buckthorn, along with zinc pyrithione to reduce buildup.

What customers say: “This stuff is amazing for my hair!! I’ve always switched up between buying products that never really helped my dandruff or using products that were way too harsh, causing my scalp to develop sores. I tried this on the recommendation of a friend, and it’s done wonders! Powerful enough that my scalp is finally flake-free, yet gentle enough that I don’t get red sores.” —Mary-Ann, Ulta

$24 at Bondi Boost

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Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Special Shampoo

Star rating: 4.5 out of 5

Key selling points: Those with very dry scalps might find this too strong, but reviewers with milder cases of dandruff love the cooling, soothing results. Tea tree, peppermint, and lavender oils help boost scalp circulation and clear away buildup. Plus, it’s color-safe.

What customers say: “After dealing with sensitive scalp, flakes, itching, and seborrhea, this was recommended to me. Been using for six months now and I’ll never go back. I only need to wash my hair once a week, and I’m able to remain flake-free, itch-free, and frizz-free. Even my husband loves this stuff now. A family staple for sure!” —P, Ulta

$14 at Paul Mitchell