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12 Best Scalp Treatments for Flake-Free Healthy Hair

Photo by Kilito Chan/Getty Images

Changes in weather are no joke on our hair, skin, and nails. You probably notice that with the change in seasons, your skin and scalp change, too. This is why you might be noticing a scalp condition that feels a little… off.

“People should use over-the-counter scalp treatments for mild symptoms or issues such as an oily scalp, dandruff, itchy scalp, or mild hair loss,” says hairstylist Rogerio Cavalcante. “Based on the condition, you can opt for different product formulations like toners, serums, or vitamins. However, it's important to consult a doctor for more intense issues such as an inflamed, itchy scalp, irritations or sudden hair loss.” If you want to try an OTC treatment, check out our favorites below.

About the Experts: 

Rogerio Cavalcante is a hairstylist and owner of The Second Floor Salon in New York City. 
Shab Caspara is a hairstylist, trichologist, and founder of Leona.

1. Best Scalp Treatment for Oily Hair:

IT’S A 10 Scalp Restore Miracle Scalp Serum

IT’S A 10 Scalp Restore Miracle Scalp Serum
Courtesy of IT’S A 10

According to trichologist Shab Caspara, “Anyone feeling an imbalance on their scalp can benefit from a scalp treatment to target and treat the unique scalp microbiome.” She loves the IT’S A 10 Scalp Restore Miracle Scalp Serum to rest “the scalp microbiome and instantly cools and hydrates the scalp while controlling oiliness.”

2. Best Pre-Cleansing Scalp Treatment:

INNERSENSE True Enlightenment Scalp Scrub

INNERSENSE True Enlightenment Scalp Scrub
Courtesy of INNERSENSE

Caspara is also a fan of this pre-cleanse treatment. This one in particular is “crafted to remove impurities, restore hydration and stimulate blood flow with the help of Hawaiian red salt, celery seed, and peppermint oil.” We love a scrub because you can actually feel it sloughing off dead skin as you work it (gently!) in the scap.

3. Best Salicylic Acid Scalp Treatment:

ACT + ACRE BHA Salicylic Acid Scalp Exfoliator

ACT + ACRE BHA Salicylic Acid Scalp Exfoliator
Courtesy of ACT + ACRE

“This quick pre-wash treatment, with 0.15% salicylic acid, gently exfoliates your scalp, clearing flakes and fighting excess oil, while also relieving itchiness and sensitivity,” says Cavalcante. “I like it as a stronger treatment for people struggling with oily scalps.”

Salicylic acid is a great ingredient to look for in a scalp treatment if you have oily hair. Just like when you use it on your pores, it’ll help remove buildup like sebum that clogs the hair follicle and contributes to a greasy-looking scalp.

4. Best Post-Wash Scalp Treatment:

ACT+ACRE Cold Processed Stem Cell Scalp Serum

ACT+ACRE Cold Processed Stem Cell Scalp Serum
Courtesy of ACT+ACRE

This is another favorite of Cavalcante, and is perfect for anyone experiencing hair thinning. “I like that it can be used by new moms experiencing hair loss, which is very common,” he says. The formula is actually infused with 2% Swiss apple stem cells to help stimulate hair growth over time.

5. Best Scalp Treatment for Dandruff:

SACHAJUAN  Scalp Treatment Duo

SACHAJUAN  Scalp Treatment Duo
Courtesy of SACHAJUAN

Caspara reaches for this treatment when she has clients dealing with dandruff and flakes. This is “an intensive treatment with antifungals piroctone olamine and climbazole to remove dry dandruff and soothe an irritated scalp,” she explains.

Besides the antifungal ingredients, it’s also packed with rosemary oil, menthol, salicylic acid and ginger as natural soothing agents.

6. Best Affordable Scalp Treatment:

THE ORDINARY Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA for Scalp

THE ORDINARY Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA for Scalp
Courtesy of THE ORDINARY

THE ORDINARY is a fan favorite among beauty fanatics since each formula is packed with effective ingredients and no filler ingredients. Plus, they are sold at very affordable price points.

“This hydrating treatment is packed with hyaluronic acid and squalene,” says Cavalcante. “It feels like a skincare product tailored for your scalp, tackling dryness and dandruff. I always say that the scalp deserves moisturizing attention, especially considering its sensitivity and exposure to hot air from blow dryers,” he adds.

7. Best Leave-In Scalp Treatment:

CONTENTLY After All! Scalp Soothing Care Treatment

CONTENTLY After All! Scalp Soothing Care Treatment

One Ipster loved this treatment so much, they said, “It has definitely helped a few times with random allergic reactions. I was not expecting to like this as much as I do.” We love a treatment that works on sensitive scalps!

This treatment contains probiotics, menthol, pantenol, and allantoin to help nourish and rebalance the scalp after a harsh winter, too much heat exposure, or anything your hair goes through.

8. Best Scalp Treatment for Product Buildup:

SUNDAY RILEY Clean Rinse Clarifying Scalp Serum

SUNDAY RILEY Clean Rinse Clarifying Scalp Serum

You’ve heard of clarifying shampoos, but what about clarifying scalp serums? If you seriously put your scalp through the ringer, this is a great tool to add to your beauty arsenal. One Ipster wrote, “This stuff really works! The scent was mild and I like how my hair felt after using it. My scalp wasn't as itchy afterwards.”

9. Best Lightweight Scalp Treatment:

THE ROOTIST Clarify Balancing Serum for Oily Scalp

THE ROOTIST Clarify Balancing Serum for Oily Scalp
Courtesy of THE ROOTIST

According to Cavalcante, “this is a great product for people with oily hair. It is low maintenance compared to daily treatments.” Just make sure you only use it two to three times per week, “focusing on troubled spots. Massage in well, no need to rinse, then style as usual,” he says.

10. Best Scalp Mask:

GROW GORGEOUS Grow Gorgeous Repair Strengthening Hair & Scalp Mask

GROW GORGEOUS Grow Gorgeous Repair Strengthening Hair & Scalp Mask

If your scalp really needs some TLC, sometimes a mask is needed to really make sure the product penetrates over time. This one from GROW GORGEOUS has niacinamide, minerals, and plant extracts to help strengthen damaged strands from the root. You will feel salon-refreshed after leaving on for just 20 minutes.

Even though it’s a scalp treatment, it helps revitalize hair from root to tip, one Ipster said, “Made my hair super soft!!!!! My hair has not felt this soft in a long time.”

11. Best Scalp-Friendly Dry Shampoo:


Introducing your new hair hero: this easy-to-use dry shampoo that helps get your tresses in tip-top shape. Not only does the formula help banish any oily residue and volumize your roots with no white residue, but it also keeps your scalp happy and healthy thanks to the plant-based combo of hollow silica powder and modified corn starch.

12. Best Combo Scalp and Hair Treatment:

AAVRANI Hair & Scalp Recovery Oil

Has your hair seen better days? Show your strands what they’re made of with this restorative hair and scalp oil. It combines rosemary oil and the brand’s bond complex to help combat frizz, nourish your scalp, and repair damage to help leave your hair looking and feeling its best.

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About the author
Brittany Leitner
Brittany is an award winning beauty, health, and lifestyle writer and author of the poetry book "23 Emotions." She has eight years of experience writing for brands like Elite Daily, The. Dr. Oz Show, Shape, Stylecaster, Bustle, and more.
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Article Last Updated April 25, 2024 12:00 AM