Healthy scalp: best shampoos/conditioners or other products?

Hello Brains,

I have recently developed a problem with dry, itchy, sore scalp. I don't have dandruff falling onto my shirts, but if I scratch my scalp a few little flakes will fall down. The main problem is that my scalp itches and it also feels like I've put my hair up all day, even when it's been down for half the day. I think what's responsible is that I've been rotating different shampoos that I'm trying to use up every time I wash my hair, which is every other day. I'm not sure but maybe I shouldn't be doing that? Now, of course, I want a NEW product that will fix the problem!

I haven't had any luck with finding any of the main drugstore brands with lines specifically dedicated to scalp care, aside from the usual Head & Shoulders, Selsun, and Neutrogena. I don't want ANY of these because I've used them before and not only do they not help my scalp but they can even make it worse, and they also seems to be really crappy for actual hair. They make my dry and crispy, or "like straw," as it were.

Supposedly the brand Clear has some that are scalp-focused, but I've read some pretty horrifying things about them. 

I'm thinking about going the natural route, probably because at my grocery store right now Avalon Organics Scalp Therapy shampoo and conditioner are on sale for about $5 cheaper than they are at Whole Foods. 

In looking around for reviews on those I also came across good things said about Jason Tea Tree (it "normalizes ph balance of scalp," don't you know) and Jason Aloe.

I'm going to give you the ingredients for all three, and only for the shampoos because it is not likely I will buy the conditioner (unless you say I should!) I never put conditioner on my scalp because my hair gets greasy pretty fast and I simply refuse to wash my hair every day. I already have plenty of conditioners that work great on my lower hair so unless putting one of these conditioners on my scalp is going to make it feel amazing AND not get greasy, I don't need it. 

Avalon Organics Scalp Therapy Shampoo:

Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice(1), Aqua (Water), Coco-Glucoside, Lauryl Glucoside, Sodium Coco-Sulfate, Sorbitol, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Eucalyptus Globulus Leaf Oil, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Mentha Arvensis Leaf Oil, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil, Avena Sativa (Oat) Bran, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract(1), Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract(1), Chenopodium Quinoa Seed(1), Tocopheryl Acetate, Beta-Glucan, Babassu Oil Polyglyceryl-4 Esters, Bisabolol, Citric Acid, Decyl Glucoside, Inulin(1), Sodium Sulfate, Alcohol(1), Benzyl Alcohol, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Limonene. (1)Certified Organic Ingredient. Product is preserved with Sodium Benzoate.

I'm going to put the ingredients for Jason Tea Tree and Jason Aloe in a reply to this thread because all that was too long for one post :(

I'm also considering using Palmer's Coconut Oil Strong Roots spray, which I've read is moisturizing for the scalp and has a cooling feeling. I'm just nervous that it's going to make my hair look like I haven't showered in a week.

If you have any other recommendations please let me know! I'm also considering the idea of moisturizing my scalp once a week with a mixture of epsom salt and olive oil - some DIY concoction I read about. At least I already have plenty of those so I won't have to buy anything!

Thank you!


  • Jason Tea Tree Shampoo:

    Water (Aqua) , Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate, Lauryl Glucoside, Babassu Oil Polyglyceryl-4 Esters, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Oil, Algae Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice (1), Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract (1), Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract (1), Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Fruit Extract (1), Equisetum Arvense Leaf Extract (1), Humulus Lupulus (Hops) Extract, Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Extract, Urtica Dioica (Nettle) Leaf Extract (1), Citric Acid, Glycerin, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Lecithin, Panthenol, Potassium Hydroxide, Retinyl Palmitate, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Coco-Sulfate, Sodium Laurylglucosides Hydroxypropyl Sulfonate, Sodium PCA, Sodium Sulfate, Tocopherol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Alcohol (1), Benzoic Acid, Benzyl Alcohol, Dehydroacetic Acid , Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Benzyl Benzoate, Benzyl Salicylate, Hexyl Cinnamal , Hydroxycitronellal , Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde, Fragrance (Parfum)

    Jason Aloe Shampoo:

    Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice*, Aqua (Water), Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Glycerin, Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate, Sodium Chloride, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract*, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract*, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Fruit Extract*, Equisetum Arvense Leaf Extract*, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract*, Spirulina Maxima Extract*, Citric Acid, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Panthenol, Sodium PCA, Sodium Sulfate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Alcohol*, Benzyl Alcohol, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Benzyl Benzoate, Hexyl Cinnamal, Linalool, Fragrance (Parfum)

    Palmer's Coconut Oil Strong Roots spray:

    Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Centrimonium Chloride, PEG-12 Dimethicone, Propylene Glycol, SD Alcohol 40B, Oleth 20, Betaine, Panthenyl Hydroxypropyl, Steardimonium Chloride, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance (Parfum), Panthenol, Quaternium-26, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil, Benzophenone-4, Eucalyptus Globulus Leaf Oil, Methylisothiazolinone, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate, Coumarin.

  • If you do have dandruff or any other scalp condition that's causing your itching then the only shampoos that are proven to work are the ones that are medicated with an over the counter drug (like Head and Shoulders, Clear, etc.) 

    Some people do find that medicated shampoos leave their hair feeling dry but that may be the tradeoff you have to live with. 

    On the other hand, if your itching is caused by dryness you may have great success with some of the options you listed. 

    Good luck and let us know what happens. 
  • I had scalp problems that got worse over time. My scalp would itch and burn when I shampooed every other day. It was really bad in winter. I  tried sulfate free shampoo and the itching and burning went away. Of course that also leads to not being able to use anything containing silicones unless they are the water soluble sort, but the tradeoff sure was worth it for me.

    One of my favorite shampoos since this discovery has been Beauty Without Cruelty daily shampoo. It smells like oranges. I have tried many more. Some I go back to and some I do not. I read a lot of labels.....

    Maybe sulfates are your problem? Might be worth a try to see if it helps.
  • My husband had good results with the Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Oil shampoo.  He also rinses with cider vinegar once a week.

  • Lindygirl1960, thank you for the recommendation of the sulfate free shampoos. It's been a while since I tried one that wasn't natural, such as L'Oréal Everpure. I've been shying away from natural shampoos since, while using Millcreek Botanicals, my hair was super greasy. But I think I've found a good solution.

    Of the three tea tree scalp shampoos I mentioned, I went for Avalon Organics Scalp Therapy. I'm really happy with what it's doing for my scalp. The way I use it is, I use just a little bit of regular sulfate shampoo first just to cut through the grease and rinse it out quickly. I'm still not convinced that an all-natural shampoo can totally clean my hair enough that it will stay grease-free for two days. Then I use the Scalp Therapy and leave it on my hair for 5 to 10 minutes. It's a little cooling, not so much tingly. I am finding that the shampoo has cut down on the itching a lot, and my hair feels very clean.

    The Avalon Organics Scalp Therapy shampoo has a mild tea tree/ mint scent. It lathers pretty decently for a natural shampoo but I still use a bit more of it than regular shampoos. I think it really helps to leave it on my scalp for a while.

    Since I'm not a product loyalist I'm hoping to try ShiKai tea tree shampoo next, mostly because the scent is amazing. I'm thinking that the Jason tea tree would be great based on the reviews, but it kind of smells like wet foliage.

    I'll keep you posted.
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