Dandruff isn’t pretty and it isn’t something you ever get used to – there’s no scalp positivity movement we’ve heard of. So, to help you eradicate (instead of cope) with flakes, we’ve rounded up the ultimate cures for staying flake-free. We recommend tackling the issue from all angles (read: from the inside out), and whatever your method, we’ve got you covered at every price point—seriously, some of this stuff is already hiding in your cabinet.
This OTC dandruff cure is a bit on the pricey side from what you would expect from a drug store, but it does work and it's dermatologist recommended. To get the full effects of the chemicals, leave it on for 8 minutes - however, if you’re on the sensitive side you should rinse before then to avoid any redness.
To cure dandruff naturally and on the cheap, mix an even amount of water and apple cider vinegar - let it sit for about 5 minutes before rinsing it out. ACV is a super astringent, has antibacterial properties and controls excess sebum production. If the smell is too harsh and you don't want to DIY, pick up dpHUE Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse: $15.
Image via Thrive Market
Philip Kingsley Flaky/Itchy Scalp Anti-Dandruff Shampoo: $26
Trust Trichologist (a fancy word for a scalp doctor) Philip Kingsley when it comes to flakes—the team are the scalp experts for a reason. This anti-itch and anti-flake cure is as high-end as medicinal anti-dandruff shampoos get.
Treat dandruff where it starts—at the scalp. A once or twice weekly mask works wonders at furthering your anti-flake cause, making it easier to whisk away any residue at the end of each day, and you get to feel like a princess doing it.
Image via Space NK
Tea Tree Therapy 100% Pure Australian Tea Tree Oil: $13.99
Work 5-10 drops of tea tree oil into your shampoo for maximum dandruff blasting results. If you infuse with your shampoo, make sure to shake it up well and then massage it into the scalp directly. Otherwise, you can apply the essential oil directly on the scalp. Tea tree oil has antifungal and antibacterial properties but won’t dry your skin out, making it a perfect all natural, flake-fighting alternative.
Is there anything aloe vera can’t do? The medicinal plant is antifungal, antibacterial and is the ultimate healer. It stops itching associated with dandruff and is super soothing. It even naturally contains an enzyme that stimulates hair growth—while clearing the scalp of debris. If you can’t use an actual aloe plant, buy a ready made product that is as pure as possible, like this one by Fruit of the Earth. We also like MAKE Succulent Skin Gel: $25, made from cactus extract.
If you have an itchy, scaly and flake-ridden scalp, this is for you. Literally 100% of users said it reduced their flakiness, while 92% noted their hair was more hydrated. The product is also totally vegan, gluten-free and cruelty-free—and there’s free returns within 30 days if you're in the 0% that totally hate it. Basically, Briogeo is making things really easy for you and there’s pretty much no excuse for dandruff anymore.
This one is surprising! Crushing up aspirin and grinding it into a paste, or mixing 2-3 pills into your shampoo, can actually help reduce your dandruff. This is because aspirin has anti-inflammatory properties, which helps exfoliate flakes and keeps your scalp under control.
Omega-3’s contain fatty acids that play many roles in maintaining health overall, including how your hair and skin function. In fact, an Omega-3 deficiency can be expressed through dandruff, as well as dry skin and hair. To reduce inflammation associated with this, as well as relieve scalp irritation and, therefore, dandruff, up your omega-3 intake. We swear by Needed’s vegan Omega-3 liposomal powder, which contains DHA and EPA.
Image via Needed
Probiotics and a Gut Primer
Probiotics do it all, including fight dandruff. That’s because they may boost the immune system, allowing the body to fight fungus-causing dandruff more effectively. According to a study published by Pub Med, taking probiotics for 56 days reduced the severity of dandruff in 60 people, possibly due to the positive effects on the skin barrier. We recommend HUM Nutrition’s Skin Heroes Pre+Probiotic: $40and The Beauty Chef Gut Primer: $69.
Open the fridge but keep your eyes on the prize—if you’ve got baking soda, grab it. Baking soda has antifungal properties, is super affordable and works as a great exfoliant by removing dead skin cells and curbing itchiness. To use, apply baking soda directly to the scalp, massaging it in with water and letting sit for about 2 minutes before shampooing out.
Image via Walmart
Looking for luxe dandruff cures? Check out our 13 faves, HERE.