Your hairway to dandruff-free heaven.

By Hana Hong
October 12, 2020
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Credit: Gian Cescon/Unsplash

There are shampoos for dandruff. There are shampoos for color-treated hair. But what do you do if you have dandruff and color-treated hair? Unfortunately, dandruff-centric shampoos are often loaded with antifungal chemicals and sulfates that are great for killing flakes, but not so great for your recent balayage. Translation: While that Selsun Blue might work wonders for your virgin-hair friend, your hair requires a little more maintenance. That doesn’t mean you’re doomed to choose between stripped hair and a scattering of snowflakes; you can still keep your dye job intact while restoring your flake-free confidence. Below, seven hair treatments that fight to banish those pesky flakes for good and preserve your beautiful hue.

1

$15, amazon.com

During my worst dandruff bout (trust me, it was bad), I was one step away from giving up entirely until I met this miracle-working potion. In just one dime-sized use, my flakes disappeared entirely. The dark blue formula contains ketoconazole, a potent anti-fungal that’s often used in prescription-grade dandruff medications. But unlike some stronger, prescription-grade formulas, Nizoral is still gentle enough to use on color-treated hair, which my freshly-colored brown hue appreciated.  

2

$21, hellojupiter.com

This soothing cleanser is safe for both chemically treated and color-treated hair—it eliminates issues like flaking, irritation, and dry scalp by getting to the root of dandruff with zinc pyrithione. Bonus: Testers rave about its pleasant, non-medicinal vanilla aroma.

3

$9. target.com

Dandruff is a fungal infection, but have you considered that your flaking scalp might simply be chalked up to dryness? This effective formulation is gentle enough to be used daily; in addition to being pH-balanced, it strives for healthy hair by hydrating your flaky scalp with coconut water and argan oil instead of sloughing it off. 

4

$42, dermstore.com

An upgrade to your average shampoo, this adds vegetable-derived micro-exfoliators to physically remove dead skin cells and product buildup from the scalp. Not only does it sound cool, it also feels cool, thanks to soothing tea tree oil which gets irritated scalps to truly chill. Work the shampoo into your scalp, and let it marinate for five minutes before rinsing off. Your flakes should be significantly eliminated within a few uses, and after that, you can switch to weekly maintenance applications.

5

$46, dermstore.com

This calming complex pulls out the big guns; it uses a laundry list of active plant concentrates and amino acids (including some more unique ones like garlic bulb extract) to increase circulation, improve moisture levels, and prevent flaking. Bonus: The bottle is actually pretty (and not an embarrassing medicinal-looking eyesore). 

6

$7, amazon.com

This shampoo is completely free of sulfates (the cleansing agents that give you that frothy lather but are also drying on hair). You’ll have peace of mind knowing that it has 1 percent pyrithione zinc to target impurities from the scalp and hair follicle. 

7

$19, ulta.com

Matrix's Biolage line has always been a gentler and more natural alternative to harsh shampoos. In lieu of harsh chemicals, it uses a medley of zinc pyrithione and mint leaf for its anti-bacterial and calming properties. And because it's made with natural ingredients, it's totally safe for both color-treated and chemically processed locks.