PSL fatigue, dropping temperatures, shorter days… all telltale symptoms that fall is here and winter—gasp—will shortly be upon us. Another side effect? A dry, itchy scalp situation. Between flakes, scales, and other uncomfortable unmentionables, the colder seasons are no dear friends of our hairlines. Many of us fall victim regardless of our skin type, hair texture, or length.
Thanks to a perfect-storm combination of sweater weather, allergens, and dry-as-a-bone moisture levels, fall and winter can be a harrowing time for our strand goals such as shine, health, or perhaps fast and furious growth. (Unless, of course, you're planning a big chop!) Luckily, all of our favorite haircare brands totally have our back and consistently debut new, science-backed formulas to prevent, reverse, or cure a stubborn dry scalp and its side effects such as itchiness, flakes, so on and so forth.
To take the load off your soon-to-be dandruff-free shoulders, we scoured four of our favorite beauty retailers for the top-rated scalp treatments loyal customers can't stop raving about and repurchasing. Keep scrolling for 16 of the best products to help treat dry scalp.
What it does: A scalp-salvaging shampoo alternative, this special treatment encourages longer, stronger, thicker hair growth with help from strategic special ingredients like niacin, wheat protein, vitamin B6, emu, and jojoba oil. The brand recommends following with your favorite conditioning treatment.
What it does: The ultra-soothing hair cream replaces your shampoo and conditioner to steep hair with a high dose of cleansing moisturizers. Key players include B5, fortifying rice protein, and hydrating hyaluronic acid to take care of your strands from scalp to ends.
What it does: This rich scalp-and-hair elixir contains high-quality ingredients like castor oil to tone the scalp while simultaneously fortifying and hydrating compromised strands. As a result, your other fave hair products will be able to work more efficiently. It also self-heats to help distribute the ingredients thoroughly and evenly, which feels pretty darn dreamy this time of year as part of a luxe shower routine. (The brand recommends twice-per-week usage prior to your normal shampoo-and-conditioner ritual.)
What it does: This under-the-radar fan favorite is heaven-sent for those suffering from a dry, cranky, and itchy scalp. It's brimming with amazing ingredients like apple stem cells (to slow aging hair follicles) and Indian senna (for hydration), and one pipette worth of product evenly applied throughout the scalp on a daily basis will soothe even the worst fall and winter hair woes.
What it does: Infused with rose and specifically formulated for torched scalps and damaged, brittle strands, this luxe hair mask from Aēsop soothes away dryness and flakes while also leaving the lengths of your hair soft, velvety, and highly nourished with maximum moisture. Use it in lieu of your moisturizer, comb through, and let it marinate for a full episode of New Girl before washing it out thoroughly.
What it does: This pre-shampoo treatment contains one of Omorovicza's trademark hero ingredients: Hungarian moor mud. While it might sound counterintuitive to slather your scalp and strands with mud, it actually works to magically detoxify a congested scalp while simultaneously encouraging healthier, shinier hair growth. For good measure, it also contains cooling menthol and camphor to immediately pacify fired-up follicles, and salicylic acids help to gently exfoliate away dead skin and pore-clogging residue.
What it does: Apart from smelling amazing (like a fall trip to a woodsy cabin destination), this cedar- and sage-spiked scalp treatment is another top seller among Nordstrom shoppers. Before showering, simply brush your hair and scalp (this loosens any buildup and debris) before massaging five or so drops of the elixir into your scalp. Let it absorb for 15 minutes, and then cleanse and condition as you normally would.
What it does: It might be an investment, but this French hair export is a beauty editor–approved must for a parched, itchy, and dandruff-ridden scalp. It's a mask you apply pre-shampoo, and it utilizes healthy ingredients like white clay to help purify your scalp and suck up the gunk, oil, and other ickies getting in the way of your future good hair day.
What it does: One of the best shampoos on the market for a dry, irritated scalp, this impressive formula from the hair goddesses at Phyto immediately targets a compromised scalp with its curated blend of potent botanicals like purslane extract, decocted linden, and passionflower, along with key mallow proanthocyanidins, emollients, and anti–free radical properties. Plus, it's hypoallergenic, vegan, and free of parabens, sulfates, and silicones.
What it does: New and improved since the original formula released in 1998, this cult-loved scalp-healing shampoo is one of the best money can buy. Just one application stops itchiness and flakiness in their tracks, and thanks to oleosomes, the shampoo seamlessly traps moisture under the surface of your strands so it gets softer and shinier with each and every cleanse.
What it does: A scalp-changing Swedish export, this specialized treatment is an absolute must for anyone suffering from unrelenting dandruff and irritation. The intensive formula uses piroctone olamine and climbazole to eradicate dry dandruff while calming an irritated and inflammatory scalp situation. The MVP roster includes elegant but effective players such as rosemary, menthol, salicylic acid, and ginger extract to soothe and improve your scalp environment (which also leads to healthier hair in the long run).
What it does: One of Oribe's newest launches, this beautifully packaged leave-in scalp treatment is one of the best we've ever blessed our strands with. You can use it on either dry or damp hair, and thanks to the expert cocktail of cooling peppermint oil; energizing caffeine; nourishing fare like willow herb, mullein flower, sugarcane, and aloe; along with a protective blend of cucumber, rosemary, and chamomile, dandruff is eradicated, the scalp is calmed, and the overall environment for optimal hair health is transformed for the better.
What it does: Not only does this top-rated scalp product soothe an itchy, flaky scalp, but it also targets and treats dryness, dullness, split ends, and breakage. It's specifically formulated to play nicely with all hair types and uses apple cider vinegar to tone, moisturize, and soothe. Every two weeks, simply use it in place of your normal shampoo (massage for roughly two minutes, working it evenly into the scalp), and condition as normal afterward.
What it does: This top-rated clarifying shampoo is the budget-friendly solution for signature fall and winter hair woes like impurities, buildup, irritation, and dehydration. The not-so-secret ingredients? Seawater, aloe vera, and honey. Apply every three to five washes instead of shampoo, and then follow with your favorite mask and leave-in.
What it does: Meet the iconic duo a congested and inflamed scalp is craving. Featuring the brand's soothing Gunk Remover (a clarifying gel that richly lathers to clean the hair and scalp) plus the Scalp Sweeper (a debris-busting tool that nixes every last inch of unwanted buildup), this twosome works to clarify, soothe, balance, and encourage healthy shine and hair growth.
What it is: This sea salt scrub–and-shampoo hybrid from hair icon Christophe Robin is a long-time cult favorite, beloved by beauty editors, beauty hoarders, and hair experts alike. Sweet almond oil and sea salt work side by side to tackle numerous scalp-related side effects like oiliness, flakes, dryness, sensitivity, and buildup.