When you spot dryness and irritation on your skin, you will likely have a bathroom cabinet filled with lotions and potions with the sole aim to hydrate and moisturise – but what about when the same is true for your scalp?
Scalp care has come a long way in a short time and yet to many, it trails in its importance versus the complexion. While we have long waxed lyrical about buzz skincare ingredients for the face, our scalps are only just starting to get the love and attention that they deserve.
Viviscal ambassador and trichologist, Hannah Gaboardi stresses the importance of scalp care, “Caring for the scalp is so important because healthy hair starts with a healthy scalp. You need to treat your scalp as you do your skin”.
Optimal scalp health relies on a balance of the microbiome but there are many things that can disrupt this, wreaking havoc for your hair in the process. This is particularly true when the temperature plummets and it’s a common concern with searches for dry scalp care increasing by 300 per cent.
The cold, windy weather mixed with central heating can cause our scalp to become dry, irritated and dehydrated. Gaboardi confirms, “during the winter months, hair can become dry and prone to more breakage. The changing and contrasting cold weather conditions can strip hair of its moisture, leaving it brittle, your scalp dry and make your hair prone to split ends and breakage”.
So what can we do when dryness, flakiness and irritation becomes part of our daily stresses? We’ve gathered the serums, shampoos and masks that you can call on when your scalp needs a little TLC.
Shop the best products for dry scalps below
Living Proof Scalp Care Dry Scalp Treatment
The secret to healthy hair begins at the scalp. That’s why Living Proof created this treatment alongside biotech scientists and beauty buffs in order to give the area the hydration that it needs so you can get the mane of your dreams.
It has hyaluronic acid at its heart - an ingredient you may be familiar with from your skincare routine. In scalp care, it does much the same thing: brings moisture in spades.
Alongside the label’s innovative vitamin B3 complex, it works to balance the microbiome to counteract flaking and irritation, the latter of which it does so instantly. Apply directly onto the scalp once hair has been sectioned and take the opportunity to massage it in either with your hands or with a scalp brush.
Buy now, lookfantastic
The Ordinary Hair Care Natural Moisturising Factors and HA
This milky emulsion has been labelled a saviour by those in the know as a hydrating hero in the scalp care game. Add this product to your traditional routine and it will use the hyaluronic acid included and a specialised formula to mimic and encourage the production of the scalp’s own natural moisturising factors. While soothing and providing relief to itchiness, it will also leave your hair silky soft and it’s a leave-in treatment, so it couldn’t be easier to incorporate.
Buy now £10.90, lookfantastic
Philip Kingsley Flaky/Itchy Scalp Anti-Dandruff Shampoo
For those who aren’t looking to incorporate yet another product into a seemingly ever-growing roster of formulas, this product can be swapped out for your normal shampoo when dryness occurs. The Flaky/Itchy Scalp range makes tackling this concern far easier than you may think. Alongside the shampoo is a conditioner and a toner that can be used individually or in tandem to soothe, clear flakes and hydrate. This is a great range for dandruff and has clinical effects without that traditionally clinical aroma (it actually has an apple scent) or texture. It’s also gentle enough to be used daily.
Buy now £25.50, Boots
Moroccanoil Dry Scalp Treatment
The Moroccanoil treatment is a cult product that has been used by professional hair stylists for many years, not only to improve the condition of the hair but of the scalp too. It does this with the brand’s signature ingredient - argan oil - that is rich in antioxidants, vitamins and fatty acids.
Apply directly to the area and it will soothe and calm, while giving dryness a much needed moisture hit. It actually has a slight exfoliation action, which may sound counterproductive but it does so in a gentle way to remove flakes and benefit the hair follicle for that oh-so welcomed lustre and shine.
Just three to six drops - depending on the length of your hair - is enough. Leave for up to 10 minutes and rinse, followed by shampoo. Itchiness begone!
Buy now £24.37, Amazon
AMELIORATE Transforming Scalp Serum
This brand is already one of our go-tos when we’re experiencing dryness - the Transforming Body Lotion is the definition of a holy grail product - so it comes as no surprise that the scalp serum works the same magic.
It has an intensely moisturising makeup that will come as a source of comfort when you just can’t seem to shake the itchy scalp feeling. At the same time, gentle AHA lactic acid is exfoliating without causing further irritation to soften and balance. Fragrance free.
Buy now £14.00, lookfantastic
Eucerin Calming Urea Shampoo
The exterior gives the game away, this is a scientific label that takes the fuss and frills out of product creation and just leaves efficacious formulas to do the talking. The brand focuses on hydration to dry areas that need it most and that includes the scalp.
Replace your traditional shampooing step with this product and it soothes irritation on this area, while also cleaning your tresses. It contains urea and lactate in the formula that are used for their moisturising benefits. The stripped-back components also ensure that it won’t cause further stress on the likes of dermatitis and psoriasis as it’s alkali, fragrance and alcohol free.
Buy now £9.37, Boots
E45 Dry Scalp Shampoo for dry itchy scalp and dandruff
This is another product that goes hand in hand with a saviour body cream and much like some of its competitors, E45 is a household name for devoting itself to combating dryness wherever it occurs. The moisurising ingredients clean and cleanse the scalp to remove what may be causing the irritation and is kind to the strands at the same time, allowing them to thrive with body and shine.
Buy now £6.50, Boots
Gisou Honey Infused Scalp Treatment
This leave-on serum gets to work instantly with a potent formula to tackle dryness and balance the microbiome. No matter your concern - be it itchyness, flakiness, excessive oil or dryness - this is the treatment you’ll want in your corner where the combination of active ingredients like the brand’s signature mirasalehi honey and proprietary mirsalehi bee garden oil blend is deeply nourishing to each and every one of the hair follicles. Some of the many benefits include long-lasting hydration as well as glossier locks and the calming of redness and irritation.
Buy now £37.00, Cult Beauty
Grow Gorgeous Scalp Detox
Powered by plants, Grow Gorgeous is all about nourishing the hair and this extends to the scalp too. The formula includes natural castor oil beads alongside exfoliating white willow bark extract and pomegranate fruit enzymes that act as a gentle buffer of the area to remove dirt, grime, and product residue in order to tackle the possible causes of dryness. There’s also minerals packed inside to that help retain moisture and give longevity to your freshly-washed locks. It’s a pre-shampoo treatment that should be used up to twice a week and then rinsed.
Buy now £21.00, lookfantastic
Leonor Greyl Huile Apaisante Hair Oil
Luxury French haircare label Leonor Greyl has the solve to soothe when scalp irritation occurs. The hair oil is brimming with nourishing ingredients like Brazil walnut oil that’s rich in antioxidants and omega 3 and 6 as well as being an anti-inflammatory. This component is set alongside organic carnella oil that is hydrating and protecting as well as eucalyptus extract that has a purifying effect.
Most importantly for dry scalps, the moisturising cocktail locks the hydration in by restoring the hydrolipidic film on the scalp. For added ease in application, it’s a rollerball tip so you can simply apply to the areas that need it most.
Buy now £29.00, lookfantastic