Editor Tip: “Aloe vera can calm a scalp irritated by dandruff by helping to eliminate dead skin cells and, thus, stop the uncomfortable itching,” says Stacy Chimento, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Miami.
Key Ingredients: Peppermint oil, rosemary, aloe, bacuri butter
Best for Dry Scalp: Mielle Organics Rice Water & Aloe Vera Braid & Scalp Moisturizer
Why It’s Worth It: This lightweight Mielle Organics Rice Water & Aloe Vera Braid & Scalp Moisturizer is great for everyday use, moisturizing your scalp to prevent a dry, itchy, and flakey scalp. The addition of aloe in the formula soothes the scalp while rice and rosemary extract promote hair growth.
Editor Tip: New York City-based hairstylist Shanna St.Cyr is always reaching for this scalp spray. Not only does it soothe and condition the scalp, but it smells heavenly.
Key Ingredients: Rice extract, aloe vera, almond oil, rosemary
Best for Cleansing: Sunday II Sunday Root Refresh Micellar Rinse with Apple Cider Vinegar
Why It’s Worth It: Sunday II Sunday’s Root Refresh Micellar Rinse targets one of the main causes of dandruff and general scalp itchiness: improper scalp cleaning. According to Dr. Oyetakin, “Without a scalp cleansing routine, there is likely product buildup and residue which can lead to itchiness and irritation.” The main star of the micellar rinse is apple cider vinegar which has a handful of benefits for the scalp. “[Overall, it can] promote a healthy scalp by [targeting] dead skin cells that contribute to dandruff, thereby reducing flakes,” double board-certified dermatologist Brendan Camp, MD, previously told Allure.
Editor Tip: Diluted apple cider vinegar can remove product build-up on the hair shaft and act as a mild exfoliant, that “helps to lessen a scaly scalp,” says Florida-based board-certified dermatologist Loretta Ciraldo, MD.
Key Ingredients: Apple cider vinegar, camellia leaf extract, micellar water
Frequently Asked Questions
Why does my hair itch when I have braids in?
Atlanta-based board-certified dermatologist Patricia Oyetakin, MD, explains that there are a few factors that contribute to an itchy or irritated scalp when wearing protective styles. “High tension protective styles and product buildup and residue can lead to scalp irritation and discomfort,” says Dr. Oyetakin. The dermatologist says it’s important to keep the scalp moisturized and clean to prevent issues like dandruff and flakiness. Keeping protective styles in for long periods (over four weeks) without cleaning or moisturizing your scalp can exacerbate irritation.