How to Choose the Right Dandruff Shampoo for You

Learn how you can choose the right dandruff shampoo for you.

It is not uncommon to find yourself scratching your scalp sometimes. But when you do this frequently and you see white flakes sitting on your hair and scalp, you may be suffering from dandruff. But don’t worry. Dandruff affects almost everybody, and the right anti-dandruff shampoo can help solve it. Read on to learn the common causes of dandruff and the best way to know if an anti-dandruff shampoo is right for you.

Contrary to popular belief, dandruff is NOT caused by skipping a hair wash.  If you see dandruff on your scalp and hair, it is because of several possible causes. Here are some of them.

1. Fungus on Your Scalp

Closeup shot of scalp and hair for dandruff shampoo feature
Got flakes on your scalp? It might be because of Malasezzia. Credit: Hariono Halim

One main cause of dandruff is the presence of the fungus Malasezzia on your scalp. “Malassezia uses sebum and other lipids in the scalp as nutrients and then converts these into waste materials that can penetrate the scalp and cause an inflammatory response,” explains Peter Bailey, Unilever’s research and development manager. To help fight this fungus, anti-dandruff shampoos have anti-fungal agents in them like salicylic acid.

2. Hot Showers

dandruff shampoo: Girl is wiping her hair wet hair with a towe;
Hot showers are great but not for your hair. Credit: Hariono Halim

Hot showers may be great when the weather is cold, but it’s not great for your hair. The heat washes off your hair’s natural oils, and this can lead to dry and flaky scalp.

3. Buildup of Product Residue

Dandruff shampoo: Asian man styling his hair wearing a printed polo
Product residue can clog your pores and cause dandruff. Credit: Hariono Halim

Are you fond of using hair wax, sprays, mousses, and gels? Make sure you wash them off at the end of the day, because product residue on your scalp can clog your pores, leading to scalp irritation.

5. Overwashing Your Hair

dandruff shampoo: Girl is kind of flipping her hair.
Overwashing your hair can strip off its natural oils. Credit: Hariono Halim

While we all want to keep our scalp and hair clean, washing your hair too much can strip off its natural oils and natural protective layer. On some days, you may skip the shampoo and just use conditioner to keep your locks moisturized.

Check out these tips to help you choose the right dandruff shampoo for you.

1. Look for the right ingredients.

“The key ingredients that anti-dandruff shampoos contain is either an anti-fungal agent or a keratolytic agent,” says Peter. “By treating the scalp with an anti-fungal such as Zinc Pyrithione or Octopirox or Climbazole the level of Malassezia on the scalp can be reduced or removed which enables the scalp the recover back to normal.”

Aside from these anti-fungal agents, Peter adds that a keratolytic agent like salicylic acid also helps because it breaks down clumps of dry skin. “In other words, while anti-fungals treat the underlying cause of dandruff, keratolytics address the symptoms.  Often the two types of agents can be combined into a dual-action type formulation.”

So when buying an anti-dandruff shampoo, make sure these ingredients are present before putting the bottle into your cart.

Infographic of anti-dandruff shampoos
These are great anti-dandruff shampoo choices.

Editor’s tip: There are so many dandruff shampoos in the market but we love Clear Complete Soft Care Anti-Dandruff Shampoo because of its fresh Sakura fragrance. This shampoo is gentle on your scalp, while its Nutrium 10 helps protect your hair from dandruff. We also recommend CLEAR Anti-Hairfall Anti-Dandruff Shampoo for Men. Aside from helping bust dandruff, it also helps prevent hairfall and strengthen your strands. 

2. Choose a dandruff shampoo that thoroughly cleans.

Asian man with slicked back hair wearing a black jacket
Deep-cleanse your hair to get rid of trapped dirt and product residue. Credit: Dennie Ramon

One of the best characteristics of this type of shampoo is its ability to cleanse thoroughly. Make sure that it lathers well as this helps strip off your hair’s dirt and particles. It is equally important that the shampoo rinses well and does not stick to your hair even after rinsing it.

Editor’s tip: Spent a whole day of playing sports? Just got home from a hot and sweaty commute? Wash your hair with CLEAR Deep Cleanse Anti-Dandruff Shampoo for Men for thorough cleansing of your scalp. 

3. Get a shampoo that suits your hair type.

girl wearing a white top is spreading something on her hair
Make sure your anti-dandruff shampoo suits your hair type. Credit: Hariono Halim

There are a lot of choices for this in the market today. If your hair is oily, then, go for the dandruff shampoo that’s best for oily scalp. On the other hand, go for the dry hair shampoo if you have dry hair so that it leaves your scalp moisturized.

Editor’s tip: You can also complement your anti-dandruff shampoo with Cream Silk Dandruff-Free Conditioner. It has Scalp Protect Complex that is designed to help eliminate dandruff while keeping your hair conditioned and well-moisturized.

Beautiful hair starts from having a healthy and clear scalp, so make sure to bust dandruff once it starts showing. The right shampoo can help you with this.

Next Read

Did you just realize that your hair has turned dry because of the wrong dandruff shampoo you’ve been using? Fret not because we have the best hair care tips for dry hair. Read our easy hair care tips for your dry hair.


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