How to Treat Dry Scalp at Home: The Best Shampoo + Other Remedies

Treating dry scalp doesn't need to be complicated. Here are easy remedies you can try.

Since you can’t see it, it can be tough to identify your scalp’s type. Before you whip out the magnifying mirror, know that a dry scalp usually comes with feelings of tightness and is associated with visible skin flaking as well as itching. Started ticking the boxes? Read on to find out how to remedy your parched scalp.

We mentioned visible skin flaking as a sign of dry scalp, but are they directly correlated? Dandruff is just as common as dry scalp. Dry scalp happens when it loses too much moisture and becomes tight. It may due to factors like cold weather, dehydration, and excess hair product.

Dry scalp: Woman with long black hair with a half up top knot hairstyle standing outdoors
Dry scalp may also cause flaking and itchiness. Credit: Shutterstock

But dandruff doesn’t always signal a dry scalp. Those pesky white terrorizers have a variety of causes and is largely associated with Malassezia, a yeast-like fungus that breeds on oily scalp areas. When your scalp’s natural protection gets weak, irritants made by Malassezia feed on the excess oil. This leads to inflammation on skin cells to shed faster than usual. When this happens, you get dandruff.

With these simple tips and a few changes to your lifestyle, you can treat dry scalp and stop the itch and flaking.

1. Stay hydrated

dry scalp: Woman drinking water while working and using her laptop with a blurry background
Take a break and drink a glass of water no matter how busy you are. Credit: Shutterstock

The first step to get your scalp in shape goes back to basics. Drinking eight glasses of water daily seems simple enough, but we’re all guilty of under-hydrating ourselves on a busy day. Start setting phone reminders throughout the day to get your hourly dose of water and remember to stock up on hydration in particularly hot or cold climates that can be harsher on your scalp.

2. Avoid over-styling

Dry scalp: Asian woman with a messy top knot hairstyle wearing a white shirt outdoors and smiling
Take a break from heat styling and put your hair in a messy top knot. Create:

Styling isn’t just limited to curlers, straighteners, and hairspray. Even the over-use of a hairdryer can damage and dry out your scalp. Go easy on the heat (or save it for snazzy dates) and go natural as often as possible to let your scalp breathe and stay hydrated. Next time you want a different look, get creative with bobby pins or just show off your natural hair for a new hairdo!

3. Get the right shampoo

Dry scalp: Pretty Asian woman showering and washing her hair
A nourishing anti-dandruff shampoo can help prevent dry scalp. Credit: Shutterstock

Using the wrong shampoo may worsen your dry scalp by stripping away any leftover oils and worsen the discomfort and dandruff. If you can’t pick a shampoo from the dozens of choices available in supermarkets and personal care stores, choose one that can nourish and hydrate your scalp and prevent dandruff.

Editor’s tip: Even if you don’t have dandruff, you can use an anti-dandruff shampoo to prevent its occurrence. We recommend CLEAR Complete Soft Care Anti-Dandruff Shampoo to help nourish your scalp. It also helps get rid of dandruff while making your hair smell fresh and fragrant. 

4. Try natural dry scalp remedies

Infographic on how to treat dru scalp
Try these easy ways to treat dry scalp. Design: Bianca Dodds

Olive Oil

Olive oil has moisturizing properties. You can massage it onto your dry scalp, then cover your hair with a shower cap for approximately 30 minutes. Rinse well with shampoo and conditioner afterwards to remove oil residue. If you have dandruff along with dry scalp, you can mix olive oil and baking soda and apply it to your scalp to remove the flakes.

Aloe Vera

Aside from being a good moisturizer, aloe vera can also soothe irritated skin. To prepare your own aloe vera gel at home, take an aloe vera leaf from your garden, wash it to remove dirt, and put it upright in a glass to drain the yellow residue, which can irritate the skin.

Once the yellow residue is out, wash the leaf again one more time to make sure it is clean. Get a small peeler or knife and peel the skin of the leaf. Scoop out the gel with a teaspoon and blend it. You can now apply it to your dry and irritated scalp.


Lemon is acidic and it can help restore the pH balance in your dry and itchy scalp. To use it as a dry scalp remedy, massage lemon juice onto your scalp for five minutes before you shampoo and condition your hair. You can also dilute the lemon juice with water if it stings. Repeat this every day until your scalp doesn’t feel dry and itchy anymore.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Like lemon, apple cider vinegar is acidic. It also has anti-inflammatory and exfoliating properties, so it’s a great remedy for both dry and dandruff scalp. Just mix one part apple cider vinegar with two parts water, massage the mixture onto your scalp, leave it for five minutes, and wash with your shampoo and conditioner.

Kick dry scalp off your worry list with these tips, and soon you’ll be feeling fresh and looking fab from dusk to dawn.

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