Natural Dandruff Shampoo: The Non-Drugstore Alternative

There’s something decidedly, blissfully satisfying in going natural when you can. Whether it’s with groceries and clothing, your lifestyle or even the way you wear your God-given texture, natural denotes having a level of efficacy, gentleness and being truthful to one’s core. We’re also reassured of a certain amount of purity and hey, sometimes even a better karmic payoff with a natural option versus a synthetic, so-called chemically laden alternative. We’re all but convinced that what’s from the earth is always, always the better, kinder way, and we’re not wrong… for the most part.

There are gaps in this theory for sure; say what you want about modern medicine, but a lot of our quality of life these days is the result of advances in science and medical technology (just imagine the life expectancy of people in the Middle Ages; surgery during the pre-anesthesia era is likewise a forever horrific concept). Common situations such as not washing hair and developing dandruff were probably insufferable way back then too, and even had more drastic consequences (mice in your wigs, anyone?). Which is why when it comes to natural dandruff shampoo, or even organic dandruff shampoo, honestly, I’m a bit of a believer on the power of medicine. Read on to find out why:

Natural Anti-Dandruff Shampoo: Are Homeopathic Alternatives Worth It?

natural dandruff shampoo tea tree oil
Natural alternatives such as tea tree oil and willow bark have purported anti-bacterial and anti-fungal effects that can be beneficial in treating dandruff.

Not to say that using a natural dandruff shampoo is not effective—far from it! As Unilever’s R&D expert Leon van Gorkom also says, “Some shampoos that claim to be effective against dandruff contain actives such as tea tree oil (but only at a very high level of 5%) and willow bark (which contains salicylic acid). Sometimes these are labeled as homeopathic remedies, which may also contain other ingredients that are anti-irritants or are anti-bacterial.” Which is well and good, especially if you find a particular combination of these ingredients that’s available at a sustainable price. They do work, but you might need more of it, which can lead to a more expensive or harder-to-find product.

Where the magic lies

That said, not everyone may find relief for their dandruff condition with tea tree oil or willow bark, and stronger medications or treatments might be necessary—and by stronger, we mean prescription-grade. Van Gorkom adds, “FDA-approved anti-dandruff shampoos use AD actives as per monograph (pyrithione zinc, coal tar, sulfur, salicylic acid and selenium sulfide). There are other products [also] available by prescription.”

There is also the matter of prevention of dandruff, which experts say can be caused by an overgrowth of a fungus on an oily scalp. So even though you manage to find the best natural dandruff shampoo for your current hair issues, it might not have that one-two punch needed to both treat and prevent… which, surprise, some drugstore shampoos actually do. Oh, and there’s also the case of the shampoo leaving your hair actually soft, shiny and taken care of, and not give that dreaded stripped effect associated with a lot of medicated shampoos. We love the Dove Derma Care Scalp line precisely for this flake-free, nourished reason: Formulated with active pyrithione zinc to treat dandruff but also with a blend of oils for that trademark Dove gentle nourishment, it offers a zero-compromise solution.

If you’re still on the market however for the best organic shampoo for dandruff (and one that’s truly certified organic, mind you, at a non-ridiculous cost), we salute the cause and wish you well on your flake-free journey. But if you do find yourself in need of an effective and affordable medicated option down the line, don’t worry: Gentle mainstream options are in friendly neighborhood drugstores everywhere, and are always ready to help. Here’s to more black-turtleneck days for the rest of the season!