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Everyday, we constantly have to deal with hair problems, and dandruff is one of them. Not contagious nor serious, these indelicate flakes can be embarrassing and hard to treat. Because dandruff is more a symptom than a condition on its own, its causes can be numerous. Fortunately, safe and effective hair products are available. Let’s discover the best cruelty-free and vegan shampoo for dandruff!

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What Causes Dandruff?

Dandruff is a benign and chronic condition: dead skin cells naturally fall as new skin cells are created. As a consequence, white / yellow flakes are shedding, landing ungraciously on your shoulders.

Dandruff generally starts at puberty and ends in middle age. In rare cases, the problem can keep on appearing / disappearing all their life. Even if virtually anyone could have dandruff, certain factors can put certain populations at risk:

  • Being a man: more men suffers from dandruff than women. The specific reasons for such a difference are unknown, but some scientists think testosterone may play a role.
  • Certain illnesses like HIV, a weak immune system, Parkinson’s disease or other nervous system diseases could also increase the risk of suffering from dandruff

Dandruff doesn’t exclusively affect your scalp. It can also affect mustache, beard, eyebrows and even the pubic area.

Dandruff is not easy to treat. Not that effective solutions don’t exist, but because it can be caused by several factors. The root(s) of the problem must be identified first before shopping for anti-dandruff hair products.

Dry, Irritated Scalp

If your scalp is itchy and red after using certain products, it’s probably due to an allergy / a chemical sensitivity you have. Contact dermatitis (sensitivity to hair care products) is common among people who dye their hair with para-phenylenediamine (PPD) and make them more likely to develop dandruff.

Oily Scalp

Also known as seborrheic dermatitis, excessive oil from the scalp causes the skin cells to accumulate and fall as flakes. Seborrheic dermatitis usually comes with redness of the scalp, but it can affect any areas where oil glands are present.

Scalp Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a chronic condition characterized by thick, silvery and itchy patches that may come off in tiny pieces. Even if they look alike, dandruff and psoriasis are different conditions: dandruff is caused by irritation whereas psoriasis is an autoimmune disease.

Malassezia

Malassezia is a yeastlike fungus that feeds on scalp’s natural oils and causes excess skin cell growth. This fungus can overgrow because of an excessive amount of oil on the scalp due to stress, hormones, or issues with the immune system.

Cold, dry winters

Winter’s dry, cold air is not your scalp’s best friend and can increase malassezia fungus and its severity.

Not shampooing enough

Not cleansing your scalp enough can cause skin cells to accumulate and create itching and flakes. With dandruff, skin cells are shed faster, so it is important to get rid of them regularly. It is critical you choose the appropriate shampoo for your scalp.

Not rinsing enough

Leaving (even small quantities of) dry shampoo on your scalp can irritate it. An itchy, dry, and flaky scalp may be the sign that you need to do a better job at rinsing the shampoo from your hair AND scalp!

Stress, lack of sleep

Putting your body at stress can also trigger dandruff. Please, do your scalp a favor and relax!

Diet

What you put in your body plays an important role in the probability of your scalp eventually flaking. A poor diet, deficient in zinc or / and vitamin B can lead to dandruff.

The Best Cruelty-Free & Vegan Shampoo for Dandruff

Before diving in, let’s make a quick note concerning the most famous anti-dandruff shampoo (aka “Head and Shoulders”).

We have to be 100% honest and admit… it works… short-term. Even when flakes seem to be under control, they mysteriously reappear over and over again. One of the reasons it happens: some anti-dandruff formulas, as effective as they can be, often irritate your scalp because of aggressive chemicals.

@VeganHairGrowth, we deeply believe that Mother Nature offers the best tools. We will always recommend gentle ingredients when dealing with those indelicate flakes.

Before finding the right vegan shampoo for your dandruff problem, you should have identified the potential causes. There are as many shampoos as there are different types of dandruff conditions. So now that you know what is causing your condition, let’s discover the best vegan shampoos for dandruff.

dry scalp

itchy scalp

Soapberry for hair - Relaxing Lavender Vegan Shampoo

Tree to Tub
  • Contains saponin-rich soapberry to maintain hair acidic pH of 5.5
  • With lavender oil, organic argan oil, aloe vera, chamomile and olive leaves for shiny, strong and dandruff free hair
  • No toxins, sulfates, SLS, parabens, silicone, DEA/MEA, gluten and fragrance
  • From fair trade
  • Vegan, cruelty-free
  • 8.5 fl oz / 250 mL
Check on Amazon

dry scalp

itchy scalp

Heali Kiwi - Solid Vegan Shampoo Bar for Dandruff & Itchy Scalps

Ethique
  • Blend of oatmeal, coconut oil, neem oil, and karanja oil to fight scalp issues
  • No sulfates, parabens, or any other artificial additives
  • Eco-friendly packaging (100% compostable)
  • Vegan, cruelty-free
  • 3.88 oz / 110 g
Check on Amazon

dry scalp

itchy scalp

All Natural Scalp Treatment & Dandruff Shampoo

DERMA-E
  • Tea Tree and Menthol help calm and cool itch for on-contact scalp relief
  • Salicylic Acid lifts away excess flakes and surface buildup
  • Aloe Vera Extract soothes irritation
  • Provitamin B5 deeply hydrates and nourishes
  • No parabens, sulfates, mineral oil, petrolatum, lanolin, gluten, soy or GMOs
  • Vegan, cruelty-free
  • 10 fl oz / 296 mL
Check on Amazon

oily scalp

itchy scalp

Tea Tree Purifying & Balancing Shampoo for Oily Hair & Scalp

The Body Shop
  • Leaves oily hair and scalps feeling cleansed, purified and invigorated
  • Made with 93% ingredients of natural origin, including organically-grown Community Fair Trade tea tree oil from Kenya
  • Made with 100% recycled plastic, including Community Fair Trade recycled plastic collected off the streets of Bengaluru, India
  • Vegan, cruelty-free
  • 13.5 oz / 400 mL
Check on Amazon

oily scalp

itchy scalp

The RIGHT Shampoo Bar (for Oily Scalp)

Donggubat
  • Scientifically proven to help fix problems with grease and dead skin on your scalp
  • 100% plant-based shampoo, USDA-approved organic
  • No hardening agents, sulfates, antiseptics, or plastics
  • Vegan, cruelty-free
  • 3.52 oz / 100 g
Check on Amazon

oily scalp

itchy scalp

Multi Mint Cruelty-free Shampoo for Dandruff & Hair Loss

HONEYDEW
  • Contains 2 types of peppermint plant with vitamins A and C
  • Includes tea tree essential oil helps prevent excess sebum production
  • No parabens or sulfates
  • Cruelty-free
  • 8 fl oz / 236 mL
Check on Amazon

psoriasis

eczema

itchy scalp

Eczema & Psoriasis Vegan Shampoo / Conditioner Set

Sphagnum Botanicals
  • With balneological peat, olive and argan oil to alleviate eczema and psoriasis
  • Non-GMO
  • No coal tar, parabens, petroleum, silicone, sulfates, synthetic fragrances SLS, SLES or artificial colors
  • Vegan, cruelty-free
  • 2x8.5 fl oz / 2x250 mL
Check on Amazon

psoriasis

eczema

itchy scalp

Probiotic Sensitive Skin Organic Cruelty-free Shampoo

Nature Sustained
  • Reduces scalp erythema, itching, and scalp Malassezia yeast counts
  • Contains nothing but wild harvested plants, fruits, water and probiotics
  • Cruelty-free
  • Save up to 60% by buying bulk
  • 128 fl oz / 3785 mL
Check on Amazon

psoriasis

eczema

itchy scalp

Scalp Wellness Shampoo

Malibu C
  • Gently whisk away dirt and eliminate impurities with spearmint and eucalyptus essential oils that satisfies the scalp and invigorates the senses
  • Nature-inspired technology with patented Vitamin C solution
  • Vegan, cruelty-free
  • 9 fl oz / 266 mL
Check on Amazon

fungus

itchy scalp

Pure Tea Tree Oil Cruelty-Free Shampoo

Maple Holistics
  • Anti-fungal and anti-bacterial
  • Hydrates the scalp, locks in moisture, and cleans the hair follicles to encourage healthy hair & skin
  • Made from 96% of natural ingredients
  • No sulfates
  • Cruelty-free
  • 8 fl oz / 236 mL
Check on Amazon

fungus

itchy scalp

Anti-Fungal Cruelty-Free Shampoo

ProBliva
  • Reduces fungus, bacteria and ringworm
  • With emu oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil, and grape seed extract to repair scalp and boost healthy hair
  • No synthetic fragrances, synthetic colors, sulfates, silicones, parabens, PEGs, phthalates, GMOs
  • Cruelty-free
  • 8 fl oz / 236 mL
Check on Amazon

Other Ways to Eliminate Dandruff

Shampooing often enough can definitely help with dandruff symptoms. But beyond using a cruelty-free and vegan shampoo, it’s important that, regardless of the cause of your dandruff, you maintain an overall healthy routine:

  • As dandruff won’t disappear overnight, try to refrain the overwhelming desire to scratch your scalp! The itchiness is initially caused by irritation, but scratching will increase irritation and cause even more dandruff.
  • Using too many hair care products can irritate the scalp and lead to even more itchiness, especially when they contain chemicals. Get rid of anything extra from your personal hair care routine and add them back in gradually to discover which one of them are guilty.
  • Stress can cause or worsen dandruff for certain people, so managing it better can reduce symptoms. Try taking a walk or practicing meditation and yoga.
  • Get more sun: exposure to sunlight can be helpful

If you’d rather try oil or hair serum to help with your dandruff issues, make sure to read our guide about the best vegan oils to eliminate dandruff.

Even if well-documented and carefully written, this content should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment. Consult a qualified health care provider before making any health care decisions about any specific medical condition.

You have More Power than You Think

Amie A.

Creative hairstyler, writer and animal liberation activist