12 Best Dandruff Shampoo For Curly Hair In 2024

12 Best Dandruff Shampoo For Curly Hair In 2024

Find the best dandruff shampoo for curly hair that is sulfate-free and gentle. These curly girl approved shampoo are available at drugstore prices too!

As curly hair does not wick moisture, there is more build-up on the scalp while the hair remains dry, and this leads to dandruff and flaking! The solution? The best dandruff shampoo for curly hair of course. 

Here is my review of the the top best anti dandruff shampoos for curly hair that are super cleansing on scalp yet gentle on hair.




Dandruff Shampoos For Curly Hair Best For
Maple Holistics Tea Tree Shampoo Mild Dandruff
Nizoral A-D Anti-Dandruff Shampoo Severe Dandruff
Head And Shoulders Anti Dandruff Shampoo Flaking and Crusty Scalp
Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Lavender Mint Moisturizing Shampoo Color-Treated Hair
Philip Kingsley Flaky Scalp Cleansing Shampoo Sensitive Scalp
Neutrogena T/Sal Therapeutic Shampoo Scalp Build-Up
Wow Organics Anti Dandruff Shampoo Hair Loss
Jason Natural Dandruff Relief Shampoo Frizzy Hair

The expert we approached to review this article is Dr Adeela Anees who is a General Practitioner of Medicine with a valid DHA, MRCP. She also has a MD in Internal Medicine from the Royal College of Physicians in Ireland.





Top Dandruff Shampoo For Curly Hair 2024

Maple Holistics Tea Tree Shampoo

Best Sulfate Free Dandruff Shampoo For Curly Hair

sulfate free dandruff shampoo for curly hair

After I tried the Maple Holistics Tea Tree Shampoo, I thought it is the best dandruff shampoo for curly hair due to its natural and safe ingredient list.

But this is only if you have milder forms of dandruff. It cleansed my scalp on the first wash, and my hair didn't feel too dry either.

Dr Adeela also approved of the shampoo as "there aren't any problematic ingredients like sulfates, parabens, or silicones in it."

Also, I was impressed that it contains jojoba oil and Moroccan argan oil that are rich in vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids and nourish your curls.

best anti dandruff shampoo for curly hair

According to Dr Adeela, "It's important to balance cleansing with moisturizing when it comes to curly hair", and this shampoo manages to achieve that.

Dr Adeela is also a fan of the "tea tree oil-rich formulation" as it makes the "shampoo antibacterial and antifungal." (Carson, C F et al. “Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea Tree) oil: a review of antimicrobial and other medicinal properties.” Clinical microbiology reviews vol. 19,1 (2006): 50-62. doi:10.1128/CMR.19.1.50-62.2006)

It really helped reduce itching, inflammation, and redness on my scalp considerably.

I worked well on my 3c curls, but I think you should try out something more nourishing like the Aveda or SheaMoisture shampoos if you have African American curly hair.


  • The sulfate-free fofrmula makes it safe for color-treated hair
  • It's safe for sensitive scalps as it doesn't have synthetic fragrances
  • The mild formula controls frizz on curly hair


  • Can be too drying for 4c hair
  • Will not work against severe dandruff as it's not medicated

My Ratings:

  • Dandruff Controlling Ability - 4/5
  • Gentleness - 4/5
  • Nourishing Properties - 4.5/5

Nizoral A-D Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

Best Medicated Anti Dandruff Shampoo

nizoral anti dandruff shampoo

The next on my list was the Nizoral anti-dandruff shampoo. My dandruff had become too unbearable and I simply needed a quick fix. And Nizoral was it!

According to Dr Adeela, "The active ingredient in Nizoral is ketoconazole 1%, which is very effective (some experts claim better than pyrithione zinc) in removing all traces of dandruff from your scalp."

And right off the bat, I could see a considerable decrease in the flakiness on my scalp. The itching was gone too!

So if your curly hair is prone to severe dandruff and scalp conditions like dermatitis and psoriasis, I recommend you should try out this product.

curly hair dandruff shampoo

However, Dr Adeela warns that "this one is a medicated OTC shampoo so it's super-powerful and might be drying for curly hair which requires more moisturization"

So if you want a daily-use shampoo, try the Paul Mitchell Tea Tree shampoo or even the Maple Holistics one.


  • It has ketoconazole that reduces dandruff effectively
  • Good for soothing scalp inflammation
  • Powerful formula reduces dandruff from first wash


  • Chemical formula too harsh on sensitive scalps
  • It contains sulfates and can dry hair and strip hair color

My Ratings:

  • Dandruff Controlling Ability - 5/5
  • Gentleness - 3.5/5
  • Nourishing Properties - 3/5

Head And Shoulders Anti Dandruff Shampoo

Best Drugstore Dandruff Shampoo

head and shoulders anti dandruff shampoo

This popular drugstore shampoo has been around for ages. And I won’t lie, there’s a definite reason for its popularity too. 

Just like the Nizoral shampoo, I could see the benefits immediately but it's definitely more gentle than Nizoral shampoo.

If you need to get rid of dandruff on a budget, the Head And Shoulders Anti Dandruff Shampoo is just the thing for you!

I got a super-saver pack and it lasted me for months! I always use only a little product and it lathers very well.

After checking the ingredients I found that this shampoo contains a powerful antifungal agent in the form of 1% selenium sulfide that removes all traces of dandruff flakes from the scalp.

It's less effective than ketoconazole, however, so for more severe forms of dandruff, I'd still suggest going for Nizoral or even the T-Sal shampoo from Neutrogena.

I did have one complaint about this shampoo - it contains sulfates!

So if you have high-porosity 4c hair or colour-treated hair, I would suggest trying out another product (like SheaMoisture or Aveda) from my best dandruff shampoo for curly hair list. 


  • Controls dandruff and flaking
  • Great for removing excess oil
  • Removes crusty residue from scalp


  • Contains sulfates
  • Can dry out curly hair

My Ratings:

  • Dandruff Controlling Ability - 5/5
  • Gentleness - 3.5/5
  • Nourishing Properties - 3.5/5

Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Lavender Mint Moisturizing Shampoo

Best Smelling Anti Dandruff Shampoo

best natural dandruff shampoo

Okay, so I wasn't planning on testing this, but I got intrigued as I could see this dandruff shampoo used by salons everywhere!

And Paul Mithcell is also such a well-known brand, so I thought I could trust it.

So when I used it I was happy with the results... at least for some time. I mainly liked that the formulation didn't dry my 3c curly hair either!

This isn't a medicated shampoo like Nizoral or T-sal. The only dandruff-fighting ingredients here are tea tree oil, lavender essential oil, and mint.

And while these worked pretty well on the mild flaking on my scalp, I don't see it being very effective on severe dandruff issues.

best shampoo for dry curly hair with dandruff

I also love the natural scent this shampoo leaves behind. 

So what's the catch? Sulfates! There's both SLS and SLES here. So if you have color-treated hair this shampoo can strip the dye.


  • Natural oils in the shampoo help strengthen britte hair
  • Leaves scalp feeling fresh thanks to the mint formula
  • Pleasant scent that is not overwhelming
  • Tea tree oil formula controls inflammation and itching


  • Contains sulfates so it can strip hair dye

My Ratings:

  • Dandruff Controlling Ability - 4.5/5
  • Gentleness - 4/5
  • Nourishing Properties - 3.5/5

Philip Kingsley Flaky Scalp Cleansing Shampoo

Best Dandruff Shampoo For Sensitive Scalp

medicated anti dandruff shampoo

I wanted an anti-dandruff treatment that can suit my sensitive scalp as well. So I tried out this Philip Kingsley Shampoo.

It's a very popular high-end brand so I had a lot of expectations but the results were mixed!

First to the things I liked. It's completely free of sulfates, parabens, synthetic fragrances, and gluten. So there’s nothing here that could irritate my scalp. 

My hair was already fragile, so I wanted a dandruff shampoo for curly hair that had a gentle formula. And I was happy to see this shampoo didn't dry out my curls at all.

But let me warn you the shampoo still contains lauryl betaine. it's a milder form of surfactant that cleanses hair without stripping your scalp of its natural oils.

However, it can still strip some amount of hair dye from your hair. Although I'll concede it's still better than Head & Shoulders or Paul Mitchell shampoo in this department.

The shampoo was also not very effective at removing dandruff. It contains piroctone olamine, an antimicrobial compound that reduces inflammation and itching. 

But this ingredient is nowhere as powerful as ketoconazole or pyrithione zinc.

I would suggest using this if you have a very sensitive scalp and not very heavy dandruff.

Another complaint I had about this shampoo is that it's too expensive. And it might have been worth it but I ended up using a lot of product as the consistency of the shampoo is too watery.


  • The aloe vera helps thickens thin, fragile hair
  • It contains natural oils that smoothens frizz
  • It's safe on sensitive scalps as it doesn't contain SLS or SLES


  • Contains milder surfactants that can still strip hair dye
  • Formula is too watery for the expensive price tag

My Ratings:

  • Dandruff Controlling Ability - 4/5
  • Gentleness - 4/5
  • Nourishing Properties - 3.5/5

Neutrogena T/Sal Therapeutic Shampoo Original Formula

Best Dandruff Shampoo For Scalp Build-Up

ketoconazole shampoo curly hair

Sometimes dandruff is caused due to conditions like seborrheic dermatitis or psoriasis. This could lead to the formation of thick crusts of dandruff on the scalp.

This scaly layer prevents shampoos or other products from reaching the scalp sometimes. If this is your story, then you could try the Neutrogena T/Sal Shampoo.

I got this shampoo as a lot of product use on my curly hair caused a thick layer of build-up. So I wanted a strong clarifying product.

neutrogena t/sal shampoo review

Unlike its coal tar-based T/Gel version, this shampoo is milder and more suitable for curly hair.

It contains 3 per cent salicylic acid that cleanses the scalp of dandruff and flakes without removing its natural moisture. 

Yes, it's not as effective as Nizoral, but I didn't mind it as it did it's job of removing crusty flakes from my scalp.

I would suggest you go for this dandruff shampoo for curly hair if you’ve got an oily scalp problem or severe build-up.

Its formula is very strong, so I wouldn't suggest using it for colour-treated hair.


  • Good for curly hair with psoriasis and other scalp conditions
  • Unclogs hair follicles and removes build-up
  • Helps with seborrheic dermatitis as it removes crusts


  • Can leave hair dry as the chemical formula is too strong

My Ratings:

  • Dandruff Controlling Ability - 5/5
  • Gentleness - 3.5/5
  • Nourishing Properties - 3.5/5

Wow Organics Anti Dandruff Shampoo

Best Shampoo For Itchy Scalp And Hair Loss

wow organics anti dandruff shampoo

Dandruff isn’t just a pesky problem. It can lead to itching, hair loss, and other terrible issues that leave your confidence low.

So I liked that this Apple Cider Vinegar shampoo for curly hair is the one that treats all of these hair problems as well.

I love how it is mild, sulfate-free formulation cleanses the scalp without stripping its natural moisture.

best anti dandruff shampoo for curly hair

Also the biggest advantage of this shampoo is that it contains DHT blockers that prevent further hair loss. 

After using this shampoo I found that the apple cider vinegar shampoo detoxes your hair, repairs damage, and leaves my curls soft, shiny, and bouncy!

The good thing about this shampoo is that it's mild. So it doesn't have harsh dandruff-control chemicals like Ketoconazole that might be tough on hair.

This makes it perfect for mild cases of dandruff!


  • Apple cider vinegar cleans hair thoroughly
  • Contains DHT blockers that inhibit hair loss
  • It's safe on sensitive scalps as it doesn't contain SLS or SLES


  • Not good for severe cases of dandruff

My Ratings:

  • Dandruff Controlling Ability - 3.5/5
  • Gentleness - 5/5
  • Nourishing Properties - 4/5

Jason Natural Dandruff Relief Shampoo

Best Natural Dandruff Shampoo

sulfate free dandruff shampoo for curly hair

It’s best to not wash curly hair everyday.

But if you’re forced to shampoo your tresses multiple times in a week due to dandruff and psoriasis, we think you should go for a mild, plant-based shampoo.

And I've got just the one for you.

The Jason Natural dandruff shampoo is perfect for the job. I love using it as it's so mild on my hair.

It’s got jojoba and olive oils that nourish and rosemary essential oil that leaves behind a pleasant scent and healthy hair.

best dandruff shampoo for thick curly hair

My favorite part is that there’s also 2.2 percent salicylic acid that removes dermatitis crusts and dandruff flakes from your scalp. 

So if you have flaky crusts on scalp due to dandruff and do not want to use a sulfate-based harsh shampoo, this is amazing.


  • Salicylic acid helps exfoliate scalp
  • No sulfates so it contains color-treated hair


  • Won't be effective on severe cases of fungal dandruff
  • Can leave dry, sensitive scalp inflamed

My Ratings:

  • Dandruff Controlling Ability - 4/5
  • Gentleness - 4/5
  • Nourishing Properties - 4/5




Summary - Anti-Dandruff Shampoos For Curly Hair

Properties / Dandruff Shampoos For Curly Hair Paul Mitchell Shampoo Head & ShouldesShampoo Neutrogena T-SalShampoo Philip Kingsley CleansingShampoo NizoralShampoo
Cleansing 4/5 4.5/5 5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5
Anti-Dandruff Formula 4/5 4.5/5 4/5 4/5 5/5
Gentleness 4/5 3.5/5 3/5 4.5/5 3/5
Sulfate-Free No No No Yes No

How To Use Dandruff Shampoo When You Have Curly Hair

As someone with curly hair, I know how difficult it can be to find the right dandruff shampoo that doesn't leave my hair dry and frizzy. Here are some tips on how to use dandruff shampoo when you have curly hair:

  1. Wet your hair thoroughly before applying the shampoo. This will help distribute the shampoo evenly and prevent it from clumping in one area.
  2. Apply a small amount of shampoo to your scalp and massage it gently with your fingertips. Be careful not to rub too hard, as this can cause damage to your hair and scalp.
  3. Leave the shampoo on your scalp for 2-3 minutes to allow it to penetrate and work its magic. Use this time to detangle your hair with a wide-tooth comb or your fingers.
  4. Rinse your hair thoroughly with lukewarm water. Make sure to rinse out all of the shampoo, as leftover residue can cause irritation and dryness.
  5. Follow up with a moisturizing conditioner to restore hydration to your hair. Leave the conditioner on for a few minutes before rinsing it out with cool water.
  6. Style your hair as usual, using a leave-in conditioner or styling cream to keep your curls defined and frizz-free.

Remember, it's important to use dandruff shampoo consistently to see results. Don't be discouraged if it takes a few washes to notice a difference. With these tips, you can effectively treat dandruff without sacrificing the health and beauty of your curly hair.




Frequently Asked Questions

What ingredients should I look for in a dandruff shampoo for curly hair?

If you have curly hair and are looking for a dandruff shampoo, it is important to look for ingredients that will effectively combat dandruff without drying out your hair. Some key ingredients to look for in a dandruff shampoo for curly hair include pyrithione zinc, salicylic acid, and ketoconazole. These ingredients can help to soothe the scalp, reduce inflammation, and fight off the yeast that can cause dandruff.

How can I manage dandruff without drying out my curly hair?

Managing dandruff without drying out curly hair can be a challenge, but there are some tips that can help. First, try to avoid using hot water when washing your hair, as this can strip your hair of its natural oils. Instead, use lukewarm water and a gentle shampoo designed for curly hair. Additionally, try to avoid using styling products that contain alcohol, as this can also dry out your hair. Finally, consider using a deep conditioning treatment once a week to help keep your hair hydrated and healthy.

Are there effective drugstore dandruff shampoos suitable for curly hair?

Yes, there are several effective drugstore dandruff shampoos that are suitable for curly hair. Look for products that contain the ingredients mentioned above, such as pyrithione zinc, salicylic acid, and ketoconazole. Some popular drugstore options include Head & Shoulders Classic Clean Dandruff Shampoo, Neutrogena T/Gel Therapeutic Shampoo, and Selsun Blue Medicated Maximum Strength Dandruff Shampoo.

Can Nizoral shampoo be used on curly hair, and how does it affect hair texture?

Yes, Nizoral shampoo can be used on curly hair, but it is important to use it sparingly and only as directed. Nizoral contains ketoconazole, which can be effective in treating dandruff, but it can also be drying if overused. Some people with curly hair have reported that Nizoral can make their hair feel dry or brittle, so it is important to use a deep conditioning treatment after using this shampoo.

Dandruff can play spoil-sport to your curly hair. But thank goodness getting rid of it is easy with the help of a best dandruff shampoo for curly hair.

Just pick one from our list above that best suits your hair texture and scalp.

They not only make your scalp clear and healthy, but also leave your locks soft and bouncy.

So choose an anti-dandruff shampoo to say goodbye to dandruff today!


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