best dandruff shampoos for curly hair

12 Best Dandruff Shampoo For Curly Hair In 2023 | To Control And Reduce Dandruff

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!

Curly hair looks beautiful, but it comes with so many challenges. Dandruff being one of them.

As curly hair does not wick moisture, there is more build-up on the scalp while the hair remains dry.

Scalp product build-up and leads to dandruff and flaking! The solution? The best dandruff shampoo for curly hair of course. 

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A lot of experts will tell you that it’s best to wash curly hair just once or twice a week. Plus, curly hair which is usually of a high porosity needs more nourishment.

So you end up applying a lot more styling gels, creams, pomades, and hair oils. All of this can lead to excess product build-up, causing inflammation and dandruff. 

Dandruff Shampoos For Curly HairBest ForChief Ingredients
Maple Holistics Tea Tree ShampooMild DandruffKeratin, Lavender, Tea Tree Oil, Jojoba, Argan Oil
Nizoral A-D Anti-Dandruff ShampooSevere DandruffKetoconazole 1%
Head And Shoulders Anti Dandruff ShampooFlaking and Crusty ScalpPyrithione Zinc 1%
Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Lavender Mint Moisturizing ShampooColor-Treated HairTea Tree, Lavender, Mint
Philip Kingsley Flaky Scalp Cleansing ShampooSensitive ScalpHydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Lanolin, Citric Acid
Neutrogena T/Sal Therapeutic Shampoo Scalp Build-UpSalicylic Acid 3%
Wow Organics Anti Dandruff ShampooHair LossRaw Apple Cider Vinegar, Argan Oil, Almond Oil
Jason Natural Dandruff Relief ShampooFrizzy HairSalicylic Acid 2%, Sulfur 2.4%
Shea Moisture African Black Soap ShampooAfrican American HairAfrican Black Soap, Bamboo Charcoal, Tea Tree Oil
Christophe Robin Purifying ShampooDry EndsJujube Bark Extract
Dove Dermacare Scalp Anti-dandruff ShampooOily ScalpPyrithione Zinc 1%
Aveda Shampoo For Dry ScalpDry ScalpSea buckthorn, Coneflower, Sage Extract

The best dandruff shampoos for curly hair are those that cleanse your scalp while keeping the natural moisture of your tresses intact.

There are a lot of such moisturizing anti-dandruff treatments in the market, but if you’re confused about which to buy, you can check out our list below. 

How I tested the best dandruff shampoos for curly hair?

I have 3c curly hair and a dandruff-prone scalp, I used these shampoos myself and then rated them on a scale of 1-5 based on the following criteria.

  • Dandruff Controlling Ability – The shampoo should above all reduce dandruff, clean up the flakiness and prevent it from reoccuring
  • Gentleness – A lot of dandruff-control shampoos can have very strong chemical formulas, so I looked for products that are gentle on your tresses.
  • Nourishing Properties – Curly hair above all needs moisture to prevent frizz. So looking for shampoos with nourishing ingredients is a top priority.

Top Dandruff Shampoo For Curly Hair 2022

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.

I was happy to see 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.

It’s important to balance cleansing with moisturizing when it comes to curly hair, and this shampoo manages to achieve that.

I was also a fan of the tea tree oil-rich formulation as it makes the shampoo antibacterial and antifungal.

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!

The active ingredient in Nizoral is ketoconazole 1%, which is super 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!

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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.

But I have to warn you that this shampoo is a bit drying. For us curly-haired peeps, it’s best to use this product once a week only. 

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

This one is a medicated OTC shampoo so it’s super-powerful!


  • 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.

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
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  • 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.

what shampoo is good for curly hair with dandruff

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

Shea Moisture African Black Soap Shampoo

Best Anti Dandruff Shampoo For Frizzy Hair

curly girl approved dandruff shampoo

The Shea Moisture African Black Soap Shampoo isn’t just the best dandruff shampoo for curly hair. It is the best shampoo for curly hair. Period.

We absolutely dig African black soap for curly, type-3 and type-4 hair.

And coupled with tea tree oil and charcoal it’s one of the best remedies for dandruff. 

Your scalp feels clean but not dry after use as there’s shea butter to nourish it.

Plus, there are no sulfates, parabens, alcohol, or synthetic ingredients to irritate your scalp. 

My Ratings:

  • Dandruff Controlling Ability – 3.5/5
  • Gentleness – 4.5/5
  • Nourishing Properties – 4.5/5

Christophe Robin Purifying Shampoo

Best Dandruff Shampoo For Curly Hair With Dry Ends

best conditioner for dandruff curly hair

Okay, so this Christophe Robin shampoo might not be the cheapest on our top dandruff shampoo for curly hair list, but it’s certainly one of the best.

Why? Firstly because it doesn’t contain any harsh ingredients like sulfates and parabens. 

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The second reason is the gentle jujube bark extract formulation that removes oil and dandruff flakes without drying your tresses.

It is also a great pick for curly hair that has really oily roots and dry ends.

My Ratings:

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

Aveda Shampoo For Dry Scalp

Best For Itchy Scalps

best dandruff shampoo for permed hair

This shampoo isn’t just a quality anti-dandruff product for curly hair strands, it’s also an excellent dry scalp treatment.

The key ingredient here is burdock root extract, sage extract, along with several other botanicals that help in fighting flakes and relieving scalp of itchiness and redness.

The product nourishes hair follicles from within and moisturizers scalp over time.

It keeps redness, flakes, scalp bumps, and scalp dirt at bay, leaving hair manageable, soft, and dandruff-free.

My Ratings:

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

Dove Dermacare Scalp Anti-dandruff Shampoo

Best Mild Shampoo

best drugstore dandruff shampoo for curly hair

Curly tresses often have dry scalp types, and dandruff shampoos with ingredients like menthol, etc. can leave it even scaly and itchy.

What you need in this case is a gentle shampoo with natural ingredients. Enter the Dove Dermacare shampoo!

It’s got a blend of peppermint and tea tree extract that helps refresh your scalp. And if you’re worried about irritated scalps. The pyrithione zinc formula takes care of that.

This dermatologist-recommended shampoo is great for people who struggle with product buildup too.

But if you’ve got oily scalps, we suggest trying something more powerful.

My Ratings:

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

Free & Clear Medicated Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

Best Dandruff Shampoo for Curly Hair and Irritated Scalps

best dandruff shampoo for colored curly hair

This is an affordable shampoo suited to a several hair types including coily hair and coloured hair.

What’s so amazing about this Free and Clear Dandruff shampoo is how great it is for sensitive scalp types.

Not only is it free of harsh sulfates, but you also won’t find any artificial fragrances or gluten-based ingredients here.

So your skin is protected from any form of redness or irritation. You won’t find other allergens like Cocamidopropyl betaine, lanolin, etc. which are common in other hair products.

The active ingredient here is the 2% zinc pyrithione which has both antibacterial and antifungal properties.

It’s perfect for ladies with dry hair and an irritated scalp!

My Ratings:

  • Dandruff Controlling Ability – 4.5/5
  • Gentleness – 4/5
  • Nourishing Properties – 4.5/5
Properties / Dandruff Shampoos For Curly HairPaul Mitchell ShampooHead & ShouldesShampooNeutrogena T-SalShampooPhilip Kingsley CleansingShampooNizoralShampoo
Anti-Dandruff Formula4/54.5/54/54/55/5

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

There are several amazing hair products available for curly hair with dandruff. The best among them usually contain the following ingredients.

  • Zinc pyrithione and salicylic acid are some ingredients that help get rid of stubborn dandruff and flakes.
  • For curly hair with a severe dandruff or psoriasis problem, shampoos with coal tar, pyrithione zinc, or ketoconazole can be used. 
  • If you want to take a more natural approach, try using curly hair products with tea tree oil, peppermint oil or rosemary oil. They have antifungal properties and help control dandruff. 

FAQs – Best Dandruff Shampoo For Curly Hair

Is curly hair more prone to dandruff?

Yes. If you have curly hair the natural oils on the scalp do not reach till the tresses.
And as it’s recommended that you don’t brush curly frizzy hair the way you brush straight hair, there’s no way to distribute these oils too. This sebum build-up can lead to dandruff.
And as curly-haired folks are advised not to wash their tresses too often, they’re more prone to flaking, inflammation, and dandruff. 

How to get rid of dandruff on curly hair?

The simplest way to get rid of dandruff, flaking, and scalp build-up is to use the best dandruff shampoo for curly hair.
But always be sure to pick a product that caters to your hair texture and hair type.
Also, the shampoo should not dry your tresses out too much and have ingredients that nourish and condition your hair.
The Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Oil Shampoo is the best shampoo for curly hair if you have dandruff and other scalp conditions. 

Can I use head and shoulders good for curly 4c hair?

Head and shoulders 3-in-1 shampoo is one of the best dandruff shampoo for curly hair.

But when it comes to 4c, kinky hair, we suggest you use products that have more nourishing ingredients.

While Head & Shoulders is good, it tends to leave your hair squeaky clean, so 4c hair might be prone to frizz after use. 

You can try a coconut oil shampoo for dandruff or something with African black soap or tea tree oil. These are more milder and do not dry out 4c hair as much. 

How often do I wash dandruff-prone curly hair?

As curly hair tends to dry out quicker, we suggest washing it 1-2 times a week only.
But if you’ve got a dandruff problem, you can do 3 times per week.
You can also try using your regular shampoo everyday and a medicated anti dandruff shampoo once a week. 

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!

Also Read:

How To Style Curly Hair With Gel

How To Get Volume in Curly Hair Using Clips

Dandruff Vs. Dry Scalp

Shea Moisture African Black Soap Shampoo

The best dandruff shampoo for curly hair controls dandruff, flaking, itching, and inflammation. The Shea Moisture African Black Soap Shampoo is suitable for even African American hair.

Product SKU: SH742B6G772

Product Brand: Shea Moisture

Product Currency: USD

Product Price: $15.97

Price Valid Until: 2023-01-01

Product In-Stock: InStock

Editor's Rating:
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