13 Best Dandruff Shampoos for African American Hair (2023 Edition)

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Natural African American hair has different textures and growth patterns. Generally, they’re everything from wavy to kinky, extremely challenging to over-condition, and fragile. They can also be drier than other hair textures.

Natural African American hair texture is prone to dandruff, a common scalp condition where small dead skin cells flake and fall. So besides managing stress and eating nutritious foods to avoid dandruff flare-ups, you should also invest in shampoos best suited for Afro hair.

African American Hair and Dandruff Problems

Natural Afro and biracial hair can fall under the Type 4 hair category. Type 4 hair is naturally dry, wiry, and very fragile. To make it even more interesting, there are three subcategories: 4A, 4B, and 4C.

  • Type 4A has kinky curls that form S-shaped spirals. It has well-defined curls, with each strand curling away independently. This hair type needs a lot of moisturizing.
  • Type 4B has densely packed kinky curls that form Z-shaped spirals. Compared to type 4A, it’s less defined and smaller and can be wiry, coarse, or thin. This type of hair also needs a lot of moisturizing.
  • Type 4C is the ultimately thick hair type with small springs or coils instead of 4A and 4B dense curls. It’s a combination of S and Z-shapes and has a shrinking capacity of 70%. Because of its breakage rate, it is recommended to use silk and satin caps to protect the hair while sleeping.

Dandruff can become an issue if you have a dry or oily scalp, yeast-like fungus, other skin conditions, or sensitivity to hair care products. Excess oil production, bacterial imbalance, and genetics could also be causing factors that could be due to age and certain illnesses.

Many anti-dandruff shampoos are on the market, but not all suit African American hair. Also, it doesn’t matter if you have a favorite shampoo for regular use — when dandruff occurs, you need to switch it up and choose the best shampoo for your condition.

The best dandruff shampoo for African American hair should have the following ingredients and more:

  • Coal tar: Slows down the rate at which your scalp skin cells die and flake off.
  • Pyrithione zinc: Combats Malassezia, the type of yeast that feeds on oils in the scalp.
  • Salicylic acid: Removes the buildup when there’s excess yeast on the scalp.
  • Selenium sulfide: Controls the itching and removes flakes and scales without the smell of sulfur.
  • Ketoconazole: An antifungal treatment that works on excessive yeast.

Products with parabens, artificial fragrances and dyes, and harsh chemicals like drying alcohols and sulfates are a no-no! Which shampoos should you buy for your scalp health?

Here are the 13 best dandruff shampoos for African American hair in 2023:

1. Best Overall: Nizoral Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

Nizoral Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

What We Like:

✓ Effective on scalp itch and flaking

✓ Contains 1% ketoconazole

✓ Stimulates hair growth

What We Don’t Like:

✗ May cause allergic reactions

Price: $15.47

You’ll always find the Nizoral Anti-Dandruff Shampoo at the top of the best anti-dandruff shampoo lists in the market. This product has 1% ketoconazole, which has antifungal properties binding to the natural hair protein and ensuring a flake-free scalp. The Nizoral A-D Anti-Dandruff Shampoo also reduces scalp itch, stimulates hair growth, and controls hair loss. However, it may cause allergic reactions, so patch-test it before use.

2. Our Second Pick: Head & Shoulders Royal Oils Moisture Boost Shampoo

Head & Shoulders Royal Oils Moisture Boost Shampoo

What We Like:

✓ Cleanses and hydrates dry skin

✓ Soothes itchy scalp

✓ Contains coconut oil for a fresh scent

What We Don’t Like:

✗ Not suitable for bleached or color-treated hair

✗ Not sulfate-free

✗ Not best for severe dandruff

Price: $31.95

If you have kinky, coily, or curly hair, the best shampoo could be Head & Shoulders Royal Oils Moisture Boost Shampoo. The product cleanses and hydrates dry skin and soothes the itchy scalp with its rich, creamy lather! It also removes product buildup, leaving your scalp clean and moisturized.

However, this shampoo doesn’t work with bleached or color-treated hair and severe dandruff. It may not also be a sulfate-free shampoo, but coconut oil is one of its key ingredients, leaving you with a long-lasting fresh coconut scent.

3. Our Third Pick: Maple Holistics Tea Tree Special Formula Shampoo

Maple Holistics Tea Tree Special Formula Shampoo

What We Like:

✓ Contains tea tree, rosemary, and lavender oils

✓ Unclogs hair follicles

✓ With jojoba oil and argan oil

What We Don’t Like:

✗ Leaves residue after difficult lathering

✗ Has a strong, unpleasant smell

Price: $12.95

Tea tree oil is the primary ingredient of Maple Holistics Tea Tree Special Formula Shampoo, along with rosemary and lavender oils. These natural ingredients unclog hair follicles and balance your natural oils. The product also has jojoba and argan oil, which is best for frizzy hair and hair breakage. This shampoo should be in your shopping cart if you want a revitalizing hair treatment plan!

4. MIZANI True Textures Moisture Replenish Shampoo

MIZANI True Textures Moisture Replenish Shampoo

What We Like:

✓ Rich in antioxidants

✓ Moisturizes and defines curls

✓ Smooths, conditions, and hydrates hair

What We Don’t Like:

✗ Doesn’t lather easily

✗ Expensive

Price: $49.00

The fourth in our list of best products for African-American hair types is the MIZANI True Textures Moisture Replenish Shampoo. Its rich antioxidants make it the best option for moisturizing and defining curls! Use this shampoo if you love retaining your natural curl pattern. It smooths, conditions, and hydrates your hair, making it voluminous and shiny. It doesn’t lather quickly but still gives excellent results, even for damaged and colored hair.

5. SheaMoisture African Black Soap Dandruff Control Shampoo

SheaMoisture African Black Soap Dandruff Control Shampoo

What We Like:

✓ With African Black Soap, shea and willow tree barks, cocoa pods, and shea butter

✓ Enriched with antibacterial properties

✓ Oat, aloe vera, tamarind extract, and tea tree oil

✓ High porosity for all hair types

What We Don’t Like:

✗ Expensive

Price: $44.99

African Black Soap, shea and willow tree barks, cocoa pods, and shea butter are the best combination for dandruff-free hair. SheaMoisture African Black Soap Dandruff Control Shampoo is enriched with these, adding antibacterial properties that heal your scalp. It also has oat, aloe vera, tamarind extract, and tea tree oil that exfoliate and purify your skin! This high-porosity product is designed for all hair types, from 1A to 4C.

You can also try the SheaMoisture Power Greens Shampoo, which has green tea extract, shea butter, and other natural ingredients that nourish your scalp and hair!

6. Alevai Stem Cell Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

Alevai Stem Cell Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

What We Like:

✓ Guaranteed relief from dandruff within 24 hours

✓ Contains 2% pyrithione zinc

✓ With stem cell technology from the argania plant

✓ Gives nourished hair and scalp

What We Don’t Like:

✗ It might cause dry and itchy scalp

Price: $24.99

It’s a dream to get relief from dandruff within 24 hours, and that’s what Alevia Stem Cell Anti Dandruff Shampoo guarantees. It’s a dermatologically-tested formula containing 2% pyrithione zinc, the best solution for white flakes! The stem cell technology from the argania plant helps with skin conditions. Daily use gives you nourished hair and scalp, so say goodbye to scalp irritation!

7. Jason Anti-Dandruff Scalp Care Shampoo

Jason Anti-Dandruff Scalp Care Shampoo

What We Like:

✓ Formulated with salicylic acid and sulfur

✓ With olive oil and other essential oils

✓ Vegan product with recyclable packaging

What We Don’t Like:

✗ Not as fragrant as other products

✗ Leaves a residue after difficult lathering

Price: $14.32

Jason Anti-Dandruff Scalp Care Shampoo is formulated with salicylic acid and sulfur. If you have mild scalp psoriasis or seborrheic dermatitis, this product’s effective ingredients may just be what you need! It also has olive oil and other essential oils that moisturize and soothe your scalp. It’s not as fragrant as other products, but it’s vegan with recyclable packaging, so you’re definitely getting value for money.

8. Neutrogena T/Gel Therapeutic Shampoo

Neutrogena T/Gel Therapeutic Shampoo

What We Like:

✓ Infused with a coal tar extract

✓ With a scientifically proven formula

✓ pH balanced for dry and damaged hair

What We Don’t Like:

✗ Strong medicated fragrance

Price: ‎$16.89

Neutrogena T/Gel Therapeutic Shampoo is infused with coal tar extract, scientifically proven to help relieve your medical condition. Its formula is pH balanced, so it’s a good choice for dry and damaged hair. However, the product is a medicated shampoo with a strong fragrance. It may be suitable for those with moderate to severe itchy scalp, but ask a professional to confirm if it best suits your needs.

9. The Roots Naturelle Virgin Hair Fertilizer Shampoo

The Roots Naturelle Virgin Hair Fertilizer Shampoo

What We Like:

✓ With jojoba seed oil and aloe vera extract

✓ Rejuvenates thinning and damaged hair

✓ Reduces dandruff flakes and other scalp conditions

What We Don’t Like:

✗ Has a thin consistency and may tangle hair strands

Price: $16.50

Another famous black hair care product that you should try for dry hair and flaky scalp is The Roots Naturelle Virgin Hair Fertilizer Shampoo. Its list of ingredients includes jojoba seed oil and aloe vera extract, which rejuvenates thinning and damaged hair.

Having this product in your hair care routine leaves you with soft, smooth, and voluminous hair, as it reduces dandruff flakes and other scalp conditions. However, it may tangle your hair strands because of its thin consistency, but it’ll work on your hair from root to tip.

10. First Aid Beauty FAB Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

First Aid Beauty FAB Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

What We Like:

✓ Contains 1% zinc pyrithione

✓ 100% free from sulfate, alcohol, lanolin, mineral oils, formaldehyde, and other harsh chemicals

✓ With calendula, silk peptides, and vitamin E

✓ Tropical scent

What We Don’t Like:

✗ Can be expensive

Price: $24.00

The First Aid Beauty FAB Anti-Dandruff Shampoo is a fabulous choice because of its 1% zinc pyrithione that fights dandruff and itchy scalp. The best part? It’s 100% free from sulfate, alcohol, lanolin, mineral oils, formaldehyde, and more! It also doesn’t have artificial fragrances. Instead, the product contains calendula, silk peptides, and vitamin E, which restore your silky-smooth hair. If you love the tropical scent, too, you’ll love this one.

11. Selsun Blue Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

Selsun Blue Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

What We Like:

✓ Popular choice for an anti-dandruff shampoo

✓ Medicated with 1% selenium sulfide

✓ Moisturizes dry-brittle curls

✓ With menthol that cools your scalp

What We Don’t Like:

✗ Can be pricey

Prices: $6.98

Many say Selsun Blue is like Head & Shoulders because it’s also a popular choice for an anti-dandruff shampoo. What makes Selsun Blue Anti-Dandruff Shampoo is that it’s a medicated shampoo with 1% selenium sulfide, an antifungal active ingredient that fights off flakes.

The product moisturizes dry-brittle curls and provides intense nourishment. It also has menthol that cools your scalp, and it’s best known as the shampoo that’s “tough on dandruff but great on hair!”

12. PURA D’OR Scalp Therapy Shampoo

PURA D'OR Scalp Therapy Shampoo

What We Like:

✓ Contains peppermint oil, tea tree, and lavender oils

✓ With patchouli and black cumin seed oil

✓ Nourishes and alleviates scalp and hair

✓ Has cedar wood, clary sage, and argan oils

✓ Contains citric acid

What We Don’t Like:

✗ Can be pricey

Price: $11.99

PURA D’OR Scalp Therapy Shampoo contains peppermint oil, which eases scalp irritation. Tea tree and lavender oils do the same, while patchouli and black cumin seed oil reduce dryness. And if you need to nourish and alleviate your scalp and hair, the shampoo has cedarwood, clary sage, and argan oils, too!

PURA D’OR has citric acid in its formula, which is best for hair prone to frizz and breakage. You may also try the Pura D’or Apple Cider Vinegar Thin2Thick Shampoo, as its ingredients can help with dandruff problems!

13. Laurel Essentials Organic African Black Soap Hair Cleanser

Laurel Essentials Organic African Black Soap Hair Cleanser

What We Like:

✓ Natural ingredients

✓ Contains Haitian black castor oil, African black soap, glycerin, and jojoba oil

✓ Suitable for all hair types

What We Don’t Like:

✗ Currently unavailable for purchase online

Prices: Unavailable

If you’re all about natural ingredients to heal your scalp and hair, Laurel Essentials Organic African Black Soap Hair Cleanser is the best way. The formula includes Haitian black castor oil, African black soap, neem oil, glycerin, and jojoba oil, which help with psoriasis, eczema, and other skin conditions. The product is suitable for all hair types!

More Dandruff Tips

The first thing you should know as someone with African American hair is that your hair deserves the best. Here are helpful tips that can help you prevent and treat dandruff:

1. Use anti-dandruff shampoos with the best ingredients suited for your hair type.

A regular shampoo may not be enough, so invest in the best anti-dandruff products to protect and strengthen your hair and scalp!

2. Massage your scalp when shampooing with anti-dandruff shampoos.

Massaging your scalp can help unclog pores and remove dandruff. Doing so also boosts circulation, stimulates the growth of healthy hair follicles, and reduces stress.

3. Use only once a week.

Anti-dandruff shampoos work for all levels of dandruff problems, but on African American hair, it should be used about once a week. Overwashing and over-treating can damage your hair, so best to stick with the recommended usage.

4. Deep condition your hair.

Deep conditioning your hair helps with reducing dryness and itch. You can look for deep conditioners that include tea tree, rosemary, or peppermint oils to fight the flakes best.

5. Avoid hair styling products and tools.

Using excessive hair styling products and tools can worsen the dandruff problem. Try to avoid them as much as you can, or best yet, limit their usage.

6. Talk with a dermatologist.

If your dandruff persists despite best efforts, it’s best to talk with a dermatologist. A skin specialist can best provide advice and treatments best suited for your scalp condition.

The best time to see a doctor is when you’re still scratching and shedding after using any of the best dandruff shampoos for African American hair. Severe dandruff cases may already need prescription shampoo or topical medication.

Have a Great Hair Day!

Whether you have oily hair, dry and flaky scalp, or other concerns, the best way to know what works is to go back to the roots of the problem.

Embrace your natural hair and give it the nourishment and care it deserves! There are communities that best understand African American hair and its best routines, so don’t hesitate to reach out. Whenever you’re ready to shop for the best dandruff shampoo, refer to this list. of the best dandruff shampoos for African American hair.

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