I have struggled with itchy, flaky scalp for a significant portion of my life. Heck, my parents have even said that I had the worst cradle cap as an infant. Then to add insult to injury, I was diagnosed with scalp psoriasis (on top of the dandruff I already have) when I was 30. Needless to say, I’ve gone through a lot of products marketed for itchy, flaky scalps. And I do mean A LOT.
Another part of the challenge of having itchy scalp issues is finding products that won’t completely dry me out. It wasn’t until recently that companies have come out with sulfate and silicone free dandruff products. I really had to look high and low.
So, here are some products and techniques that have worked for me to keep my scalp healthy and keep the itching/flaking at bay.
Jason Dandruff Treatment Shampoo
When I was first diagnosed with scalp psoriasis, my dermatologist recommended a clinical strength shampoo from a popular dandruff shampoo brand. Because I prefer not to have sulfates and silicones in my shampoos, I looked into alternatives. I looked up the active ingredients in the clinical strength shampoo and did a search for sulfate free shampoos that had it. Lo and behold, this Jason Dandruff Shampoo was on top of the list and at the time I could find it at my local Kroger. I used it religiously for a few months, and now I use it as a periodic clarifying shampoo, since it is a little drying.
Don’t have a shampoo brush? Get one! My favorite is this one from My Soigne. I love it because it’s all one piece and the bristles are the perfect balance between firm and soft. Also, it’s lavender.
Witch I Love Your Hair Magic Hair Mist
I tried a lot of scalp oils and all they really did was make my hair look greasy, cause breakouts on my forehead, and just didn’t make much difference. I know scalp oils can work great for many other curly haired folks, but unfortunately I am not one of them. I had seen Witch I Love Your Hair all over Instagram, but hadn’t tried it for whatever reason. I finally took the plunge and ordered a bottle and I was immediately impressed. It has peppermint, lavender, and rosemary essential oils (all great for scalp health) in addition to Jamaican Black Castor Oil and Argan Oil. I like to spray it directly on to my scalp and massage it in for the best results.
My Soigne Hair Cleanser
The My Soigne Hair Cleanser is probably the ONLY co-wash I have ever liked on my scalp. It has aloe vera, apple cider vinegar, turmeric, jojoba oil, jojoba esters, tea tree oil, and peppermint oil. The little jojoba esters help clean the scalp without drying it out. Also, the esters rinse out pretty easily. I’ve tried some scalp exfoliating scrubs that took me FOREVER to get completely rinsed out.
I even gave this cleanser AND the scalp brush to my mom for Christmas, and she loves them.
Also, the owner of My Soigne is amazing and super sweet. She also has a baby girl who is so cute that my ovaries explode every time she shares pictures of her.
Coal Tar Shampoo Hack
Coal Tar Shampoo is one of those necessary evils for those of us with scalp psoriasis. It smells nasty and can be extremely drying, but it can help. I don’t have to use it very often now, but when I do, I do this to keep it from drying my hair out:
Use it with my deep conditioning treatment.
You see, the instructions on the coal tar shampoo bottle say to leave it on for “several” minutes for it to be effective. What else do we curly girls do for several minutes every so often? Deep condition!
So…how do I do this?
Apply the coal tar shampoo to the affected parts of my scalp. Then I work the deep conditioner into the rest of my hair, and leave it in for however long I decide to leave it in.
Then I rinse the deep conditioner AND coal tar shampoo out. My scalp gets what it needs AND my hair doesn’t get dried out.
In my research for sulfate free shampoos, I found out that the Neutrogena T-Sal Shampoo is sulfate free. It does have sodium C14-16 olefin sulfonate in it, which is one of the more cleansing surfactants in sulfate free shampoos. This shampoo is meant to be a clarifying shampoo, so not meant to be used everyday, but we curly girls don’t usually wash our hair everyday.
How about you?
These are a few of the things that have been working for me. If you’ve had luck with these products, or you have other products that have worked well for your own itchy scalp issues, let me know! I’m always looking for something that itchy curly girls can love.