If you’re on the hunt for the best dandruff shampoo for kids — whether your toddler or your teen — stay tuned for the best dry scalp-soothing, flake-reducing, tea tree-oil infused shampoos on the market. Because while almost everything looks cuter on kids’ heads — little pom pom hats, bow-adorned headbands, puffy earmuffs — but there’s an exception, and that’s dandruff.
What causes dandruff in kids?
Dandruff in kids, which leads to a flaky, itchy scalp, can be caused by numerous things. Common culprits include cold weather, skin conditions like eczema, or — fun fact alert! — even lice treatments that dry out the scalp (though if you’re going to choose between lice or dandruff, dandruff is STILL the lesser of two wicked evils). But good news, Mamas: It isn’t a permanent issue, just a very annoying one. Thankfully there are many over-the-counter solutions that can help get rid of it, and they won’t cost you an arm and a leg.
“Understanding complex ingredient lists can be tricky and finding kids hair products that are non-toxic, non-carcinogenic, vegan and free of dyes, unnatural fragrances, parabens, and mineral oils…is even harder,” admits Kay Cola, CEO and Founder of TheOrganiBrands, makers of organic, all-natural hair and body care lines. She says she steers clear of ingredients like phenoxyethanol (aka glycol ether), which can cause reactions in people with sensitive skin, and even coconut oil, which can end up clogging pores on the scalp. (Note: The shampoos below were picked due to their high customer reviews; we cannot guarantee they don’t contain any of these substances.) So, what does she look for? “Ingredients I like and would recommend using are things like Sea Buckthorn Oil, Aloe Vera Oil, and Vitamin E, which are known for their gentle yet powerful healing properties.”
What is the best dandruff treatment for kids?
If you’ve been on the hunt for a dandruff treatment for kids, look no further. Ahead you’ll find 12 options for the best dandruff shampoo for kids that will help deep clean scalps without stripping away too much moisture, leaving little heads fresh, soothed, and itch-free. And we have to admit, some of these anti-dandruff shampoos are so good, even parents will want to use them. When dealing with dandruff, patience is important to remember. It can take some time to stop the flakes, but a good rule of thumb is to always keep the shampoo on hand in case the dandruff returns – especially if your kid suffers from seasonal dandruff. Because white flakes should only be around when you’re playing outside in the snow.
Best Dandruff Shampoo For Little Kids
Tear-free? Check. Toxin-free? Check. Completely hydrating with proteins and vitamins for toddlers? You got it! This Johnson’s Kids Shampoo is top-rated with tons of positive reviews. If your little one is allergic to any of the usual ingredients, this is the one to try.
One review said, “We love this shampoo. We use the matching conditioner. It’s doesn’t really have a scent, but definitely cleans our hair. We have a lot of allergies, but can use this without any problems. Love it!!!”
Designed for kids 2-12, this shampoo gets rid of flakes and itch while cleaning, conditioning, and moisturizing the scalp.
Dr. Eddie’s shampoo is pediatrician-created and dermatologist-tested, so you know it will be gentle on kids’ heads. It has the FDA-approved pyrithione zinc to provide dandruff and cradle cap relief and contains licorice root extract to soothe redness.
This natural shampoo has gentle ingredients like jojoba oil and tea tree oil, which combats dandruff and a dry scalp while eliminating build-up and nourishing hair follicles. It’s also sulfate- and paraben-free and contains no artificial fragrances or colors.
If dry scalp runs in the family, this shampoo and conditioner set combats cradle cap for newborns but can be used as an anti-dandruff shampoo for kids and moms, too. The formula is paraben- and sulfate-free and contains vitamin E, tea tree oil, and organic shea butter for moisture.
If your water baby is leaving the pool with an itchy scalp, this after-swim haircare treatment is a must. It removes copper build-up (and that greenish tint) while calming dry scalp and fighting dandruff with watercress and chamomile. It has a light lime blossom and mango scent and is paraben- and gluten-free, too.
Best Dandruff Shampoo For Older Kids & Teens
For salon-quality dandruff shampoo that the entire family can use, Jupiter’s shampoo is tops. It’s made with vegan and cruelty-free ingredients, plus it’s sulfate-, paraben-, and phthalate-free. You’ll also love that it has a super light, refreshing minty scent — in other words, nothing floral-y or bubble gum-y — that the whole crew will appreciate (teenage boys included). In addition to soothing scalp dryness and eliminating flakes, these medicated formulas are super nourishing and strengthening for your hair. (And for super irritated scalps, snag the fan-favorite leave-in serum, too.) Jupiter products are kiddo-safe (of course), just note that they’re not specifically tear-free.
You probably already have some Neutrogena products in your bathroom; add one to your child’s. Neutrogena’s T/Gel Shampoo can be used daily to help control flakes and itchiness. The shampoo contains coal tar extract, which starts to work from the first use and lasts long after the shampoo is rinsed off.
This anti-dandruff shampoo has ketoconazole 1%, a clinically proven ingredient that addresses flaking, itchiness, and scaliness at the root of the problem.
This everyday shampoo has pyrithione zinc to fight flakes and leaves hair soft, fresh, and clean.
The Dove Dermacare collection has always prioritized banishing dandruff without completely drying out your hair with harsh chemicals. It’s formulated with Pyrithione Zinc that effectively tackles the dandruff on your scalp while renewing its natural moisture.
BEST NATURAL DANDRUFF SHAMPOO
SheaMoisture KIDS Mango & Carrot Extra-Nourishing, Shampoo and Conditioner for Dry and Delicate Hair
SheaMoisture works wonders for textured hair (3a to 4c). This amazing smelling shampoo and conditioner duo will leave your little one’s dry hair looking and feeling lively and clean.
This happy mama even made the product a family commodity! “Sooooo so SO in love with this product!!!! I got this for my 10 month old son when he used up the last of my old Burt’s Bees conditioner. Got it really just for the conditioner but used both on him. His little curls really popped, it smells great and left his hair very lightweight and extremely soft. So…..I tried it myself also. So mad that I had just bought more of my other shampoo a few days prior. This works soo much better, and even brings my curls back a bit! My other shampoo advertises that it will bring back your curl but weights it down and makes it greasier than even cheap grocery store shampoos…ugh! This ‘kids’ shampoo and conditioner is our new family set!” the reviewer said on Amazon.
Keep little heads clean with an antibacterial formula shampoo to rebalance moisture without overdrying the scalp. It has natural ingredients like lemon, rosemary, peach kernel, and jojoba oils to maintain healthy hair.
The gentle Jason shampoo has a combination of sulfur and salicylic acid to treat dandruff, plus rosemary, olive, and jojoba oils to soothe and moisturize.
Family-tested and family-approved, the Puriya shampoo has tea tree oil, arnica, sage, and aloe to remove dandruff-causing buildup and hydrate dry scalps. It’s sulfate-, paraben-, and artificial fragrance-free.
This tea tree shampoo is made with 96 percent natural ingredients and is great for sensitive kids’ scalps. It is packed with nutrients, antioxidants, essential oils, and botanical essences to calm skin and strengthen hair.
We’ve got you covered with other great kids gear picks here.