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.
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 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.”
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 on Amazon with over 1500 reviews. If your little one is allergic to any of the usual ingredients, this is the one to try.
One Amazon 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.