the best scalp moisturizers

The 7 Best Scalp Moisturizers That Relieve Dryness & Itching

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If you find your scalp itchy, flaky, or dry, you may benefit from using one of the best scalp moisturizers. The best picks will contain nourishing ingredients such as tea tree oil, coconut oil, or shea butter to hydrate your scalp. And they’ll leave out ingredients like sulfates that can exacerbate dryness.

What To Look For When Shopping For Scalp Moisturizers

Product Formulation

Beyond checking out the ingredients list, you’ll also want to think about which product formulation makes the most sense for you. Many scalp moisturizers are designed to be massaged directly into the scalp, and you won’t need to rinse them out. Lotions and creams designed specifically for the scalp tend to be thicker and less greasy, while thinner oils and serums can feel greasier but may stay on the skin longer, which could be ideal if you’re experiencing dryness. Some leave-in conditioners have ingredients that are designed to hydrate the hair and scalp (since they are applied to both), so be on the lookout for those if you’re seeking a two-in-one solution. If you prefer a pick that’s designed to be washed out, opt for a hydrating scalp mask that’ll moisturize in a matter of minutes — these are also ideal if you have fine hair, since leave-in picks may weigh down your hair. If you have braids, a wig, or a weave, look for picks that are designed specifically to hydrate these styles — oftentimes, they feature ingredients that can help relieve tightness, too.


While the main purpose of scalp moisturizers is to hydrate, you may find that some picks boast other beneficial ingredients for your unique scalp needs, like pyrithione zinc to fight dandruff or cooling peppermint and aloe vera to soothe irritation. However, if you’d rather go with a simpler pick, many Amazon reviewers have found it beneficial to moisturize their scalps with pure coconut oil. If this route appeals, make sure to not use too much at once to avoid excess greasiness (a little goes a long way!) or consider applying it at night and rinsing it out in the morning.

While all of these products can be used on their own to help moisturize your scalp, some people have found added success when using them in combination with a hydrating shampoo and/or a conditioner formulated specifically for dry scalps.

Shop The Best Scalp Moisturizers

In a hurry? These are the best scalp moisturizers:

  1. A Lightweight Moisturizing Lotion: LivSo Moisturizing Lotion
  2. A Fan-Favorite Budget Scalp Treatment: OGX Extra Strength Refreshing + Invigorating Teatree Mint Dry Scalp Treatment
  3. A Hydrating Scalp Serum With Anti-Dandruff Ingredients: Head & Shoulders Supreme Hydrating Scalp Serum
  4. A Highly Rated Leave-In Conditioner For Scalp & Hair: Tea Tree Hair and Body Moisturizer Leave-In Conditioner
  5. A Hydrating Scalp Mask That Rinses Out: Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal + Tea Tree Cooling Hydration Scalp Mask
  6. The Best Moisturizer For Those With A Weave Or Wig: SheaMoisture Scalp Soother Oil Serum for Wig and Weave
  7. The Versatile, Natural Option: Nutiva Organic Cold-Pressed Virgin Coconut Oil

Amazon reviewers back up these seven dry scalp remedies, indicating that they're tremendously nourishing and hydrating.

1. A Lightweight Moisturizing Lotion

This moisturizing lotion from LivSo is packed with hydrating and nourishing ingredients for the scalp, including willow bark extract, coconut oil, ceramides, shea butter, German chamomile flower, soybean seed, and honey extracts. All that plus some soothing aloe vera and you’ve got yourself a truly moisturizing and calming lotion. Super lightweight, the sulfate-free lotion should be applied to your scalp post shampoo/conditioner, but before you dry or style your hair — it’s a leave-in treatment, so no need to wash it out.

Enthusiastic Amazon review: “This lotion is hands down THE BEST treatment I’ve found for my dry, itchy scalp. [...] This lotion moisturizes my parched scalp like nothing has before. I love the consistency - its very similar to a thin lotion and is easy to spread without getting all in your hair.”

Type: Leave-in lotion | Size: 8.5 ounces

2. A Fan-Favorite Budget Scalp Treatment

A whopping 16,900-plus reviews and a solid 4.3-star rating overall are evidence that this scalp oil from OGX is certainly a good one — and it costs less than $10 to boot! This pick features ingredients like tea tree oil and witch hazel that can do wonders for hydration, and peppermint is a soothing ingredient that’ll feel amazing on an itchy scalp. The lightweight oil is easy to work with — it should be massaged directly into your scalp and not washed out. This pick is sulfate and paraben free.

OGX also sells a coordinating tea tree shampoo and conditioner, in case you’re looking to round out your hair-care routine with nourishing products.

Enthusiastic Amazon review: “This product is so affordable and so good, i [have] been using it every morning and its helped moisturize and soften my scalp.”

Type: Leave-in oil | Size: 4 ounces

Also available on: Walgreens, $7

3. A Hydrating Scalp Serum With Anti-Dandruff Ingredients

If you deal with dandruff, you may want to opt for this scalp serum from Head & Shoulders since it’s designed to both hydrate the scalp and treat flakes, thanks to ingredients like vitamin E, argan oil, and pyrithione zinc. The leave-in serum can be applied directly to your scalp whenever you feel itchiness or irritation. This pick is free of sulfates, parabens, phthalates, phosphates, and dyes.

Enthusiastic Amazon review: “This is one of my new favorite products! I live in the hot dry Arizona desert so I get really bad dry scalp and dandruff and this product works like a charm. It is so cool and refreshing on my scalp. It has helped tremendously with my dandruff and itchy scalp. I LOVE IT SO MUCH!”

Type: Leave-in serum | Size: 1.3 ounces

4. A Highly Rated Leave-In Conditioner For Scalp & Hair

Wildly hydrating for both the hair and the scalp, this leave-in conditioner has the approval of more than 19,900 Amazon reviewers who collectively give this pick a solid 4.7-star rating overall. The creamy formula features ingredients like tea tree oil and jojoba oil to moisturize, with peppermint serving to soothe any irritation that you may be dealing with. This pick is free from sulfates and parabens.

To use this pick, simply apply a small amount to any problem spots — in addition to being helpful for the scalp and hair, it can also be used on other areas of your body, and it actually works great as a shaving cream, too. If using this product on your hair specifically, you’ll want to get it damp first before applying the conditioner, then style your strands as desired. It is sold in 2.5, 10.14 ounce, and 33.8 ounce sizes — the largest size is cheapest per ounce.

Enthusiastic Amazon review: “Awesome product!!! I love this and have used it for years. Awesome for moisturizing your scalp and keeps your hair soft and not greasy at all!”

Type: Leave-in conditioner | Sizes: 2.5 ounces, 10.14 ounces, 33.8 ounces

Also available on: Walmart, $18, and Ulta Beauty, $18

5. A Hydrating Scalp Mask That Rinses Out

Don’t want a leave-in treatment? This hydrating mask from Briogeo is designed to be rinsed from your scalp after up to 10 minutes, providing stellar moisture without excess greasiness, making it a particularly great option for those with oily or thin hair. The mask has a variety of scalp-benefitting ingredients such as nourishing tea tree and soothing aloe vera and peppermint. This pick leaves out sulfates, silicones, parabens, and phthalates. Plus, it’s vegan and cruelty-free.

Enthusiastic Amazon review: “I cant say enough good things; this really has given me [relief] from dry itchy scalp. With sensitive skin it has been very hard to find something that didnt aggravate me even more. I highly recommend this.”

Type: Rinse-out mask | Size: 6 ounces

Also available on: Sephora, $34, Ulta Beauty, $34, and Nordstrom, $34

6. The Best Moisturizer For Those With A Weave Or Wig

This SheaMoisuture scalp serum is specifically designed for those with a weave or wig, and helps to relieve tightness associated with protective hairstyles while providing amazing hydration thanks to ingredients like tea tree oil and borage seed oil. Additionally, this pick contains aloe vera, which is said to help soothe irritation. The scalp serum doesn’t contain any parabens, phthalates, sulfates, or mineral oil. To use, apply a drop or two of serum to the affected area a minimum of one time per day and gently massage it in. This leave-in treatment can be reapplied anytime you need it.

Enthusiastic Amazon review: “This SheaMoisture is so soothing for my scalp! I put it in the tracks of my weave and it soothes the itch.”

Type: Leave-in serum | Size: 2 ounces

Also available on: Ulta Beauty, $12, and Sally Beauty, $12

7. The Versatile, Natural Option

Thousands of Amazon reviewers swear by this coconut oil from Nutiva, and many have described it as a solution for dry scalp woes. The virgin cold-pressed coconut oil can be massaged directly into the scalp for amazing moisture — just be sure to start with a small amount and work up from there, since it can be quite greasy if you use too much. Some prefer to apply the coconut oil at night and rinse it out in the morning. (A shower cap helps to keep it off your pillows.)

And since it’s pure coconut oil, this purchase has loads of other uses besides hydrating your scalp: It can be used for cooking, as a moisturizer for your face, as a natural deodorant option, or even to help soothe sunburn. This pick is USDA-certified organic, plus non-GMO. The packaging is BPA-free and contains 54 ounces of coconut oil, but this pick is also sold in a smaller 15 ounce size, too, as well as multi-packs.

Enthusiastic Amazon review: “I love this stuff. There is a light coconut scent. I use it mostly for my scalp and hair because I have dry scalp and alopecia areata. I dig out a very small amount...about a teaspoon. I let it melt on my fingers, rub my fingers together, and then I just massage it into my scalp. I do this at night, and wash it off in the morning.”

Type: Rinse-out oil | Sizes: 15 ounces, 54 ounces

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