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When shopping for the best dandruff shampoos for color-treated hair, you’ll want to strike a balance between powerful and gentle. The formula should have the right ingredients to tackle flakes, but should skip the unnecessary additives which may strip the color from your hair. In order to find the best options, I got in touch with salon owner of Salon Bliss @ Mosaic Salon Studio in Jacksonville, Florida, and Revlon Global Education Ambassador Pat Grant Williams as well as Atlanta-based hairstylist Keka Heron.
First, let’s talk about what shouldn’t be in your color-safe shampoo: According to Grant Williams, you should skip the sulfates and sodium chloride: “These ingredients can strip color out of hair,” not to mention your “natural oils.” Heron also suggests that “when you have color-treated hair, avoid products with alcohol [...] and formaldehyde.”
Next up, the best ingredients to help with dandruff: “Look for shampoos with top ingredients such as salicylic acid, tea tree, and pyrithione zinc,” Heron wrote to Elite Daily. Grant Williams also recommended salicylic acid and zinc, but suggested selenium sulfide and ketoconazole, as well. These ingredients remove residue, minimize inflammation, slow down cell growth, and have antimicrobial properties, all of which help to heal the scalp and clear flakes.
All of these shampoos are direct recommendations from the experts. Plus, they’re backed by tons of high ratings from buyers because they have the right ingredients to tackle dandruff while remaining gentle enough for dyed hair.
1. The Overall Best Anti-Dandruff Shampoo
In addition to being one of Heron’s direct recommendations, Nizoral’s anti-dandruff shampoo is also a fan favorite. (Currently, it has more than 50,000 reviews, a 4.6-star rating overall, and a best-selling status.) Among its ingredients, you’ll find 1% ketoconazole, which is clinically proven to fight flake-causing fungi that live on the scalp. Even though reviewers can’t stop raving about how effective it is, it’s also safe for use on color-treated or chemically processed hair.
One reviewer wrote: “I have tried many, many shampoos (including Aveda, Head & Shoulders, etc) to help with my flaking when the weather gets colder to no avail. I bought this product as a last ditch recommendation on Amazon. Within a week and a half of use (I don’t wash my hair every day) I noticed less and less flaking. After 2 weeks the flaking is gone. Completely. And it hasn’t stripped my color-treated hair in the process.”
2. The Best Value For Color-Treated Dandruff Shampoo
Even though it comes in a hefty 16-ounce bottle, Neutrogena T/Gel Therapeutic shampoo costs less than most other high-quality picks. It uses coal tar extract (which removes residue and slows down excess cell growth) to treat dandruff, scalp psoriasis, and seborrheic dermatitis, which is why it’s Heron’s second recommendation. It’s also gentle enough for daily use and won’t affect your hair’s color, according to reviewers. Despite its affordable price, this one has over 13,000 reviews and a 4.6-star rating overall.
One reviewer wrote: “This product was recommended by my hairstylist for mild dandruff and an itchy scalp. Since I have color-treated hair I wanted something gentle enough that it would not mess up my highlighted hair. [...] After about 3 weeks (or 3 times using) my dandruff cleared up and my scalp was much less itchy.”
3. The Best Shampoo & Conditioner Set
Finally, there’s this Luseta shampoo and conditioner set, which is Grant William’s top pick: “It’s clarifying, hydrating, fights dandruff, and is color-safe. Natural ingredients include tea tree oil, argan oil, and peppermint oil combined with [coconut-derived fatty acids] in a sulfate-free formula.” While those ingredients restore essential nutrients to the scalp and help to fight microbes that cause dandruff, the formula also boosts volume with collagen and strengthens hair with biotin.
One reviewer wrote: “Just started using this product and so far it's great! My head feels clean and my hair is very soft. I have less dandruff since using, and have gotten numerous compliments!”
Pat Grant Williams, salon owner of Salon Bliss @ Mosaic Salon Studio in Jacksonville, Florida and Revlon Global Education Ambassador
Keka Heron, hairstylist