Damaging Effects of Dry Shampoo & Haircare for Sensitive Scalps

Although many haircare products tout their ability to make hair stronger, longer, shinier, less frizzy, etc. many products do nothing to help improve overall scalp health even though the foundation of healthy hair is a healthy scalp.

My Haircare History & Why Dry Shampoo Sucks

During college, I seemed to find article after article telling me how I was damaging my hair by washing it every day. Frequent cleansing was a necessity due to the greasiness of my hair, but according to various online outlets one could make his or her hair less oily by washing it less, so I attempted to “train” my hair.

I started using dry shampoo in between hair washes to give my hair the appearance of looking cleaner on days that I wasn’t shampooing. While the dry shampoo did make my hair look less greasy, it did nothing to “train” my scalp. In fact, the overuse of dry shampoo permanently ruined my scalp. Dry shampoo damaged my scalp so bad that my scalp turned bright red, the skin itched uncontrollably, and my hair started to fall out in clumps.

Thankfully, after I stopped using dry shampoo and received some initial treatment from a dermatologist, my scalp is no longer actively inflamed. However, since this experience, my scalp has never been the same. What is more disheartening is that my hair is not as thick as it used to be and that my scalp is sensitive to most styling products and shampoos.

Over time, I’ve found that clarifying shampoos are the best thing for my scalp because they do a great job in thoroughly stripping the scalp of gunk and don’t leave a residue. However, clarifying shampoos are not without their faults as these shampoos can strip your hair of dyed color and make hair dry and brittle.

My Favorite Haircare Products for a Happy Scalp

Drugstore

Head and Shoulders – Classic Clean Hair Shampoo

Although not the sexiest brand at the drugstore, Head and Shoulders is a tried-and-true brand that is known for being good for individuals with dandruff. The formula reduces oil buildup and helps to prevent flakes from forming. Also, this is a super affordable product.

Neutrogena T-Gel

The Neutrogena T-Gel was one of the first shampoos that I found that truly cleansed my scalp and prevented my stubborn itchiness from returning. This shampoo is formulated specifically for dry, itchy scalps and is recommended by dermatologists for the those with Dandruff, Seborrheic Dermatitis, and Psoriasis on the scalp for good reason – it works!

That being said, this is definitely one of the pricier shampoos at the drug store. Additionally, the product has a very strong, chemical/medical smell.

Salon

Healthy Sexy Hair – Tri-Wheat Leave-In Conditioner

Man, do I love the Healthy Sexy Hair Tri-Wheat Leave-in Conditioner. Not only does it smell great, but it leaves my hair feeling perfectly detangled and smooth. I’ve applied this by directly spraying onto my damp hair after showering or by spraying onto my wet brush. My preferred method of application is to spray onto my brush and gently work through my wet hair from ends to roots. This conditioner doesn’t leave a film on my scalp, nor does it weigh my fine hair down.

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“Natural”

Lush makes all three of my *holy grail* hair-care products – the Jumping Juniper Bar Shampoo, I Love Juicy Shampoo and Daddy-O.

Jumping Juniper

At first, bar shampoos seemed like an oddity to me, however, since discovering the LUSH bar shampoos my haircare game has changed. I lather my Jumping Juniper bar in my hand and then work the product into the scalp. Without a doubt, this is my favorite clarifying shampoo I’ve tried so far. Additionally, this product is great for traveling because it is not a liquid.

That being said, this shampoo bar can make my hair feel like dry straw if I don’t use an appropriate conditioner. Sometimes, I pre-condition, wash my hair, and then condition the ends of my hair again when using this shampoo day after day. Additionally, like some of the other products on this list, Jumping Juniper can strip color from dyed hair. Above all, my biggest annoyance is that this product is no longer sold in-store (online only).

In terms of price – this product is relatively inexpensive at $10.95, given that bar can last for up to 80 washes. However, I will note that accidentally leaving the bar soaked in water may waste product prematurely.

I Love Juicy

Some people love Lucy, but I Love Juicy. 🙂 This is an awesome shampoo for cleansing the hair without being too harsh. Both I love Juicy and Rehab are designed to thoroughly clean the scalp, but I found after testing several small bottles, that Rehab still left my scalp feeling itchy. I Love Juicy does not leave any residue and makes my scalp happy.

Daddy-O

Despite all my scalp issues, I still love to experiment with color in my hair. At any given point, I am a varied shade of “bronde.” For roughly 2/3 of a year, my hair had cool-toned, silver highlights, so I needed to invest in a purple shampoo for color treated silver and blonde hair. However, I was nervous given my scalp condition. Daddy-O was a great shampoo for cleansing my scalp without stripping my hair of its silvery hues. Out of all the LUSH shampoos I’ve used, this has the most synthetic ingredients.

Although there are quite a few great options on this list, there are still more clarifying shampoos that I want to try. Please let me know in the comments any that you would recommend.

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Best Hair Care for Sensitive Scalps


Do you use dry shampoo regularly? What are your favorite hair care products for sensitive scalps?