woman applying scalp treatment to her dry scalp

Our pick of the best treatments for dry scalps

Your scalp probably isn’t high on your list of beauty priorities. It’s hidden away beneath the hair, and we only seem to pay it any notice when it’s acting up.

However, there’s no such thing as a healthy head of hair without a healthy scalp.

Why a healthy scalp = good hair

Your scalp is covered in hair follicles. These can easily get clogged with dead skin and sweat, as well as random particles (such as pollen or dust) and environmental pollutants which find their way onto the scalp throughout the day.1 Hair follicles which are blocked don’t do as good a job of growing strong, healthy hair, and general build-up on the scalp can leave it flaky, itchy and sensitive. This is looking after your scalp is so important.

A guide to scalp treatment products

Here are our top tips for products which can help restore balance to stressed-out scalps.


Choose the right shampoo for your scalp type. If you don’t know your scalp type, it’s simple. Dry or sensitive scalps tend to flake and itch, whereas oily scalps are prone to flat, lank hair. If you have oily or dry skin on your face, you’re most likely to have this type of skin on your scalp, too.

You could ask your hairdresser next time you’re in their chair if you’re unsure.


Conditioners shouldn’t be applied to the scalp. Instead of giving you shiny, soft hair, you’re more likely to overload your scalp with heavy products and cause the hair at the scalp (where it’s newest and naturally most soft) to become lank and oily.

Keep conditioners for the ends of your hair, where the hair is oldest and driest.

Scalp Serums

Your scalp is covered in skin. You wouldn’t consider a flaky, itchy face par for the course, so why do we so often ignore such issues on our scalp?

Moisturise your scalp with a scalp serum, scalp cream or scalp oil. Some formulas are designed to be washed out and others are supposed to be applied to towel-dried hair and left in, so check the label.

Scalp Masks

A hair mask for dry scalp issues will give you serious scalp TLC and can make a real difference in the condition of your scalp and hair over time.

The best dry scalp treatment will work like a scalp conditioner, delivering both clarifying ingredients and moisture to a parched scalp without weighing down your hair at the roots.

Dry scalp treatment: DIY

If cash is short or if you just prefer making your own products, you can make an easy scalp mask at home. Try this:

Honey is one of nature’s best offerings for beauty. It contains antioxidants2 and is also a humectant, meaning it attracts water which is great news for dry, flaky scalps.

Manuka honey scalp scrub mask

You'll need:

  • 1 tablespoon manuka honey
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

How to use:

  1. Mix ingredients apart from the sugar in a suitable bowl and microwave for 15 – 30 seconds. Once warm, add the sugar.
  2. Massage the warm mask into damp hair, allowing the sugar granules to act as an exfoliating scrub. Cover hair with a warm towel and leave for up to 30 minutes before rinsing out and shampooing thoroughly. Use weekly.

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Last updated: 10 August 2020

Dry SkinHaircareSkin Health