I want to wear black shirts again.
September 20, 2007 2:51 PM   Subscribe

Looking for an all-natural, hair-friendly, anti-dandruff shampoo.

For the longest time, I used Herbal Essences, and everything was alright with the world. I'd have to wash my hair more often in the summer then the winter, but it was no big deal. (think twice a week during the winter, every other day during the summer)

However, about 6 months ago, they changed their formula and threw my world into chaos! Since then, I've tried a few different brands (including the new Herbal Essences formula) and none have worked for me. Most disturbingly, I've developed dandruff! Yuck!

So, bottom line, I need a new shampoo. I've tried the standard anti-dandruff shampoos before (think Head and Shoulders) but they all scared me - they burned my face, had a real mediciney smell, and made my hair look awful. Worst of all, they used things like 'coal tar.' Yuck!

I'm looking for all-natural shampoos and conditioners that will keep the dandruff at bay and will also make my hair look great. My hair is naturally very thick and wavy and bouncy. I don't know if this matters or not.

Also, bonus question - the dandruff has mostly appeared in the last few months. It isn't super super bad, but it's at the point where it even appears a few hours after I've washed my hair. I'm pretty sure that it's never been this bad before. Can one 'develop' dandruff? Could it be seasonal? Or is it due to using the wrong haircare products?
posted by Elmo Oxygen to Health & Fitness (16 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I would hunt down some tea tree oil shampoo or make some of your own.

It appears to be a wonderful dandruff treatment.

Here as well.

Plus, I love the smell.
posted by Sassyfras at 3:02 PM on September 20, 2007

(that first link was wrong)

Here ya go.
posted by Sassyfras at 3:03 PM on September 20, 2007

Or Apple Cider Vinegar.
posted by saffry at 3:10 PM on September 20, 2007

I can personally vouch for apple cider vinegar. Not only does it make your hair super soft and shiny, it's great against dandruff. I pour it on my head and wrap up in a towel for half an hour or so, then shampoo with whatever. I had horrible dandruff, and it took one acv treatment for it to be pretty much non-existent, and I do it now once a week as a preventative measure. Don't get the second-rate Heinz kind of acv sold in supermarkets - go get Bragg or another real acv, from a health food or whole foods store, or get it online.
posted by iconomy at 3:16 PM on September 20, 2007

I don't think there are any H&S formulas that use coal tar. Which is useless anyway, IMO. Plain old H&S works for me. You might try Neutrogena anti-dandruff shampoo which has saylic acid instead of zinc pyro(whatever) that's in H&S. I find that more effective sometimes, certainly better than anything with coal tar.
posted by GuyZero at 3:27 PM on September 20, 2007

I don't recommend Nature's Gate tea tree oil shampoo. Many people will vouch for it, but I just threw out my bottles last week because they made my hair absolutely unmanageable and constantly tangled. I think the Neutrogena T-Gel does have coal tar in it but I liked it a lot when I used it.
posted by crinklebat at 3:59 PM on September 20, 2007

Well first of all, I highly doubt that Herbal Essences is "all natural"...it may smell like a garden, but that's just a marketing gimmick.

Basic Head & Shoulders is a pretty mild formula. It's got Zinc, not coal tar (the more mediciney product you're probably thinking of with tar is Neutrogena T-Gel). I like H&S Refresh...smells really good too.

You might want to make sure that the problem you're experiencing is actual dandruff and not just product gunk...try a deep cleanising shampoo a couple times.
posted by radioamy at 3:59 PM on September 20, 2007

The Soak and Float Solid Shampoo Bar from Lush has done wonders for my itchy scalp and flakes. It is all natural and handmade. It's also rather gentle.
posted by nursegracer at 4:01 PM on September 20, 2007

Simply Organic Moisture Shampoo is expensive, and I otherwise never buy expensive health & beauty products. I buy this one because it's the only thing that makes my scalp better, and it doesn't frizzle my hair to death. I'd tried just about every scalp health shampoo in the drugstore when my salon introduced me to it. I haven't tried the conditioner.
posted by daisyace at 4:16 PM on September 20, 2007

Go no poo. Granted, summer is when my dandruff gets somewhat better anyway, but I've not had any dandruff to speak of since I started the no-poo way back in May.

Make sure you do the apple cider vinegar rinse, though; else your hair gets matty.
posted by notsnot at 6:57 PM on September 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

I triple the apple cider vinegar, that's fantastic stuff, makes your head happy, and also you smell like fish and chips in the shower... mmmm.

The theory I've heard is that dandruff is often caused by pH imbalance on your scalp because of all the soap you use on it every day. 'Dandruff shampoos' like Head & Shoulders are just an extra strong detergent to strip off a layer of skin and get you hooked - the moment you stop, the problem comes back, worse. Vinegar, as a weak acid, helps to counteract the caustic soap residue, and all is well with the world.

I figure that any vinegar should work, but the apple cider stuff smells nicer. And balsamic vinegar might be kind of gross.
posted by anthill at 8:15 PM on September 20, 2007

I recommend against not using shampoo. I haven't used shampoo for many years, at least 10, and I've loved it. My hair has felt clean, and I liked the idea of a simpler shower. However, I've recently begun to notice that anywhere light-colored where my head rest (pillows, the back of my couch) gets really dirty really quickly. I've just started using shampoo again in the hopes of cleaning things up again.
posted by OmieWise at 6:15 AM on September 21, 2007

Can't find a link, but the manuka scalp care shampoo from the Body Shop works well for me.
posted by bassjump at 8:43 AM on September 21, 2007

Not to hijack this thread, but I have the same problem. I don't have much hair, though. I'm balding and keep my hair very short all around. I looked at some links regarding cider vinegar and am finding some conflicting info. One thing says don't put it on your scalp and the other says put it on your scalp and hair.

BTW, I use the Neutragena TSal (?) stuff and it doesn't really do a great job. It helps very temporarily, but it does not really solve the problem. So...not recommended.
posted by GS1977 at 12:23 PM on September 21, 2007

Response by poster: To follow up :

I decided to go with a 2-prong regimen :

1) For about 10 days (give or take a day) I soaked my hair in apple cider vinegar. I made a 1:1 vinegar/water solution, and then let it sit for about 10 mins whilst I brushed my teeth and shaved. After that, I rinsed it out in the shower and washed my hair.

2) I switched to a tea tree oil shampoo and conditioner. Currently using the Nature's Gate brand that I found at my neighborhood Whole Foods.

The end result? The dandruff is gone! I don't know if it was the ACV or the shampoo/conditioner, but right now, as I type, I'm wearing a black shirt that doesn't have a bunch of little specs on the shoulders.

I've been washing my hair every other day, and I'll probably keep doing that for a while.

Thanks, AskMe!
posted by Elmo Oxygen at 1:23 PM on October 10, 2007 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Oh yeah, and the ACV really does make your hair softer and prettier! Too bad it makes you smell like a salad.

Perhaps I'll do an ACV treatment every now and then, just because I like the effect.
posted by Elmo Oxygen at 1:25 PM on October 10, 2007 [1 favorite]

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