I’ve suffered from an itchy scalp on and off for the last few years. Whilst it doesn’t sound like a devastating problem, it is nevertheless not very nice, and also quite a persistent problem that seems to carry on through other hair woes, such as post natal hair loss.
At it’s worse I was constantly scratching my scalp – it became so natural for my to be itching the back of my head it wasn’t till I stopped and consciously thought about what I was doing that I realised how odd it must look to other people. The idea of someone constantly scratching their head makes you think that they (very school playground) have head lice, or a dandruff problem, or are dirty…it’s not very appealing and it’s actually quite painful. Scratch at that scalp enough and it starts to go red and weepy.
Anyway I have got my scalp very much in control. I am using a brilliant shampoo (which I will review very shortly) that has stopped my itching but I also have top up occasional use products that help keep my scalp healthy.
I find dryness is a big thing for scalp itchiness, and also using products with SLS. I love to wash my hair daily as I don’t like greasy roots, and I don’t like dry shampoo too often but I have managed to push it to every other day. My scalp used to get super oily by the following day so I found that using hydrating products on my scalp meant that it didn’t try to over compensate for that ‘freshly clean’ feeling by producing a ton of oil.
Without further delay here are some products I have been using for some time and really like:
1. Innisfree Mint Green Tea Scaler
This product from Innisfree (a eco-friendly Korean brand). You buy it as a set of 3 of these tubes, each containing 25ml. The idea is that yo use a dose every week or so as a pre shampoo treatment. It contains tea tree, bergamot and Jeju mint (the tea tree is very strong smelling!) and has a cooling effect as soon as you put it on. It is supposed to be a deep cleansing product too.
Each dose is clearly marked on the side of each tube (4 a tube) so basically, you get 3 months worth with each set.
To use, give it a shake and squirt the amount on your scalp. The tube has a nice pointy tip so you can really get down to the roots. Massage in and leave on for 5 minutes (I usually do a bit longer) then wash it out (shampoo twice) to get it all out.
The consistency looks like it should be oily but it isn’t, it’s just like a clear water.
I like this product just because I find it super refreshing and keeps my scalp feeling quite clean. I’d recommend this as part of a healthy scalp routine as this alone doesn’t make my scalp itchiness disappear, but I find it a really nice treat, what with the amount of build up I much have on there.
I paid £10 for the set on eBay.
2. Oregon Conditioning Scalp Spray *
I wasn’t sure what to think when I first tried the Oregon skincare range as it’s designed for sensitive skin and people with skin conditions. I have tried far too many products over the years that say they’re natural/organic blah blah blah and in the end you look at they’re ingredients and they might’ve well have come from Asda’s Basics range (other Supermarket basic ranges are available).
Oregon though, so far, seems to be a real winner (more reviews of their range coming up). This conditioning scalp spray is a a liquid with a slightly milky look that doesn’t show up in the hair. It isn’t scented but has it’s own sort of slightly medicinal smell which is fine.
To use, part your hair and spray on to the scalp. This comes in a regular pump bottle so you may cover a greater area than planned (of all the products reviewed here, this one has the least ‘tailored’ pump/application method, if that makes sense!). No biggie though.
What this product does is hydrates the scalp when it feels tight, such as after washing or when the weather is dry. I can feel it making my scalp more comfortable and therefore less itchy overall. Of all the products featured here, it’s one of the least harsh in terms of not stinging at all (no alcohol or essential oils) so great if you are suffering from a sore scalp.
Also very good value product – 100ml for £7.95. Buy it here.
3. Aveda Scalp Remedy Dandruff Solution
Aveda Scalp remedy isn’t actually a product for itchy scalps, rather it is for dandruff. What you may see in the products I’ve chosen is that actually not all of them are specifically tailored for itching but nevertheless, by addressing one problem they end up helping another.
Aveda hair care is wonderful – if I could only use one high end haircare range forever it would be theirs. Scalp Remedy is part of Aveda’s Scalp Benefits range, tailored for people with delicate scalps. this product is a leave in daily product which apparently reduces flaky scalps up to 41 per cent (no I can’t find my per cent symbol) in a week.
It contains rosemary (it smells like it too) and sage to sooth, Lippia to purify the scalp and salicylic acid to exfoliate. Because of this it does make the scalp tingle and if you are sore, it may be uncomfortable. If you aren’t then it’s fine, not painful, just a bit tingle tingle. Sometimes the tingle helps with the itch – my Nana always uses pain to counteract other pain, like, if she has a painful bunion she’ll put a live flame on it because she thinks that’ll help…but I digress…I digress, god I digress.
I don’t have a flaky scalp anymore but when I did this product seemed to really help reduce it, and also took the edge off the uncomfortableness of a tight and itchy scalp. Not the most hydrating or soothing (Oregon and Eucerin are) but this is a good one if flaking is also an issue for you.
This costs £21 officially so quite expensive (125ml) but mine has lasted for ages. On Look Fantastic it is £19 with free shipping here.
4. Eucerin Dermo Capillaire Calming Urea Scalp Leave On Treatment
Eucerin is pretty much a household name, like E45, so I discovered this product for the scalp by complete chance whilst looking for some general moisturiser!
This calming scalp treatment is for dry and itchy scalps and contains urea and lactate (2 things naturally predated by healthy skin) to hydrate.
It can be used on children 3 years upwards and is free of perfume, alcohol, dyes, paragons and silicones.
I like how basic this scalp product looks and is – it’s like I AM FUNCTIONAL SO I DON’T NEED TO LOOK FANCY. This is my super easy to go to scalp product as it’s easy to apply, very light and leaves my scalp quite hydrated and therefore less itchy. Use too much and I do find it can make my hair seem a bit oily so if you can, don’t over squirt (ahem) – this is a runny liquid so you learn how to control it eventually with the squeeze bottle.
I like how it’s free off too many daffy ingredients so if you are sensitive, this should work pretty well.
At the time of writing the Boots website is down (AGAIN, BOOTS?!) so I am linking to Amazon – the item is £13.40 but I believe it retails for around £11.50 for 100ml.
5. Kerastase Specifique Dermo-Calm Serum Sensidote *
I really like Kerastase products even if the ranges are so huge it is a little overwhelming! They have a scalp care range (I really like how they have shampoos for sensitive scalps but they are tailored to the TYPE of hair you have too – just because you have a sensitive scalp, doesn’t mean you can’t have dry hair etc.) and this serum sensidote is a staple part of my hair care routine.
This product is good for itchy and sensitive scalps, and dandruff too. It’s a colourless runny liquid (yes, like water!) without any particular noticeable scent. It comes in a glass bottle with a pipette which is quite easy to use (I squeeze it out directly on to my scalp).
Once again, this serum is weightless and causes no greasiness or residue on my hair. It makes my hair feel cleaner and fresher for longer (sometimes an itchy scalp makes your head feel dirty if that makes sense, if not just from excessive touching and fiddling). It is a mildly cooling product that really does stop the itch quite quickly too making it an effective to go to product when you just can’t stop scratching.
Buy this for £15.60 (20% off) from Look Fantastic.
I use Innisfree once a week or when I remember to refresh my scalp – sometimes i put it on my scalp and a masque on the ends.
If my scalp feels really dry and tight I reach for Oregon or Eucerin, both are quite natural products and hydrate well.
If I have a flaky scalp, or itching that needs some quick soothing, I reach for Aveda or Kerastase – I also use them as a preventative product too.
I don’t tend to double up any of the products (apart from the Innisfree as a pre wash, then one of the other 4) because I find it will lead to a greasy scalp if I do and it’s just a bit too much. However I don’t have a problem alternating between products.
I hope this guide was helpful – I don’t suffer like I used to at all from an itchy, flaky scalp but there as a time when it was something that bothered me every day. Once you have a healthy scalp, you have healthier hair too! I’ll try and talk about some shampoos that have helped too, very soon.
Have you ever suffered from scalp problems?
Items marked with * are press samples. Other items were purchased by me. I have been using all of these products for months, so am only featuring products I have found effective.