What is the Best Scalp Moisturizer in 2020?

Close-up of man with dry scalp, in need of the best scalp moisturizer.

We spend fortunes every year on making sure our hair looks healthy and glowing but how many of us pay the same attention to our scalp? Chances are, unless you suffer from a dry scalp or a condition like eczema, psoriasis or seborrheic dermatitis, your scalp health gets overlooked. Healthy good, looking hair starts at the root, and that begins in the scalp. If your scalp isn’t healthy, you will find it harder to keep your hair healthy too.

A dry scalp can cause itchiness, flaking skin and the embarrassing problem of dandruff flakes. At the very worst, constant scratching of your head will cause the scalp to become more inflamed and vulnerable to infection if you scratch enough for it to bleed. By moisturizing your scalp you can stop the itching, keep your scalp healthy and encourage healthy, stronger locks of hair.

In this article, we’ve taken a look at some of the best scalp moisturizers that will help hydrate your scalp and promote healthy looking hair.

Product
Details
Our Rating
Our #1 Rated
Tea Tree Moisturizer

Paul Mitchell

Tea Tree Moisturizer

4 out of 5

In the Scalp Moisturizer category

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  • Amplifies styles without weighing hair down
  • This product is made of high quality product
  • This product is firm hold and natural finish
HealthAmbition Stamp

Our #1 Rated

4 out of 5

In the Scalp Moisturizer category


Our #2 Rated
Organic Moroccan Argan Oil

PURA D'OR

Organic Moroccan Argan Oil

4 out of 5

In the Scalp Moisturizer category

Click for price
  • DAILY PROTECTION: Common toxins such as pollution or sun exposure can cause further damage to skin and hair. Antioxidants...
  • SALON-LIKE TREATMENT: Argan Oil for hair locks in natural moisture by boosting superior hydration levels. Its penetrating...
  • SKIN NOURISHMENT: Helps reduce redness and skin irritation with its anti-aging properties. A non-comedogenic facial oil that...
HealthAmbition Stamp

Our #2 Rated

4 out of 5

In the Scalp Moisturizer category


Our #3 Rated
Argan Oil Shampoo

Maple Holistics

Argan Oil Shampoo

4 out of 5

In the Scalp Moisturizer category

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  • ARGAN REJUVENATING HAIR TREATMENT OIL is hypoallergenic and contains high quality pure argan oil. Gentle yet effective, our...
  • ARGAN KERATIN HAIR TREATMENT with Vitamin A B1 B2 D & E increases the strength of hair while eliminating frizz. The avocado...
  • ARGAN OIL MOISTURE REPAIR SHAMPOO with no artificial colors or additives is made in a facility that exceeds cGMP levels. The...
HealthAmbition Stamp

Our #3 Rated

4 out of 5

In the Scalp Moisturizer category


Our #4 Rated
Invati Exfoliating Shampoo

AVEDA

Invati Exfoliating Shampoo

4 out of 5

In the Scalp Moisturizer category

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  • Clinically proven to remove the build-up of sebum and product residue that can clog pores and affect healthy hair
HealthAmbition Stamp

Our #4 Rated

4 out of 5

In the Scalp Moisturizer category


Our #5 Rated
Scalp Soother Treatment

Head & Shoulders

Scalp Soother Treatment

4 out of 5

In the Scalp Moisturizer category

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  • For textured hair; this scalp treatment works in-between washes to provide cooling relief and improve moisture balance
HealthAmbition Stamp

Our #5 Rated

4 out of 5

In the Scalp Moisturizer category

Reasons Why Your Scalp Is Dry, Flaking and Itchy

There are various reasons why the skin on top of your heads is dry, from some people simply having drier skin than others, to sensitivity to the ingredients in many hair care products in other people. Sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate are two of the worst offenders; they’re detergents that strip the hair of natural oils and moisture. These are often added to shampoos to make a rich, foaming lather but can be harsh on the scalp.

Parabens that are used to extend the shelf life of shampoos or conditioners can cause irritation of the scalp and have even been linked to certain cancers. Some products may use propylene glycol – the same chemical found in antifreeze for cars – to prevent the product from freezing during shipping which causes allergic reactions and an irritated, itchy scalp in some people. Silicones and resins in hair care products to straighten or curl the hair often build up and clog the pores of the scalp preventing natural oils from being produced.

Although changing your hair care products and paying more attention to the contents can help cure a dry, itchy scalp, there are other causes too. Dandruff occurs when the skin overreacts and starts fighting a naturally occurring fungus known as P. ovale that lives on the scalp, and can leave behind dead cells as dry flakes. Non-contagious chronic conditions like psoriasis or eczema also make the scalp flaky and dry. (source) A buildup of dead skin cells blocks hair follicles and pores, preventing moisturizing products from working.

Sometimes the scalp’s sebaceous glands produce too much natural oils, or sebum, leading to clumps of oily skin or yellow scales as found in seborrheic dermatitis. This may be caused by stress, allergic reactions to food or a change in the weather in addition to the aforementioned hair products. Fortunately there are ways we can add natural moisture to the scalp and lock the moisture in without causing oiliness.

Different Methods to Moisturize Your Scalp

Our bathroom cabinets may be full of moisturizing products for the rest of our bodies, but sometimes the scalp is not as easy to reach. For most people there is a head of hair getting in the way, obviously if you’re bald this isn’t too much of a problem! Shampoos and conditioners that nourish both the hair and rehydrate the skin when massaged into the scalp are a very effective and popular way of moisturizing the scalp.

Scalp oils that help to moisturize the scalp can be another alternative, often working better than other moisturizing products as oil stays on the skin longer. Special oils can make up for when the body doesn’t produce enough sebum, leading to a dry scalp. The most common oil used to moisturize the scalp is jojoba oil with other popular mineral oils like cod liver oil, argan oil or coconut oil sometimes used or found in moisturizing hair care products.

If you are worried about oils making your hair too greasy try to find a product which also contains astringents like tea tree oil, citrus oil or chamomile which help take oil away from hair follicles.

The following YouTube clip explains the benefits and disadvantages of using oil on your scalp.

Other scalp targeting treatments available include at-home spa style treatments like exfoliating scalp masks, scalp mud style “masks” or anti-ageing serums. There are also a variety of botanical treatments that use organic herbs and oils to correct the sebum production or lotion or sprays that can be easy to apply and provide a healthy balance of moisture to keep the scalp protected.

The Best Scalp Moisturizer

Simply changing your shampoo or hair care products may not be enough to help reduce the itchiness or flaking of a dry scalp. By introducing a good quality moisturizer to your hair and scalp care routine, you will be able to find relief from intense irritation and ensure that your scalp remains healthy. Remember a healthy scalp can equal healthier and more attractive looking hair. We have looked at the many different products available to find which is, in our opinion, the best scalp moisturizer.

Our #1 Rated
Our pick our #1 rated

Paul Mitchell

Tea Tree Moisturizer

  • Quality
    Quality

  • Quality
    Price

  • Quality
    Our rating

This hair and body moisturizer from Paul Mitchell uses tea tree oil, one of nature’s most versatile healing oils for its antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties. If your scalp is dry due to a skin condition like psoriasis or eczema, tea tree oil based products can still penetrate the skin and hydrate and heal the scalp.

An ingredient called willow bark works with the tea tree oil, jojoba seed oil and peppermint to soothe the scalp and hair, leaving it soft and smelling refreshed. This moisturizer is enriched with vitamin E and soy protein that help fight almost any irritating scalp condition. The effects can be felt very quickly with this formula and it should alleviate itching almost immediately.

Pros
Pro This formula is particularly effective in managing the symptoms of chronic skin conditions like psoriasis or eczema.
Pro Applied to the skin as a lotion
Pro not a shampoo.
Pro Anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties prevent the condition from spreading.
Pro Very fresh and clean scent.
Cons
Con Can be heavy for fine hair.
Con Contains wheat derived ingredients that make it unsuitable for people with wheat sensitivity.
Con Can make the hair feel or look greasy if too much is applied.
 
 

Our #2 Rated
Our pick our #2 rated

PURA D'OR

Organic Moroccan Argan Oil

  • Quality
    Quality

  • Quality
    Price

  • Quality
    Our rating

Argan oil is one of the most expensive and rarest cosmetic oils available and often referred to as liquid gold. A small 4 ounce bottle will cost more than many full sized bottles of moisturizing formulas but has many benefits as a natural moisturizer for the skin and hair. This product from Pura D’Or (literally translated as pure gold) contains 100% cold pressed organic oil with no added chemicals or processing methods.

Gentle enough to use on the body and the face too, Argan oil not only hydrates the scalp but strengthens the skin cells providing longer lasting protection against a dry, itchy scalp. This oil can be used to treat skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis and penetrates deep under the skin to protect from cold weather and pollutants that can irritate the scalp. It can also be used to treat dry, brittle, frizzy and damaged hair and is color safe too.

Pros
Pro Certified by USDA to be 100 percent organic.
Pro No parabens
Pro sulfates
Pro silicon or added chemicals.
Pro Rich in vitamin E and essential fatty acids
Pro Helps soothe inflammation and redness of the scalp.
Pro Pump mechanism helps keep the oil free from bacteria and makes it easy to apply.
Cons
Con Expensive. A small 4 ounce bottle often costs nearly $20
Con although a little does go a long way.
Con Can be heavier than oils with added chemicals.
Con Applying too much to the hair can leave it greasy. Use sparingly.
Con Can cause breakouts especially if you suffer from acne.
 
 

Our #3 Rated
Our pick our #3 rated

Maple Holistics

Argan Oil Shampoo

  • Quality
    Quality

  • Quality
    Price

  • Quality
    Our rating

Often promoted as a hair growth therapy shampoo, this quality product from Maple Holistics provides maximum benefits to the scalp with the six most effective natural oils for hair and scalp health. If the idea of directly applying oil to the scalp doesn’t appeal to you, this shampoo could be the perfect fit.

Botanicals include jojoba, almond, argan and avocado oils with peach kernel, shea butter, hibiscus and camelia. Vitamins A, B1, B2, D and E work with the natural extracts to soothe and hydrate irritated dry skin on the scalp. Keratin is added to the formula to strengthen hair strands. Maple Holistics boast a no silicones, no sulfates and no parabens policy across their range of products.

Pros
Pro Quality product from well known holistic brand at very reasonable price.
Pro Vitamins help to nourish the skin and promote healthier hair.
Pro Keratin can strengthen the hair and prevent hair thinning or loss.
Pro Safe to use on color or chemically treated hair.
Cons
Con Poor packaging
Con hard to get out of bottle.
Con It can dry out the hair if used too often.
 

Our #4 Rated
Our pick our #4 rated

AVEDA

Invati Exfoliating Shampoo

  • Quality
    Quality

  • Quality
    Price

  • Quality
    Our rating

This shampoo from AVEDA has been clinically proven to remove excess sebum and product residue from the scalp and hair that can clog the pores. Unblocking the pores relaxes a tense, dry scalp and enables the hair to grow stronger. This shampoo will literally make your scalp tingle.

Salicylic acid exfoliates the scalp with natural extracts including milk thistle and millet seed balancing the scalps natural oils and hydrating the skin. Other natural botanicals found in this shampoo include ginseng, turmeric and wintergreen. Invati Exfoliating shampoo is also free from silicones and sulfates that can further irritate dry scalps.

Pros
Pro Salicylic acid cleanses
Pro exfoliates and hydrates the scalp.
Pro Many users have reported it helps thicken the hair.
Pro Gentle enough to use on fine or colored hair.
Pro Natural extracts can calm down inflammation
Cons
Con Very expensive.
Con Smell can be “earthy”.
Con Contains alcohol as cleaning agent that may dry out some people’s hair.
 
 

Our #5 Rated
Our pick our #5 rated

Head & Shoulders

Scalp Soother Treatment

  • Quality
    Quality

  • Quality
    Price

  • Quality
    Our rating

Head and Shoulders is a brand synonymous with shampoos that treat dandruff, a common cause or effect of a dry scalp, but this scalp treatment is designed to be used in-between washes not in place of a shampoo. This product will not clear dandruff by itself, but offers relief from a dry, itchy scalp.

Instant cooling relief is given to the scalp from a blend of peppermint oil and skin benefiting vitamin E. When used regularly, this scalp soother creates a protective moisture barrier on the scalp. Maintaining a healthy moisture balance, this spray-on topical solution can offer lasting protection to the scalp in just a few seconds daily.

Pros
Pro Inexpensive
Pro Many customers have reported it is very effective against stubborn itching.
Pro Pleasant smell (if you like peppermint)
Pro Easy to apply - nozzle is well designed and allows you to target difficult to reach areas.
Pro Safe for use on color treated hair
Cons
Con Doesn’t remove flakes. Mainly for soothing scalp irritation.
Con Not effective against scalp pimples.
Con Can burn or sting the eyes if accidentally sprayed in them.
 
 

Our Choice for the Best Scalp Moisturizer

Any one of the five products we have looked at could be effective in relieving the itching or flakiness that often accompanies a dry scalp. At the end of the day it comes down to which method you prefer. But in our opinion the best scalp moisturizer is Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Hair and Body Moisturizer an easy to use lotion that not only hydrates the scalp but also heals it too. This moisturizer is so versatile that it can be used on the body too and even as an aftershave soothing lotion.

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