Cheap and Effective Dandruff Shampoo
Dandruff is nasty stuff, but a good cheap anti-dandruff shampoo can mitigate the symptoms and the embarrassment. Still, the most effective product isn't your only line of attack.
Assuming you decide to stick with a hair-wash remedy, look for anti-dandruff shampoos with ingredients such as coal tar, salicylic acid, sulfur, ketoconazole, selenium sulfide, or zinc pyrithione. Frugal shoppers should be aware, however, that anti-dandruff shampoos aren't, strictly speaking, cheap. The best products we found, Aveeno Nourish + Dandruff Control Shampoo and Selsun Blue 2-In-1 Maximum Strength Dandruff Shampoo, start at more than 60 cents an ounce. There's no getting around the cost issue here because of the ingredients. But you don't need to use gobs of the stuff, so a typical 10- or 12-ounce bottle should last a while.
Our first pick for best anti-dandruff shampoo, Aveeno Nourish + Dandruff Control Shampoo (starting at 60 cents/oz.), has none of the specific dandruff-fighting ingredients but is formulated to soothe itchy scalps and is safe for color-treated hair. It's infused with lavender, peppermint, wheat complex, wheat germ oil, and oat proteins, along with other ingredients that include the cleansers ammonium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate.
Shampoo reviews indicate that Aveeno Nourish + Dandruff Control claims both fans and critics. On the plus side, reviews posted on Makeup Alley say it conquers dandruff and the associated dry itchy scalp, works miracles on thick, coarse and curly hair that's been ironed, feels good on the head, and leaves hair soft and vibrant. Consumers also like the mild peppermint scent and the product's ability to root out sprays, gels, and other residues, according to shampoo reviews on Epinions. On the other hand, some users are put off by the smell, and some Aveeno Nourish + Dandruff Control reviewers report that it dries out hair and has little effect on dry scalps. We also found some griping about the perceived high cost of the product.
Selsun Blue 2-In-1 Maximum Strength Dandruff Shampoo (starting at 60 cents/oz.), another good dandruff shampoo, contains zinc pyrithione, an antifungal ingredient that breaks down dead skin cells and treats the fungus associated with the dandruff. Zinc pyrithione is gentle, so you can use Selsun Salon every day, preferably by softly massaging the scalp and leaving it sit for several minutes before rinsing. Among other components, Selsun Salon contains aloe vera and ammonium lauryl sulfate. It boasts a two-in-one formula, which means you don't need a separate conditioner. Selsun Salon is safe for all types of hair.
This is the strongest anti-dandruff shampoo in the Selsun line, and the manufacturer recommends using it at least twice a week. Based on the dandruff shampoo reviews that we read, the product works. Selsun Salon reviews on Amazon say it reduces itching and dry flakes without irritating users' scalps. The scent is mild and easier on the nose than Selsun Blue, comments a dandruff shampoo review on Drugstore.com. Selsun Salon also scores points for its lather and cleaning action, and leaving hair manageable and the scalp feeling moist.