A Haircare Routine for Sensitive Scalps

Until around the middle of last year, I really didn't have too many issues with my scalp; a bit of Head & Shoulders easily kept any flakiness at bay, however now it's definitely one of my main beauty concerns. Not only is the look of dandruff not so lovely, it's also really uncomfortable to have an itchy, sore, sensitive scalp. I'm sure to wash my hair every other day to prevent product build-up, however there are also a few things that have really helped me mitigate (and sometimes even eliminate) the issue.

For dandruff

Kiehl's Deep Micro-Exfoliating Scalp Treatment | £20 | This was one of the first products I tried and really thought made a difference and I've since made my way through three tubes of the stuff! It's essentially a scrub that also contains exfoliating chemicals, so you massage it into your damp scalp (pre-shampoo), leave it for 5-10 minutes (during which there's a satisfying tingling sensation) and then rinse. I really does stop the visible flakiness, as well as relieving the discomfort of dandruff.

Australian Tea Tree Anti-Dandruff Shampoo | £7.48 | A lot of people recommended I tried an all-natural shampoo when I tweeted for recommendations about a year ago and after a few failed test-runs I found this product (which I now bulk-purchase from Amazon). It's an unpretentious in its packaging and feel but it really does work! Tea tree has moisturising and anti-inflammatory properties which help to calm the scalp down and it also washes away any lingering flakiness.

L'Oreal Elvive Phytoclear Anti-Dandruff 7 Day Scalp Lotion | £9.99 | I'd honestly never really thought to use this kind of product before I picked this up on a whim, however now I absolutely love the stuff! This is a water-light lotion that comes in a spray bottle. It comes out as a fine mist that you spritz directly into your scalp. I use this after washing, shampooing and conditioning my hair, applying a reasonably generous amount and massaging it in. It has an instant cooling effect and despite containing various oils, it doesn't leave my hair greasy. It's amazing both for relieving the dryness and also preventing dandruff itself.

For dry scalps

PurePotions Natural Shampoo* | £18 | A natural shampoo is the way to go if you have a dry scalp and you just want to keep things calm, moisturised and balanced. This doesn't lather up like a normal shampoo, as it has all-natural ingredients so it does take a little bit of getting used to. It's SLS-free, contains no perfumes and can be used if you have skin conditions like eczema. The beautiful, organic ingredients leave my hair feeling clean but at the same time it's nice and moisturising on my often-sore scalp.

PurePotions Natural Conditioner* | £18 | This was less of an essential for me than the other two things I tried from this brand, however it's still a nice product. Again, due to the natural ingredients, it doesn't behave as you'd expect so the first time I used it I massively over-applied and my hair felt kind of greasy! However you really don't need much product for this to work and after my mishap, I realised that it wasn't going to give that usual feeling of a conditioner so stuck to applying a small amount and that did the trick. It's actually really rich and nourishing so works really nicely on hair that's prone to dryness.

PurePotions Scalp Oil Skin Salvation* | £14.99 | This was definitely the highlight from the PurePotions range for me. This is kind of a pre-shampoo treatment; you apply it wherever your get dry patches on your scalp the night before and rinse it out with shampoo the following day. It's 100% natural and contains tea tree, rosemary and a bunch of other nourishing oils. I was really impressed with this as it's nice and soothing and helps so much with the itching associated with having a dry scalp.

Salon Science AquaCacteen Hydrasoothe Cooling Spray* | £10 | One of the most irritating (pardon the pun) things about having a dry scalp is that it can get sore between washes. As much as I love the L'Oreal product, it isn't something that I'd use on my hair when it's dry. This mist fills that gap in my routine. It's instantly cooling and soothing (thanks to the aloe vera it contains) and relieves any sensitivity in-between hair washes. I did worry when I first tried it that it might make my hair greasy or sticky but it's incredibly lightweight and doesn't cause me any issues.

For congested scalps

Grow Gorgeous Back into the Roots Treatment* | £24 | This is a super-invigorating pre-shampoo cream treatment. You just leave it on for about 10 minutes and during that time you can really feel it tingling and working! It contains hyaluronic acid, menthol, various vitamins and caffeine, so really wakes things up and stimulates the scalp. I find it great for getting rid of any build-up and encouraging follicle growth.

Grow Gorgeous Scalp Detox* | £28 | This is a really nice, gentle option if you want something to clear any dead skin cells or built-up product from your roots. It contains pomegranate extract and castor oil as well as natural exfoliation particles. It's nice and moisturising at the same time too, so won't strip your scalp.

For all sensitive scalps

Salon Science AquaCacteen Hydrasorb Intensive Masque* | £14 | This is a really lovely clay mask to be used before shampooing. I leave it on for around 10 minutes before shampooing and it rinses out easily. It's so calming and moisturising, so I recommend it for any kind of scalp sensitivity. Like the rest of this range it contains hydrating cactus extract.

Salon Science AquaCacteen Hydrafoliant Scalp Scrub* | £12 | This is one of the only products I've found at a low price-point that does a similar job to the Kiehl's! The annoying thing about this is that it's kind of hard to squeeze out, but I can get past that. It contains hydrating ingredients to soothe the scalp and also exfoliating particles to clear any dead skin cells. You just massage it in, leave for 10 minutes (during which time it gives a slight tingling sensation) and then rinse and shampoo. 

Salon Science AquaCacteen HydraLuxe Shampoo* | £12 | If you have bad dandruff then this might not fully keep it at bay, however if your scalp is a little dry and just needs a boost of hydration and a small amount of flakiness taken care of, then give this a go. It's cleansing and really purifies the hair and my scalp without leaving it sucked dry of moisture.

Salon Science AquaCacteen HydraLuxe Conditioner* | £12 | I personally don't apply conditioner directly to my scalp, however it's still important to keep your lengths and ends healthy and hydrated when your scalp is dry or flaky. This is a really nice product because it feels very fresh; it doesn't leave my hair heavy or greasy but is still nice and moisturising. 

Philip Kingsley Flaky/Itchy Scalp Toner* | £16.95 | This is a really great post-conditioner treatment to use on damp hair. It comes with an applicator so you can apply it directly to your scalp and you just leave it in, drying your hair as normal. It has a water consistency, so you do have to be careful you don't pour out too much and waste the product. It's just so nice and calming and does also help with the visible dandruff. 

Which products do you use to avoid a sore scalp?

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Disclosure - products marked * were sent to me for consideration however all opinions remain my own. 



  1. I've only tried Grow Gorgeous out of all of the products you've mentioned here and I love it! The Kiehl's exfoliator sounds amazing! xx


  2. The Vichy Dercos Ultra Soothing shampoo works a treat for my dry sensitive and flaky scalp.

    1. I had no idea they did haircare! I'll have to check it out :) xx

  3. PurePotions sounds amazing! Definitely got to try that!

    Anika | anikamay.co.uk

  4. The Grow Gorgeous Scalp Detox sounds incredible, even for oily hair types!

    Sara - Flemingo

  5. Very useful, i definitely needs something for dandruff at the moment so am going to give some of these a try - I'l start with l'Oreal first x


  6. This post is perfect, I suffer with scalp problems. It can be really itchy at times other times it is issues with dandruff.

    I have the philip kingsley toner, it is great to apply when it is itchy but I can't say I have noticed a difference with dandruff.

    The Kiehls exfoliating scalp treatment sounds so good!! I need to get my hands on some of these products and give them a go.

    Hayley | hayleyxmartin

  7. I suffer from itchy scalp and it's such a nightmare. I have tried quite a few products but the ones that have stood out for me is the Boots Scalp Treatment and Aveda Pramasana range!! I definitely will try the Kiehl's version. Lovely round up..xx

    1. I really want to try more from Aveda so I'll have to start with this collection :) xx

  8. I really like the Kiehls exfoliator but sometimes it feels hard to get all the grit out of my roots after using it! I love the Philip Kingsley shampoo from the itchy scalp range, I just wish it was a bit cheaper.

    Morgan | Hyacinth Girl

  9. I need to try more of the Purepotions range :)


  10. Thank you for your comments :) xx


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