Best Scalp Lotions for Soothing Your Dry, Itchy Skin

Don't overlook the power of a scalp lotion if your skin could use some TLC.

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Woman Scratching Her Scalp
Photo: Getty Images

Chances are you apply a cream or lotion to nearly every inch of your body, excluding your scalp. But the same concerns that lotion addresses elsewhere — dryness, itchiness, and irritation — can affect the top of your head. And they may have a ripple effect, since a healthy, moisturized scalp provides the ideal environment for healthy hair growth.

Enter: scalp lotion. "Scalp lotion is specifically designed to nourish and hydrate the scalp," says William Gaunitz, a certified trichologist and founder of Advanced Trichology. A scalp lotion can also help with scalp itchiness, redness, or flaking due to dryness, says Penny James, a certified trichologist and founder of Penny James Salon. While scalp lotions aren't a hair-care staple, they can be a worthwhile addition to your routine if you struggle with any of those concerns.

Scalp lotions are particularly effective at soothing a dry, itchy scalp, since you leave them on for a longer period than rinse-off products, notes Anabel Kingsley president and consultant trichologist for Philip Kingsley. "They can be a great addition to your daily scalp care routine and used alongside other targeted treatments," she says.

When shopping for a scalp lotion for dry scalp, look for "calming ingredients" such as aloe vera, chamomile, camphor, zinc, or benzalkonium chloride, says Kingsley. The best scalp lotions are lightweight and fast-absorbing so that you can apply them between washes without leaving behind a heavy, greasy residue, but that's not always the case. "Oil-heavy lotions may leave your roots greasy and limp," says Kingsley. "They may also worsen certain scalp conditions, such as dandruff." (Related: Scalp Sunscreen Is a Sun Protection Step You Don't Wanna Skip)

To save you time in your search for a lotion for scalp dryness, here are seven of the best options.

The Best Scalp Lotions:

Best Affordable Scalp Lotion: Headquarters Ultra-Hydrating Scalp Lotion

Headquarters Ultra Hydrating Scalp Lotion
Headquarters

What You'll Love: Keep your scalp hydrated and balanced with this lightweight formula that combines a nourishing blend of botanical ingredients such as coconut oil and peony. It's an affordable and easily accessible lotion (just check your local Walmart) that's safe for all hair types, including color-treated hair.

Customers Say: "I got this HQ nourishing lotion for dry roots and scalp. I tend to have dry itchy scalp so I was excited to try this hair lotion. I applied it to my scalp after I finished my wash routine. It has a nice light scent (peony & coconut) and didn't leave an oily film on my hands. It sort of had a cool feeling on my scalp. I have noticed less itching and dryness on my scalp in the past week if use. I love the nozzle tip on the bottle so that it is easy to apply directly on my scalp. I will definitely keep this as part of my hair routine," wrote one reviewer.

Best Soothing Scalp Lotion: Mizani Scalp Care Calming Dry Scalp Lotion

Mizani-Calming-Scalp-Lotion
Mizani

What You'll Love: Whether your dry, itchy scalp is caused by a skin condition or a protective style that's too tight, this scalp lotion may offer relief. It's made with aloe vera to soothe itchiness and moisturize, eucalyptus to soothe, and avocado oil, a moisturizing ingredient that Gaunitz recommends looking out for when choosing a scalp lotion.

Customers Say: "I have a dry scalp. This scalp lotion really relieves the dryness and itchiness of the scalp. It os not oily which I like the best. It has a very mild scent like a dandruff shampoo. One bottle last me for a month , I use it everyday especially on summer time and beginning of spring," wrote one reviewer.

Best Vegan Scalp Lotion: Alterna Haircare Renewing Scalp Leave-In Treatment with Hemp

alterna-scalp-leave-in-treatment
Alterna

What You'll Love: Alleviate dryness and itchiness with this creamy, leave-on formula that's made with vegan botanical caviar and hemp to hydrate and moisturize your scalp without weighing down your hair. It also includes witch hazel to help normalize oil production and balance your scalp's hydration level.

Customers Say: "I was really worried this would make my hair greasy but it doesn't! It just feels soothing and hydrating and smells AMAZING. I love the Alterna scent. It s a perfect little treat after using their scalp scrub. I love the applicator for easily putting it on your scalp," wrote one reviewer.

Best Scalp Lotion for Thinning Hair: Living Proof Scalp Care Revitalizing Treatment

living-proof-scalp-treatment
Living Proof

What You'll Love: This scalp treatment was created with people experiencing hair thinning in mind. It protects against the negative impacts of environmental aggressors on your hair. The formula relies on yeast proteins and zinc salts to promote thicker hair, peptides to plump hair fibers and improve shine, and jojoba esters and vitamins to nourish and moisturize your scalp.

Customers Say: "This product really helped my scalp! It has a really nice scent and it made my scalp feel really hydrated! Highly recommend," wrote one reviewer. "I've been using this about 4 weeks, twice a week when I wash my hair, another noted. "This has really helped my very dry scalp, especially around my hairline during cold season. I've tried a couple drug store product, and this is the first one to work on my dry scalp. Definitely pricey, so I don't use it everyday, but will purchase again and use on-going."

Best Scalp Lotion for Natural Hair: Head & Shoulders Royal Oils Scalp Cream Treatment

head-shoulders-daily-scalp-cream
Head and Shoulders

What You'll Love: The Royal Oils collection from Head & Shoulders was developed for Black hair by Black scientists. This scalp cream contains coconut oil to provide moisture to your scalp. It's suitable for natural hair, protective styles, such as twists and locs, or relaxed hair. Apply it all over your scalp to seal in moisture and prevent flakes and itchiness.

Customers Say: "I know it's probably not the best idea to keep my goddess locks in for so long, but baybeeee! This scalp treatment works! Normally, my scalp is itching like hell after two weeks, and the flakes take over my braids. Idk what this cream does differently than every other scalp treatment but it works, and I've tried all natural remedies to no avail. And surprisingly, there's not residue on my scalp or braids. A must buy if you struggle with dry scalp, itching, and flaking. Just buy!! Life changing!!" wrote one reviewer.

Best Moisturizing Scalp Lotion: LivSo Moisturizing Lotion

livso-moisturizing-lotion-for-dry-scalp
LivSo

What You'll Love: This scalp lotion contains coconut oil, shea butter, and ceramides to help moisturize the skin of your scalp. The addition of aloe vera and chamomile provide soothing benefits.

Customers Say: "I've finally found a product that works! Tried so many things for my dry scalp, from over the counter dandruff shampoos, to tea tree essential oils. What I didn't realize was I needed something that would soothe and moisturize my scalp. Since using this product, I haven't had any more issues with dryness and itchiness. Also super lightweight, which I love. Doesn't leave my hair feeling gross and weighed down."

Best Overnight Scalp Lotion: Kamedis Scalp Lotion

kamedis-scalp-lotion
Kamedis

What You'll Love: Right before you hit the hay, you can to apply this rich, creamy leave-on formula to wake up with a scalp that feels moisturized, and comfortable. Its formula combines a mix of botanicals designed to reduce itchiness, irritation, dryness, and redness, and provide relief from dandruff.

Customers Say: "I have a mild case of seborrheic dermatitis and it usually flares up in the summer months when my scalp is damp, if I sweat, or if I have my hair in braids and the moisture is trapped underneath. I've tried so many different products and even created a few concoctions of my own to battle this. The itching gets so intense at times; it's very uncomfortable and once it dries, the scaly patches that come off are embarrassing. I'm super happy I bought this product because after a week of using it every night before bed, the redness and scaly patches are gone. In addition to consuming more natural anti-inflammatory foods, I'd definitely say this product is effective and did what it claims it does! 😊 I'll for sure be a repeat customer," wrote one reviewer.

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