To Tame An Itchy Scalp & Add Shine, Make Sure This Ingredient Is In Your Shampoo

If you have unexplained irritation, here's why you should check your shampoo

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Considering tea tree oil has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, it’s no surprise you can find the essential oil (EO) in a host of cleansers—that is, face washes and shampoos. It’s an ingredient that will give you the proper scrub you need—leaving you feeling fresh and rejuvenated—without aggravating your skin barrier.

And for those hesitant to use such a potent essential oil? Fear not, for many options come buffered with carriers and other hydrating ingredients to balance out the purifying abilities. 

Here, we’ve rounded up the best tea tree shampoos for the healthiest head of hair. 

Why would you want to use a tea tree shampoo?

No lie: Tea tree oil is a workhorse ingredient for the hair and scalp. You can find all our raves and reviews about it here, but these are the highlights. 

Tea tree oil has impressive antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties, which is why you can find it in a host of dandruff shampoos.

One study even found that using shampoo that contained tea tree oil was an effective way to improve mild to moderate dandruff; specifically, participants who used the oil for four weeks had a 41% improvement in itchy, scaly symptoms.

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“Tea tree cleanses and purifies buildup on the scalp,” senior director of global training and education at Young Living Leslie Lewis once told us about the EO’s role in hair growth. (That’s why clarifying shampoos tend to include the ingredient, too.)

It’s incredibly effective at dissolving and removing oil and debris—which means noticeable smoothness and shine for your strands. Not to mention, those anti-inflammatory properties we noted above can help calm any irritation from buildup. 

Again, tea tree oil helps purify the scalp—and a clean, healthy scalp is imperative for hair growth. But it’s also a wonderful oil to pair with a follicle-stimulating scalp massage: “I love pairing it with rosemary and coconut oil to massage my scalp before shampooing,” notes Lewis. A tea tree shampoo does double duty: Simply spend some extra time working it in with your fingertips whenever you lather up. 

Convinced this EO deserves a space in your hair care line-up? Us, too—so we rounded up the very best bottles to add to cart.

Avalon Organics Anti-Dandruff Itch & Flake Shampoo

If dandruff is your main concern, you can’t go wrong with this potent treatment. Along with beloved tea tree, it contains 2% salicylic acid (another ingredient that helps reduce scaling), as well as aloe and chamomile to ensure your scalp remains soothed. 

Anti-Dandruff Itch & Flake Shampoo, Avalon Organics ($14.53)

Avalon Organics Anti-Dandruff Itch & Flake Shampoo

Avalon Organics

Uncle Funky’s Daughter Squeaky Clarifying Cleanser

Another tea tree and salicylic acid number (specifically willow bark, the BHA’s all-natural cousin), only this one adds menthol to the mix: This combination of tea tree and menthol can help soothe an aggravated, inflamed scalp—so if itching is your main gripe, grab hold of this cooling cleanser.

Squeaky Clarifying Cleanser, Uncle Funky’s Daughter ($12.99)

Uncle Funky's Daughter Squeaky Clarifying Cleanser

Uncle Funky’s Daughter

SheaMoisture African Black Soap & Tea Tree Oil 2-In-1 Shampoo & Conditioner

Curious about using tea tree but find it a bit too potent? This shampoo comes buffered with shea butter, avocado oil, sunflower seed oil, and olive oil to condition the strands—but it also features clarifying African Black Soap, so you know you’re still getting a good cleanse. 

African Black Soap & Tea Tree Oil 2-In-1 Shampoo & Conditioner, SheaMoisture ($6.99)

SheaMoisture African Black Soap & Tea Tree Oil 2-In-1 Shampoo & Conditioner

SheaMoisture

Love Beauty And Planet Sulfate-Free Tea Tree Oil & Vetiver Shampoo

This tea tree and vetiver number will make tired, lackluster strands refreshingly vibrant. Vetiver is also a known sleep-supporting essential oil (you could substitute it for lavender), which makes this shampoo especially great for an evening rinse to prime your senses for bed. 

Sulfate-Free Tea Tree Oil & Vetiver Shampoo, Love Beauty And Planet ($7.89)

Love Beauty And Planet Sulfate-Free Tea Tree Oil & Vetiver Shampoo

Love Beauty And Planet

Earth’s Nectar Mint Leaves & Tea Tree Shampoo

A spa day for your strands: That pretty much sums up this refreshing—yet soothing—lather. It contains oat extract, peppermint, tea tree to give oily scalps a nice cleanse, while jojoba oil, aloe, and panthenol softens and adds shine. 

Mint Leaves & Tea Tree Shampoo, Earth’s Nectar ($23.50)

Earth's Nectar Mint Leaves & Tea Tree Shampoo

Earth’s Nectar

Yes To Tea Tree Scalp Relief Soothing Shampoo

Tea tree oil, salicylic acid, and sage oil are the star ingredients here. We’ve discussed the first two, but the latter deserves some praise: Sage oil also has antimicrobial and oil-balancing properties, both of which are top notch for a healthy, flake-free scalp. 

Tea Tree Scalp Relief Soothing Shampoo, Yes To ($7.99)

Yes To Tea Tree Scalp Relief Soothing Shampoo

Yes To

Brickell Daily Strengthening Shampoo

Remember when we said combining tea tree and mint is a winning match against itch? This number fits the bill, then goes a step further with aloe vera, panthenol, vitamin E, and silk amino acids to nourish the scalp. 

Daily Strengthening Shampoo, Brickell ($20)

Brickell Daily Strengthening Shampoo

Brickell

Pattern Beauty Hydration Shampoo

Curls and coils need a swathe of moisture to stay shiny and springy; that’s why this shampoo (created by curl queen herself, Tracee Ellis Ross) incorporates tea tree oil to dissolve buildup and oil along with aloe, honey, and coconut oil to replenish all that delicious moisture. 

Hydration Shampoo, Pattern Beauty ($20)

Pattern Beauty Hydration Shampoo

Pattern Beauty

Faith in Nature Tea Tree Shampoo

With a variety of essential oils (including tea tree!), this will make showertime smell divine. The citrus oils can help stimulate circulation and absorb excess oils, too. 

Tea Tree Shampoo, Faith in Nature ($6.99)

Faith in Nature Tea Tree Shampoo

Faith In Nature

R+Co Oblivion Clarifying Shampoo

Rosemary leaf extract, witch hazel, and tea tree oil clarify the scalp, but coconut oil makes an appearance so it doesn’t strip the skin dry. While technically a clarifying shampoo (which should be used every now and then, whenever your hair needs a thorough cleanse), it’s gentle enough to use on the daily, especially if you have an oil-prone scalp. 

Oblivion Clarifying Shampoo, R+Co ($27)

R+Co Oblivion Clarifying Shampoo

R+Co

Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal + Coconut Oil Micro-Exfoliating Shampoo

This shampoo checks every box: Binchotan charcoal lifts excess oil and product buildup from the follicles; tea tree and peppermint oils help relieve itch and aggravation; coconut oil provides moisture and prevents over-drying; and panthenol adds shine and helps protect the skin barrier. We call that a winning number. 

Scalp Revival Charcoal + Coconut Oil Micro-Exfoliating Shampoo, Briogeo ($42)

Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal + Coconut Oil Micro-Exfoliating Shampoo

Briogeo

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