Last Updated on November 7, 2022 by Verna Meachum
If you have curly hair and dry scalp, it feels like your two worst enemies are teaming up against you. Having curly hair is already a challenge when it comes to keeping your hair healthy and moisturized. When dry scalp is thrown into the mix, it can seem downright impossible to keep your hair looking and feeling its best.
Fortunately, there are a number of strategies that you can use to effectively treat curly hair dry scalp issues.
First, let’s take a closer look at the anatomy of curly hair.
The Anatomy of Curly Hair
Unlike straight hair that is typically one continuous strand, curly hair consists of many curly “follicles” that grow in different directions. This uneven growth pattern makes curly hair particularly prone to dryness and breakage.
Understanding the structure of curly hair can help you better care for your dry scalp and keep your curls looking their best.
Curly hair is characterized by a wide range of shapes – from waves to curls, coils, and kinks. Not only does the shape of the hair follicle play a role in hair shape, but scientists believe that differences in cell behavior during hair fiber production also is a contributing factor.
Curly hair is more prone to dryness
All hair types and textures are susceptible to flakes and dandruff. However, due to the natural structure of waves, curls, and coils, textured hair types are more prone to experiencing dryness and dandruff.
Because curly hair is unique, it needs special attention in the form of specifically designed products that will work best for its dry-prone nature.
The quickest way to fix the dry issue is by determining the source of the problem and then adjusting your hair care routine accordingly.
Dry scalp is often a symptom of other underlying issues, such as scalp psoriasis, eczema, or a change in hormones. It happens when the pH of your scalp is off.
The pH of our scalp naturally sits at 5.5, which is acidic. You might be wondering how this affects your scalp? Now, our skin is made up mostly of water and the pH can actually change how well our skin holds onto it – including the skin on our scalps.
Why is maintaining a pH-balanced scalp so important?
When the pH balance of your scalp is off, the skin cells on your scalp can become inflamed and irritated. This can lead to dryness, flaking, dandruff, itching, and even hair loss.
So, in order to maintain healthy curly hair, it’s important that you keep your scalp pH level in check.
How Can You Maintain Healthy Scalp pH?
Healthy hair begins with healthy scalp, so it’s important to maintain a pH-balanced scalp through regular hair care routines.
Some tips to help maintain a healthy pH balance include:
✓ Using gentle, pH-balanced shampoos and conditioners that are specifically designed for curly hair types.
✓ Moisturizing your scalp using essential oils (just make sure to use a carrier oil) and other moisturizing products designed for curly hair.
✓ Stepping away from hot tools like hair dryers and curling irons, which can cause further irritation and damage to curly hair.
To help keep your curly hair healthy and hydrated, it’s important to address the underlying causes of dry scalp.
Common Causes of Dry Scalp
Having a dry scalp can make you feel itchy and uncomfortable. But it’s important to remember that dry scalp is not just a cosmetic issue; it can also cause damage to your curly hair. Again, a healthy scalp is key to healthy curly hair.
There are a few potential causes of dry scalp, including:
- Poor diet and nutrition
- Exposure to environmental toxins
- Excessive chemical treatments or heat styling
- Irritating ingredients
- Hormonal changes, such as pregnancy or menopause
- Extreme dryness and weather conditions, such as hot, dry weather or cold, dry air
- Overusing harsh ingredients that strip away natural oils
If you are experiencing dry scalp along with other symptoms, such as dry hair, flaking, irritation, or dandruff, it is important to see a doctor or dermatologist to help identify the underlying cause.
Fortunately, there are many effective treatments for dry scalp that you can try at home. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular methods.
Remedies for Dry Scalp
There are a number of treatments you can try to help soothe dry, itchy scalp and keep your curly hair looking and feeling great.
Dealing with a dry scalp can feel uncomfortable and frustrating. Discomforts often result from an underlying issue, which is best remedied by treating that problem instead of its symptoms. Once you pinpoint what is causing the problem, it is time to take measures to fix it.
To improve the health of your scalp, start with basic scalp care habits.
Some of the most popular remedies include:
Use a dry scalp cleanser. Dry scalp cleansers are formulated with ingredients that help cleanse, soothe, and nourish your scalp to help keep it healthy.
As I Am Dry & Itchy Scalp Care Shampoo and Conditioner
Looking for a shampoo and conditioner that can provide relief from dry scalp, itchiness, flaking, and irritation? Look no further than As I Am Dry & Itchy Scalp Care Shampoo and Conditioner! Infused with zinc pyrithione and enriched with tea tree oil and olive oil, this formula works to soothe and moisturize dry, itchy scalp while detangling hair and making it easier to comb.
With just one use, this shampoo and conditioner delivers a noticeable increase in moisture levels, improving scalp health by 78%. Additionally, it eases the process of detangling curls by 41%, helping to reduce overall irritation in the scalp.
Whether you’re dealing with symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis or dandruff, this product provides gentle yet effective relief for all types of hair.
As I Am Dry & Itchy Scalp Care Co wash
With its powerful anti-fungal and anti-bacterial ingredients, this Co wash is the perfect solution to help eliminate yeast and bacterial growth in your hair and scalp.
Not only does it relieve itchiness and soothe irritated, dry skin, but it also works to hydrate dry hair, leaving you with vibrant coils and curls that are manageable and soft to the touch.
Whether you’re suffering from seborrheic dermatitis or just need some relief from pesky dandruff or dry scalp, this is the perfect solution for you!
Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal + Coconut Oil Micro-Exfoliating Shampoo
This is a vegan and cruelty-free formula that is clinically shown to reduce up to 82% of dry scalp flaking, thanks to the powerful combination of Binchotan charcoal. This charcoal draws impurities out from the scalp and hair follicles, creating a clean and healthy foundation for optimal scalp health.
The micro-exfoliators in this shampoo gently remove dead skin cells and product buildup from the scalp, leaving your hair feeling soft, clean, and refreshed. A cooling blend of peppermint and spearmint oils helps to relieve any itchiness or irritation on the scalp, while tea tree oil provides anti-septic and healing properties that soothe inflammation and irritation.
Last but not least, coconut oil deeply moisturizes your scalp to keep it hydrated and prevent dryness or flakiness from forming.
GIRL+HAIR Cleanse+ Sulfate-Free Shampoo
This female-formulated product is backed by science, with ingredients like Shea Butter, Tea Tree Oil, and Neem Oil to help treat and prevent dry, itchy scalp.
The unique flash-foam system reduces friction during cleansing, making it easier to detangle your hair in less time. So whether you have natural hair with or without a protective style, this sulfate-free, paraben-free, and alcohol-free shampoo is just what you need to keep your locks looking healthy and beautiful.
WOW Skin Science Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo & Conditioner
With ingredients like hydrating oils, this shampoo and conditioner deliver an effective treatment that opens clogged hair follicles, breaks down itchy build-up, and fights back against flakes to give you healthy, revitalized scalp and hair.
Whether your hair is dry, damaged, or suffering from dandruff or other scalp issues, this shampoo and conditioner are the perfect solution. And with ingredients like avocado oil, argan oil, and vitamin E to strengthen your hair while keeping it soft and silky, you can be sure that your hair will be looking its best.
PURA D’OR Scalp Therapy Shampoo
Pura D’Or Scalp Therapy shampoo has a unique blend of Aloe Vera, Tea Tree, Peppermint, and Argan Oil. This moisturizing formula provides superior hydration and nourishment to the scalp, while reducing the appearance of flakes and irritation.
Whether you’re dealing with chronic dryness or occasional irritation, this shampoo is your go-to solution for shinier hair and less irritation due to dryness.
Curlsmith – Wash & Scrub Detox Shampoo
If your scalp is flaky, itchy, or just in need of some serious TLC, then this is for you. This powerful formula is designed to gently cleanse away all gunk and build up from your scalp without being too drying on your curls.
Made with micro-exfoliating particles that will gently unclog your follicles and wash off easily, this shampoo leaves your hair looking shiny and revitalized. And don’t worry – it won’t leave any residue or get stuck in your curls!
So if you’re struggling with a dry, itchy, or flaky scalp, reach for the Curlsmith Wash & Scrub Detox Shampoo to soothe and nourish your locks. It’s the perfect choice for all curl types – even straight hair!
Head & Shoulders Supreme Sulfate Free Shampoo and Conditioner Set
The Head & Shoulders Supreme Sulfate-Free Shampoo and Conditioner Set is an advanced hair care solution that offers soothing relief for your scalp and strengthens hair from root to tip.
Infused with rose essence and argan oil, this shampoo gently cleanses the scalp, leaving it calm and hydrated. The conditioner works in tandem with the shampoo, providing nourishing hydration to help keep your hair looking healthy and vibrant.
Whether you have color or chemically treated hair, this set can help restore strength, vitality, and shine to your locks.
Maple Holistics Tea Tree Shampoo and Conditioner
This shampoo and conditioner duo is one of my favorites! With its powerful combination of tea tree oil and other scalp-nourishing ingredients, this duo is an excellent choice for those dealing with damaged, dry hair and build up on the scalp.
Made with gentle, hydrating formulas that are free of damaging sulfates, this shampoo and conditioner effectively revitalize lackluster hair and restore your scalp to its healthiest state. Whether you have oily or dry hair, our Tea Tree Shampoo and Conditioner is the perfect solution to your scalp care needs.
Try natural remedies like aloe vera – These natural remedies can help soothe your itchy scalp and moisturize curly hair, leaving it feeling soft and smooth.
How to use aloe vera for dry scalp (and dandruff) relief:
If you have an aloe vera plant at home, you can extract the gel from its leaves. If not, grocery stores typically sell them too, or you can get it online.
1. After you have extracted the gel from an aloe vera leaf, apply it directly to your scalp, being careful to avoid your hairline.
2. Massage the gel into your scalp for a few minutes, then leave it on for at least 30 minutes before rinsing it out.
3. Gently cleanse your scalp with a mild shampoo.
4.Repeat this process a few times per week (or as recommended by your healthcare provider) to help reduce dryness, irritation, and flaking associated with a dry scalp.
5. You can also try adding a few drops of essential oils like peppermint or rosemary to your aloe vera gel for an extra boost of moisture and nourishment.
Some people use aloe vera gel as a natural conditioner for their hair. If you use it frequently, though, you might start to notice a film building up on your strands. This isn’t harmful and can actually be beneficial for some people’s hair health.
Apple cider vinegar rinse – You’ll need 2 tsp. Apple Cider Vinegar and 1 cup Filtered or Distilled Water.
- Measure the vinegar in a cup.
- Add the water to it.
- Stir it with a spoon.
- The diluted version will have a pH level 4.0 – 5.0, which matches the hair’s isoelectric point.
- Shampoo your hair and entire scalp with a shampoo.
- Use a spray bottle or whatever you have on hand and spray a sufficient amount of the above diluted Apple Cider Vinegar on your wet hair. Be careful not to get it in your eyes. If the rinse gets in your eyes, rinse it out immediately.
- Massage it thoroughly to your hair and scalp.
- Let it sit for a few minutes (I usually do it for 3 minutes)
- Rinse it off completely with cool water.
- Apply your regular styling products.
Note: Rinse-out products are the best for hair between pH 4 and 6.
Get a scalp massage. Massaging your scalp can help increase circulation, which in turn helps promote healthy scalp and curly hair growth.
Tea rinse – I have found that using a tea rinse is the fastest way to relief a dry and itchy scalp.
A great thing about tea rinses is that you don’t have to spend a lot of money on them, and they’re easy to prepare at home.
- Boil 2 cups of water
- Steep 1 tea bag in the water for at least 1 hour (make sure the tea has cooled)
- Once the tea has cooled, transfer it into a clean spray bottle
- Wash your hair with shampoo as usual
- Towel dry
- Apply the tea rinse to your scalp and massage throughout your hair. Comb through to ensure all of your hair strands are covered.
- Put a plastic cap over your hair for 30 minutes
- Rinse hair with lukewarm water
Note: There’s no need to re-shampoo after your tea rinse. Just continue with your regular curly hair care routine.
More Product Suggestions
As I Am Dry & Itchy Scalp Care Olive & Tea Tree Oil
This treatment is designed to alleviate the symptoms of conditions like Seborrheic Dermatitis, Dandruff, and Psoriasis. This powerful formula is packed with soothing olive and tea tree oils that help to nourish and moisturize the scalp, leaving you feeling comfortable and confident. Simply apply to dry or itchy areas as needed, massaging into the scalp to promote total relief.
Design Essentials Scalp & Skin Care Detoxifying Tonic with Eucalyptus & Lemon
This clarifying tonic contains a blend of nourishing ingredients like peppermint, aloe, and natural oils, which work to calm, soothe, and stimulate the scalp for immediate relief from discomfort.
The nozzle applicator makes it easy to reach every part of your scalp to provide protection against environmental factors, while the lightweight formula is ideal for use on wet or dry hair.
The soft and high-quality scalp brush is the perfect tool for anyone who needs to a tool to help gently stimulate and relieve their dry, itchy scalp. This waterproof brush features an ergonomic design that fits perfectly in your palm, making it easy to hold while you’re shampooing.
With its gentle but effective bristles, this brush not only provides a thorough cleanse for your hair and scalp, but also provides a relaxing scalp massage that can help soothe any itchiness or stress.
Seek Medical Professional Advice
Sometimes our go-to solutions don’t work, and that’s okay. In instances like these, we should consider talking to a medical professional about what might be the best course of action. They are the experts after all. Many people suffer from dry scalp conditions needlessly because they feel embarrassed or ashamed to ask for help, but there is no reason to endure quietly. There are treatments available that can resolve the problem quickly and easily.
Practices to Avoid
Just as it is crucial to know which products we should use, it is important to understand what common practices we should either avoid or follow.
- Don’t scratch your scalp with combs or finger nails because this can result in hair loss, or an inflamed scalp.
- Avoid using hot water when washing your hair, as this can dry out your scalp and strip away the natural oils that are essential for healthy curly hair.
- Be sure to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day, as this can help keep your hair and scalp well-nourished and moisturized.
- Steer clear of using oils that are dense and viscous like castor oil alone on your scalp.
- If you have product build up on your scalp, make sure you’re regularly cleansing it with shampoo.
For healthy, curly hair with a glowing and dry scalp free, it is important to follow a regular hair care routine that incorporates the use of high-quality products and techniques that are tailored to our specific needs.
If you are struggling with curly hair and dry scalp, don’t despair. With a little bit of effort and the right treatment strategies, you can keep your curly hair looking and feeling its best.