Finding The Right Shampoo & Tools for A Sensitive Scalp


Are you frustrated with your hair? Do you find that your hair never grows past a certain length? Or, does it feel dry, frizzy and lacking in shine? Well, today we're going back to the roots of the issue, literally.

Scalp health is paramount in order to achieve healthy, hydrated and shiny locks. If you find your scalp sometimes feels itchy, dry or excessively oily, well, that might just be the reason behind your hair woes. We try all the tools and shampoo for sensitive scalp; and these are our thoughts. After all, hair health starts from the scalp, so this week's article is all about supporting your scalp to help your hair!



Over the past few weeks, our Editor, Gabriela has been trying and testing some of the best shampoos for sensitive scalp and other tools on the market with the aim of soothing her sensitive, dry and flaky scalp. After all, a happy scalp equals a healthy head of hair. Gabriela has naturally curly and frizzy hair, with medium density. Keep reading to see what products she recommends and which she would give a miss...

On this journey to achieving luxurious locks, I was forced to examine the fact that my scalp was perhaps the most pressing issue I should be dealing with. Some weeks my scalp seems totally fine and my hair routine doesn't seem to run into any major issues, but others my scalp feels sensitive, dry and even a little flaky. Not the sexiest topic to write about. Sorry in advance... On my journey to curing my scalp situation, I decided to try out some of the most-talked-about shampoos for sensitive scalp, as well as some up and coming curly-hair tools in the hope that a couple of products and new routine might be just what I need. I started out by trying the...

Kerastase Soothing Scalp Scrub

This is a deliciously-smelling scrub cleanser with sweet orange peel. There are two versions of this product: Energising and Soothing. I went for the Soothing option which claims to be for 'all types of hair and scalp, including sensitive'. I used a scoop of the scrub on wet hair before shampooing and lathered it up. While I found that this product was indeed really soothing and had a wonderful smell, I am not sure the product was strong enough to 'cure' my scalp woes and remove all build up. That being said, I would definitely recommend this product if you don't have any visible scalp issues and just want a little self-care product to maintain your scalp health in tip-top condition.


Neutrogena T/Gel Therapeutic Shampoo

I have used this shampoo for sensitive scalp many times over the years and, to be honest, I have found it to be a really effective dry scalp treatment as it helps calm a sensitive scalp. Admittedly, the coal tar smell is not the nicest smell in the world but the shampoo itself does the job. The application is really simple! I used it instead of normal shampoo and lathered up a small amount into my scalp; leaving it on for a few minutes before rinsing and then repeating the process.

The only downside to this product (apart from the undesirable smell, that you quickly get used to) is that it is not a long-term solution or everyday fix. The instructions advise you to use the shampoo 2-3 times a week for 6 weeks, during which time you should see an improvement. To be honest, I saw the improvement after the first wash, however, I did notice that once I completed the 6-week treatment my scalp condition started to deteriorate once more. Due to this, I would recommend this shampoo for sensitive scalp for the entire treatment length and sporadically thereafter.


The Inkey List Salicylic Acid Exfoliating Scalp Treatment

When I heard that The Inkey List were expanding into hair care I got excited... really excited. As you guys may know, we are fans of The Inkey List here at CAROLINA GMX. Click here to see our previous article on The Inkey List skincare! Now, the brand has launched a line of hair care products with their same celebrated, famous approach to skincare.

This is a pre-wash treatment that promises to rebalance the oil levels in your scalp through Salicylic acid, and reduce redness while hydrating with Fluidipure and Panthenol. I shook the bottle and then put two pumps into my hand and spread the liquid over my scalp as best I could before leaving for ten minutes and washing it off with my regular shampoo.

To be honest, I was a little disappointed with this product. Firstly, the consistency was extremely watery which meant that spreading the product over my entire scalp was challenging. Due to this, it was also difficult to know which sections of my scalp had been covered and which hadn't. The instructions suggest that 2-3 pumps are all you need to cover your full scalp, but I felt that this was definitely not the case for me. I would have needed more like 5 pumps to cover my full scalp.

In terms of the results, I did not see any major changes in my scalp's oil levels and still felt the itchy flakes come through, which was disappointing. Sadly, The Inkey List Salicylic Acid Exfoliating Scalp Treatment was not the miracle solution I was hoping it might be for my sensitive scalp.


Boucleme Scalp  Massager

Boucleme is a great brand for curly girls as their mission recognises the issues curly girls face in terms of extra dryness and the difficulty of managing it on a daily basis.

Ok... I am loving this product and have to say, if there is any product that I think might be a game-changer in terms of curing my sensitive scalp and helping hair growth and density, this is it!

I use this product to massage my shampoo into my scalp during my usual hair washing and it really feels like a treat. Not only do the massager's silicone bristles feel soothing on your scalp, but you really feel like you are removing any product build-up you might have and stimulating hair growth at the same time. I applied my shampoo straight onto the massager so as not to waste any product on my hands and just gave my head a good scrub. A super easy product to incorporate into your hair routine!

Boucleme Scalp Exfoliating Shampoo

Another great product from Boucleme! I have been using this product once a month to remove product build-up and give my scalp some much needed R&R. This shampoo for sensitive scalp helps my scalp feels squeaky clean after use. And I am happy to report I have felt less scalp sensitivity and dryness since bringing this shampoo for sensitive scalp into my routine. I also noticed that my curls seemed more intact and less frizzy every time I used this product. I will definitely be continuing using it!



Tee-Owel is a US brand that I have been wanting to try out for ages. If you are interested in hair care and have dealt with frizz at all, you may have heard of the hack where you use a cotton t-shirt to wrap your hair in post-wash, instead of a towel. This is because the material of most towels, even hair towels, can actually snag on your hair and create frizz. Tee-Owel has created a range of hair towels made from ultra-soft and durable tee material to help dry your hair in the healthiest way possible, with the aim of leaving frizz out of the picture.

What I do is I wrap my hair up in the towel post-wash and leave my hair up for about 20 to 30 minutes. My first impression was that the towel was extremely soft and also very easy to wrap my hair up into. It is one of the only hair towels I have ever used that stayed tied up on my head, without me having to rearrange it which I seriously loved! After the 30 minutes were up, I took my hair out of the Tee-Owel and was really impressed by how full and intact my curls looked. There was also very minimal frizz, although my hair was still only about 50% dry.

As my hair air-dried, it looked much nicer than usual. My curls were full, hydrrated and I noticed way less frizz than usual. I would definitely recommend the Tee-Owels to curly girls and people with frizzy hair! I'm a big fan of this product!


By Selina Scalp And Curl Cleansing Shampoo with Citrus Notes

Another product that I have fallen in love with is the By Selina Scalp and Curl Cleansing Shampoo with Citrus Notes! If you haven't heard of By Selina yet, then I'm sure you will soon because the curly girl community in the UK has been buzzing about this brand for a little while now.

Selina has a background in science and started the brand because she is passionate about creating great quality, curly products and champions girls and women in science! Not only that, but Selina keeps sustainability at the forefront of her brand; all of the packaging is plastic-free with refillable bottles that are made to order.

This is a shampoo for sensitive scalp and curly girls who are wanting to care for their scalp health without drying out their curls. I can honestly say that I noticed a difference right away too! After only the first use, my scalp had next to no flakes- I couldn't quite believe it! My curls also seemed so much healthier, hydrated and nourished once dry. Not only that, but this product is made to have the same consistency as a facial cleanser so it is gentle enough to be used daily; I am honestly obsessed. Plus, great scent! A great shampoo for sensitive scalp!

Shop Our Sensitive Scalp Favourites:

Finally, while I have realised that there may be no "miracle product" for treating a dry, sensitive scalp, a couple of simple, effective products and a consistent hair routine can really transform your scalp and support hair health. For me, the use of Boucleme's Scalp Exfoliating Shampoo once a month with the Boucleme Scalp Massager has really helped! For the rest of my washes, I have been continuing to use the By Selina Scalp and Curl Cleansing Shampoo, which has really made a difference to my scalp and hair health. Over the past month, with these shampoos for sensitive scalps, I have managed to reduce my dry, sensitive and sometimes flaky scalp and improve the density of my hair. Win, win, win!

Drying my hair is also no longer a chore as I have found a favourite in Tee-Owel's hair towel, which takes the hassle out of drying my hair and reduces my frizz significantly after each wash. If you are starting your journey to scalp and hair health, I urge you to have patience and try out a few of the above over a couple of weeks. It can be tricky to find what works for you, but a little consistency and a couple of great products is definitely a great place to start!


Every brand and product featured on CarolinaGMX make our editorial pages once a minimum of 70% of our sensitive-skin testers consider it worthy!

If you are interested in checking out some of our other sensitive skin posts you can find the latest here.


WHERE — London


THOUGHTS BY— Gabriela Godinho-Moxon

EDITED BY— Gabriela Godinho-Moxon




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Gabriela - Editor
Gabriela - Editor

Gabriela is a London-based writer and creative, working in marketing. Her favourite skincare product is Darphin’s Ideal Resource Youth Retinol Oil Concentrate.

Find me on: Web | Instagram


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