The 15 Best Hypoallergenic Shampoos for Sensitive Scalps

PureWow editors select every item that appears on this page, and the company may earn compensation through affiliate links within the story. All prices are accurate upon date of publish. You can learn more about the affiliate process here.

best hypoallergenic shampoos editors picks
Dasha Burobina for PureWow

If lately you’re finding that wash day leaves you with more of an irritated scalp than a clean one, chances are you might need to try a different shampoo. See, some shampoos contain ingredients that can cause allergic reactions with symptoms like redness, itchiness and breakouts, and switching to a hypoallergenic shampoo can help. To walk us through the ins and outs of hypoallergenic shampoos, we asked one of Hollywood's leading haircare specialists to weigh in.

Meet the Expert:

  • Philip B. (also known as Philip Berkovitz) is a scalp expert, celebrity hairstylist and founder of Philip B. Haircare. He has over 30 years of experience and launched his first product—the Rejuvenating Oil Treatment—in 1992. The founder has worked with celebrities like Sharon Stone, Gwyneth Paltrow and Sandra Bullock.

What Is a Hypoallergenic Shampoo?

“Hypoallergenic means that a formula that is free of allergens and ingredients that can potentially be harmful to your skin and scalp,” explains Philip B. So, whether you have a sensitive scalp or you’re allergic to specific ingredients, this type of shampoo can be a safer option to use in the shower. Plus, it's often gentler on the skin and contains other ingredients that help relieve related concerns like itchiness, redness or inflammation. 

And if you don’t have the time (or patience) to scour the haircare aisle, we found the 15 best hypoallergenic shampoos for sensitive scalps, according to reviewers that stand by them.

So Long Flakes! Here Are the 18 Best Shampoos for a Dry Scalp

Best Two-in-One

1. The Honest Company Shampoo + Body Wash

The Honest Company

  • Why We Love It: top seller on Amazon, four scents, no synthetic fragrances
  • What We Don't Love: strong scent, flimsy pump, thin consistency
  • Best For: sensitive scalps, fine hair
  • Promising Review: "Finally, finally, finally, a shampoo that doesn't have a perfume [scent], and that actually works as advertised. I used it for hair, scalp and face. It's all good, clean and soft with no irritation. Finally. It's on the top of my essential list." — an Amazon Reviewer

This two-in-one formula aims to give you a gentle wash from head to toe. The soothing formula (featuring aloe juice, chamomilla flower extract and lavender oil) offers a rich lather that rinses clean. It’s also made without any parabens, dyes or synthetic fragrances. With more than 11,000 5-star reviews, customers rave about the calming formula—and how it’s great for little ones, too.

  • Why We Love It: fragrance-free, gentle formula
  • What We Don't Love: thick consistency, not suitable for thick hair
  • Best For: dry hair, fine hair, dandruff
  • Promising Review: "This is the only brand that does not make my scalp burn or itch. It took me a long time to find this [shampoo]." — Kennedy, an Amazon reviewer

This shampoo is paraben-free, fragrance-free and color-safe, and it features glycerin, a key ingredient that hydrates and soothes sensitive scalps. Thanks to the fatty acids found in the formula, it also removes excess oil and improves volume. "If you have problems with sensitivity to shampoo and conditioner, I highly recommend giving this brand a shot," writes one buyer. "I also appreciate that this shampoo completely cleans my hair and it doesn't weigh it down."

Most Luxe

3. Augustinus Bader The Shampoo

What We Like

  • lightweight formula
  • buyers say it helps with hair loss
  • powered by the brand’s iconic Trigger Factor Complex

What We Don't Like

  • pricey
  • small bottle

Augustinus Bader

  • Best For: dry scalp, dull hair
  • Promising Review: "Very light and leaves your hair bouncy and shiny. You do not need to use a lot each time you wash your hair, so one bottle goes a long way. Excellent shampoo!" — an Augustinus Bader reviewer

Leave it to Augustinus Bader to create a lightweight vegan shampoo that does more than just gently cleanse. With ingredients like watercress, shikakai and maca Root, the luxurious formula also helps strengthen hair and reduce breakage all while boosting thickness and shine, according to the brand. Meanwhile, the brand’s Trigger Factor Complex supposedly tackles everything from frizz to shedding. And since it's made without irritants like sulfates and parabens, buyers have even used it on their kids and pets with no problems.

Most Nourishing

4. Klorane Ultra-Gentle Shampoo

What We Like

  • contains oat milk
  • dermatologist-tested

What We Don't Like

  • not suitable for curly hair
  • strong scent


  • Best For: dry and damaged hair
  • Promising Review: "This is so gentle for your scalp and smells great! I love that it makes my hair feel clean without stripping too much moisture." — Sanya, an Ulta reviewer

With ‘ultra-gentle’ in its name, we had high hopes for this shampoo and we’re happy to report that it delivers. Its lightweight blend, which features oat milk, promises to soften, hydrate and condition your hair, while also balancing the scalp. Shoppers find it's super helpful for dry and damaged locks, as the formula works to improve shine and strengthen strands.

Most Soothing

5. Briogeo Be Gentle, Be Kind Aloe + Oat Milk Ultra Soothing Shampoo

What We Like

  • oil-free formula
  • Black-owned
  • contains oat milk

What We Don't Like

  • flimsy pump
  • thin consistency


  • Best For: thick and curly hair
  • Promising Review: "I used to suffer from a very itchy scalp and eczema bumps from either fragrance in shampoos or the shampoos being too harsh, and I haven't had those problems at all since I started using this shampoo about two months ago." — an Ulta reviewer

This gentle shampoo aims to improve both your hair and scalp health. The aloe vera minimizes irritation and inflammation, while the oat milk and green tea extract blend works to cleanse and calm the scalp and hair. As one reviewer explains, "I have coarse [and] thick curly hair and this effectively cleans my scalp even when it's been several days between washes and there's a lot of product in my hair. It has a watery consistency, but as long as you lather it in your hands before applying it to your scalp, it works like a charm! All in all, this is a great regular-basis shampoo to use alongside a monthly clarifying shampoo!”

Most Gentle

6. Puracy Daily Shampoo


  • Why We Love It: contains a citrus and mint scent, safe for color-treated hair
  • What We Don't Love: not suitable for oily scalps, thick formula
  • Best For: dry and thin hair
  • Promising Review: "I can honestly say, of all the shampoos I've used in my life, this shampoo is the easiest to lather. The smell is also amazing, no complaints there...The shampoo alone has improved the quality of my hair by a lot; it is the softest it’s been in a long while." – An Amazon reviewer

This daily shampoo promises a deep cleanse that won’t strip away your natural oils. In it, you’ll find a betaine, squalene and rosemary oil blend, which refreshes, softens and clarifies the hair and scalp. It also offers a subtle scent that won’t weigh down your locks, courtesy of natural ingredients (like fresh bergamot, eucalyptus and muddled peppermint) and small doses of essential oils (like citrus and mint). With nearly 800 5-star reviews, many users appreciate the gentle lather for wash day.

Most Clarifying

7. DHS Clear Shampoo


  • Why We Love It: creamy formula, fragrance-free
  • What We Don't Love: not suitable for color-treated or super dry hair
  • Best For: curly, thinning, fine and gray hair
  • Promising Review: “DHS Clear Shampoo [cleans] my hair without causing any irritation or allergic reaction. It doesn't dry my hair out as much as some other fragrance-free shampoos. And it causes less hair loss than many others." — Kate, an Amazon reviewer

Want a clarifying shampoo that doesn’t dry out your scalp? This one promises a gentle but thorough cleanse that removes buildup, dirt and oil. The nourishing formula doesn't just clean—it conditions and balances your scalp’s pH for stronger, healthier locks overall. The brand claims it’s especially great for curly, thinning, fine and/or gray hair. 

Great for Oily Scalps

8. Vanicream Free & Clear Shampoo


  • Why We Love It: two-pack, great for flakes, fragrance-free
  • What We Don't Love: not suitable for sensitive scalps or dry hair
  • Best For: oily hair
  • Promising Review: "There is nothing to dislike about this shampoo. It is an effective yet gentle, non-irritating, low, pleasant scent and cleans my hair just fine. My scalp has never felt this good...I could never go back to anything else." — Vaughn, an Amazon reviewer

Have dandruff or pesky flakes? This shampoo might be the solution. The glycerin blend helps to control oil production, remove build-up and soothe any irritation. It’s also free of formaldehyde, botanical extracts and sulfates that can cause irritation.

Great for Dry Scalps

9. Attitude Hair Shampoo


  • Why We Love It: contains grapeseed oil, fruity scent, EWG-certified
  • What We Don't Love: not suitable for color-treated hair
  • Best For: dry, thin and damaged hair
  • Promising Review: "It smells so good and lathers [in my hair] really well. It has also helped with my dry scalp. [I] finally found a shampoo that doesn’t dry out my hair." — an Amazon reviewer

If you’re dealing with dryness, this shampoo is packed with nourishing ingredients, like grapeseed oil, which is said to repair and soften parched strands and skin. The hydrating formula also has olive leaf extract to condition the scalp and brighten dull ends. Plus, there's watercress and Indian cress (which contain a ton of vitamins and minerals) to strengthen hair and encourage new growth.

Best Fragrance-Free

10. Kristin Ess Daily Cleansing Shampoo

What We Like

  • fragrance-free
  • safe for color-treated hair
  • high lather

What We Don't Like

  • not suitable for fine or thin hair
  • drying

Kristin Ess

  • Best For: sensitive scalps, dull and oily hair
  • Promising Review: "The reason I tried this shampoo is because it's fragrance-free. Heavy perfumes make my scalp itch and leave it red with tiny pimples. I've used this shampoo for two weeks now and no itch or redness. This shampoo really cleans the hair squeaky clean but not dry." — Doretta, an Ulta reviewer

Whether you’re looking to remove buildup, improve shine or add volume, this shampoo checks all the boxes. The formula includes betaine, glycerin and aloe to deliver a rich lather without stripping away your natural oils. Plus, you can forget all about parabens, silicones or heavy fragrances, none of which are included in this bottle.

Great for Sensitive Scalps

11. Philip Kingsley No Scent No Color Gentle Shampoo

Philip Kingsley

  • Why We Love It: gentle formula, sustainable packaging, suitable for daily use
  • What We Don't Love: pricey
  • Best For: sensitive scalps
  • Promising Review: “We needed a shampoo with no fragrance or SLS that wouldn't dry out my husband and my hair. This completely fits our needs. My husband's scalp has shown significant improvement and it’s not as scaly or itchy. He's amazed.” — an Amazon reviewer

If you have a very sensitive scalp, this soothing pick can help. It has no scent or artificial dyes that can potentially irritate the scalp. Instead, the vegan formula cleanses and improves the appearance of your strands using a rich blend of glycerin, citric acid and capryl gluoside.

Great for Irritated Scalps

12. Odele Ultra-Sensitive Shampoo

What We Like

What We Don't Like

  • thick formula
  • little to no lather


  • Best For: sensitive scalps, eczema-prone skin
  • Promising Review: “I've struggled to find a shampoo that doesn't cause my scalp psoriasis to flare, and this wins!! My scalp is not irritated after use, and my hair feels clean. It did take me a while to get used to how thick the shampoo is, but it does lather well.” — Kyra, an Odele reviewer

This ultra-sensitive shampoo is formulated with amino acids and oat extract to nourish locks, add shine and reduce breakage while soothing an irritated scalp. It’s great for all hair types, but some users found it to be especially helpful with psoriasis, eczema and dandruff.

Expert's Pick

13. Philip B. Gentle Conditioning Shampoo

What We Like

  • lightweight formula
  • safe for color-treated hair

What We Don't Like

  • pricey
  • not suitable for thick hair

Philip B.

  • Best For: dull, curly and fine hair
  • Promising Review: "I love the smell and feel after using this product. It's easy to comb through when blow drying [and it] leaves my hair very soft and clean. I also love that people take notice too." — Mary, an Philip B. reviewer

This conditioning shampoo preserves your hair color, boosts shine and increases moisture without weighing your hair down. Whether you have color-treated, curly or fine locks, this cleanser washes away buildup and leaves a softer finish in its place. “This super mild and gentle formula is made with botanical agents like African shea butter, as well as panthenol (which contains vitamin B5) for healthier, bouncier and pH-balanced locks,” explains Philip B. 


14. Pipette Baby Shampoo

What We Like

  • fragrance-free
  • EWG-certified
  • safe for babies

What We Don't Like

  • strong scent
  • flimsy pump


  • Best For: sensitive scalps
  • Promising Review: "I recently switched my baby's shampoo since her skin was getting dry in the cooler weather. I absolutely love this shampoo! I feel like it really cleanses her skin gently. Also, the vanilla scent smells lovely. I've also been using it to wash my hair every so often since it's so amazing." — Ellen, an Ulta reviewer

This hypoallergenic shampoo is a must-have for your babies and adults alike. Its gentle formula contains plant-based ingredients (like citric acid, squalene and glycerin) that cleanse and hydrate the scalp without being too drying or irritating. Plus, the shampoo has a stamp of approval from the Environmental Working Group (EWG), so you know your luscious locks are in good hands.

Best Shampoo Bar

15. HIBAR Shampoo Bar

What We Like

  • travel-friendly
  • eco-friendly

What We Don't Like

  • not suitable for thick or curly hair


  • Best For: oily, dry and thin hair, sensitive scalps
  • Promising Review: "It's the best shampoo I've ever used. [It] leaves no residue and I can honestly describe my hair as "silky" for the first time in my life. Bonus, it's not harmful to the environment [and] even the shipping is plastic free." — an Amazon reviewer

Shampoo bars have been all the rage in the last few years and for good reason. For one, they're easier to travel with than your regular bottle, they lasts longer (one bar is equivalent to 16 ounces of shampoo) and they're better for the environment, as they use less plastic and waste. This one by HIBAR is a great choice for cleansing the scalp and adding moisture back to parched strands. It's formulated with coconut oil and rice protein, which aims to strengthen and repair your hair.

Want more beauty tips sent right to your inbox? Subscribe here.

How Do You Choose the Right Hypoallergenic Shampoo? 

You’ll want to keep these three factors in mind before adding a new shampoo to your cart:

  • Your Hair Type: Do you have natural hair? Thinning hair? Color-treated hair? Similar to regular shampoos, hypoallergenic shampoos often cater to specific hair types and textures. Look closely at the formulas and cater your choice to what works best for your hair.
  • Your Hair Concerns: From dandruff to dryness, consider what your hair needs help with and see if the shampoo in question addresses the same things. 
  • Any Skin Reaction: The beauty of hypoallergenic shampoo is its gentle formula, but if you’re trying a new shampoo for the first time, you still want to do a patch test on your wrist. Wait 24 hours and see if you have any sort of reaction. If not, you may proceed.  

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Know If I’m Allergic to a Shampoo?

It can start with mild irritation like itchiness, redness or burning. There are also more noticeable signs, like breakouts, flakes and patches. Overall, if you’re experiencing any sort of irritation on your scalp, you should reconsider your current regimen. And if you continue to see a pattern in your symptoms or have any severe reactions (like heavy breathing or hives) after using a shampoo, always consult with a dermatologist.

What Ingredients Cause an Allergic Reaction? 

When it comes to shampoos (or any haircare products for that matter), they are often jam-packed with ingredients, so it’s hard to pinpoint which are the culprits. But if you have a sensitive scalp and are concerned about causing irritation, here are some common ingredients to avoid when shopping for a new shampoo:

Fragrance: Yes, we want our hair to smell nice after a wash, but the added fragrance can do more harm than good. “Fragrances are the primary cause of skin allergies and should be avoided for those with sensitive skin. Note: A product may be labeled “unscented,” or “fragrance-free,” but may still contain plant extracts or essential oils that can be irritating,” adds Philip B.

Sulfates: These harsh surfactants can strip away your natural oils and leave your scalp feeling super dry, which can exacerbate other issues like itchiness or flaking. (Psst! Not all sulfates are created equal. We compiled a list of sulfates to avoid.) 

Botanical Extracts: From lavender to tea tree oil, people with sensitive skin may want to avoid certain botanical ingredients and essential oils.

Other Ingredients: Philip B. notes formaldehyde releasers, parabens and certain preservatives should be avoided as well. Examples: Methylparaben, imidazoldinyl urea and methylchloroisothiazolinone (MCI). 

How Do I Check If a Shampoo Is Hypoallergenic or Not? 

Take a closer look at the ingredients. At a minimum, you want a shampoo that’s free of fragrances, artificial dyes and sulfates, as those are common irritants for people with sensitive skin. Note: The FDA doesn’t currently have any set standards or specific guidelines to regulate hypoallergenic products and leaves it to manufacturers to decide whether or not they fit the bill, so keep that in mind when you’re shopping around. 

about face matte fluid eye paint review chelsea candelario

Associate Editor, Ultimate Fangirl, Aspiring Beauty Guru

Chelsea Candelario is an Associate Editor at PureWow. She has been covering beauty, culture, fashion and entertainment for over a decade. You'll find her searching the internet...

Why You Should Trust Us

PureWow's editors and writers have spent more than a decade shopping online, digging through sales and putting our home goods, beauty finds, wellness picks and more through the wringer—all to help you determine which are actually worth your hard-earned cash. From our PureWow100 series (where we rank items on a 100-point scale) to our painstakingly curated lists of fashion, beauty, cooking, home and family picks, you can trust that our recommendations have been thoroughly vetted for function, aesthetics and innovation. Whether you're looking for travel-size hair dryers you can take on-the-go or women’s walking shoes that won’t hurt your feet, we’ve got you covered.