What to Do If You Have Dandruff and Color-Treated Hair

Step away from the drugstore detergents

Here’s the rub: You’ve noticed an itchy patch on your scalp and, ugh, a few flakes on your shoulders. But you just shelled out hundreds of dollars on that primo hair color. Do not (we repeat: do not!) pick up a generic drugstore dandruff shampoo. Many have stripping sulfates in them. So how do you tackle your flakes and keep your color bright? Read on.

What you need: Your regular color-safe shampoo and a bottle of tea tree oil

What you do: Squeeze your usual amount of shampoo into your palm. Then add a few drops of tea tree oil and gently massage the mixture into your scalp. Let sit for a couple minutes (wash your face, shave your legs, whatever) and rinse thoroughly. Follow with conditioner.

Why it works: Tea tree oil has natural antimicrobial and antiseptic properties that help with dryness and itchiness. When added to your sulfate-free shampoo, you get major scalp relief without sacrificing your color.

Pro tip: Always dilute the oil with your shampoo and be sparing with how much you add. It’s extremely potent on its own and can be conversely over-drying if applied in excess. So, basically, just don’t dump the little bottle directly on your head and you should be fine.

Jenny Jin Headshot Vertical 2023

Beauty Director

Jenny Jin is PureWow’s Beauty Director and is currently based in Los Angeles. Since beginning her journalism career at Real Simple magazine, she has become a human encyclopedia of...