Products for a sensitive scalp

Yep, up there with ingrown hairs on your bikini line for least-glam beauty issues. I have a very sensitive scalp that tends to get itchy/flaky with some products (am realising it’s generally heavily scented ones) so over the years I’ve been trying and testing various products designed to treat/soothe/heal/balance/fix etc the scalp. I’m a big believer that more hair care brands should focus on scalp health as well as hair – as without a healthy scalp your hair is never going to look it’s best? Having said all that, I do still dabble in the products my hair doesn’t like (mostly because my nose does because they smell so good) so always need a bit of an arsenal of products to calm the scalp down again after I’m mean to it by using things it doesn’t like. These are a few of my old and newer products for a sensitive scalp that I have to try and maintain a status quo of scalp happiness.


Starting with the every day use products… we have Aveda Scalp Benefits* that I have been absolutely loving. It tends to be quite rare to find a combo of shampoo and conditioner that the scalp likes and smells good whilst being pleasant to use. But this duo does it – I’m a big fan of Aveda overall as they do look at the scalp just as much as the hair. I especially recommend heading to the Aveda Institute for a scalp treatment – it’s something I’ve experienced a couple of times before and it’s amazing. Like a deep cleansing facial for your scalp. If you get itchy/flacky or suffer from scalp build up at all it’s a must-do. Trust me – your head will feel totally refreshed afterwards. But for an at-home alternative I suggest using the Scalp Benefits combination. Plus they have a great product (not shown) called Scalp Remedy for a more intense treatment when needed.

Also, the little candle in the background is also an Aveda one…it’s the Aveda Light The Way candle to mark Earth Month (technically May…) where 100% of the proceeds go to protecting water for animals, kids and the environment.

Also in regular use I have the Phyto Clarifying Shampoo – a deep cleanse for the hair that my scalp also really seems to like. This is one of those shampoos that feels so good to use you have to stop yourself from using it too much. As it is a deeper cleanse so used too much is a little harsh on the hair. But once a week, paired with a deep conditioner and I adore this. I’ve mentioned it before but am still loving it and will forever stock up.


As for treatments, I’m always willing to try new ones. So a few I currently have on the go – some I’ve used and loved for a while and a couple of new ones.

Espa Pink Hair and Scalp Mud – A mask for the hair. A thick and creamy pink mud that you slap on to your hair and scalp and massage in before leaving for a while to do it’s thing. Then after some washing out – you’re left with a happy scalp and happy hair. I love the combination of this one as it seems to cleanse and hydrate the scalp all at the same time. Plus it seems to leave my hair in good condition too. Always a plus. Feels very much like a spa treatment at home.

Australian Body Care Scalp Treatment Mask* – This is a new one to me and I like how it’s one I can apply and leave overnight with minimal mess. It’s a sort of gel, that does smell fairly heavily of Tea Tree Oil at first. But the scent dies down fairly quickly after applying and you’re left with hair that looks in desperate need of a wash whilst it works (i.e. it’s not one to leave in and go out…) but left overnight and washed off in the morning and my scalp does feel refreshed. It doesn’t necessarily remove flakes 100% on one use or anything, but that’s an unrealistic expectation really. For best results I recommend using over night and then applying a little more and massaging in before you jump in the shower to wash it out.

Salon Science Scalp Scrub* – I’ve always thought a scrub for the scalp is a good idea. But most products if they promise to exfoliate it’s via chemicals rather than manual exfoliation. This one is the latter. With little scrubby beads in a creamy formula that you apply direct to the scalp via the long nozzle. It feels good – take the time to give yourself a soothing head massage whilst you let this work. It does also hydrate the scalp too – so doesn’t just strip the flakes and leave it feeling parched. You apply to damp hair, massage and leave for 5/10 mins before doing your usual shampoo/condition routine. I’m loving this if I need a quite intense quick fix for an itchy scalp and have been adding this in as a pre-shampoo treatment followed by the Phyto shampoo and a deep conditioner.

Philip Kingsley Exfoliating Scalp Mask* – I’ve long been a fan of the scalp masks from Philip Kingsley. It was the first thing that caught my eye about the brand and is one of my true staple products I constantly go back to. It’s still a love for me as it is one I can always rely on to sort any flakiness/itchiness out, even if only temporarily. It’s a creamy mask that you pre-apply to hair, when damp but before shampooing. Then leave on for 10-20 mins before you shampoo out. They have both a stimulating and an exfoliating mask and the exfoliating one is my preferred.

The one thing I haven’t really done so far is properly explore why my scalp is sensitive. Generally I know it reacts to heavily scented shampoo products, but I should probably investigate if there’s a specific ingredient that triggers it and try and find a longer term fix as whilst these products help me manage it – if I stray from the happy-scalp products, it all goes back to normal again pretty quickly. If you suffer from a difficult scalp let me know what your secrets for dealing with it are!

*Indicates PR sample or gift.



  1. May 2, 2015 / 9:36 am

    I have an incredibly sensitive and itchy scalp thanks to eczema so looking forward to trying a couple of these products to see if they work. The problem I’m having at the moment is that my scalp is so dry and flaky that it feels like I need to apply some sort of moisturiser to it each day but I am yet to find anything of the sort especially as I can’t/don’t wash my hair every day and I need to look some what presentable when going to work each day. I have a lot of scalp oils that work wonders as a treatment at the weekend but I only ever do it when I know I don’t need to leave the house or in the evening before washing my hair.

    I love the PK scalp mask and also their itchy/flaky scalp toner, that’s probably as close as I’ve come to finding something I can use on a daily basis. It soothes the itching buy not always the actual dryness. The John Masters deep scalp purifying serum is another treatment that I love 🙂 xx

  2. May 2, 2015 / 9:55 am

    Omg thank you so much for this post ! I just recently started to experience a sensitive scalp and didn’t really know how to tackle it.
    I’ve never tried a hair scalp mask, I think I’m going to have to check out all of these products sooner than later.

  3. May 2, 2015 / 8:07 pm

    I suffer from a sensitive scalp too! I found thickening products make it worse, but I use the soap and glory shampoo/conditioner and works wonders at cleansing. Think I should invent in a scalp mask at some point though!

  4. May 7, 2015 / 1:07 pm

    I love Salon Science as a brand and like you have sensitive and itchy scalp. I found the anti aging shampoo and conditioner along with the cactus moisturize scalp masque was the best combo I’ve found for my hair to date so if you haven’t tried these these do! I didn’t however get along with the scalp exfoliator – found it really faffy.

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