Dandruff can be one of the most frustrating and confidence-busting skin problems that many men will likely encounter in their lifetime.

When going to make a first impression on a date or job interview, hanging out with friends, or whatever the social scenario is at hand, the last thing you need to be worrying about is dandruff.

But in the year 2021, why is this still a thing?!

We have sent a man to the moon, surely we should be able to cure a bit of dandruff that’s forming on the surface of your scalp right?

Well, with this list, we are hoping to provide you with the scoop on some of the best dandruff shampoos for men that currently exist in the marketplace – and more importantly, how they differ.

While we will dive into the reviews in just a minute, it’s always important to understand the causes of dandruff.

Sure, it may be tempting to skip over this next part and head straight to the reviews, but understanding the cause of your dandruff will make product selection much easier.

This information should equate to much better results and hopefully complete removal of all dandruff from your scalp.

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Best Overall
Nizoral Anti-Dandruff Shampoo, Basic, Fresh, 7 Fl Oz
  • CLINICALLY PROVEN: Dandruff stays off your head & shoulders with this...
  • KETOCONAZOLE: This dandruff relief shampoo is made with ketoconazole...
  • ITCHY SCALP: Dandruff is caused when scalp-cells regenerate at an...
  • DANDRUFF TREATMENT: Clinically proven Nizoral helps maintain a healthy...
  • SELF-CARE SOLUTIONS: At Kramer Laboratories we focus on consumer needs...

What Is The Primary Cause For Dandruff?

When examining what causes dandruff, it primarily lands into five primary buckets as outlined by Mayo Clinic:

Irritated & Oily Skin

The most popular case of dandruff will appear from irritated or just simply overly oily skin.

The primary signs of irritated or oily skin will be a scalp that is red and itchy.  This type of dandruff will be very much akin to psoriasis, eczema, or just simply a rash – while sharing these similar properties, seborrheic dermatitis is its own unique skin problem.

When it comes to seborrheic dermatitis, unfortunately the medical community hasn’t fully identified the reason for its prevalence.  However, they do feel that it may be a wide mixture of external environmental factors such as stress, genes, weather, medicines to just name a few.

The most important takeaway for this type of dandruff is that it isn’t due to an allergy nor is it due to hygiene.  Therefore, additional showers, soaking in the water for longer, scrubbing deeper, won’t cure this type of dandruff.

You will need a specially formulated dandruff shampoo to take care of the problem.

Lack of Hygiene

Contrary to the above cause, not running shampoo through your hair on a frequent basis will cause extreme build up of both oils and skin cells.

This build up will eventually begin to flake and ultimately give the appearance of dandruff.

Now if this is your scenario, then you don’t need to invest in the dandruff shampoos that are outlined below, instead you just want to pick up a regular over the counter shampoo and just make sure you wash thoroughly every couple of days at the very least.

If you are washing regularly already, be sure to examine the type of soap that you are using.

With the recent uptick in men exploring all natural options to wash and condition their hair by following DIY recipes across the web, there may not be an adequate amount of surfactants and cleansing agents to get your hair completely clean.

Therefore, if you are using a shampoo that isn’t sold in stores, or one that might be trendy, be sure to step back for a minute to read the label and see if it has any cleansing agents within.

Malassezia (Fungus) Growing On Your Scalp

Another common cause of dandruff may be malassezia.

This form of dandruff is unique in that it doesn’t necessarily have to do with hygiene or just simply skin irritation, instead this is a live fungus that festers on your scalp causing the rapid increase in skin cell production.

In order to fight malassezia, you will want to usually use two different dandruff shampoos.

Continuously using one type of dandruff shampoo may lead the fungus to build up a resistance to the solution, eventually overcoming its effectiveness and subsequently causing dandruff to appear again.

Be sure to pick up a shampoo containing Zinc Pyrithione as it contains antifungal properties.

Dry Skin

More prevalent in the cooler winter months when the air is extremely dry and the heaters are on full blast, a simple case of dry skin may cause flakes to appear.

This will be applicable to you if your dandruff only appears seasonally.

One of the best ways to cure this type of dandruff is to double up on a quality shampoo (not a dandruff specific shampoo) along with a conditioner that will help to naturally hydrate and nourish both your skin and hair follicles.

Contact Dermatitis

If you recently changed out your shampoo, conditioner, coloring, or hair product and suddenly notice an uptick in dandruff, it may just be a simple case of contact dermatitis.

In this scenario, look back on when your dandruff started and replace the product with an alternative to see if the dandruff persists – you shouldn’t need to get a dandruff shampoo designed specifically for men in this scenario.

If you are still unsure what type of dandruff you have, be sure to contact your physician or dermatologist to get a qualified opinion.  In some scenarios, they may prescribe a shampoo specifically designed to combat your dandruff.  We are not doctors, nor is the purpose of this article to provide medical advice.

The Active Ingredients In Dandruff Shampoos That Do The Heavy Lifting

When it comes to comparing the best dandruff shampoos for men, its paramount that you know what the primary ingredient will be responsible for fighting off the dandruff of your scalp.

Equipping yourself with this knowledge will allow you to hone in on the solutions that you like and that are going to deliver much better results and ultimate comfort in the long run.

Therefore, when looking on the side of any bottle of dandruff shampoo you will see one of the key active ingredients:

Zinc Pyrithione (or Pyrithione Zinc): This compound works to break up the fungus and bacteria that are commonly found within dandruff.  Therefore, if you are suffering from seborrheic dermatitis or even malassezia, a shampoo with this key ingredient may work well for you.

Per the Environmental Working Group (EWG) Zinc Pyrithione is generally considered to be less hazardous as it received a score of 3 out of 10 (source).

Selenium Sulfide: Similar in application to Zinc Pyrithione, Selenium Sulfide is a topical agent found in many anti-dandruff shampoos that works as an antifungal agent.

The maximum concentration that you can purchase over the counter of a shampoo with Selenium Sulfide is 1%.  Greater concentrations are available with a prescription.

Per the Environmental Working Group (EWG) Selenium Sulfide is generally considered to be more hazardous as it received a score of 8 out of 10 (source).

Common dandruff shampoos containing this ingredient include the following:

  • Selsun Blue Medicated Maximum Strength Dandruff Shampoo

Ketoconazole: A primary antifungal compound found in a variety products including those to treat jock itch, athletes foot, and ringworms, Ketoconazole is rare, but sometimes used as an agent in anti-dandruff shampoos.

Much like the two other compounds listed above, Ketoconazole will work to reduce seborrheic dermatitis and break up malassezia.

Per the Environmental Working Group (EWG) Ketoconazole is generally considered to be less hazardous as it received a score of 3 out of 10 (source).

Common dandruff shampoos containing this ingredient include the following:

  • Nizoral A-D Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

Coal Tar: Unlike the antifungal properties of the compounds listed above, Coal Tar primarily acts to slow down the growth of skin cells on your head.

This slowdown of growth will help to drastically reduce the appearance of dandruff.

Therefore, if you generally have an overly oily skin and not a fungal infection, products containing Coal Tar may be more effective for your scenario.

Per the Environmental Working Group (EWG) Coal Tar is generally considered to be more hazardous as it received a score of 10 out of 10 (source).

It is to note that the FDA does consider products containing between .5% to 5% of coal tar concentration safe.

Common dandruff shampoos containing this ingredient include the following:

  • Neutrogena T/Gel Therapeutic Shampoo

Tea Tree Oil: Found in nearly all natural and organic shampoos used to treat dandruff, tea tree oil has seen wide prevalence among those looking for natural remedies.

This essential oil has natural antiseptic and antifungal properties.  However, this oils effectiveness can wildly vary, but does generally tend to be more mild.

Per the Environmental Working Group (EWG) Tea Tree Oil is generally considered to be less hazardous as it received a score of 1 out of 10 (source).

Common dandruff shampoos containing this ingredient include the following:

  • K + S Salon Quality Men’s Shampoo – Tea Tree Oil Infused

Dove Men+Care Anti Dandruff Shampoo & Conditioner

This shampoo and conditioner from Dove Men+Care will help to ward off dandruff through its unique combination of caffeine and Pyrithione Zinc.

Beyond working to rid any sort of fungal infections on your scalp, the caffeine will help to improve your overall scalp health.

What’s more, is that since this also includes a conditioner, you should have a well hydrated and a nourished scalp that will leave your hair with a shimmering and healthy look.

Now if you have thinning hair, you will further appreciate the inclusion of volumizing properties to help add thickness that will give the appearance of a fuller hairline.

Primary dandruff fighting agent: Pyrithione Zinc – 1%

Selsun Blue Medicated Maximum Strength Dandruff Shampoo

Selsun Blue has been around for years.  Along with Head & Shoulders, it’s one of the first brands that many men think of when they are considering any of the best dandruff shampoos.

In its royal blue 11oz. container you will find some great antifungal properties in their shampoo.

Not only will this dandruff shampoo do a great job at warding off seborrheic dermatitis, but it will further help to reduce the recurrence of it as well.

Unlike the Dove Men+Care shampoo that also includes a conditioning agent, Selsun Blue is absent of this secondary feature.  Therefore, you will want to make sure you pick up a quality conditioner as well.

Primary dandruff fighting agent: Selenium Sulfide – 1%

Nizoral A-D Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

This highly sought after anti-dandruff shampoo is currently the #1 Best Seller with over 2,000 reviews.

Unlike other shampoos that rely on selenium sulfide or pyrithione zinc to rid dandruff, Nizoral relies on ketoconazole – which is a synthetic chemical compound.

While this isn’t an everyday shampoo like Head & Shoulders, you should only use Nizoral about once every few days (no more than twice a week).

What’s more is that Nizoral is relatively gentle on your scalp and hair, especially when compared to some of the more harsh dandruff shampoos on the market.  This means that you shouldn’t experience any breakage of your hair follicles, nor should you have any issues if you color your hair regularly.

Generally speaking, Nizoral is more of a clean or neutral fragrance that shouldn’t be too off-putting.

Primary dandruff fighting agent: Ketoconazole  – 1%

K + S Salon Quality Men’s Shampoo – Tea Tree Oil Infused

If this is your first foray into the world of anti-dandruff shampoos and you don’t want to start with a product that may be too powerful or abrasive, then this shampoo by K + S will make an excellent choice.

After making the list on being one of the top conditioners for men, their shampoo is also second to none.

Relying on a very heavy natural and organic base, this shampoo is great for those looking to try something that strikes a balance between designer and medical brands.

This shampoo would likely be apt for those not necessarily with malassezia, although the tea tree oil should help in fighting it, but rather those with just a seasonally dry scalp.

Overall this product will leave a fresh and invigorating scent that will make you look forward to your next shower.

Primary dandruff fighting agent: Tea Tree Oil

Head & Shoulders 2-in-1 Dandruff Shampoo and Conditioner for Men

The hallmark brand of anti-dandruff shampoos is without a doubt going to be Head & Shoulders.

With its reliance on Pyrithione Zinc, this shampoo will help to break up and destroy the fungus that causes dandruff.

Beyond just simply warding off dandruff, this shampoo by Head & Shoulders also contains a conditioner.

When using this product, you should expect to have not only dandruff free hair, but also intact hair cuticles afterwards through its conditioning agent.

Lastly this bottle does evoke a scent of Old Spice – how’s that for manly?

Primary dandruff fighting agent: Pyrithione Zinc – 1%

American Crew Anti-Dandruff Plus Sebum Control Shampoo

If you want an uncompromising salon quality shampoo that also doubles down as a dandruff deterrent, then this shampoo by American Crew is likely calling your name.

Containing the same active ingredient in the Dove Men+Care and Head & Shoulders shampoos, this product by American Crew relies on Pyrithione Zinc.

This means that the soap will perform on par with the other big brands with its antifungal fighting properties.

What really sets this shampoo apart from the rest is that it includes a wide array of essential oils as well.

One in particular worth noting is the inclusion of Rosemary.  If your scalp is oily due to the over production of sebum oil on your sebaceous glands, the rosemary included within will help to reduce production, and hopefully keep your dandruff in check.

Just don’t forget, this is a shampoo only, so be sure to pick up the conditioner alongside your purchase.

Primary dandruff fighting agent: Pyrithione Zinc – 1%

Clear Scalp and Hair Men Shampoo and Conditioner

From the same company that makes Dove Men+Care (Unilever) comes another anti-dandruff shampoo that relies on the same active ingredient to ward off a fungus that’s growing on your scalp: Pyrithione Zinc.

But what really sets the Clear Scalp apart from the rest of the products on this list is the rich blend of 10 nutrients and botanicals.

Beyond the terrific ingredient profile, this shampoo also contains a conditioner which is terrific given its incredibly affordable price point.

Generally speaking, this shampoo by Clear should be sufficient for everyday use.

Primary dandruff fighting agent: Pyrithione Zinc – 1%

Neutrogena T/Gel Therapeutic Shampoo

One of the most versatile products on this list is without a doubt is Neturogena T/Gel.

Simply put, this stuff can work to rid even the most stubborn cases of dandruff.  From seborrheic dermatitis to psoriasis, this shampoo does a near perfect job at cleaning up your hair line.

It’s with good reason that this product is the #1 Dermatologist recommended brand in the USA – it works, and it works well.

Unlike other brands that rely on pyrithione zinc or ketoconazole, Neutrogena relies on Coal Tar.

As good as Neutrogena T/Gel may be, the one complaint that men have about this product is the scent.  While hard to pin it down to any one familiar scent – the best way we can describe it is ‘chemically’.

Therefore, when using T/Gel don’t expect to smell like a lumberjack or fresh after using this product.  This product was made to rid dandruff – nothing more.

If your dandruff is stubborn, we recommend also considering the Extra Strength Neutrogena T/Gel (Coal Tar: 1.0%).

Primary dandruff fighting agent: Coal Tar 0.5%

Maple Holistics Natural Dandruff Treatment

This incredibly popular dandruff shampoo by Maple Holistics is a great solution for those with a severely sensitive scalp.

With its hypoallergenic formula, this shampoo will gently cleanse your scalp of any loose skin flakes that are causing dandruff.

Now if you have psoriasis, this may not be the best choice, instead this shampoo is aimed at men who are experiencing dandruff simply due to overly oily hair.

This shampoo is a degreaser of sorts that will adequately strip all the excess sebum oil from both your skin and hair follicles.

But you will notice that on the side of the bottle, there is a heavy reliance on carrier oils like jojoba oil.  This oil will help to regulate sebum production and make dandruff quietly subside.

If you are looking for an all-natural yet hypoallergenic solution, then this is worth your consideration.

Primary dandruff fighting agent: Lemon essential oil

JASON Natural Cosmetics Dandruff Relief Shampoo

Created on Long Island by the Hain Celestial group, JASON is another product added to their lineup that relies on natural ingredients to get the job done.

Within this product, you aren’t going to find coal tar, nor will you see pyrithione zinc or essential oils, instead you will find Sulfur alongside Salicylic Acid (both at 2% concentration) that will work to keep your dandruff in check.

Now this shampoo is not for the faint of heart.  While it may contain a very natural profile of ingredients, many have reported that the scent is akin to sulfur upon use.

While some men may be able to handle this, others may find it a bit too much.  However, if you find yourself reaching for a hair clay or pomade, then it likely won’t be a problem as your hair product will likely mask the off-putting scent.

Overall this is a great product that doesn’t include parabens, SLS, petrolatum, or coloring and phthalates.

If you are looking for a natural shampoo that’s both affordable and made in the USA, then check this one out.

Primary dandruff fighting agent: Sulfur (2.0%) & Salicylic Acid (2.0%)

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