Best Shampoos For Smelly Scalp

Best Shampoos For Smelly Scalp

Publushed by:

Khadija B.

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After testing several different hair care products, we decided that the Ryo Deep Cleansing & Cooling Shampoo is the best shampoo for smelly scalp treatment that won’t irritate someone’s head as they wash their hair.

If you’re short on time and can’t browse through this review, here’s each of our top picks for the best shampoo for smelly scalp syndrome and how they might improve your hair care routine:

Our Best Shampoos For Smelly Scalp

Washing your hair too much or too little can cause it to become smelly. Oils and dead skin can also contribute to this smelly irritation. Thankfully, several shampoos incorporate formulas that cleanse your scalp and keep it smelling fresh.

We chose the Ryo Deep Cleansing & Cooling Shampoo as our top choice because of its natural ingredients and sebum-cleansing properties.

Some smelly scalp shampoos might work better for specific hair types or be compatible with all hair types, from oily to coarse, and have different ingredients that give them a unique fragrance that enhances smelly scalp or hair treatment.

Keep reading on to learn about each of our options’ benefits and how to pick the best shampoo for smelly scalp management.

The Best Shampoo for Smelly Scalp Reviewed

Although each shampoo option offers excellent scalp-cleansing components, other formulas might offer more. So, let’s delve into how each shampoo might be helpful to you.

First, let’s discuss our top pick for the best shampoo for smelly scalp conditions, Ryo Deep Cleansing & Cooling Shampoo. This shampoo formula is ideal for all hair types, making it one of the most versatile shampoos in our rundown.

It uses a unique blend of natural ingredients to counteract sebum buildup, strengthen your roots, and neutralize pollutants on the scalp, including ginseng extract, pine needles, and agar extract. The camellia and lotus extract found in the green granules also combats hair loss and excess sebum production.

It incorporates peppermint extract in its formula to give your scalp a cooling effect that lasts several days. The mint fragrance is bold when lathered into your hair, making it an ideal option for anyone interested in feeling fresh.

Although it can be expensive on some hair care budgets, we think its natural, refreshing ingredients make it worth it. However, consider measuring how much shampoo you use and how often you wash your hair because this formula can be too powerful and dry out your hair.


  • Deep pore-cleansing properties
  • Bold peppermint scent
  • Natural plant-based ingredients
  • Green granules containing lotus and camelia extract for enhanced, deep scalp cleansing
  • Compatible with all hair types


  • Expensive
  • It can dry out your hair a bit

If you’re having trouble finding the best shampoo for smelly scalp syndrome with vegan-friendly ingredients, consider using BIOLAGE Cooling Mint Scalp Sync Shampoo. This alcohol-free shampoo removes excess scalp debris and offers cooling relief to irritated scalps.

This formula works best for people with oily or greasy hair. However, its effectiveness can vary between each use, so we recommend finding the perfect measurement that keeps your scalp from getting too smelly or irritated.

It has a subtle mint aroma that counteracts smelly scalps and the formation of fungal growth on your head, making it ideal for anyone who prefers shampoo that doesn’t overpower their sense of smell after every hair-washing session.

Although this BIOLAGE shampoo cleanses oil well, it’s not ideal for eliminating dandruff. If you’re interested in more effective results when using this shampoo, consider pairing it with one of BIOLAGE’s scalp conditioners.


  • Suitable for most oily hair textures
  • Vegan-friendly ingredients
  • Available in 13.5 fl oz or 33.8 fl oz
  • Subtle mint odor


  • May not always work on oily hair
  • Not ideal for dander control

If you’re looking for a quality shampoo for a smelly scalp, you can expect their prices to exceed your budget and your search to feel overwhelming. Thankfully, Aveeno Apple Cider Vinegar + Conditioner offers an affordable two-in-one deal for soothing your scalp and keeping your hair lively and full.

As indicated by its namesake, this shampoo has an apple cider vinegar infusion that soothes your scalp and adds volume to dull hair. The formula incorporates farm-fresh oats in its formula to ensure quality without using harmful parabens, dyes, and sulfates.

Aveeno Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo + Conditioner is safe for users with different hair types. It’s also an ideal option for anyone looking for a smelly scalp solution with color-treated hair.

Although this shampoo is effective when treating your hair and scalp, you might have trouble lathering and spreading it around. So, it might be wise to stock up on extra bottles if you don’t want to waste shampoo whenever you shower.


  • Doesn’t contain dyes, sulfates, and parabens
  • Apple cider vinegar infusion
  • Inexpensive
  • Safe for all hair types and color-treated hair


  • It might not lather or spread well

If you’re looking for a smelly scalp shampoo that’s safe to use on color-treated hair, then Tea Tree Special Shampoo might be your best option to consider. It doesn’t contain harmful parabens or won’t cause your hair color to fade after extended use.

This shampoo is ideal for most hair types and has enhanced soothing properties with its natural tea tree oil and peppermint. It has a fresh lavender scent that keeps your scalp and hair smelling fresh for days, regardless of your hair’s quality.

It comes in four size options: 2.5 fl oz, 10.14 fl oz, 16.9 fl oz, and 33.8 fl oz. This size variety allows users to start with a smaller sample and upgrade to a larger one if the formula matches their hair and scalp care needs.

The shampoo bottle’s cap doesn’t always stay secure or might crack, causing unwanted leaking. It can be hard to squeeze the shampoo out of the bottle because of its flimsy and slippery plastic surface. The bottle’s shape also distorts after getting squeezed.


  • Fresh lavender scent
  • Color-safe properties
  • Paraben-free
  • Ideal for all hair types
  • Four size options


  • The shampoo bottle’s cap can be prone to leaking
  • Lackluster bottle materials

While most options for the best shampoo for smelly scalp syndrome have bold, fresh aromas, some users might find the smell too overpowering. Zatural Naked Neem Therapeutic Hair & Scalp Shampoo is unscented and ideal for people with dry hair conditions.

It doesn’t contain GMOs or sulfate that can cause scalp rashes or make it greasier. Its signature organic neem seed oil hydrates your hair to keep it shiny and have enhanced volume. The shampoo’s ingredients are organic and don’t contain any animal by-products.

We consider this one of the best scalp shampoos if you’re looking for something that lathers well, despite being a bit watery. Consider rinsing it carefully since it can be hard to get out of your eyes and leaves a lingering, stinging sensation.


  • Great for dry hair
  • Unscented
  • Lathers well
  • Non-GMO and sulfate-free ingredients
  • Safe for all ages


  • Too watery

Buying Guide for Smelly Scalp Shampoos

Before deciding on your top choices for the best shampoo for a smelly scalp, there are several factors you must consider before making your purchase. Some shampoo formulas might be more effective than others for long-term scalp odor maintenance or have different ingredient compositions.

If you’re having trouble picking the best shampoo for smelly scalp issues, here are a few things we recommend looking out for when reading shampoo labels at the store or online. 

Hair Type

Your hair type is one factor you should consider when choosing the best shampoo for smelly scalp syndrome. Some formulas might be more suitable for dry, oily, or fine hair, while others are suitable for all hair types.


Consider looking for a shampoo without excessive sodium lauryl sulfate or parabens that can irritate your scalp or reduce the number of natural oils in your hair. Effective scalp shampoos usually contain mint, apple cider vinegar, aloe, essential oils, and other plant-based extracts that offer a gentle cleanse for sensitive scalps and hair.

pH Levels

The average pH level of a scalp is between 5.4 to 5.9. Therefore, you should consider using a shampoo with a similar pH level to prevent chemical imbalances in your hair and scalp. Shampoos with lower pH levels usually have higher moisture levels for cleansing your head.


Many shampoos add fragrances to give their formula a nice scent when lathered into a user’s hair and scalp. However, some artificial fragrances irritate sensitive scalps, leading to flaking or itching, so it might be wise to find a scalp shampoo with organic essential oils, like tea tree oil or lavender.

Unscented shampoos are less likely to cause scalp or hair dryness and irritation after a single use.


Here are a few commonly asked questions regarding how to wash a smelly scalp. 

What causes a smelly scalp?

Don’t know what’s causing your scalp to become smelly? Smelly scalps can occur for various reasons and can differ from person to person.

One common cause of a smelly scalp is Seborrheic Dermatitis, a skin condition caused by a yeast overgrowth that causes rashes and scaly patches of dandruff.

If your head is prone to sweating, especially after working out all the time, it can mix with your scalp’s bacteria and produce a foul odor. Sweat can also build up if you wear sweaty, non-breathable headgear for too long.

Washing your hair too much or too little can build up oil on your scalp and produce an odor. Sometimes, if you don’t wash off all the shampoo or conditioner on your head, its residue can build up with your head’s natural oils and make it smelly.

Other factors that can lead to a smelly scalp include your diet and hormonal imbalances, such as stress.

How do you treat or prevent a smelly scalp?

Some doctors may prescribe topical antifungal medication or medicated shampoo to treat smelly scalps with Folliculitis, a hair follicle infection, or other ailments. Although several shampoos are strong enough to cleanse the strongest odors and oil buildup, some might work better than others.

Are there natural remedies?

If you don’t have time to visit a doctor, you can find several natural remedies you can apply to your scalp while shampooing your hair. For example, diluted apple cider vinegar can kill bacterial infections.

Other people may prefer using essential oils, like tea tree oil, lavender oil, or peppermint oil, when treating itchy, inflamed, or smelly scalps. Baking soda is also ideal for reducing excess oil that can make your scalp smellier.

Does scratching cause scalp irritation?

Choosing the best shampoo for smelly scalp syndrome can feel challenging if you don’t know what to look for in a formula that’s effective yet gentle on your head. Although each of our five options works great on most hair types and smelly scalps, our top pick in this rundown is the Ryo Deep Cleansing & Cooling Shampoo.

Although it can dry out hair after frequent use, it’s compatible with several different hair types, making it ideal for anyone looking for a versatile formula. Its natural, plant-based ingredients are a nice change of pace to several shampoos with artificial sulfates and fragrances.

This shampoo’s lotus and camelia extracts give your scalp a refreshing, deep cleansing that keeps your hair in top condition and reduces the amount of sebum your scalp produces.

Khadija B.