This is the least sexy thing I have ever put into words but... I have dandruff. It took me a while to come to this realization — especially since I like to think of my beauty routine as luxurious and filled with things like rosewater and bubble baths. Dealing with flakes on my scalp just doesn’t fit into the picture. But I’m coming to terms with being among the 50% of the U.S. population that deals with the condition — a plight that was recently made easier with the discovery of First Aid Beauty’s Anti-Dandruff Shampoo.
My hair is curly, so that means the visible manifestations of my ‘druff are at least partially disguised. But if I use my fingers to shake my mane at the roots or scratch my scalp, flaky pieces begin to fall or get stuck underneath my nails. Although they start out imperceptible, the dandruff will make its presence known via oily roots the longer I go without shampooing.
When it comes to my personal hair product importance flow chart, shampoo has always been pretty far down on the list. The conditioner, hairbrush, and leave-in products are where I get picky, but I’ve always been fine with any shampoo for the cleansing job. That changed when I reached for the First Aid anti-dandruff formula — read on for how it’s saved my curls.
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First Up: The Basics
I am a devotee of First Aid Beauty skin care products. I swear by the brand’s Ultra Repair Wild Oat Hydrating Toner, and the rest of the range is crafted so carefully for sensitive skin that I never have to worry about getting a breakout or irritation from using its products.
That’s exactly why I felt comfortable experimenting with First Aid Beauty’s Anti-Dandruff Shampoo: The brand’s focus is on being gentle. And, in my experience, dandruff-fighting hair care products tend to be too intense for my sensitive skin and scalp.
This shampoo is, first of all, sulfate-free — which means it doesn’t have the cleansing agent found in beauty products that’s known to cause irritation and dryness on some skin types. The dandruff-quashing within the shampoo is zinc pyrithione, a common ingredient that has fungus and bacteria-fighting properties. The formula also contains calendula, a plant extract that has a soothing and calming effect on the skin. Your scalp (and therefore your hair) also reap the benefits of the shampoo’s blend of silk peptides and vitamin E, both of which help with nourishment, strength, and moisture.
The product is safe for dyed and chemically-treated hair and purportedly effective for all hair types. You can use it with every wash or just once or twice a week — I’ve been using it at least once a week with great results. First Aid Beauty also makes an Anti-Dandruff Scalp Serum, but I haven’t found the need to use it given how well the shampoo has worked.
Why I’m Obsessed
This shampoo actually feels like it was made with every hair type and texture in mind. It has a thin, lotion-like consistency, which I apply to my scalp with a bit spread throughout my strands. As instructed, I let it sit on my scalp for a few minutes — during which I exfoliate my body — then wash it out.
My hair instantly feels clean afterward, but not overly so or stripped of its natural luster and silkiness. Though I was happy with the immediate result, the wow factor came an hour later when my hair had finished air drying: My mane felt so light. I hadn’t realized it before, but the dandruff was literally weighing down my hair at the scalp. Now, my curls are bouncy, soft, and clean without losing any of their texture.
After two washes with the shampoo, I’ve noticed that the flakes have become smaller and less noticeable. My scalp is also less itchy, and, from what I can tell, the layer of dandruff permeating my skull has become thinner and less intrusive — which is a win for me.
I never thought I’d become loyal to a shampoo until I met First Aid Beauty’s Anti-Dandruff formula. It’s made my hair clean on a level I have never experienced. More importantly, the product is helping clear up a condition I’ve had for years — one I’ve been embarrassed to own up to. So not only is it my favorite anti-dandruff shampoo, but it’s become my favorite shampoo... period.
Barak-Shinar, D. (2018.) Scalp Seborrheic Dermatitis and Dandruff Therapy Using a Herbal and Zinc Pyrithione-Based Therapy of Shampoo and Scalp Lotion. The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5788265/
Gama, R. (2018). Protective effect of conditioner agents on hair treated with oxidative hair dye. J Cosmet Dermatol. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29316174/