Americans spend billions of dollars on products to address specific hair and scalp concerns each year—whether that be color, condition, or appearance. While some consumers buy these products at salons or at department stores, many prefer the more-affordable options that are as close as the pharmacy.
While serious conditions should be diagnosed and treated by qualified medical professionals, many aesthetic issues, minor-damage issues, and dandruff/scalp issues can be remedied by OTC products.
These treatments, some of which are especially designed for children, promise to make a difference in the health of your scalp and the appearance of your hair. They include:
Hollywood Beauty Tea Tree Oil Skin & Scalp Treatment (Hollywood Beauty Imports) contains seven natural oils and is intended to treat dry, itchy scalps and to fight fungus. Its formula is touted as a natural preventative for dry skin and can be used on skin, scalp, and nails. The oil is to be gently massaged on dry areas. For nail treatments, the oil is mixed with warm water to creating a soaking solution.
Cantu Shea Butter Grow Strong Hair Strengthening Treatment (Advanced Beauty Systems) promises to strengthen fragile, weak, and brittle hair. It also offers protection against heat and styling damage. The formula contains shea butter and other oils designed to replace the scalp’s natural oils.
The product can be massaged into hair beginning at the roots and working towards the ends before brushing, styling, and dying. It can also be left on the hair under a cap overnight. The product’s makers suggest applying the treatment three days prior and three days after relaxing or coloring hair.
Viviscal Densifying Elixir Serum (Lifes2good) is a lightweight, body-boosting treatment designed to promote thicker, fuller hair. The serum contains a botanical fragrance and includes biotin, keratin, and zinc. The serum can be used daily. It is applied with a pump and mixed through damp hair with either your fingers or a comb. Apply 2-3 pumps (depending on hair length) onto the palm of your hand and disperse throughout damp hair using your fingers or comb through. It can also be used as a styling aid on dry hair.
Neutrogena Triple Moisture Silk Touch Leave-In Hair Cream promises to diminish flyaways and frizz while leaving no flaking or stickiness. The formula includes olive, meadowfoam seed, and sweet almond. It contains a UV shield and treats extra dry, over-processed, or color-treated hair.
Scalpicin Maximum Strength Liquid Scalp Itch Treatment (Reckitt Benckiser) is a fragrance-free, greaseless formula that helps relieve scalp itch associated with psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis, and eczema. The clear liquid can be used by adults and children (two years and older).
Tarsum Medicated Shampoo/Gel (Summers Laboratories) treats dermatitis, psoriasis, and dandruff. It promises to control itching, flaking, and redness. The product can be applied without water. It is rinsed away after it sits for up to an hour.
Especially for children
Many parents know that combing a child’s hair can be a chore. And while many seek to make this process simpler by treating the child’s hair, most wish to avoid the harsh chemicals that are sometimes included in adult hair-care products.
SheaMoisture Kids Detangler Coconut/Hibiscus (Sundial Brands) is a mild, moisture-rich treatment that promises to detangle and tame thick, wavy hair while restoring luster to dry hair. Its formula contains no sulfates, parabens, phthalates, synthetic fragrance, paraffin, gluten, propylene glycol, mineral oil, or synthetic color. Rather, its ingredients include coconut oil, hibiscus flower, elm and marshmallow extract, and certified organic ingredients.
Burt's Bees Baby Bee Shampoo & Wash (Burt’s Bees) is 98.9% natural, hypoallergenic, and can be used on hair and skin. Its tear-free formula contains no phthalates, parabens, petrolatum or SLS. It is plant-based formula that contains soy proteins. The formula naturally lathers and is gentle enough for everyday use.
Aveeno Baby Wash & Shampoo (Johnson & Johnson) is soap-free and promises to clean without drying skin. The baby wash and shampoo contains natural oat extract and is gentle enough for newborns. The tear-free formula can be used daily.
Aussie Kids 2 in 1 Shampoo & Conditioner Surfin' Strawberry (Proctor & Gamble) promises to both clean and condition children’s hair. It has a berry scent, and the product maker’s say it is ideal for all hair types, including knotty and greasy manes.
Ethnic hair care
These products have formulas that are developed specifically with the needs of ethnic hair in mind. They often are designed to tame curls, straighten tresses, combat dryness, and prevent hair loss and breakage. They include:
Africare 100% Glycerin (Cococare Products) promises to conditions and protect skin. Safe for daily use, it is designed to add moisture to hair, and repair dry and damaged hair. Its formula is vegetarian.
Carol's Daughter Black Vanilla Hydrating Conditioner (Carol's Daughter Product, LLC) promises to naturally balance hair's moisture, detangle and makes hair easier to style, and strengthen and soften hair. The formula includes a blend of pro-vitamin B5 and biotin, as well as a black vanilla fragrance. It contains no parabens, petroleum, mineral oil, or artificial colors, and promises to instantly improve dry hair by 80%.
JAMAICAN MANGO & LIME Black Castor Oil Mango Papaya (Universal Beauty Products) helps restore moisture to dry, damaged hair. Its formula contains pure, unrefined oil and is also good for skin softening.