There are different types of dandruff. The most common are “dry” dandruff and “oily” dandruff. They are usually caused by the normal exfoliation of the dead skin cells of your scalp. If you don’t shampoo often enough to keep up with the rate of exfoliation, the skin cells will remain on your scalp and in your hair.
Dry dandruff is usually the small flakes that fall onto your shoulders. Oily dandruff is more like clumps that are usually still attached to the scalp.
For dry dandruff, most of the time, all you need is a really good moisturizing shampoo and conditioner. You need to shampoo a little more often and massage the conditioner into your scalp before you rinse it. My favorite moisturizing shampoos and conditioners right now are L’Anza Healing Moisture and Moroccan Oil Moisture Repair shampoo and conditioner. They both have lots of natural ingredients. L’ Anza Healing moisture has deep penetrating hydrators and Polynesian Botanicals, like Tamanu Cream and Kukui Nut extract. Moroccan Oil contains Argan Oil and Keratin and is rich in fatty acids and proteins. If you need a little more intense moisture, both of these lines have intensive treatments that are used as a masque.
If you have dry dandruff and you use a medicated dandruff shampoo, you’ll only dry your scalp and hair more, thereby adding to the problem. I don’t recommend it.
For oily dandruff, the best shampoo and conditioner is Nioxin Cleanser and Scalp Therapy. The shampoo thoroughly cleanses and exfoliates the scalp without drying. The conditioner, Scalp Therapy, invigorates and refreshes the scalp with balm mint. It rinses thoroughly without leaving any residue, which is important for oily hair and scalp. These products can be found in better salons.
In the drugstore, the only shampoo and conditioner I recommend for moisturizing is Dove. They have the right pH and moisturize without weighing the hair down.
For oily scalp and hair, I don’t recommend buying anything from the drugstore. The products meant for deep cleansing, for oily hair and for dandruff tend to be too strong. When you over-cleanse the scalp, your body’s response is to produce more natural oils to return your scalp to its natural state, thereby making it more oily.