How to easily get rid of an irritated scalp!


Do you ever suffer with an irritated scalp? Sore or with red spots or maybe dry and flaky? You are not alone! I was struggling for a long time myself. I kept changing shampoos and hoping to find that miracle one that’s going to solve the problem! During that full length process I realised there are many people who have the same problem. Why?? Who is to blame??

The Brutal Truth!

Very often it’s the shampoo itself that is the criminal here! I knew for a long time that most drugstore shampoos are not very kind for the scalp. I’ve been lucky to have some chemically intelligent members of the family, working within the beauty industry to educate me a little in this matter. Being totally fed up with a slightly sore scalp pretty much permanently, I decided to look into the problem a little bit more. Can’t actually believe it took me so long.


I spy here two major trouble making ingredients: Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) or Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES). These are added to the shampoos to create foam. It seems like we like to have a lot of foam! If we’re covered in foam from head to toe it must be working, mustn’t it!?

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate tends to appear second on the ingredient list, which indicates that there is quite a substantial amount of it.

First I noticed that the more natural brands which are supposed to create shampoos kinder for our skin and hair tend to reduce the amount of SLS or replace it with SLES, which is supposed to be a little bit less irritating.

I then decided to learn a little bit more about the suspects and carry out my investigation.

So how about if I tell you that Sodium Lauryl Sulfate – the ingredient that is probably in your shampoo – is used in medical studies to cause skin irritation so than it can be treated with new experimental treatments. Can you imagine, that’s insane! I won’t ever buy a shampoo that contains Sodium Lauryl Sulfate again, period! I found a very interesting article here about it here.

That’s all great but it’s only a theory and I need some facts! No one is guilty until the guilt is proved!  My investigation carried on into practical case studies. Me, myself and I was the guinea pig! Of course!

 The solution! 

For most people switching from drugstore shampoos to more premium salon brands may be absolutely enough. Most of the salon brands still uses these ingredients, even brands who claim not to, however they add only a very small amount of SLS or usually SLES.

It’s been easily over a year since I started using only salon brand shampoos and conditions!

I found that the Redken range worked quite well for me. I re-purchased it a couple of times.

However my best finding so far is a natural range of shampoos and conditioners from Davines. I was given a sample for the #LiveBloggers Event I co-hosted with Grace in September, I liked the sample so I went and bought a whole bottle.

Davines is an Italian range. It still contains SLES, however this shampoo will hardly foam at all.  If you washing your hair twice you will get a little bit of foam with the second application but really not much and it will disappear in an instant. Hair feels washed and a little bit stiff, not to much though. Conditioner I have is absolutely divine. It softens and smooths my hair leaving it feeling light, shinny and easy to style. This range is an absolute winner with me. I have to admit though that after using shampoos that foam so much I had to get used to the fact there is no foam at all when I’m washing my hair.

All the irritation I had on my scalp from the previous shampoo has disappeared within 2 weeks of using Davines shampoo and conditioner.

There is also one more brand on the horizon that I’d like to try. It’s APIVITA, a greek brand. The shampoos they produce contain 88% natural ingredients and no SLS. Similar story like with Davines range, this range also contain Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) rather than SLS, so it shouldn’t irritate that much and won’t foam. The range is also free from mineral oils (they clog pores) and silicones.

So to recap, if you suffer with a sensitive scalp try these simple steps to reduce irritation:


  1. avoid drugstore brands of shampoos and conditioners
  2. look for more natural ingredients
  3. try to choose brands that use Sodium Laueth Sulfate rather than Sodium Lauryl Sulfate – these are irritants – names are very similar so don’t get confused.
  4. if possible avoid silicons and mineral oils in your shampoos
  5. also maybe a bit obvious but very important, make sure you rinse off all the products well.


I am super happy with the Davines shampoo which I’m using at the moment. (Delicate Ritual Shampoo with carrot extract for fine and stressed hair). I shall get myself another bottle of it before I attempt to try the APIVITA range.

Have you used Davines or APIVITA? I’d love to know what it is like for you?

If you are going to try this simple steps do let me know how are you getting on and if it worked for you.




  • Reply November 26, 2012

    Grace (allthatslap)

    Hi Eva, overall a good post but I have to say I think there are SOME drugstore brands of shampoo and conditioner that are very good and do not contains SLS. An example of this is the Naked range – this almost all natural, as much as 97%, SLS free and very affordable at about £5 for a shampoo, so do not dismiss all drugstore brands entirely. Organix is another drugstore brands which does not contain SLS and is really good.
    Finally regarding APIVITA – please note whilst this brand is “natural” it does contain phenoxyethanol, which is potentially harmful and is banned in Japan. You can read up more about it on the internet or see my post on ingredients:

    All the best
    Grace x

    • Reply November 26, 2012


      Hey Grace, thanks for the comment, it’s always great to build up a detailed picture for followers of our blogs. I don’t know the specific ranges you mention, could this be because it’s not placed well in stores amongst the bigger brands? Sounds good though. Will Definitely do some research into phenoxyethanol, sounds interesting.
      Hope you well, Eva x

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