Curly hair requires a lot of care and attention as it might create problems that people with naturally straight hair might not have to deal with. One of the most common problems is dandruff, and managing this in curly hair can be a challenging experience if you don’t know what to do.

Hair needs natural oils to stay healthy and dandruff free. The scalp is responsible for producing natural oils that will coat the hair, but this has proven to be a challenge for girls with curly hair as their curls restrict the oil from moving down the length of the strands.  Instead, the scalp keeps producing oils, creating layers of buildup on the scalp that can appear as dandruff.  A great way to resolve this is to use shampoo, which prevents dandruff.

Another problem with curly hair is that most people have thick hair, so they might not notice dandruff buildup. The most common sign of having dandruff is feeling itchy or dry scalp.

Leaving dandruff untreated can lead to several problems later on. Here’s how you can treat your scalp.

How to Treat a Dry Scalp and Dandruff in Curly Hair?

So now that you have an idea of how important it is to take care of curly hair, let’s discuss the different methods that can help you achieve a dandruff-free and moisturized scalp. Dandruff is a common situation that causes itching and can lead to dead skin flakes. The skin cells are replaced quickly in this condition, and the dead cells begin falling. These skin cells are so small that they are unnoticeable most of the time. Dandruff severity can be different for different people.

Dandruff can be due to numerous reasons, like using thick products on your hair, washing your hair too often, skipping moisturizing methods, etc. However, there are some things that you should follow to recover from dandruff.

1.  Consider a Protein Treatment

Protein treatments are essential for dry and frizzy hair to induce strength and resiliency. It consists of amino acids that our body needs to function accurately. Keratin is a potent protein in our hair that might break or damage when exposed to the sun, so the hair needs protein treatments to fill the holes in the hair and create a protective layer around it.  A protein treatment will help make your hair frizz-free and prevent dandruff. When going to a professional, they will treat your scalp according to the requirements, and then you will get dandruff-free hair.

2. Use a Clarifying Shampoo

With time, the residue, hair oil, and hair products might gather in your hair which can make it frizzy and dry. Clarifying shampoos are used to take all the impurities out of the hair and make it more receptive to styling by washing out the residue. Sometimes, the area you live in has hard water that leaves residue in the hair, leading to dandruff, itching, and dryness.

It is essential to use a clarifying shampoo on the hair as often as once a week for curly hair. It will help to remove dandruff and prevent it in the future.

3. Skip the Leave-In Conditioner

A leave-in conditioner is a type of conditioner that you do not need to wash out. You can apply it after washing your hair and before styling it. People with curly hair often use a leave-in conditioner because they have dry hair and scalps. But it can be the reason behind dandruff in curly hair. These are not the products that cause dandruff, but they can make the scalp dry, leading to dead skin cells and flakes.

So, if you have dandruff in your curly hair and are also using a leave-in conditioner, it will be good to skip this hair care routine as it might be the culprit. It will be good to use an anti-dandruff conditioner and wash it out after some time to ensure no residue is left on the scalp that can cause dandruff.

4. Ensure Your Hair Is Wet When Applying Products

One of the most common mistakes people make is not paying attention to how they apply different hair products. As you know, curly hair fails to distribute its natural oil down the hair shaft. That is why it is best to wet your hair and then apply the product. This way, you can distribute the product evenly all over the hair. If you fail to wash the product out when the time comes, it can cause residue on the scalp, followed by dandruff.

It is best to use hair products on wet hair to keep your curly hair dandruff-free.

5. Avoid Anti-Frizz Products

Curly hair is more prone to frizz, which can further cause dandruff. The most delicate curly hairs are often frizzy, even if there is no damage. And when you apply hair products that contain dry ingredients like sulfates, it may cause frizzy and brittle hair. The lack of moisture can cause frizzy hair, but as you know, curly hair shafts fail to get the oils, which is why all the oil residue is found on the scalp. This residue begins to develop dandruff. So, to recover from dandruff, it will be good for you to avoid using anti-frizz products on your hair. 

6. Only Use Natural Oils on Dry Hair

Natural oils not only make your hair shiny and nourished, but they also prevent dandruff. Natural oils, apart from the one your hair produces, may include coconut oils, almond oil, olive oil, avocado oil, grape seed oil, Argan oil, and jojoba oil. Using one of these oils will help improve your dry scalp. You can also use it by mixing two or three natural oils and applying them along the length of your hair for maximum moisturization.

7. Avoid Too Many Products on Dry Hair

Those using too many products can gather a lot of buildup on the scalp as it does not transfer to the shaft. This buildup will not allow the scalp to absorb all the products, which can lead to a dry scalp. It is better to use a clarifying shampoo to wash away this buildup and moisturize the scalp. Overuse of products may also damage the hair by making your hair dry and causing frequent breakage.

8. Strand Test before Applying All Over

One of the big mistakes that most people make is applying the product to their hair before testing it on a few strands. When the product does not suit your hair, it might start causing problems like frizzy hair shafts, excessive dandruff, dryness and dullness. When you get a new product for your hair, you should first test it on a couple of strands rather than applying it all at once to see the effect it may have on your hair.

9. Try a Deep Conditioning Mask with Heat

Deep conditioning hair masks help to penetrate the hair strands. Applying heat for 30 to 45 minutes on your hair with a deep conditioning mask will help to improve the level of nutrients in your hair and make it stronger. It would be best to deep condition your hair a maximum of four times per month. Consider going to a professional for a deep condition mask treatment. They will work according to your hair’s condition as you might use excessive heat, which can damage your hair.

10. Wash Your Hands Before Touching Your Hair

People with curly hair have a habit of touching their hair often, and throughout the day, these hands can get dirty. Unknowingly, traces of dirt from our hands can transfer to the hair, gradually causing buildup on the scalp. In this way, the hair gets dirty frequently, and you need to wash it again and again for acceptable styling. To avoid this, it is advised to always touch your hair after washing your hands.




Curly hair is prone to numerous issues like dry hair, dandruff, frizzy shafts, etc. It requires special care to prevent your beautiful curls from encountering such problems. Dandruff can be due to the overuse of products that can cause buildup in the hair. Protein treatments are often a solution for this since it removes dandruff and prevents a reemergence in the future.

If you notice there is a lot of buildup on your scalp, it can be dandruff due to products that do not suit your hair. This article has presented some of the most common ways to treat your dry curly hair when dandruff is present. Always choose suitable products and apply by following the instructions to keep your hair glowing and dandruff-free.