See the range of growth-boosting, strand-cleansing, scalp-soothing benefits that Tea Tree Shampoo can provide for your hair and scalp, plus find our top 5 tea tree-infused shampoo picks in our buying guide.
What Is Tea Tree Shampoo?
Tea tree shampoo is any cleansing shampoo formula that contains scalp-purifying tea tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia).
Tea tree shampoos became popular across the globe in the 90s thanks to the cool, tingling sensation and signature clean scent this natural essential oil is known for. Tea tree shampoos turn regular cleansing into an entire experience that pleases the senses.
But the benefits reach far beyond the cool, tingly feeling and deliciously natural scent tea tree shampoos leave behind! Let’s take a look at what tea tree oil actually does for a shampoo and how it works.
Read Next: How Much Tea Tree Oil to Add to Shampoo
Tea Tree Shampoo: What It Does
Tea tree oil is an essential oil distilled from the leaves of the tea tree plant (Melaleuca alternifolia) that is native to Australia. When it’s added to a shampoo formula, it acts as a soothing, purifying, and detoxifying agent.
Tea tree shampoo can refresh the hair and scalp, cleanse away oil, dirt, bacteria, and fungus, and gives the scalp an addictive, tingly sensation when you use it.
It’s also known for its potent scent – described as similar to eucalyptus and camphor, the main ingredient in Vicks VapoRub. For centuries, native Aborigine tribes have been using this potent plant and its oils as an antiseptic and wound treatment.
But modern scientific discoveries about this miraculous plant and essential oil have made tea tree oil a staple in purifying and cleansing hair, body, and beauty products – especially shampoo.
Tea Tree Shampoo: How It Works
Tea tree oil works in shampoos, conditioners, masks, and similar hair care products through antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antifungal action.
It kills and inhibits the growth of bacteria, fungus, and other microbes that lead to infection, itchiness, flakes, and irritation. Tea tree oil is effective in soothing and purifying/detoxifying shampoos because it minimizes scalp irritation and removes product buildup with ease.
When you feel your scalp needs a deep cleanse that won’t leave it dry and stripped of all natural oils, reach for a good tea tree shampoo.
The unique thing about tea tree shampoos is that high-quality options work both during use (thanks to the tingly, soothing sensation it creates on the scalp when you lather) and continue soothing and preventing microbial irritation after use for longer-lasting results.
Scientist Arthur Penfold first found out about the antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antifungal properties of the tea tree plant (and tea tree oil) back in 1922.
He knew that Aborigine tribes used the plant and its essential oils to treat infections and clean wounds, but wasn’t sure why it was effective. Penfold studied the tea tree plant for years and discovered what the tribespeople had known for centuries.
His studies led him to conclude that tea tree oil is 13 times stronger than phenol – carbolic acid, the main antiseptic and disinfectant used at the time. No wonder this has become a staple ingredient in detoxifying, purifying, anti-dandruff, and soothing shampoos!
Benefits of Using Tea Tree Shampoo
Tea tree shampoo is good for more than just leaving your scalp feeling tingly and refreshed. Here’s a list of the main benefits users get from using a good quality tea tree shampoo. Could any of these benefits help solve your current hair care woes?
Cleanses Away Impurities and Buildup
Tea tree oil as a shampoo ingredient indicates the formula will bust buildup and wash away impurities from the scalp for a refreshed, truly clean feeling.
If you’ve been a little heavy-handed with the dry shampoo lately or can’t seem to get every trace of a heavy product out, a tea tree shampoo is the solution.
Formulas that contain tea tree oil can also help cleanse away dead skin cells from the scalp and keep your follicles unclogged and free from all types of buildup.
Soothes and Minimizes Scalp Irritation
Tea tree shampoos can help soothe and minimize scalp irritation. If you’re dealing with redness, soreness, bumps or breakouts on your scalp, or frustrating dandruff, treating the scalp and hair with tea tree essential oil in your shampoo is a great idea.
The tingly feeling instantly calms an angry scalp to leave your hair and follicles feeling clean, soothed, and refreshed.
Treats and Reduces Dandruff
Research shows that shampoo containing potent tea tree oil can be used to treat and eliminate dandruff from the scalp. Dandruff is often caused by a specific type of yeast fungus – Malassezia furfur.
And it just so happens that tea tree oil is a powerful antifungal. Regularly using a good tea tree shampoo can help you say bye-bye to flakes, scales, and itchiness from dandruff.
Enhances Healthy Hair Growth
Using tea tree shampoo can help pave the way for healthier hair growth due to its purifying and buildup-removing properties. It’s also been proven to make hair growth medications and supplements more effective.
Tea tree oil helps clear away dirt, oil, and dead skin cells that can hamper your follicles’ growth abilities and reduce the rate and quality of your hair growth.
With a cleansed, balanced, and healthy scalp, your body’s natural hair growth process can get back on track with no flakes, irritation, or itching to stand in the way!
Kills Head Lice and Lice Eggs
Another little-known benefit of tea tree shampoo is that it can actually kill and eliminate head lice in all stages of the life cycle.
If you or your child is dealing with a lice infestation, studies show that using a tea tree shampoo with at least 1% tea tree oil can kill 100% of existing head lice. Using a stronger concentration (at least 2% tea tree oil) can prevent lice eggs from hatching.
Tea tree oil shampoo is a great thing to have on hand just in case the little buggies show up in a scalp near you, but an even better option is to use tea tree shampoo as a way to prevent a head lice infestation in the first place.
Tea Tree Shampoo Buying Guide
We’ve looked at what tea tree shampoo is, how it works, and some of the main benefits you can expect when you start using it. There’s a lot of great scientific info and research backing up the effectiveness of this miracle botanical.
But not just any tea tree shampoo is going to net you these scalp-soothing, growth-boosting, buildup-busting benefits.
You need a potent tea tree shampoo that contains enough of the “good stuff” to get results. We’ve done some searching to find the best tea tree shampoo options on the market right now.
While some of the old mainstays – Melaleuca and Paul Mitchell’s Tea Tree shampoo – definitely made our list, we were really impressed with some lesser-known premium products that contain potent tea tree oil for scalp-soothing and purifying benefits.
Check below to find our top 5 tea tree shampoo picks in different categories. We found the best luxe, soothing, growth-enhancing, moisturizing, and overall shampoos containing tea tree oil to make your shampoo search that much easier.
Which one is the best fit for your hair care needs? Read on to find out!
1. Best Tea Tree Shampoo Overall
If you’re only interested in the best of the best, reach for the tried-and-trusted Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Lavender Mint Moisturizing Shampoo.
This premium, salon-quality shampoo delivers intensive moisture and the powerful combo of tea tree, mint, and lavender oils are incredibly effective when used together. Users rate the refreshing, natural scent as wonderful and relaxing.
This shampoo gets an impressive 4.7 out of 5 stars and boasts more than 8,000 positive reviews so you know you’re getting the good stuff. Curing your chronic dryness and scalp issues is miraculous enough.
But the essential oils in this shampoo can even help address hormonal causes that lead to hair loss. Early studies have found that tea tree and lavender oils both act as anti-androgens and boost your natural estrogen activity to balance hormone levels.
This is important if you’re experiencing any type of hormonal hair loss, whether it’s male pattern baldness or the more diffuse hair loss seen in women.
If you want ALL the scalp tingles and the pleasing aroma of lavender, tea tree, and mint to linger lusciously in your hydrated hair after use, don’t skip this shampoo. It’s a self care sesh all on its own.
2. Best Luxe Tea Tree Shampoo
If you want a tea tree shampoo that lathers luxuriously and treats your hair and scalp to the finer things in life, check out Chi Tea Tree Oil Shampoo. It’s our top pick for those who want a truly luxe experience in the shower along with the benefits of potent tea tree oil.
If you’re familiar with Chi’s enduringly popular hot tools and hair care products, it won’t surprise you that they came up with one of the best tea tree shampoo formulas out there.
This shampoo contains both tea tree oil and peppermint oil – an awesomely refreshing and soothing combo – to cleanse, purify, and nourish your scalp and hair.
Picture it: You’re lathering up in the steamy shower with the intoxicating scent of tea tree, mint, and lavender filling the air.
Your scalp tingles and feels energized as you massage this shampoo into your hair, and when you rinse, it’s the most refreshed your scalp has ever felt. Luxe? For sure. No sulfates or parabens are in this clean and natural formula.
So it’s safe for color-treated or damaged hair. Chi formulated this shampoo specifically to bust product buildup and gently exfoliate dead skin cells away for unclogged follicles and a cleaner, more refreshed scalp.
The formula contains bonus ingredients like hydrolyzed silk protein for shine and smoothness and slip-enhancing dimethicone for tons of soft movement without tangles.
Customers rate it 4.6 out of 5 stars for a reason. Grab this shampoo if you want a luxurious cleansing experience in the shower with the trademark tingle of tea tree oil!
3. Best Soothing Tea Tree Shampoo
Dealing with scalp irritation, redness, soreness, or flakes? Sounds like you need Oars + Alps Alpine Tea Tree Invigorating Shampoo, our pick for the best soothing tea tree shampoo around.
This formula is all about soothing soreness and clearing up the sources of scalp irritation that can perpetuate the cycle. Tea tree oil in the formula is enough to soothe your scalp on its own, but when the astringent ingredient witch hazel is added, the effects are doubled.
This botanical duo attacks sources of irritation to leave your scalp feeling less itchy, irritated, and sore after just one use. You’ll notice it’s working right away when you start lathering with this sulfate-free shampoo.
First, you’re hit with a shot of cooling relief all over your scalp. Then, a pleasant tingling sensation sets in. It’s like Scrubbing Bubbles for your scalp – in a good way!
Get relief from irritating flakes, itching, redness, and soreness when you start using this shampoo. It can even help balance an oily or overly dry scalp so you can wash less and keep your hair cleaner.
Oars + Alps makes their beauty products right here in the USA if you’re watching your product and ingredient origins. This shampoo has a sulfate-free formula so it’s safe to use if your hair’s been color-treated or damaged.
The overall user rating is 4.6 stars out of 5, which is excellent for a hair care product. If you need lasting scalp relief fast, switch to this shampoo STAT.
4. Best Tea Tree Shampoo for Hair Growth
Women who are struggling to grow their hair to new lengths or experiencing hair loss should look at Billy Jealousy Monsoon Mist Energizing Tea Tree Shampoo.
This is the best growth-enhancing tea tree shampoo on our list. It promotes healthy new hair growth and might be just the product to take you over the hump if you’ve been struggling to grow your hair.
Tea tree and peppermint oils are the key ingredients in this growth-boosting formula. The company says this tag-team duo effectively unclogs scalp pores and follicles to clear out debris and dead skin cells, paving the way for new growth.
The formula stimulates blood flow to your scalp as well, further increasing growth and strengthening hair.
Dandruff is one of the proven causes of hair loss and tea tree oil has been shown time and time again to kill the scalp-dwelling yeast responsible for flakes and shedding.
If you’re dealing with the dreaded flakes, this shampoo can correct the problem and reduce dandruff-related thinning. Don’t just believe the company’s claims, though.
The science shows that tea tree oil really is effective for boosting hair growth. One study compared the effects of minoxidil, the main ingredient in Rogaine, alone and when used in combination with tea tree oil.
When tea tree oil was added to the mix, participants had a “significantly superior” hair growth response compared to when they used minoxidil alone.
Use this top-rated (4.5 stars) shampoo alone, or pair it with the Billy Jealousy Typhoon Tango Tea Tree Conditioner for a complete hair cleansing and moisturizing routine packed with tea tree benefits.
5. Best Tea Tree Shampoo for Dry Hair
If your hair seems hopelessly and chronically dry, Melaleuca Original Tea Tree Shampoo is just what your scalp has been begging for. This moisture-rich formula can hydrate and restore even the driest hair to give you lasting moisture that nourishes, protects, and soothes your scalp.
Chronic dryness leads to a litany of hair issues: Frizz, dullness, breakage, tangles, and even hair loss are among the most common dry-hair woes.
If you’re mentally checking off these boxes, the original Melaleuca tea tree formulated shampoo is the answer.
The formula is gentle but potent, eliminating dryness while leaving your scalp’s therapeutic natural oils in place. It introduces moisture deep into strands to leave you with lasting moisture that protects your hair while leaving it glossy, detangled, and soft.
And if dryness is causing your scalp to flake, this heavily-hydrating shampoo can soften and remove existing flakes while preventing more flakes from forming.
Customers give it a solid rating of 4.5 stars overall, and the few negative reviews we found indicated the formula was a little heavy for fine or thin hair.
As long as you use a small amount or have very dry, coarse hair, you shouldn’t have any problems with this intensely moisturizing tea tree-spiked shampoo.
Things to Consider
Tea tree shampoo is a no-brainer for most – it has the power to cleanse, purify, and refresh your scalp to leave your hair clean, bouncy, and soft with a refreshing scent. But before you start lathering up with a tea tree-infused shampoo, there are a few important things to know about:
- Use tea tree shampoo, not pure tea tree oil. If you’re of the “more is better” mindset, you might think skipping tea tree shampoo in favor of the more-potent pure tea tree oil is a good idea. But pure tea tree oil is harsh and irritating when used directly on the scalp. It can lead to redness, stinging, irritation, and itching. Stick to tea tree-infused shampoo instead, which can contain up to 5% of this potent oil and won’t cause irritation.
- Use your tea tree shampoo 2-3 times per week. Shampooing daily with potent tea tree oil in the mix isn’t a great idea because prolonged contact with your scalp can lead to irritation – the opposite of the soothing, refreshing effects you want! Shampoo 2-3 times a week with your tea tree formula and use a gentle, sulfate-free shampoo in between if you need to wash your hair daily.
- Check with your doctor before using. If you have a history of allergies, it’s wise to check with your doctor or allergist before you start using tea tree shampoo. A small percentage of people are allergic to compounds in tea tree oil, and your doctor can explain how to patch test a new product to avoid a potentially bad allergic reaction.
- Preteen boys shouldn’t use tea tree + lavender shampoo. Research is still early, but studies indicate that young boys shouldn’t use products containing tea tree in combination with lavender oil due to the effect they have on male sex hormones. One study found that pre-pubescent boys were more likely to develop breast tissue when they used this combination of essential oils. So keep this one for yourself and don’t share it with your preteen son!
Is Tea Tree Shampoo Right for You?
Tea tree-infused shampoo might be the key to finally solving some of your most frustrating and bothersome hair and scalp woes once and for all.
This medicinal essential oil cleans hair deeply, unclogs follicles and scalp pores, treats dandruff, kills problem-causing bacteria and fungus, and even eliminates head lice.
What’s not to love?
Grab the tea tree shampoo on our list that best meets the needs of your hair and scalp. The very first use will convince you you’ve made the right decision – you’ll love the pleasant scalp tingles, intoxicating scent, and deep-clean, refreshed feeling it leaves your hair with right away.
Use your new tea tree shampoo a few times each week. You’ll start seeing lasting positive changes in the health and cleanliness of your hair and scalp!