I’ve tried everything over the years to balance my scalp and reduce the oiliness in my hair. Some things have made it worse, but nothing much has improved it. Although I still have to wash my hair pretty much every other day, I have figured out ways to make my scalp more comfortable.

The scalp is an ecosystem with a particular set of needs. Genetics, your water supply, sulphates in shampoo: all of these and more can affect your scalp. Dry shampoo is a good occasional solution, but it can build up on the scalp and cause more oiliness and flakes. If you ignore a scalp that feels itchy and tight, and that flakes, it can develop a condition like dermatitis, which needs medicated shampoos and perhaps a GP visit. Here are a few products for more standard misbehaving scalps.

You don’t need an excessively oily scalp to suffer from occasional itchiness and product build-up. A scrub can help to gently slough away sebum and product residue. Christophe Robin Cleansing Purifying Scrub with Sea Salt (from €19.95 for 75ml at lookfantastic.com) has a wonderfully volumising effect on the hair, as well as cleansing thoroughly. I like to let it sit in the hair for three or four minutes (it lathers intensely) before rinsing and conditioning the ends as normal.

If salt scrubs aren’t for you, a clay mask, if a bit messy, can do a similar job and, used regularly, help to balance oiliness. Sisley Pre-Shampoo Purifying Mask (€75 at Brown Thomas) does an excellent job, but shop around for one that fits your budget.

If you have old-fashioned dandruff with a dry scalp, Ducray Kelual DS Shampoo is a French wonder product. I buy its oily-scalp equivalent, Ducray Squanorm Anti-Dandruff Treatment for Oily Hair, on Amazon. Either will cost you about £15, or €18, but both have excellent reviews and, importantly for anti-dandruff shampoo, don’t leave your hair smelling medicated and unpleasant.

As scalp issues are mostly down to an imbalance between yeast and bacteria, Mother Dirt Shampoo (€26) and Mother Dirt AO+ Mist (€55 at Harvey Nichols in Dundrum) offer an innovative treatment. The shampoo cleanses hair and preps the scalp for the AO+ Mist, which is a live probiotic spray. Keep it in the fridge and spritz on your skin and scalp after washing to restore good bacteria and balance the skin’s biome.

Lush Wasabi Shan Kui Shampoo (€23 for 250g at Lush) isn’t really for problem scalps, but it’s brilliant for oily scalps in need of a kick-start and a good cleanse. It sounds much more intense than it really feels (stimulating and pleasant), but it contains horseradish, caffeine powder and menthol crystals along with salt and olive oil to nourish, moisturise and cleanse. I like it best in the morning and after exercise.

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