What Are The Best Shampoos For Bedridden Patients?

By: Scott Grant, ATP, CRTS®

Using dry shampoos with bed bound seniors helps improve hygiene and care while also improving self esteem and overall well-being. Here are my top picks.

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The challenges of ensuring that those patients who suffer from mobility problems and a whole host of other physical and mental issues (such as Alzheimer’s and Dementia) enjoy a good quality of life can place enormous strain on both institutional caregivers and family members who are often responsible for issues such as grooming and hygiene.

These issues cannot simply be ignored – they contribute to both the health and dignity of those who are bedridden.

Without an adequate focus on these issues, the mental health and self-esteem of bedridden patients can decline – leading to other serious health challenges.

Fortunately, when it comes to grooming and health a number of products are now available that can make tasks such as hair care that much easier – even when the family member or patient is confined to a bed.

Using Dry Shampoos for Bed Bound Hair Care

One of the most popular approaches to the challenge of keeping hair both clean and presentable is dry shampoo. These shampoos are usually formulated as a fine powder – they eliminate the buildup of oils on the scalp and clean the hair at the same time.

It should be mentioned that these dry shampoos are not a complete replacement for traditional shampoos used while bathing. They will eventually cause a buildup on the scalp which will need to be washed off using traditional methods.

However, that said, dry shampoo reduces the discomfort that many patients feel when faced with daily bathing.

Best Dry Shampoos for the Elderly

Making an informed decision about the sorts of shampoos that are most suitable for the elderly who may have mobility issues that prevent them from enjoying a traditional bathing experience can be a confusing one – there are so many products on the market.

However, to make that decision easier, here are some dry shampoos that have received consistently high ratings from both expert caregivers and family members.

This product from the United Kingdom has been a best-seller in that country for three decades. It is perfectly suited for men due to the fact that it has an attractive musk and lavender fragrance. It used no animal-derived products in its formulation and is great for all hair types. However, the fact that it performs exceptionally at removing excess oil from fine hair makes it perfect for senior use.

However, those considering this dry shampoo need to take into account that it does have denatured alcohol as one of the ingredients – and this can cause some skin irritation on the scalp of those who have especially sensitive skin.


One of the major selling points of this dry shampoo is that it is extremely light on fragrance. this makes it great for use on seniors who might find strong scents irritating (it has a very subtle ‘linen’ scent). It also makes the product ideal for use by both men and women (although it is primarily marketed to women).

It also has been specially formulated to eliminate odors and is ideal for very fine hair. Unlike some competing products, it also leaves very little residue after application.


This dry shampoo is ideal for those who have extremely sensitive scalps. Many competing products are supplied as an aerosol. Although this makes application easy the propellant that is used is usually either butane or propane. Both of these can cause scalp irritation.

It works with a simple twist of the nozzle – the correct amount of shampoo can then be shaken out. It has an extremely attractive grapefruit and lavender fragrance and can add significant volume to fine hair – without the addition of potentially harmful or irritating chemicals.


The manufacturers of Dove products have built a brand that is trusted around the world to supply skin hygiene products (such as soaps) that are of the highest quality.

The Dove dry shampoo reaffirms the company’s commitment to quality (and in this case value for money – it is relatively inexpensive). The powerful aerosol action makes it easy to apply and there is very little residue to deal with once it has been applied. It also adds significant volume to thinning hair.

If there is one caveat that buyers should be aware of it is that this dry shampoo contains a myriad of ingredients – and some may cause irritation to those who have sensitive scalps.

However, that said, this remains one of the best-selling and highest-rated dry shampoos available – and is well worth trying out for use on those seniors who are bedridden.


The ‘Light Tones’ version of this impressive dry shampoo is ideal for use by seniors. It’s also enriched with argan oil – which can contribute to making hair look healthy by encouraging moisture retention and can protect against UV damage. It is also among the best dry shampoos when it comes to an absence of residue post-application.

It is fairly strong when it comes to fragrance. The combination ‘amber’/ floral notes may be overpowering to some.


For those who want to purchase a product that is perfect for senior hair – and also has impeccable ‘Green’ credentials this dry shampoo will be ideal. It contains only organic products that have been approved for use by the USDA – and the absence of man-made chemicals means that there is less possibility of scalp irritation – even when used on sensitive senior scalps.

The light, clean fragrance which is supplied by lavandin oil is much more subtle than the sent off other competitors and those with an aversion to strong smells will find it perfectly acceptable.

A sign that the manufacturer has the utmost faith in this product is the money-back guarantee linked to customer satisfaction.


This product is pH balanced, making it perfect for use on sensitive scalps (it is also alcohol-free which adds to its mild nature). The scent is extremely subtle and its application leaves the hair soft and healthy-looking and the added moisturizer promotes scalp and hair health.

The No Rinse shampoo is perfect for women who are bedridden and apply hair color dye as it will not affect the appearance of treated hair.

RELATED: Best Body Wash for Bedridden Patients

Wrapping Up

It is almost inevitable that family members will, at some point, be faced with the challenges of caring for an aging relative or loved one. Even if they are not tasked with hair care or hygiene maintenance, they will want a say in what products are used to care for those who have mobility issues that leave them bedridden.

It is extremely important that these issues are adequately addressed – failure to do so can have tragic consequences for the mental health and self-respect of the aged. A negative self-image has been proven to not only adversely affect the quality of life of the elderly – but also to have a very real impact on their physical health.

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