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Head & Shoulders Dandruff Shampoo



Greasy-looking hair and flakes on your shoulders can be either hair gel, or dandruff. Find out how to tell the difference.

The difference between hair gel and dandruff can be hard to spot sometimes, especially if you’ve got some build up.

So how do you figure out which one it is?

How to tell if you have gel build up

Overusing hair gel or not washing it out properly is generally the cause of build-up.

Often, this can happen because products are often not water soluble, making it harder to wash them out properly.

Once gel has built up on your scalp, it can start to break down into potentially irritating substances, causing:

  • An irritated scalp

  • Dry flakes of gel and skin

  • Greasy appearance

There are two ways to deal with gel build up: moderation, and a deep cleaning shampoo.

Make sure that you’re washing your hair thoroughly, and go easy on the product once you’re out of the shower.

If you’re using gel every day, you may also want to wash your hair more often, to clear the old gel and any excess scalp oils that have built up underneath.

How to spot dandruff

Caused by the common microbe, Malassezia globosa, dandruff is a condition that affects half the world’s population.

It’s present on everybody’s scalp, but for the unlucky 3 billion people who are sensitive to it, it causes dandruff.

This usually displays itself with one or more of the following symptoms:

  • An irritated scalp

  • Dry flaky skin

  • A red or itchy scalp

With white flakes being the most visible sign, it’s easy to get them confused with build up – so how do you tell the difference.

Read more: The causes of dandruff


Hair gel or dandruff?

It can be really difficult to tell the difference between the two.  Dandruff can vary in severity from person to person, so the flakes can look different as well. 

Learn more:  Dandruff in pictures

If the flake is loose in your hair, it could be gel or dandruff- more investigation is needed. 

If the “flake” is stuck to one or more hair fibers, it’s probably gel. Polymers in gels dry down to form a bond sticking hair fibers together. 

If you see a patch of flakes adhered to your scalp, it is probably dandruff. The most dandruff-prone areas on people tend to be behind the ears and at the back of the head.  Dandruff flakes may be white or yellowish in appearance.

Why it doesn’t matter

Choose the right shampoo and it won’t matter if it’s flakes or build-up – you can tackle them both.

A shampoo like our Instant Oil Control shampoo will give you a great clean and help eliminate of build-up, but it will also care for your scalp and treat dandruff.

That’s due to the active ingredient you’ll find in all our shampoos – Pyrithione Zinc (ZPT).

It means you can say goodbye to build-up, PLUS dandruff and irritation ¹ every time you wash your hair.

And if you use it regularly, you’ll restore your scalp’s natural, healthy balance – a good foundation for healthier hair.  

More hair care tips and advice

¹ due to dandruff