Skip to content
Head & Shoulders Dandruff Shampoo



Your hair feels greasy, and there are flakes on your shoulders. But is it dandruff, or hair wax?

This is a question many have pondered. Is that sudden itch a sign of something bigger? It could be...

Even if your head is itching, it might not be dandruff. Many conditions can cause your scalp to itch, including contact dermatitis, which can occur if you’re sensitive to any ingredients in the hair care products you try.

Product build up on the scalp that isn’t rinsed out may be more likely to trigger this problem. So, how do you tell the difference?

Hair wax or dandruff?

Product build up comes from products like hair wax which have not been washed out properly.

This can happen because products like wax are not water soluble. Waxes adhere much more to the hair fibers than water-based styling gels, for example.

Telling the difference between hair wax residue and dandruff should be pretty straightforward.  Waxes are designed to be soft & re-moldable, so they won’t have a flakey appearance. 

Instead, when used in excess, you might see or feel a greasy build up on the hair and scalp.

Dandruff however, is characterized by large clusters of shed skin cells in your hair. The flakes can have a white or yellowish appearance.

If there are flakes appearing in your hair or on your shoulders, it’s probably dandruff – a chronic condition caused by the fungus Malassezia globosa.

Learn more:  Dandruff in pictures


Why build-up can be a problem

It’s easy to understand why certain product ingredients might trigger a sensitive scalp. 

Even if your head isn’t bothered when you apply a product, residue and build up could still be an issue later on.

When you don’t wash wax out properly, it contributes to a mix of scalp oil and product build up on the scalp.

This build up can break down into potentially irritating substances that for some people can cause:

  • Itching

  • Skin dryness

  • Hair and scalp greasiness

The best way to deal with wax build up is with a deep cleaning shampoo like our Instant Oil Control Shampoo.

Make sure that you’re washing your hair thoroughly; a second lather and rinse are recommended to remove waxes. You’ll also need to make sure you’re washing it often enough – if you’re using wax every day, you will probably want to wash it out and give your hair a clean start every day too.

Why it doesn’t matter

Whether it’s flakes or residue, the resolution is the same – choose the right shampoo and you can tackle both.

Like our instant oil control shampoo – it’s one of our best cleaning varieties so will easily handle product build-up. And,  like all our shampoos, it contains the dandruff active, pyrithione zinc (ZPT).

So, whether you have build-up, dandruff, or both, it’ll take care of it. – just remember to use it regularly to wash out styling products and to keep your protection against dandruff and irritation strong.

More hair care tips and advice