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A great dandruff treatment needs to do more than just fight dandruff flakes. That’s why the scientists at Head & Shoulders have spent more than 50years perfecting products to be tough on dandruff, yet gentle on hair so you can use it every day for great-looking hair.

Here’s how we do it:

WATER Water – this is used to blend together all the other ingredients. The right balance of water is essential to achieve the perfect shampoo consistency andhelp it spread throughout the hair.


  • Zinc pyrithione (ZPT) – our magic ingredient, ZPT helps prevent the dandruff-causing microbe, Malassezia globosa, from forming scalp irritants. All ZPT shampoos are not the same though – we use a unique, highly effective form of ZPT so it fights flakesbetter than store brands1.

Our special ingredient: zinc carbonate - H&S is the only AD shampoo that uses a special technology based on zinc carbonate. This exclusive technology fights dandruff better by moisturizing the scalp, while protecting the active ingredient, ZPT, so it stays in its most effective form.

CLEANSERS AND LATHER-BUILDING AGENTS Of course, a major function of any shampoo is to trap oil and dirt in the hair so it can be rinsed away in the shower. Head & Shoulders typically usesa blend of cleansers sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate, to get the right balance of both cleansing andmildness.

Other lathering agents like Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Cocamide MEA, or Cetyl Alcohol are added to makethe lather rich, creamy, and easy to spread across your scalp and throughout your hair.

MOISTURIZING AND HAIR CONDITIONING Head & Shoulders shampoos are enriched with two key nourishing ingredients. The levels of these are tailored differently across versions to addressdifferent hair needs:

  • Dimethicone –microscopic droplets of dimethicone in the shampoo are released onto each hair fiber during rinsing. When hair is dry, these droplets smooth andprotect the hair cuticle, keeping hair soft and shiny.

  • Guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride– derived from the guar bean, this conditioning ingredient cushions hair fibers – especially when hair is wet. It helps to prevent hair tangles and make it more manageable.


  • Glycol distearate– performs the vital job of keeping all the shampoo ingredients ‘blended and suspended’ inside the bottle so every drop has the right blend ofingredients.

  • Magnesium carbonate– this is used to stabilize the zinc carbonate

PRESERVATIVES These preservatives keep the shampoo active and protect from microbial contamination:

  • Sodium benzoate andbenzyl alcohol - preservatives like these are used while the shampoo is being made, to prevent the raw ingredients from becoming contaminated.

  • Methylchloroisothiazolinone, and methylisothiazolinone – this pair of preservatives are added at the end of the shampoo-making process. Their job is to protect the shampoo when you use the bottle at home.


  • Sodium chloride and sodium xylenesulfonate– this pair of ingredients is used to adjust shampoo thickness at the very end of production, until it has the right texture. Too thick? Add SodiumXylenesulfonate. Too thin? Add Sodium Chloride.

COLOR, FRAGRANCE AND PLANT ESSENCES To complete the shower experience, Head & Shoulders adds custom blends of color, plant essences, and fantastic, long-lasting scents ranging from green apple to cool mint to keep your hair smelling great all day long.

¹ vs. leading store brand with 1% pyrithione zinc