Head & Shoulders shampoos with selenium sulfide: what’s in the bottle?


Believe it or not, water (aqua) is one of our most important ingredients! It blends all our ingredients together and means we can adjust the consistency so it’s the perfect thickness to spread through your hair.


Selenium sulfide is the most powerful and fast-acting active ingredient we use. It fights severe dandruff by stopping the dandruff causing fungus Malassezia globosa from forming substances which irritate your scalp. Shampoos with selenium sulfide naturally have a peach or orange tint.


When you buy a shampoo, you need to know that it is really effective at cleansing your hair of oil and dirt. Ingredients which contribute to cleaning your hair and scalp are called cleansers. We use ammonium lauryl sulfate and ammonium laureth sulfate, to get the right balance of both cleansing and mildness.

Other ingredients like cocamide MEA, cetyl alcohol, and stearyl alcohol are added to make the lather rich, creamy, and easy to spread across your scalp and throughout your hair.


We believe that a great dandruff shampoo needs to take excellent care of your hair as well. That’s why we include moisturizers that look after your hair. We include two types of nourishing ingredients:

• Dimethicone, which smooths and protects the hair cuticle, keeping your hair soft and shiny when it’s dry

• Hydroxypropyl methylcellulose which cushions your hair fibers, especially when they’re wet, to prevent tangles and make your hair more manageable


Stablizers do what you might expect – they keep the product stable, and make sure that every drop contains the right blend of ingredients. Our stabilizer is called glycol distearate.


Including preservatives in our shampoos and conditioners helps keep them safe from contamination. Sodium benzoate and disodium EDTA are used to protect the shampoo while we are making it.

When you open the bottle at home, you expose the product to air and water and provide a way for bacteria to get inside, so we also use another pair of preservatives - methylchloroisothiazolinone and methylisothiazolinone - to protect the product while you use it.


When we get to the end of the process of formulating the product, we take a look at the texture and add ingredients which adjust the consistency so it’s just right. Too thick? Add ammonium xylenesulfonate. Too thin? Add sodium chloride (also known as common table salt!).


To make the shampoo even more enjoyable to use, we add a fresh smelling fragrance. Our Clinical Solutions shampoo uses our latest sulfur-blocking technology to keep help hair smelling fresh.

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pH balance is very important to make sure that the product works, and that it doesn’t upset your skin. We add sodium hydroxide and hydrochloric acid to get it right, but they aren’t actually in the final product. This is because they transform into salt and water when combined.


Some compounds are added to our starting materials before we receive them. Their role is to protect the quality, consistency & performance of the ingredients we use, before they get added to the shampoo.

Click to view these ingredients in more detail