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Natural shampoo for dandruff: why it doesn't work?

If your itchy scalp is driving you crazy, you might be tempted to hit the kitchen cupboard, looking for a DIY remedy. But before you bathe your head in vodka or coconut oil, let’s talk about natural dandruff shampoos and whether they really work.

The truth is that no natural remedy has been proven to treat dandruff effectively.
Head & Shoulders active ingredients fight the causes of dandruff better than all the popular home remedies we tried.
There are a lot of common ingredients that people use for scalp concerns - the most popular include:

• coconut oil
• olive oil
• lemon juice

A lot of people also mix these ingredients in with their normal shampoo to try and get an extra boost of protection.
But not one of the ‘DIY’ ingredients showed any benefit in preventing Malassezia globosa (the fungus that’s the primary cause of dandruff).

Three Head & Shoulders conditioner bottles lying on pieces of paper in three different colours.


At Head & Shoulders, we’ve done experiments to see if any of these natural ingredients work to protect you from dandruff.

The main cause of dandruff is Malassezia globosa - a fungus that feeds off the oils naturally present on our scalp.

It doesn’t sound pleasant, we know! That’s why we’ve dedicated our time into finding ways to improve scalp condition and maintain a healthy environment for hair growth.


In order to improve your scalp condition and prevent or remove dandruff, you need to address the problem at its roots. So, we put the ingredients to the test.

We looked into whether or not natural remedies prevent the growth of the dandruff-causing fungus.

We combined each natural remedy with the fungus in a petri dish to see how the fungus would react and determine whether it would grow.

When we dropped a natural remedy into the dish, the Malassezia globosa grew freely – which showed us the ingredient wasn’t working.

In the image below, you can see a full ‘Malassezia lawn’ which is what we call a petri dish where lots of Malassezia globosa has grown. It looks like a field of polka-dots covering the surface of the dish.

Why Doesn't Natural Dandruff Shampoo

When you drop the Head & Shoulders active ingredient into the dish, it forms a clear ring where the growth of Malassezia globosa has been prevented. Pretty cool, right? We think so!


Using Head & Shoulders works because our products contain an active ingredient which is clinically proven to help protect your scalp from Malassezia globosa – unlike any natural remedy.

Our Head & Shoulders Apple Fresh shampoo is a treat for the senses and scalp, with extra moisturizing benefits and enticing apple fresh smell. So, there’s no need to pour lemon juice on your head!