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Ingredients

OUR INGREDIENTS ARE AT THE HEART OF EVERYTHING WE DO.

Always effective. Always kind.

Since 1964, we’ve been going head-to-head with dandruff and scalp worries, and we’ll never give up until we’ve beaten them for good.

That’s why we work closely with dermatologists to make sure our products have the perfect balance of clinically-proven active and scalp-loving ingredients that care for your hair and scalp.

Zoomed shampoo bottle and a beaded leaf.

HEAD & SHOULDERS INGREDIENTS

We’re extremely selective with our ingredients because we know what you put on your skin is important to you.

We’ll only ever put the very best ingredients into our shampoos. Some people believe natural product ingredients are safer to use than man-made, synthetic ones. The reality is it’s not that simple. First, we define the safe range for every ingredient, whether natural or synthetic. Then we apply the same science-based approach as regulatory agencies around the world, because your safety is our number one priority.

Head&Shoulders Sensitive Scalp shampoo bottle with aloe leaves on the side, zoomed.

WHAT’S IN THE BOTTLE

All our products are packed with effective ingredients that treat your dandruff, benefit your hair and scalp, and make the product more enjoyable to use. Find out more about them here.

In the case of dandruff, shampoos and conditioners contain an active ingredient that’s designed to help control and eliminate flakes and itchiness. Head & Shoulders active ingredients do this by affecting a particular microbe, a yeast-like fungus called malassezia, which has been identified as the root cause of dandruff.

Bubbles of a foam.

Piroctone olamine

The antifungal ingredient piroctone olamine is also effective at helping stop dandruff in its tracks. It’s a slightly newer tool in the fight against dandruff, and because it has a different structure than ZPT it dissolves within our shampoo, like sugar dissolves in water. That means we can add extra benefits to our formula which are specifically targeted to give you smooth, soft, healthy looking hair. PO formulas are great at treating mild to moderate dandruff.

A turquoise gel in magnification.

Selenium sulphide

Powerfully effective against severe dandruff, selenium sulphide is the anti-fungal active ingredient in the Head & Shoulders Clinically Proven Solutions range. Our strongest dandruff fighting formulas help to eliminate Malassezia globosa. Our 1% selenium sulphide shampoo is both fast-acting and effective, starting to work from the first wash and keeping away serious scalp issues for up to seven days. It also gently moisturises, leaving your hair soft and manageable.

If you have used our regular shampoos and conditioners exclusively for two weeks and are still experiencing flakes, we recommend switching to our shampoo with selenium sulphide to help get rid of them for good. You can find out which active ingredient is included in your Head & Shoulders product by checking the label. Our ranges give you a wealth of options for solving your dandruff problems. That means that you can get flake-free hair while also tailoring your hair care regime to your individual needs. So not only do you feel better, you look great, too.

a piece of Classic Clean Shampoo Bottle floating on the water

WHAT YOU’LL READ ON THE BOTTLE

Aqua is the INCI name for water.

Just like your body is mostly water, so is shampoo. In fact, up to 80% of shampoo is water. This is particularly important because it ensures all the ingredients blend together so your shampoo can clean effectively.

The water we use goes through a purifying process so it can be used in products, This means that as well as containing no pollutants and particles, it also has mineral ions removed.

A turquoise gel in magnification.

Without water, shampoo wouldn’t spread evenly.

Without this quality, it would be tricky to shampoo onto the surface of your scalp, making it difficult to get a thorough clean. Our active ingredients are also suspended in water, so without it, you likely wouldn’t see the benefits.

Bubbles of the foam in magnification.

WHAT YOU’LL READ ON THE BOTTLE

Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Cocomidopropyl Betaine, Cocamide MEA.

All our shampoos contain gentle cleansing complexes, to effectively trap dirt and oil so that they can be rinsed away.

We’ve developed a blend of different ingredients that balance excellent cleaning properties without being harsh.

The cleansing complexes create the rich foam that’s the vehicle for oil and dirt to be lifted off your hair. When your shampoo lathers, it whisks the dirt and oil away from your hair. As you rinse, they go down the drain with the shampoo, leaving you with clean hair.

Thanks to our purifying ingredients, you don’t have to scrub hard or work shampoo into your hair for too long, meaning that you can achieve thoroughly clean hair without irritating or drying your scalp or hair.

Sulfates are detergents derived from various sources, including palm kernel and coconut oils.

There has been some conversation about the potential dangers of sulfates, with people suggesting they dry hair and skin out. We use sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate, to get the right balance of both cleansing and mildness.

Our products have been proven to be safe for regular use in over 225 studies.

A turquoise gel in magnification.

WHAT YOU’LL READ ON THE BOTTLE

Selenium sulfide, piroctone olamine.

Our actives are synthesised from high purity ingredients.

We know dandruff can be a chore, so we’ve worked hard to come up with solutions that are efficacious while being pleasant to use.

As dandruff is reoccurring, it’s not only important to clean away flakes, but also address the root cause of dandruff. That’s why we gear our products to treat the scalp, addressing itchiness, dryness, and flakes before they show. Our anti-dandruff super-heros are skincare for your scalp.

Selenium sulfide is our most powerful and fast-acting active ingredient that we use to fight severe dandruff.

Piroctone olamine is one of our more recent tools in the fight against dandruff.

Our active ingredients primarily target the Malassezia globosa, a yeast like fungus, that’s present on nearly everyone’s head.

This microbe creates oleic acid which can irritate the scalp and can trigger rapid skin shedding, resulting in dandruff.

By adding active ingredients into our shampoos, we help prevent the dandruff-causing microbe from making the substances that irritate your scalp, preventing dandruff.

A white powder in magnification.

WHAT YOU’LL READ ON THE BOTTLE

Moisturising Agents: Dimethiconol, Dimethicone, Bis-Aminopropyl Dimethicone/Amodimethicon. These ingredients belong to the family of silicones. Conditioning Agents:

Behentrimonium Chloride, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Glycerin, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride.

Our uniquely crafted formulas are years in the making, with our team of experts perfecting each product to support a healthy scalp and healthy hair as part of your cleansing regimen. But we also know how important conditioning is as part of your overall haircare needs. That’s why we’ve spent years perfecting our formulas to support scalp and hair health, keeping you dandruff and worry-free, while also making sure your hair is silky, smooth and soft.

That’s why we include nourishing and softening ingredients in our shampoo.

Depending on your hair and scalp needs, we’ve tailored these ingredients to make sure they deliver the results you’re after without compromising on the things that matter to you.

Together, they make your hair feel soft and silky without weighing it down, and also help repair damaged portions of hair giving them a boost of shine.

Silicones are little clever molecules that can do lots of different things for your hair from making it soft to reducing frizz, without any tackiness or heaviness. Silicones also help to balance moisture, so you’ll end up with hair that’s less dry at the ends with regular use. Additionally, they smooth and protect the hair cuticle, keeping your hair soft and shiny when it’s dry.

Conditioning agents boost the work of silicones, adding moisture and helping the hair to retain its own softness. They also cushion your hair fibers, especially when they’re wet, to prevent tangles and make your hair more manageable.

A white powder in magnification.

WHAT YOU’LL READ ON THE BOTTLE

Sodium chloride, Sodium Xylenesulfonate, Glycol Distearate, Tetrasodium EDTA, Sodium Benzoate, Benzyl Salicylate, Sodium Salicylate, Tea-Dodecylbenzenesulfonate, Trideceth-10.

Our shampoo and conditioner hair care products contain ingredients to treat your scalp, control dandruff, and make your hair silky and soft. But none of them could do their job without help from ingredients that maintain formula texture and product effectiveness over time.

When you open the bottle at home, you expose the product to air and water and provide a way for bacteria to get inside. Preservatives keep your shampoo fresh, and people safe, by preventing the growth of bacteria and mold in products while they’re used at home.

Our safety scientists ensure we use preservatives within safe-to-use limits – that means we use as little as possible, and as much as needed to be effective.

Stabilizers make sure our specially formulated dandruff treatment stays blended and each drop you squeeze gives you the same benefit from the first wash to the last.

All our stabilisers and preservatives are either naturally derived or synthetically created.

No matter the origin, all of them are tested individually and as part of the formula to meet the highest standards for safety.

Together, preservatives and stabilisers mean that your product is completely safe to use from beginning to end, and that each drop is effective, and packed with the ingredients that’ll give you soft, flake-free hair.

Sodium Benzoate, Benzyl Salicylate, Sodium Salicylate, Tetrasodium EDTA, Methylchloroisothiazolinone and Methylisothiazolinone are used to make sure your shampoo and conditioner remain fresh.

Sodium chloride, Sodium Xylenesulfonate, Glycol Distearate are included to ensure your product has the perfect consistency and is spreadable. These also help to keep all the other ingredients “blended and suspended” so the formula’s blended in the same way from the first drop to the last.

Tea-Dodecylbenzenesulfonate are Trideceth-10 are present at low amounts in some ingredient mixtures to ensure they remain blended before they’re added into our products.

a blue bottle of perfume

WHAT YOU’LL READ ON THE BOTTLE

Parfum, Hexyl Cinnamal, Linalool, Hydrozycitronellal, Limonene, Propylene Glycol. Hexyl Cinnamal - A jasmine-like scent. This ingredient is found in chamomile and is used for jasmine reconstitution.

Linalool - A soft lavender scent with citrus facets. This ingredient can be found in different oils such as rosewood, coriander, orange and even hô wood oil.

Hydroxycitronellal - A fresh citrusy and creamy lily of the valley scent.

Limonene - A fresh scent of orange, tangerine and lemon oil. This ingredient’s found in the peel of all citrus fruits.

We want to make sure your hair feels and smells great long after the shower, which is why our shampoos are enriched with a blend of fragrances.

Our unique product fragrances are blended with the greatest care and utmost attention to safety. We go beyond compliance with the safety standards of the International Fragrance Association (IFRA) and conduct an additional safety assessment of our fragrances and their ingredients.

You can also learn more about the safety behind fragrance ingredients by visiting The Fragrance Conservatory. Please refer to the ingredient statement for each product to learn which ingredients are in a specific formula.

From cool mint, fresh apple and lemon, to coconut and flower scents, adding fragrance to the bottle means your hair wash morphs into a sensorial experience - plus it means your hair will smell good afterwards, which is always a welcome bonus!

a drop of clear liquid on the pipette

WHAT YOU’LL READ ON THE BOTTLE

Sodium Hydroxide, Hydrochloric acid, Sodium Citrate, Citric Acid.

Citric acid is a weak acid that’s widely found in nature. For example, citrus fruits contain about 5-8% citric acid. Sodium Citrate is a derivative of Citric Acid.

We add sodium hydroxide and hydrochloric acid to get the pH balance right, but they aren’t actually in the final product. This is because they transform into salt and water when combined.

Your skin has a natural balance, when the balance is lost it can lead to irritation and scalp discomfort. Our products are pH balanced to make sure the solutions we offer are efficatious and won’t upset your skin.

As much as you love your hair to be clean and fresh, it’s important for shampoo to clean and not to strip.

All Head & Shoulders shampoo and conditioners are pH balanced to ensure that the products work and won’t upset your scalp.

WHAT WE LEAVE OUT

We’re also committed to removing the ingredients you don’t feel comfortable with from our formulas.

One of the ingredients, white, zoomed.

PHOSPHATE FREE

One of the ingredients, white, zoomed.

PARAFFIN FREE

Image of zoomed minerals shape and structure.

Sea minerals have been used for a very long time; traditionally, they’ve been prized for their exfoliant power and ability to keep skin in good shape.

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Charcoal's detailed structure in magnification.

Charcoal isn’t just for the fireplace any more. Already a firm favorite in skincare, it’s now made another leap: into your shampoo.

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DON’T JUST TAKE IT FROM US

Our products are endorsed by the Skin Health Alliance, an independent dermatologist-led organisation.

British Skin Foundation logo image.