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Our History

Our story, like all good stories, has a hero and a villain. Whilst you are probably familiar with the villain – dandruff – it’s time to meet our story’s hero.

The Evolution of Head & Shoulders

From our original cream formula to the world’s number one anti-dandruff shampoo.

The Evolution of Head & Shoulders - image of bottles changing over the years.
An elderly man looking through the window - black and white image.


Dr Parran joins Procter & Gamble

Part of the vintage image with a blond-haired woman and a vintage image of man's head standing backwards.


After 10 years of clinical trials, Head & Shoulders is born

Head&Shoulders bottles - compared modern one to older.


We turn our formula into a shampoo.

Not only is it clinically proven to fight dandruff, it smells good too!

The image of Malassezia globosa, the dandruff-causing fungus.


We crack the genetic codeof Malassezia globosa, the dandruff-causing fungus


With over 500 experts around the world, we’re as committed as ever to improving our shampoos and conditioners to make them the best they can be

In 1949, John Parran Jr, a chemical engineer and bacteriologist from the University of Tennessee, joined Procter & Gamble. His task was simple – free the world from dandruff.

Back then the solutions to remove dandruff, like coal-tar and egg-oil, were unpleasant and even if they worked, they would damage your hair.

Dr Parran wanted to create an effective solution to the problem of dandruff that didn’t harm your hair and was a lot more pleasant to use.

Head&Shoulders Classic Clean shampoo bottles in the laboratory environment.


In 1961, after ten years of clinical trials, Dr Parran and his team of scientists singled out a potent compound that proved successful in removing dandruff.

Their product, codenamed Head & Shoulders, was finally ready to test in the market. It proved so successful that it was launched across America the following year.

When the product came out, it was a cream formula – but we knew we could make it even easier and more pleasant to use. So we went back to the lab and spent years reformulating the product.

By 1975, we had crafted a shampoo clinically-proven to remove dandruff with a pleasant fragrance. In fact, it was so effective and enjoyable to use that it soon became the world’s number one shampoo – and it still is today.

Scientific research has always been a key part of our work to rid the world of dandruff, but new technologies have allowed us to go further than Dr Parran could have imagined.

In 2002, we cracked the genetic code of the dandruff-causing fungus, Malassezia globosa. That meant we could go beyond getting rid of flakes, and treat the root cause of dandruff.

Since then, we’ve expanded our goals. Now, we don’t just fight dandruff – we aim to give everyone a healthy scalp and great-looking hair as well.

Our story doesn’t finish there, though.

Even now, we’re constantly striving to improve our formula because we’re dedicated to making it better and better with every new scientific discovery – something we think Dr Parran and his original team of pioneers would be thoroughly proud of.