Do Hair Products Really Cause Dandruff?


While dandruff doesnt react to any particular hair product, its still worth paying attention to what youre putting in your hair.

Dandruff is caused by a microbe called malassezia. We all have it, but around half of people are sensitive to it, causing their body to react by displaying:

  • Dry flaking
  • Irritation
  • Itchiness

The good news is, hair products dont generally have a negative reaction with dandruff. But they can still contribute to it.


People with a sensitive scalp can react to ingredients in ordinary hair care products that are normally pretty harmless, triggering symptoms like itch, irritation, and dry scalp flaking.

Its often a case of trial and error. You cant always know for sure how a certain product is going to affect your scalp, so you may need to try a few different things to work out whats best for you.


Using gels, mousses, hairsprays and waxes help style and keep your hair in place. Unfortunately if theyre not removed properly, styling products build up over time, trapping oil, dirt, and other substances close to your skin.

These will break down over time, and when they do, they form new substances that may irritate your scalp.

If you already have dandruff, that can cause a flare up of itchiness and dry skin flakes.

The key to avoiding build up is making sure that you wash the product out thoroughly and regularly using shampoo.


Conditioners are wonderful for keeping your hair moisturized, but did you know, they can actually make your dandruff shampoo less effective?

Typical cosmetic conditioners- or shampoos for that matter - can actually wash away the active ingredient in your anti-dandruff shampoo, meaning its less effective at getting rid of the problem.

This means that even if youre treating dandruff, you may not be getting the full benefit of your anti-dandruff product, and dandruff problems continue.

If youre prone to dandruff, make sure to use an anti-dandruff conditioner as the final step in your wash routine.

Head & Shoulders Shampoo is 60% more effective* with Head & Shoulders Conditioner.


While products wont cause dandruff itself, they could make some scalp conditions worse.

So try a few products out to see which ones work best for you. If you have dandruff, remember, to make anti-dandruff products the last step in your routine. Use a dry scalp shampoo to help prevent flakes and restore your scalps natural moisture balance. Then, if you use conditioner, make sure its an anti-dandruff conditioner. Unlike cosmetic conditioners, our dry scalp conditioner is specially formulated to prevent dandruff, and work with its sister shampoo to restore your hair and scalpsnatural moisture.

More hair care tips and advice

* in reducing scalp issues vs. H&S shampoo + a P&G non Anti-Dandruff conditioner