Hair Products

Head and Shoulders Ingredients (Complete List & Effects Explained)

Share With Friends and Family

Hello friend, in today’s post, we will be discussing the head and shoulders ingredients, their functions, and their effects.

There are lots of anti-dandruff shampoos made by different brands all over the world. And all of them have some unique ingredients that help fight dandruff efficiently and effectively. Head and Shoulders brand is one of them.

Head and shoulders is a well-known brand in the hair care industry. And a lot of people have given them five stars, including myself. They are outstanding

But what some people fail to understand is that; Head and Shoulders shampoo is not suitable for all hair types because it contains these ingredients.

  • Sulfate
  • Fragrance and
  • Alcohol

According to Healthline;

“While sulfates are effective at removing dirt and oil from your hair, the problem is that these ingredients can be way too strong for some people. You may not respond well to sulfates if you have sensitive skin or hair, or if you have any allergies or sensitivities to these types of chemicals.”

So if you are are looking for Sulphate and Alcohol-free shampoo, the Head and shoulders shampoo is not for you.

Quick Bites:

Head and Shoulders Ingredients

Here’s a full list of Head and Shoulder Shampoo ingredients.

Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Sodium Xylenesulfonate, Sodium chloride, Magnesium Sulfate, Magnesium Carbonate Hydroxide, Ammonium Laureth Sulfate, Benzyl Alcohol, Water, Fragrance, Blue 1 and Red 4, DimethiconeCetyl Alcohol, Glycol Distearate, Zinc Carbonate, Cocamide MEA, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, and Pyrithione Zinc.

This the updated list of ingredients in head and shoulders shampoo as said by the giant manufacturer as at 2020

Methylchloroisothiazolinone (INACTIVE)

Methylchloroisothiazolinone (MCI) is a powerful preservative with antibacterial and antifungal within the group of its kind (element).

In a high concentration, Methylchloroisothiazolinone can cause allergy in some people.

However, a concentration of 15 ppm in rinse-offs products and 8 ppm in cosmetics are considered safe for use.

Functions In H&S: Protect shampoo the shampoo after opening.

Methylisothiazolinone (INACTIVE)

Methylisothiazolinone is a synthetic biocide and preservative. Its primary responsibility is to inhibit the growth of bacteria.

Functions In H&S: It also works with Methylchloroisothiazolinone to protect the shampoo after opening and use.

Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride (INACTIVE)

Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride is considered safe, biodegradable, and non-irritant.

It is very beneficial to hair care products because it is positively charged or cationic. It neutralizes the negative charges on hair strands that cause hair to become static or tangled.

Better yet, it does this without weighing hair down. With this ingredient, you can have silky, non-static hair that retains its average volume.

Functions In H&S: Help to stop hair tangles and make it manageable.

Sodium Xylenesulfonate (INACTIVE)

Sodium Xylenesulfonates is a surfactant used in detergents and shampoos, and it amounts up to 10% of the product.

They are surfactants: and for mixtures like shampoo, this ingredient is used to thicken, and help keep some other ingredients in the solution.

This ingredient makes the product clear or transparent, as the cloudy precipitates are put back into solution.

Sodium Xylene Sulfonate is considered a low hazard ingredient by the Cosmetics Database; it has mild concerns regarding organ system toxicity and skin and eye irritation.

Functions In H&S: Helps adjust shampoo thickness, i.e., it stabilizes it when it’s too thick.

Sodium chloride (INACTIVE)

The thickness of the aqueous (water) portion of the cosmetic, shampoo, and personal care products can be adjusted with Sodium Chloride.

Functions In H&S: Sodium chloride helps adjust shampoo texture when it’s too watery until it is stabilized (not too thick and not too watery).

Magnesium Sulfate (INACTIVE)

Magnesium Sulfate is a non-reactive. Other solids ingredients a product can be diluted with Magnesium Sulfate, Manufacturer also uses it to increase the volume of a product.

Sodium Benzoate (INACTIVE)

Reports so far show that sodium benzoate does act as a preservative, fragrance ingredient, and corrosion inhibitor in hair products and cosmetics.

For example, in the United States, sodium benzoate is considered safe (GRAS) by the Food and Drug Administration, likewise so many other countries.

Magnesium Carbonate Hydroxide (INACTIVE)

Magnesium Carbonate Hydroxide is a basic inorganic carbonate. It serves as a bulking agent, pH Adjuster, binding, viscosity controlling agent.

Functions In H&S: Helps stabilize zinc carbonate in the shampoo.

Ammonium Laureth Sulfate (INACTIVE)

ALS is classified as an alkyl sulfate, and an anionic surfactant found primarily in shampoos and body wash as a foaming agent.

However, in a high concentration or eye contact, these molecules may cause severe irritation.

Benzyl Alcohol (INACTIVE)

Benzyl can act as a fragrance component, preservative, solvent, and viscosity-decreasing agent in so many cosmetic formulations.

Furthermore, it sometimes acts as a local anesthetic and antimicrobial agent.


It’s not something that needs an explanation. Water (Aqua) is the most crucial ingredient in any product, be it solid or liquid.

Fragrance (INACTIVE)

Fragrance in Head and Shoulders shampoo constitutes of multiple ingredients. And these ingredients include amyl Cinnamal, benzyl salicylate, citronellol, hexyl Cinnamal, limonene, linalool, and menthol.

Blue 1 and Red 4 (INACTIVE)

They are both synthetic colorants combined to act as a color agent in Head and Shoulders shampoo.

Cetyl Alcohol (INACTIVE)

Cetyl Alcohol acts as an emulsifying agent or an emulsifier, that is, It helps two components to mix, especially water and oils.

Dimethicone (INACTIVE)

This ingredient acts as a hair conditioning agent. that is, ingredients that enhance the appearance and feel of hair, by increasing hair body, suppleness, or sheen.

Dimethicone is one of the ingredients that helps improve the texture of damaged hair.

Glycol Distearate (INACTIVE)

Reports so far have shown that Glycol Distearate is added to cosmetics or hair products to increase the visual appeal of their products.

It can also act as a skin moisturizer, emulsion stabilizer, and viscosity increasing agent.

Zinc Carbonate (INACTIVE)

Zinc carbonate is an inorganic salt that serves as an opacifying agent and skin protectant.

Functions In H&S: Helps keep anti-dandruff ingredients active.


In shampoos, Cocamide MEA and other cocamide ethanolamines such as cocamide DEA can be used as foaming agents and nonionic surfactants.

Functions In H&S: Acts as lathering or foaming agent.

Sodium Laureth Sulfate and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (INACTIVE)

SLES is a very active foaming agent and surfactant. And many cosmetic products depend on this ingredient for their cleaning and emulsifying properties.

FAQs On Head And Shoulders Ingredients

Q: What is the active ingredient in Head and Shoulders shampoo?

The most active ingredient in head and shoulders shampoo is Pyrithione Zinc; this is because it fights the dandruff-causing microbe, Malassezia Globosa, and stops them from forming scalp irritants.

Head and shoulders ingredients

Now I would love to hear from you:

What do you think about this list of Head and shoulders ingredients?

Or maybe you have opinions or experiences to share with us here?

Either way, do let us know by leaving a comment below right now, and don’t forget to share with friends.




Share With Friends and Family


I am Stanley. A Unisex Hairstylist, Writer, and book lover. After 12 months of the apprenticeship program as a stylist, I started working with my boss for an extra one year. This time frame made me accumulate knowledge and experience in the hair industry, of which I will love to share with friends all over the world through my blog.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button