Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best Anti-Dandruff Shampoo BarYour key to flawless hair and scalp with high-performance haircare10 min read13 July 2023
If you suffer from persistent itchy flaky scalp and dandruff, you may be looking for a solution that improves your hair's appearance and boosts your confidence. Maybe you're already using one of the solutions widely available in your local supermarket. But have you ever wondered what those shampoos and conditioners do to the environment? You may have heard that there are some natural alternatives to traditional, petroleum-based solutions. But is considering them not like opening a new pandora box you rather leave closed?
In this article, we're going to look at mainstream options, as well as some plastic-free alternatives that take care of both you and the planet. In particular, we'll be looking at anti-dandruff shampoo bars, an innovative haircare solution that has gained immense popularity for their effectiveness in combating dandruff while providing nourishment to your hair and scalp.
Understanding Dandruff, Beardruff and Their Causes
Before we dive into the realm of anti-dandruff shampoo bars, let's understand what dandruff is in the first place. Dandruff is a very common condition where flakes of dead skin may be accompanied by red, flaky skin. The condition may worsen when those annoying white or yellowish flakes on your scalp and hair start falling onto your shoulders or clothes. Dandruff can also make your scalp itchy and irritated, so you'll feel like scratching your head a lot. However, it's not just about the scalp. Men with beards may also experience similar symptoms in their face leading to something called "beard dandruff", or beardruff for short.
Dandruff is such a complex and wide range of conditions, that some people are surprised to learn that dandruff can also make your scalp oily and greasy. These symptoms may be less known, but if you're constantly dealing with an oily scalp, bear in mind that dandruff products may also help you.
All of us are familiar with these physical symptoms to a certain degree, but we should not overlook those related to mental health. People who struggle with dandruff, often report embarrassment and low confidence about their self-appearance. These symptoms are as important as physical ones and should not be ignored.
Oh, and here's an interesting fact: dandruff is not contagious! So, no need to worry about passing it on to your friends or family. And likewise, let's please stop acting awkward when we see someone with dandruff. Dandruff is a non-contagious, skin condition. Being judgy is just not on. Full stop.
It's worth mentioning that dandruff can be confused with other conditions like scalp psoriasis or seborrheic dermatitis, which have similar symptoms. If you're struggling with dandruff, and it's bothering you, it's a good idea to chat with a dermatologist or your local GP. They can help you identify the root cause and suggest treatments or lifestyle changes to keep those flakes at bay.
But Why, Oh My, Do I Have a Flaky Scalp?
Dandruff can be caused by a few different things. One common culprit is an overgrowth of a fungus called Malassezia. Like all fungi, it has a horrible, scary name, so no surprises there. But basically, this little guy likes to hang out on our scalps and beards. When it grows too much, it can irritate our skin and lead to dandruff.
But how come these fungi come to live on my scalp, you may ask? One factor is the natural oil production on our skin. If you have an oily scalp, it can make you more prone to dandruff. Our little friend, the Malassezia fungi, surely thrives on those naturally oily environments!
Sometimes, the opposite may be the case, as dandruff can be triggered not by oily, but dry skin. It may be counterintuitive, but when your scalp gets all dry and flaky, those dead skin cells start to pile up and, yep, you guessed it, dandruff happens.
Other factors can play a role too. Things like sensitivity to hair care products, certain skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis, diet or even stress can contribute to dandruff. Using too many, different haircare products have also been found to cause dandruff as the combination of their chemicals may trigger undesired side effects. More about this in a second.
Can I Get Rid of Dandruff and Be Done With It?
As the NHS Health A-Z guideline for dandruff explains, using a specialist shampoo is the best thing you can do to fight the symptoms of dandruff. In particular, they recommend shampoos that contain:
- zinc pyrithione
- salicylic acid
- selenium sulphide (aka selenium sulfide)
- coal tar
Some of those names may sound (if you can pronounce them, that is!!) a tad obscure, but they have been the bread and butter of high-street brands for a long time. In fact, ingredients like selenium sulphide have been used for medial purposes since 1951, and you may find them in popular brands like Heads & Shoulders and Selsun.
Along with plentiful solutions comes the problem of having to pick one. And so, choosing the best formula for your hair and scalp is not always straightforward. Always remember, we're all different, and so everyone's scalp is unique. What causes dandruff for one person might not be the same for another. It's all about figuring out what triggers it for you and finding the right approach to manage it.
Unfortunately, because there is not a single cause of dandruff, a product that works for one person may not work for another. As per the NHS recommendation, “use the shampoo for a month to see if your dandruff gets better. You might need to try more than 1 type to find a shampoo that works for you.”
You'll find this kind of advice in most official guidelines out there. It's all good, sound and scientifically driven. But, at this point, I would like to stop for a second and take issue with how information is presented to the consumer. In a way, it appears as if any ingredient is OK, provided it works. We are shocked that the official NHS guidelines do not speak about toxicity levels, dependency on fossil fuels, environmental impact and animal cruelty.
For example, zinc pyrithione was banned in the European Union in March 2022 due to its reproductive toxicity 1B of GHS classification. Another popular ingredient, coal tar, as its name indicates, is made from coke and coal gas from coal. As effective as it may be, the planet is paying a price that doesn't justify the benefits. And, in all cases, customers may be puzzled as to how the ingredients are sourced and what they actually contain.
Not only that, legacy shampoos are highly diluted and may contain up to 80% of water, so the efficacy may vary from brand to brand. Wouldn't it be great if we could come up with an alternative that works just as well if not better? Something that offers a low carbon footprint, is made according to a certified vegan formula, includes a transparent ingredient list and no involvement in animal cruelty practices?
Sustainable Alternatives to Legacy Anti-Dandruff Shampoos
The demand for clean and sustainable beauty products keeps growing and growing. Gen Z consumers bring an entire different mindset, but older generations are behind a huge shift in consumer behaviours too. Legacy anti-dandruff shampoos come in highly-diluted bottles and use ingredients that were patented more than seventy years ago. Back then, nobody was talking about climate change, plant-based ingredients or a transition to a fossil-fuel-free economy. Those were all issues that simply "didn't exist". The concern was simply to find chemical actives that work.
Following this trend, waterless formulation is gaining momentum as a framework for cosmetics where:
- Products are made without water in order to reduce carbon footprint.
- Customers can use waterless products as they come, or mix them with the water they already have in the bathroom.
- Formulas can be optimised for concentrated quantities of ingredients. Waterless products may help you to use less, and use better.
Within this category, products like Flake Free, our unique anti-dandruff shampoo bar, offer a multitude of benefits for people who have symptoms related to dandruff, flaky scalp and dryness. Here are just a few compelling reasons to consider using a shampoo bar:
- Natural Ingredients: Many anti-dandruff shampoo bars are made using natural and biotech ingredients that are gentle on your scalp and hair. These bars often contain tea tree oil, neem, rosemary, and other plant-based extracts known for their antifungal, anti inflammatory and anti-dandruff properties.
- Environmentally Friendly: Shampoo bars are a sustainable alternative to traditional liquid shampoos as they come in minimal or plastic-free packaging. By choosing a shampoo bar, you contribute to reducing plastic waste and supporting eco-conscious practices.
- Long-lasting: One shampoo bar can last significantly longer than a bottle of liquid shampoo, offering you more value for your money. The concentrated formula ensures that a small amount goes a long way, making it an economical choice.
- Travel-friendly: Shampoo bars are compact, lightweight, and easy to carry, making them perfect for travel. Say goodbye to spills and bulky bottles in your luggage!
Choosing the Right Anti-Dandruff Shampoo Bar
Not all anti-dandruff shampoo bars are born equal though. For disclosure, we make shampoo bars like Flake Free which help with all the symptoms associated with dandruff like itching, redness, dryness and flakes. We spent more than two years perfecting the formula by choosing the best ingredients and talking to customers. We're obviously biased in this area, but based on our journey and feedback received, let's explore the key factors to consider when choosing an anti-dandruff shampoo bar:
- Ingredients: Look for bars containing natural ingredients like neem oil, which has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antioxidant properties. Other beneficial ingredients include nettle leaf to relieve itching, and rosemary essential oil for its anti-fungal and astringent properties.
- Scalp Type: Consider your scalp type – dry, oily, or sensitive – and select a shampoo bar that caters to your specific needs. For instance, if you have dry scalp, opt for a bar that provides moisturising properties. Specifically, look for some ingredients like phytokeratin, panthenol and inulin.
- Think about other products you may have on your bathroom shelf. Our anti-dandruff Flake Free bar can be used as shampoo, conditioner, face wash and shaving. It has been formulated with a skinimalist philosophy in mind that empowers you so that you have to buy less, and make the most of one single product. Research shows that the combination of certain products may have a negative impact on dandruff symptoms. By using less products, you're reducing the risk of chemical actives interacting in unexpected ways with each other.
- Reviews and Ratings: Read customer reviews and ratings to gauge the effectiveness of the shampoo bar. Look for feedback from individuals who have similar hair and scalp conditions to yours. We use an independet reviews provider to verify that all comments are genuine and come from people who have actually used the product. Feel free to check them out here.
- Usage Instructions: Pay attention to the usage instructions provided by the brand. Some shampoo bars require specific techniques or durations for optimal results.
Embrace Flawless Hair With the Right Shampoo Bar
Shampoos are more than just shampoo. They are so embedded in our daily routine that they kind of fade in the background over there in the bathroom. And yet, they all come with a considerable environmental impact and ethical issues. Picking the right anti-dandruff shampoo is a decission that matters. It's not just about going to the supermarket and getting the one on the top shelf. A shampoo can also be an item that makes us proud, addresses our concerns with hair and scalp, and helps us to contribute that tiny bit to make this planet a better place to live.
Now armed with the knowledge to choose the best anti-dandruff shampoo bar, it's time to take action and embark on your journey towards flawless hair. Experiment with different brands and formulas, and remember that finding the perfect match might require some trial and error. Be patient and consistent in your hair care routine, and soon you'll experience the joy of a flake-free scalp and beautiful, lustrous locks.
Invest in your hair's health and regain your confidence with the power of anti-dandruff shampoo bars. Say goodbye to dandruff and hello to flawless hair today!