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Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best Anti-Dandruff Shampoo Bar

Your 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)
  • ke­to­cona­zole
  • 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!