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Head and Shoulders vs Nizoral 2024

Head and Shoulders and Nizoral are best known for their anti-dandruff shampoos, but which brand is better?

Come with us as we compare the Head & Shoulders Classic Clean Shampoo vs Nizoral Anti-Dandruff Shampoo side-by-side to help you decide which is best for you. Enjoy!

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Head & Shoulders vs Nizoral Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

First and foremost, it's worth establishing the fact that both shampoos are intended to "control the symptoms of dandruff". What mainly sets them apart, though, is the difference between their active ingredients (with the Head & Shoulders Shampoo containing Zinc Pyrithione—or Piroctone Olamine in Europe—and the Nizoral Shampoo instead containing Ketoconazole). In essence, this comparison boils down to a question of "which anti-fungal ingredient works best against dandruff?", but there are a couple of other differences to explore first.

Diving into their formulas, we discover that both shampoos contain Sulfates. These are known as 'surfactants' and they give shampoo that thick lather that we associate with cleansing hair. That said, they are also known for not being particularly gentle to the scalp. Neither are free from coloring or fragrance, either, and while these aren't the most egregious inclusions (there's certainly more irritating ingredients in other shampoos out there), but it's worth stating given the medicinal nature of these particular products.

Returning to the topic of their active ingredients, there's no real contest between the two in terms of strength or efficacy since Ketoconazole (present in the Nizoral Shampoo) is far more potent than Zinc Pyrithione. Since there's also no drawbacks of Ketoconazole tolerability-wise (unlike with, say, a Selenium Sulfide shampoo), this point alone makes Nizoral the better choice to treat dandruff symptoms regardless of mildness or severity.

Both shampoos are renowned the world over, and arguably equally as immensely popular. While we appreciate the fact that this isn't necessarily a guarantee of quality, it certainly is a strong indicator, and we feel comfortable stating that you're in safe hands whenever you invest in either brands' hair care products. With that said, on paper Nizoral is clearly the better choice due to its more effective active ingredient, and therefore wins our recommendation.

Ultimately, our preference is fairly clear, and it's not even that Head & Shoulders is bad per se, it's just that the Nizoral Anti-Dandruff Shampoo is so good.

Looking for the best anti-dandruff shampoo?
Try the Nizoral Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

Anti-Dandruff Shampoo by Nizoral, anti-dandruff shampoo (with Ketoconazole).

Anti-Dandruff Shampoo by Nizoral

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Our rating: ★★★★★

Price: $$$$

Anti-dandruff shampoo (with Ketoconazole).

What makes it special? Nizoral is the only over-the counter anti-dandruff shampoo that contains Ketoconazole, a clinically proven, powerful dandruff fighting ingredient. Nizoral doesn’t just address symptoms, it gets right to the root of dandruff by controlling the fungus that causes it.

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Classic Clean Shampoo by Head and Shoulders, anti-dandruff shampoo.

Classic Clean Shampoo by Head and Shoulders

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Our rating: ★★★★★

Price: $$$$

Anti-dandruff shampoo (with Zinc Pyrithione).

What makes it special? Head & Shoulders anti dandruff Shampoo targets the root cause of dandruff, for up to 72h protection from flakes dryness and itch (visible flakes, with regular use; itch due to dandruff). Its advanced formula is dermatologically tested, pH balanced and boosted with antioxidants for gentle care of hair and scalp and gives up to 100% flake free, clinically proven (with regular use).

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This article was originally published on July 14th 2022, but it has been reviewed and updated with the latest available information on February 12th 2024 by Sara Mckay, MA.

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