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Head and Shoulders vs Pantene 2024 (The Definitive Guide)

Two well-known drugstore shampoo and conditioner brands are Head and Shoulders and Pantene. Both have been peddling their hair care wares for decades now, particularly their Classic Clean products.

Even if you haven’t used them before, we're still positive you've seen them on the shelves in stores. But which one should you be using?

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Head and Shoulders vs Pantene Shampoo

A great shampoo is one that effectively cleanses your hair fibres whilst delivering special care for any specific hair concerns you might have (e.g. dullness, dandruff, moisture, etc.). I don't think there's a single person out there that would dispute the fact that Head and Shoulders and Pantene shampoos are some of the most popular in this regard.

For clean hair everyday at an affordable price, choose between the Pantene Classic Clean Shampoo and the Head and Shoulders Classic Clean Shampoo. These shampoos are very similar, so let’s look at them point by point.

2024 update: Pantene's Shampoo has been updated since we originally published this article! The formula is subtly different, but only in terms of surfactant concentration (which you won't be able to discern in practice). Otherwise, it's just a fresh new look.

Hair concern

Although they are very similar, they are created for slightly different hair concerns. The Pantene Classic Clean Shampoo is made to give you clean, healthy hair - just as the name would suggest - and aims to address multiple hair issues, such as dullness and build up. If you wash and style your hair everyday, Pantene is a great shampoo to use, as it will clean any of the residue from those products and will restore your hair's luster.

The Head and Shoulders shampoo is designed to leave your scalp feeling healthier, removing visible flakes of dandruff. Its goal is to return moisture to your scalp to solve and prevent dryness, redness, and itchiness. If you suffer from any of those issues, this is a great shampoo to use. It also leaves your entire mane looking healthier, and is safe for everyday use.


Both shampoos can be used every time you wash your hair, and both instruct you to wash on both your scalp and your locks. Because Head and Shoulders is designed to treat what is really a medical condition, it is important that you only use it as much as you need to, and not more. If you have any concerns, you should contact a physician.

Pantene is just a regular drugstore shampoo that does not require any special guidance. It is also recommended to double wash with this product (if you find that necessary) in order to further address build-up.


Warning: if you want organic ingredients, neither of these shampoos are for you. Although they are safe to use, they do contain ingredients that are a mouthful-and-a-half to pronounce, like methylchloroisothiazolinone and guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride, which is usually a telltale sign that the ingredient is either man-made (i.e., in a lab) or just a derivative of something natural (as opposed to being all-natural and organic).

When comparing the two, it is immediately obvious that both use very similar ingredients, and there's really not all that much difference between them. That being said, Pantene does not use any silicone, which is definitely a big plus.


Prices vary between the two products depending on where you shop, but the Pantene is typically a bit cheaper than Head and Shoulders. That said, it's important to remember that with Head and Shoulders you might not necessarily be using it on a daily basis, especially if it is just to help with dandruff control and not your primary shampoo. In which case, it may be worth it to spend just that little bit extra.


Like we mentioned earlier, these two are remarkably close, but ultimately we prefer the Pantene Classic Clean shampoo as a regular shampoo. For the price, Pantene does an excellent job, and it leaves your hair feeling and looking amazing. If you're specifically looking for an anti-dandruff shampoo, however, look no further than the Head and Shoulders shampoo.

Head and Shoulders vs Pantene Conditioner

Akin to cleansing your skin, washing your hair is a critical step, but in doing so you are stripping it of moisture, and you need to replace that moisture by using a conditioner—just like you would for your skin with a moisturizer!

The Head and Shoulders Classic Clean Conditioner and the Pantene Classic Clean Conditioner are also very similar products. Like we did with their shampoo counterparts, let’s look at them a little bit more closely side-by-side.

2024 update: Like the shampoo, Pantene's Conditioner has been updated. It is a relatively superficial update, though, with the biggest change being the packaging.

Hair concern

The Head and Shoulders Classic Clean Conditioner is made to combat dryness, redness, itchiness, and dandruff. However, it is not quite as effective as its shampoo on its own. It’s hard to justify using a conditioner as a standalone anti-dandruff treatment, but in coalition with the shampoo, they make for an excellent duo.

The Pantene Classic Clean Conditioner works very well. It is suitable for all hair types and is a great accompaniment to their Classic Clean Shampoo. The shampoo clarifies, strengthens, and hydrates, while the conditioner brings life back to your hair and makes it visibly smoother and silkier to the touch.


Again, like their shampoos, both of these products are suitable for everyday or every-wash use. While the Pantene conditioner is more akin to a regular conditioner - in that you are supposed to use it primarily on just your ends - the Head and Shoulders conditioner is formulated to go all over the scalp.

Conditioners are typically not formulated for use on the scalp and they are usually meant to be applied to the ends and the ends only. This may be why the Head and Shoulders anti-dandruff conditioner is not quite as effective as its shampoo, as it is trying to address too many concerns at once.


Once again, these conditioners use very similar ingredients. While they are not exactly the same, they are close. Although Pantene advertises that its shampoo is silicone-free, it does not give the same guarantee to its conditioner. If silicone is an ingredient you want to avoid, this may not be the conditioner for you.


The price comparison between the two conditioners is essentially the same as between the two shampoos. They are close enough in price that it really isn't a deciding factor.


Like its shampoo counterpart, Pantene Classic Clean conditioner is our preferred conditioner between that and Head and Shoulders. It addresses the concerns it advertises, and leaves your hair smelling fresh afterwards, as well.

If you do need an anti-dandruff conditioner, though, Head and Shoulders is a great one to try for the price.

This article was originally published on March 10th 2022, but it has been reviewed and updated with the latest available information on February 1st 2024 by Sara Mckay, MA.

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