Selsun Blue and Nizoral are best known for their anti-dandruff shampoos, but which brand is better?
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Selsun Blue 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 Selsun Blue Shampoo containing Selenium Sulfide 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 the Nizoral Shampoo contains SLES (Sodium Laureth Sulfate) and the Selsun Blue Shampoo contains ALS + ALES (Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate and Ammonium Laureth Sulfate). These are known as 'surfactants' and they give shampoo that thick lather that we associate with cleansing hair, but with them being Sulfates they are known for not being particularly gentle to the scalp. ALS is *much* less irritating than SLS, though, due to its larger molecular size, so the Selsun Blue Shampoo definitely pulls ahead in this regard.
Returning to the topic of their active ingredients, it's worth noting that Ketoconazole (found in the Nizoral Anti-Dandruff Shampoo) cannot be found in *any* other over-the-counter dandruff shampoos, and according to Nizoral it is 10x more effective than the alternatives. In reality, a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study found that there is no significant difference between Ketoconazole and Selenium Sulfide effectiveness-wise, but it is significantly more well-tolerated (i.e. it is far less irritating to the scalp). Even taking into account the previous point regarding Sulfates, this would make Nizoral the gentler choice (which is never, ever a bad quality to look for).
In practice, Nizoral lathers better, smells better (clean & fresh, not 'medicinal' like the Selsun Blue Shampoo), and just feels so much more like a nice, regular shampoo while gently and effectively taking care of the frustrating symptoms of dandruff. The sheer volume of overwhelmingly positive reviews that can be found online in favor of Nizoral, demonstrating its cult-like popularity—and dwarfing the otherwise impressive number that Selsun Blue boasts—only seals the deal for us.
Ultimately, our preference is fairly clear, and it's not even that Selsun Blue is bad per se, it's just that the Nizoral Anti-Dandruff Shampoo is so much better.
Looking for the best anti-dandruff shampoo?
Try the Nizoral Anti-Dandruff Shampoo
Anti-Dandruff Shampoo by Nizoral
Our rating: ★★★★★
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.
Medicated Anti-Dandruff Shampoo by Selsun Blue
Our rating: ★★★★★
Anti-dandruff shampoo (with Selenium Sulfide).
What makes it special? Help relieve dandruff symptoms with Selsun Blue Medicated Antidandruff Shampoo. This medicated dandruff shampoo contains cooling menthol to provide a soothing and invigorating sensation to your scalp and 1% selenium sulfide for maximum strength dandruff control.
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