Head and Shoulders Normal

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Head and Shoulders shampoo - Itch head and snow shoulders

Sep 11, 2001 (Updated Jan 11, 2004)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:H&S smells OK and is easy on the hair. It works for mild cases.

Cons:H&S is not big guns material.

The Bottom Line: If you have mild to moderate dandruff, then this may work out. If you have big time dandruff, then go for the big guns.


If you are reading up on Head and Shoulders, then you probably have a scalp problem. You probably itch and flake. This is bad news, since generally speaking it is not real good to have itch head and snow shoulders.

First off, let me tell you that you are in good company. This is not because I have scalp problems though some folks do consider me good company. You are in good company, because over half of all people have scalp problems at some point. With those kinds of percentages, you know that a lot of great folks deal with the same though most won’t bring that up at the office party.

Being flaky has been a problem forever. In fact, it would have been much more of a problem when running water was not an option and when daily showers were not common. I guess you just itched and went on about your business before the age of running water. Fortunately, city water and bottled soaps and shampoos mean that you don’t have to flake and itch (as much anyway).

Way back . . . pine tar was used to combat scalp problems. That still works, but pine tar is really hard on the hair and especially on treated hair (perms and color). You can even bye Grandpa Pine Tar Shampoo and use the old style cure if you want. The problem with Grandpa is that the stuff smells like rotten possum and makes your hair stand on end. It also pulls out color and perm.

Head and Shoulders came out about 35 years ago. This is a kinder and gentler dandruff shampoo. It smells nice. I can’t pinpoint the smell, but it is not one that would stop a freight train. You don’t have to worry about your perm or color though I do find Head and Shoulders a little harsher than shampoos made for treated hair. Your hair is soft and shiny, but your perm falls out a little faster and the color dulls just a tad quicker than special formulations.

The big problem with Head and Shoulders is that it only covers dandruff specifically. This would be fine, but most people do not know what is wrong when they flake. If you feel a lump in your breast, then you get on the phone pronto and go see the OB/GYN. When you start to flaking, then you are NOT likely to high tail it to the Emergency Room to demand answers. You just guess DANDRUFF and get some Head and Shoulders or other over-the-counter dandruff shampoos.

There are three basic problems with the scalp associated with flakes and itching:

a. Dandruff—This is caused by fungus. Instead of cycling every 28 days on your head skin, you cycle every 7 to 21 days and the dead skin comes off in clumps (or flakes).
b. Dry Skin—You are just a water free person. Your skin is very dry, and your scalp is dry too. You flake all over to some extent with the scalp being more of a problem with the hair there to catch the dead skin.
c. Dermatitis—This is skin disease. In addition to being dry and flaky on your head, you get red and irritated. If you scratch a lot, then you can damage the hair or make bald patches. You should go and see the skin specialist. About 10 percent of all people have this problem.

You really need to look at your head and think about it. If you have dry skin, then you need to wash less and get some moisture on your head to stop flaking. If you have dermatitis, then you should see a doctor and get prescription meds to help with that. If you do have dandruff (which is the most common), then you need a dandruff shampoo.

Head and Shoulders is a good shampoo for general dandruff. If you can use the shampoo once a week or so and then skip a couple of days shampooing, then you are fine with H&S. It works and is good for your hair. Just use this shampoo when needed or once a week to keep your dandruff under control.

If you’re not dry headed (hair tends to oily) and don’t get red and irritated (a sign of dermatitis) but still get itchy and flaky on a daily basis, then you probably do have dandruff but a bad case. That fungus has a hold of you, and you have big time dandruff. Big timers usually are prone to yeast infections, and some studies indicate that chronic yeast infection can be a root cause of this very irritating and itching problem.

OK. You got me! It does seem that I have dandruff, but a case that is not Head and Shoulders material. Though I like the smell of the H&S shampoo and the way my hair feels, this just not cut it. I use H&S sometimes, but I do not depend on it.

I am a clean freak to some extent . . . I may not put on make up and dress up that much, but I do want to look and smell clean. It is most upsetting to me to have any itching or flaking. After much trail and error, this is what I have found to work:

Head and Shoulders Regular works as an everyday shampoo. It does not wreck my perm or color. Only my hairdresser knows if I actually have fake curls and reddish color, but a look at the roots could prove educational.

For high stress times (which can compound any dandruff related problems) and as a quick cure from time to time, I fall back on Grandpa Pine Tar which is cheaper (though I know it will play havoc with any chemical treatments) and finally Nizoral. In the past, Nizoral was only by prescription, but it is over-the-counter today. Nizoral also is hard on treated hair, but not quite as bad as Grandpa Shampoo. It does not smell like a rose either, but it is not as stinky as Grandpa.

Overall, I would say that Head and Shoulders Regular is good for dandruff. The other variations do not smell as good or work as well. If it ain’t broke, then don’t fix it H&S. If you have big time problems with dandruff (and not dry scalp or dermatitis), then try out Grandpa Pine Tar or Nizoral. I would say that Nizoral is the best bet though a little more expensive.

****************

GOOD NEWS--Nizoral now comes in over-the-counter. See my review on that one at:

http://www.epinions.com/content_117136526980







Recommend this product? Yes

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