Today’s question comes from Jenna, who wants to find an effective alternative to her Head & Shoulders shampoo. If you deal with dandruff, that’s probably the shampoo you’re being recommended. However since Head & Shoulders tests on animals, I gathered a list of the top-rated and cruelty-free dandruff shampoos to swap in.

Jenna’s Question

Hi Suzi,

I was wondering if you have any suggestions for good cruelty-free anti-dandruff shampoo. I struggle with a really dry scalp, and since switching to cruelty-free I’ve been missing my head and shoulders.


Thank you Jenna for your question. 🙂

The Best Cruelty-Free Alternative

After doing some research, the most highly-rated dandruff shampoo that’s also cruelty-free is the JASON Dandruff Relief Treatment Shampoo.

You can find it both at Amazon (price varies) and iHerb ($9) (I love both for cruelty-free shopping but if you’re going with iHerb, use the code WSD078 for $5 OFF your first order).

This shampoo helps control dandruff, flaking, dermatitis of the scalp and even mild psoriasis. It contains 2% Sulfur, which is safe and helps rebalance and condition your scalp to get rid of dandruff. It also contains 2% Salicylic Acid (the same ingredient found in acne skincare) to deep-clean the scalp and control dandruff.

Keep in mind that while it’s effective, this is still a gentle and natural shampoo. It contains essential oils from Rosemary and Jojoba Seed.

If you’re looking for an effective shampoo to combat dandruff and itchiness, go with JASON’s Dandruff Relief Treatment Shampoo. It also benefits those with scalp psoriasis, plus it’s totally cruelty-free and drugstore-priced.

More Options

I also found a few more options that are highly-rated, althought they don’t have as many rave reviews as the JASON shampoo above. They’re also worth looking into, especially if they’re easier for you to find where you live.

2. Avalon Organics Anti-Dandruff Medicated Shampoo. Available at iHerb ($7 to $8) and Amazon (price varies). Contains 2% Salicylic Acid to combat dandruff, semorrhic dermatitis, and psoriasis. Vegan and contains natural ingredients.

3. Mineral Fusion Anti-Dandruff Shampoo. Available at iHerb ($7.99) and Amazon (price varies). Also contains 2% Salicylic Acid to combat dandruff, semorrhic dermatitis, and psoriasis. Vegan, gluten-free, natural ingredients.

4. SheaMoisture Black Soap Dandruff Control Shampoo. Available at Ulta ($10.99) and Amazon (price varies). This one contains different ingredients to combat dandruff, and it’s also made from organic Shea Butter so it’s ideal for those with dry hair and scalp.

5. Derma E Scalp Relief Shampoo. Available at iHerb ($9.40) and Amazon (price varies). This shampoo also contains Salicylic Acid, but also Tea Tree extract and Chamomoile extract. Vegan, natural ingredients.

I hope these 5 options will help you find an effective alternative if you’re using a dandruff shampoo that isn’t cruelty-free, such as Head & Shoulders! Let me know if you have any personal favorites that weren’t mentioned here.

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17 Comments on "Q&A: Cruelty-Free Dandruff Shampoo To Replace Head & Shoulders?"

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My husband loves the African Black Soap Dandruff Control Shampoo from Shea Moisture. It keeps his psoriasis from flaring up on his scalp, completely eliminates his dandruff, and it smells amazing. I use it occasionally as well, and it doesn’t irritate my seborrheic dermatitis.

Suzi Scheler

Thank you Panya!


just wondering, is your hair colored, and if so, how does it react with this shampoo? i imagine it must strip the color a bit..

Margaret Kuras

Thank you so much for sharing! After switching to cruelty free (and a bad hair treatment at the salon) my scalp has been unhappy and its been difficult to find and pay for all the alternatives ive went through! These sound much more promising and affordable!!

Suzi Scheler

Thanks Margaret, hope you find something that works!

Nicole Brant

Thank you Suzi! I so needed this!


Thanks for this post, Suzi. Your blog is goals! x


This is the type of post I needed! I’ve been looking like crazy for something that will calm down my dandruff! Since switching to cruelty free, I’ve been on the lookout for something because the Alba shampoo I use only made it worse 🙁 thank you, thank you, thank you x10!!!


Would you happen to know if any of these are okay to use with colored hair?

Jenna Norbury

Ahh only just seen this today. Thank you so so so much for answering my question. 😍 I’ll definitely be trying some of these! I’ll comment how I get on with them.

For everyone asking about dandruff shampoos and colored hair: any dandruff shampoo (especially those that are medicated) is not really ideal for colored hair. That being said since most of these are more natural they are probably better for colored hair than standard dandruff shampoo. I have colored hair and seb derm, so it can be hard to balance but I have had just as much luck if not more with maintaining color with switching to cruelty free. Keep in mind not all hair color is cruelty free: it seldom is unfortunately. Find a salon that uses Paul Mitchell, he’san… Read more »

All great info! Can you please look into two hair care brands: Maui Moisture and Macadamia Professional on their cruelty-free policy? Thanks 🙂


I’ve seen opinions that Head&Shoulders starts CAUSING dandruff after some time. Well, they gotta keep you using the product, right? ;D So that’s another reason to stop using it. And maybe we should all go to skin doctors and get some real treatment…

I’m a little late to this post, but I hope my advice can help someone! I have a severe patch of seborrheic dermatitis on my scalp that I cleared up a few months ago with a course of Clobetasol from the dermatologist. Immediately following the treatment, I used the Jason shampoo through the next three months, leaving it on for a few minutes when I shampooed every 3-5 days, but the scales returned to their normal state so no recommendation from me. I do have a rec, though: when I was living abroad for my field research I brought along… Read more »