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Q&A: Cruelty-Free Dandruff Shampoo To Replace Head & Shoulders?

by Suzana Rose

May 22, 2018

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.

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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.

Which Brands Are Cruelty-Free?

Download our list of 600+ verified cruelty-free brands straight to your device. Bring it with you everywhere you go, and never worry about supporting animal testing again. Click here to download

+ Show Comments (25) - Hide Comments (25)
  • katie Hallam says:

    But these are vegan not cruelty free. The label vegan can still test on animals. Totally wrong that it’s allowed to be like that but unfortunately it is

    • Suzana Rose says:

      All brands in our cruelty-free list are verified cruelty-free by us, including these. 🙂

  • Glenn Fudge says:

    Can you recommend dandruff conditioner?

  • Mari Mendes says:

    I really like the Body shop one is quite good made of ginger.

  • Ann says:

    Oh my god I can’t belive it took me so long to look this up. I’ve been for years just sucking it up and flaking all over the place cause I couldn’t justify the head and shoulders (especially considering they’re not really even a bargain for being a major brand) can’t wait to try these out!!

  • P Lough says:

    The shampoos you mentioned work great for Seborrheic dermatitis, especially the jason that has sulfur and salicylic acid combined. I also need something with Selenium Sulfide in it for a specific fungal condition that only responds to Ketoconazole or Selenium Sulfide. Ketoconazole needs a script from the Dr. Who is happy to provide it, but I’m sure it will have been tested on animals having come from a drug manufacturer. I can’t find anywhere if Selsun Blue, which contain selenium sulfide, is tested on animals or not. Therefore my guess is it probably is. Do you have any recommendations?

  • Carissa Galgano says:

    Hello there! First, thank you for the awesome resource. This is a great go to website for me. Would you consider clarifying if the companies listed are owned by companies that are not cruelty free? For example, Shea Moisture is listed here but it is owned by Unilever which is not a cruelty free company. I hope you will consider implementing this. Thank you for all that you do!

  • Marina says:

    This was super helpful, thank you!!

  • Arya says:

    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 a couple of Lush’s Soak and Float shampoo bars, and I was shocked when my dermatitis cleared completely after a couple of months! The active ingredient in that shampoo is cade oil. They appear to have recently reformulated the bars to mitigate the smell, so I don’t know how well the current formulation would work. The shampoo bars contain a lot of SLS, so I don’t use them here at home in order to avoid frizz. Instead, I bought a jar of cade oil online, added a few drops to a carrier oil, and apply it directly to my scalp. Two applications one week apart and the dermatitis is mostly gone – woo!

  • Aleksandra says:

    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…

  • Sarah says:

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

  • Gina says:

    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 OG when it comes to cruelty free and has several lines at different price points.

  • Jenna Norbury says:

    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.

  • Sandra says:

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

  • Abby says:

    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!!!

  • Gosia says:

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

  • Nicole Brant says:

    Thank you Suzi! I so needed this!

  • Margaret Kuras says:

    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!!

  • PanyaV says:

    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.

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