Building on the success of the world’s leading anti-dandruff shampoo

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Building on the success of the world’s leading anti-dandruff shampoo

Related tags Dandruff

Head & Shoulders has been the world’s top-selling anti-dandruff shampoo for decades, so we spoke to the research term behind the brand’s formulation to find out how they have held on to the crown.

In the first part of the interview with James Schwartz, research fellow at P&G’s Beauty & Grooming division and in charge of formulation advances for Head & Shoulders, we found out how constant development of the ingredient zinc pyrithione (ZPT) has been pivotal.

Now, in the second part of this interview Schwartz explains how advanced technology and intense clinical trials are the other vital part of this equation.

All in the delivery to the scalp

There is a simple formula to the success, Schwartz explains, which is to ensure delivery to the scalp, while cleansing and rinsing. And within that equation it is the vital element of ensuring retention of the active ingredient on the scalp to make the product effective.

In the late 80s significant advances in the Head & Shoulders formula were made using coacervate technology to enhance delivery, leading to improvements in the product’s coverage of the scalp surface.

Treating the scalp as multi-dimensional

“The next progress came about when we stopped treating the scalp surface as being two dimensional, which, because of hair follicles, it is not. This helped us to realize that for the formula to be really effective we had to ensure that the particles reached into the hair follicles,”​ said Schwartz.

“And that brings us to where the latest aspect of our research has been focused, ensuring that the ZPT is spread effectively on the surface of the scalp to enhance the efficiency of the treatment.”

Dr Schwartz
Dr. James Schwartz, research fellow at P&G’s Beauty & Grooming division

Schwartz believes that a combination of technological advances and very thorough clinical trials have also helped to raise the bar for the brand, as he explained:

“Every single one of our advances in the treatment of dandruff have been down to improvements in scientific technology, which in turn has helped up to raise the bar on our formulation abilities. Now we are continuing to exploit both existing and new technologies with the ultimate goal of improving delivery efficiency.

“And we know when we have improved on our formulation because our efficiency testing involves in depth clinical trials that are extremely thorough."

And the proof of the pudding…

Schwartz rounded up by explaining how, when consumers find an effective anti-dandruff treatment, they tend to stick with it, which is the ultimate test for the brand.

“If someone suffers from dandruff, they usually have it most of their adult life. And an estimated 50% of the global adult population has the condition, something that is regardless of gender, race or age.

“This means that if the consumer finds a product that really works in treating their dandruff, they are likely to stick to it and become a life-long user.”

Related topics Formulation & Science Hair Care

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