Review :: Pharmaceutical Specialities™ Free & Clear Shampoo

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  • Ingredients
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Quite simply, the gentlest shampoo we have ever reviewed. If you have a dry or sensitive scalp this is the best shampoo we have seen.

User Review
2.92 (97 votes)

buy now on Amazon Pharmaceutical Specialties are a new company to me and they would remain new if I hadn’t been recommended the product by a dermatologist.   This is both a shame and a surprise as the company was formed in 1974 to “start a company to make better products than were commercially available for people with sensitive skin.”  In other words, they are our kind of company.   In addition to this shampoo the company manufacture conditioners, sun-creams, moisturizers, shaving creams, cleansers and virtually any other type of personal hygiene product that prove problematic to those of us with sensitive skin.

The shampoo isn’t a dandruff shampoo at all but is “a non-medicated, mild shampoo for sensitive skin and scalp.” I have tagged this as a shampoo for dry scalp induced dandruff. However, anyone who suffers from dandruff needs to use a gentle shampoo in between their medicated washes.  I myself only use a medicated shampoo once or twice a month as part of my dandruff control regime and the rest of the time I use as gentle a shampoo as possible. I’ve even tried no poo recently. But does is this shampoo gentle enough for us to recommend?

Pharmaceutical Specialties Free and Clear Shampoo

The bottle looks pretty clinical and if I were to offer advice to this company, I would improve their branding a touch. It looks like it’s been designed by dermatologists. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but there are world class teams out there who specialize in branding. Anyhow, the shampoo itself is totally clear, has no detectable smell and surprisingly washed my hair really well. I say surprisingly because quite often the gentlest shampoos perform poorly. Afterward, my hair felt really soft too. On closer inspection, the company have added Panthenol to the shampoo. Panthenol is fast becoming one of my favorite ingredients in shampoos such are the benefits with seemingly no drawbacks. But surely a high performing shampoo simply has to be full of contact irritants or allergens?

In a word, no. There is one known irritant in this shampoo – Sodium Hydroxide. You may know this ingredient as Lye or Caustic Soda! You might also know this ingredient as soap. Soap isn’t really a soap unless it’s made with Sodium Hydroxide. If you do react to it or it dries your scalp then I would avoid. However, for the vast majority of us, this should prove no problem at all.

The rest of the ingredients are an innovative mix of cleansers, foaming agents, and preservatives that have been designed for us sensitive skin sufferers. And they work very very well. Quite why all shampoos aren’t created with this level of thought is beyond me. I almost had a heavy heart using the shampoo as it is so gentle, performs so well and is so much better than 99.9% of so-called gentle shampoos out there.

If you use a gentle shampoo as part of your dandruff control regime make it this one. Outstanding.


  • The site owner. I founded, and have ran this site for too many years now. I have extremely sensitive skin, have suffered from seb derm for all my adult life and this site is my way of doing something about it. Check out my sister site at