Dandruff Deconstructed is reader-supported. All reviews are independent and any products reviewed are purchased by the site owner. To help fund this model, some of the links on the site are affiliate links. If you decide to make a purchase from one of these links, this site will receive some commission. At no cost to you. It helps keeps this place running. Learn more
This is a real Jekyll and Hyde shampoo. It will control your dandruff if you suffer from Seb Derm. Even relatively severe cases. That’s the good news.
But the top performance isn’t without compromises. The shampoo contains Sulfates, Kathon CG and a few other nasty contact irritants or allergens. Quite why a company who claim to be a “haircare pioneer through plants” have added these I will never know. With a few tweaks this could have been an outstanding shampoo. As it is, I would proceed with caution.
Phyto is a French-based company that claims to be a “haircare pioneer through plants”. The website is full of marketable sound bites such as, “our hair is like our bodies. Chemical products attack it and natural products take care of it“. Although the phrases sound good, they are essentially meaningless. Pepper spray is a natural organic plant-derived product! The proof is in the pudding of course, but I do like the publically stated intentions of the company.
Do they walk the walk?
The shampoo is one of two dandruff shampoos developed by Phyto. Both are designed to combat seb derm, one being for regular usage and this one to be used to control an intensive outbreak. This is a novel approach to dandruff management – we typically have two stages to dandruff control; 1) get rid of dandruff 2) ensure there are no more outbreaks. Top marks to Phyto for understanding this and acting accordingly. Phyto recommends that you use this shampoo two or three times a week for a month to control your dandruff then switch to the gentler alternative.
The stats are impressive on the surface too. The shampoo provides 74% anti-dandruff effectiveness in one week, and a 96% anti-itchiness action. But what does that actually mean? I do know that the shampoo is a combination shampoo ie it contains more than one active ingredient. It actually contains three:
- Piroctone Olamine. An effective but gentle anti-fungal agent that will help control dandruff caused by seb derm.
- Salicylic Acid. An acid that will exfoliate existing dandruff, making it easier to wash off the scalp.
- Sodium Shale Oil Sulfonate: A relatively uncommon anti-fungal agent that contains all the good bits of coal tar without the cancerous side effects.
The other ingredients are extremely interesting too. There are a few plant extracts, some of which I’ve never seen before:
- White Willow Leaf Extract – has similar properties to aspirin which is essentially Salicylic Acid in another form.
- Fenugreek Seed Extract – an anti-inflammatory agent.
- Zanthoxylum Alatum Fruit Extract – better known as Sichuan Pepper, this extract provides pain and itch-relief (if you’ve ever eaten Sichuan Pepper you’ll know what I mean).
- Lentinus Edodes Extract – better known as the Shiitake Mushroom this extract provides further antifungal and antibacterial properties.
That is a unique formulation. If you consider that the company has added Panthenol to help moisturize the hair, there is no reason why this wouldn’t be a top-performing shampoo. Or would there…
On arrival, I was impressed with the appearance of the bottle. It looks very high-end and not like a clinical medicated shampoo at all. I was going to say that you could take this unnoticed to the gym, but it smells too weird for that. It’s a very hard scent to describe – it’s masculine, musky, and bitter with undertones of coal tar. Which is weird as the shampoo doesn’t contain coal tar. Maybe it’s the Sodium Shale Oil Sulfonate? Or maybe it’s the mushrooms? I don’t know the reason but I do know it smells a little weird. It’s quite a watery shampoo too but I found only a small is needed for a thorough wash. It foams well and my hair felt squeaky clean afterward – too clean perhaps. However, the Panthenol came into its own after washing as my hair felt soft and luxurious.
Best of all, this shampoo controlled my seb derm. I have pretty bad dandruff but after a couple of washes with this stuff, it drastically improved. So was the itching. So perhaps you’re thinking that this is a world-class shampoo with no downsides at all? That’s where you’d be wrong…
The other chemicals in this shampoo are downright ugly. In addition to fragrance, the company has added Kathon CG as a preservative. For those that don’t know, this preservative has caused a storm in the UK as the rate of allergy is so high and serious. Quite how this marries up with the “our hair is like our bodies. Chemical products attack it and natural products take care of it” strapline I will never know. There are so many gentler preservatives out there. The shampoo isn’t sulfate free either as they have added Sodium Laureth Sulfate. To add insult to injury the shampoo contains Alcohol Denat which is known to dry your scalp/hair and another known irritating preservative called Tetrasodium EDTA. Why?
Overall this is a real Jekyll and Hyde shampoo. It will control your dandruff if you suffer from Seb Derm. This much is a fact. But it comes at a price. A Sulfate, Kathon CG, and other nasty contact irritants/allergens price. Quite why a company that claims to be a “haircare pioneer through plants” did this I will never know. With a few tweaks, this could have been an outstanding shampoo. As it is, I would proceed with caution.
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 safehouseholdcleaning.com