Review :: Selsun Blue Dandruff Shampoo

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  • Ingredients
  • Wash
  • Scent
  • Price


One of the few Selenium Sulfide shampoos on the market, Selsun Blue may control if you suffer from the mildest forms of seborrheic dermatitis. It’s simply too weak a formulation to control anything stronger. Even if you do suffer from mild seborrheic dermatitis however, we recommend looking elsewhere. There are simply too many harsh contact allergens in this bottle for us to recommend it highly.

User Review
3.04 (26 votes)

buy now on Amazon Selsun Blue is one of the best selling dandruff shampoos in the USA. While the brand isn’t as well-known in the UK, I was looking forward to using this particular shampoo due to the active ingredient; Selenium Sulfide. In a former life, I used to work in Sweden and the Swedish pharmacies sell a tremendously effective 2.5% selenium sulfide shampoo. I used this shampoo for many years and it controlled my dandruff virtually the whole time.

Selenium Sulfide is actually one of the harsher active ingredients in dandruff shampoos. It’s also proven to be relatively effective as well. I personally used it in the event of a breakout and used a gentle shampoo as part of my regime. The 2.5% Selenium Sulfide shampoos are only available over the counter in Canada, the UK or EU. In the USA it’s often only available on prescription. As Selenium Blue is available anywhere it contains only 1% Selenium Sulfide. I’ve personally never used such a weak formula and have pretty bad seborrheic dermatitis breakouts.

Selsun Blue Blue Foam
Selsun Blue Foam

The bottle, in keeping with the Blue part of the name, is a very blue prominent bottle. I’d actually bought the menthol version of the product (although I wasn’t aware of that at the time!). The shampoo itself is blue. Extremely blue. It’s perhaps the bluest shampoo I’ve ever seen. So blue in fact that the foam is blue! My shower basin ended up blue too so be careful with this stuff. The blue is actually a type of food coloring and in my opinion, they’ve probably overdone it a tad. Not least because the colorant in large doses can induce asthma in asthma sufferers! It seems such a needless additive.

On washing the first thing I noticed was the familiar tingle of menthol. Some people love this sensation. I’m not such a great fan because it’s yet another clinically needless additive. The cooling sensation is purely cosmetic. Regular readers of this site will know we prefer the less is more approach when formulating shampoos. The wash itself was pretty luxurious, the foam was rich and my hair felt soft afterward.

Unfortunately, after a week’s usage, this shampoo wasn’t sufficiently strong enough to control my dandruff. I already know that shampoos with 2.5% selenium sulfide will control my dandruff. So I can only assume that 1% is too weak. The shampoo also contains some harsh contact allergens. As it turns out I’d actually bought the harshest variant of Selsun Blue out there. All variants contain DMDM Hydantoin – an irritable preservative that is also a releases formaldehyde. In addition all variants contain Cocamide DEA – a foaming agent derived from coconut oil that is a known contact allergen. If I were to purchase a new bottle (which I won’t) I would go for the straight vanilla shampoo plus conditioner. The medicated version I bought contains even more contact allergens – Cocamidopropyl Betaine for example – and I can’t see what the medicated aspect of it actually is.

All in all, this shampoo may work if you have mild seborrheic dermatitis. Anything more and you need something stronger. Even if I did suffer from mild seborrheic dermatitis though, I wouldn’t be buying this shampoo purely because of all the harsh additives in there. There are far better alternatives on the market today.


  • 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

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10 thoughts on “Review :: Selsun Blue Dandruff Shampoo”

  1. Selsun Blue used to be available in the UK up until about three years ago when it suddenly disappeared. It was different to the US version and was creamy blue in colour, rather than the vibrant blue of the US version. It was the only dandruff shampoo that had ever succeeded in eliminating my dandruff. I tried the US version and it didn’t work for me.

  2. Nice article about selenium sulfide. One additional use for selenium sulfide is for wrestlers. Our wrestling ‘momma coach’ recommends that boys shower using a shampoo with selenium sulfide after practice to prevent bacteria growth that is prone to affect wrestlers. Great OTC preventative use for those pesky skin diseases. For general wrestler use, 1% works fine. I occasionally have my wrestlers use the 2.5% when bacteria starts to get passed around more vigorously among the team.

  3. When I was a kid in the late 1960’s, my older brother developed a dandruff problem. My mom consulted a doctor and upon his recommendation, bought and effectively treated my brother’s dandruff problem. When I was in my twenties, I developed a bad dandruff problem. I tried Head and Shoulders which had just come into the market with a lot of fanfare. It did not work. I am not sure what else I tried but I soon was desperate and saw a doctor and told him I tried everything. He asked me what I tried and I told him it was mostly Head and Shoulders. He advised me to try Selsun and I immediately thought to myself. of course! Selsun! How on earth did I forget? So off I went and bought Selsun. It worked right away!. No fanfare, no hype, just plain effective results! For those who have never used Selsun, I must add that “yes” it does cost a bit more and ‘yes” it does smell like medicine but not all that bad really. But if you have a bad case of dandruff, you only have to use it about twice a week to start. Once your dandruff disappears, you can reduce use to about once a month or even less. I have never had to use Selsun since, except just once several years later. The last 200ml bottle of Selsun Blue I bought was in 1994. It is now 24 years since and I still have some left! But no dandruff!

    • Thanks Kelly! Selenium Sulfide, the active ingredient in Selsun Blue, is one of the few active ingredients that controls my seb derm. Although the 1% dose in Selsun Blue sometimes isn’t quite strong enough. So I generally opt for a 2.5% selenium sulfide shampoo. For me personally, its a godsend.


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