Suave Scalp Solutions Anti-Dandruff Shampoo with Coconut & Shea Butter

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This is a confused bloated badly designed shampoo from a confused bloated brand. It looks like coconut but smells of fruit. It’s supposed to be gentle but almost half of the ingredients are known to cause contact dermatitis.

It’s for dandruff yet causes dandruff.


buy now on Amazon Suave is a brand you probably know in the US but isn’t so well known on European shores. It’s a sub-brand of the corporate giant Unilever and produces an overwhelming number of shampoos, shower gels, body washes, antiperspirant deodorants, etc etc etc.

To put it their scale into perspective, I counted 28 different shampoos in their current range. So overwhelming is the number of products, it’s hard to find any consistent theme or ideology that the brand stands for. Some of the products are premium priced, some are budget. Some are for men, some for women, and some unisex. I couldn’t find any consistency air all. At first glance, I would call it quite a confusing brand, but the Suave Shea Butter Dandruff Shampoo comes highly recommended on Amazon so I thought I’d take a look.

suave dandruff shampoo bottle The bottle is brown and white in color and there’s nothing stands out at all in terms of how it looks. Despite the $9.99 price (at the time of writing), the bottle looks like any generic own-brand shampoo you’d find in a dollar store. The shampoo’s active ingredient is zinc pyrithione, an anti-fungal agent that is probably the most widespread active ingredient in dandruff shampoos today. It’s actually my least favorite active ingredient too as it will control only the mildest cases of seborrheic dermatitis. If you have anything other than very mild seb derm I would look for other seb derm shampoos immediately.

What confused me before I even started is the shampoo also contains coconut oils and shea butter. Shea butter is a great dry scalp treatment that can help get rid of your dry scalp pretty fast. That said, it is high in oleic acid. Oleic Acid is a fatty acid found in olive oils and avocados among others. It is a great, great natural moisturizer for the skin. However, it has been shown to irritate and even induce seb derm in sufferers. Recent research even suggests that it’s the cause of seb derm!

If this is a shampoo for dry scalp, why have they added zinc pyrithione? If it’s a shampoo for Seb Derm, why have they added shea butter? Nobody at the company replied to that email…

The shampoo itself is a bright thick white liquid. Despite the added coconut (and coconut proudly displayed on the bottle), the shampoo has a fruity smell. When washing, the foam felt luxurious, it cleaned my hair so it squeaked but my hair felt dry afterwards. If you do use this I would recommend using a conditioner too. The squeaky clean did worry me as it often suggests that the shampoo contains some nasty ingredients so I looked with interest at the composition of this shampoo.

This is where it went wrong…

The shampoo contains 19 ingredients. This in itself is pretty unremarkable. What is remarkable is that 8 of these ingredients are known contact allergens. I can’t think of a shampoo with a higher ratio of ingredients to contact allergens. It’s not like they have used mild contact allergens either; the shampoo contains sulfates, fragrances and alcohols. Harsh ingredients which we’d prefer not to see in this day and age. However, the shampoo also contains:

This is a confused bloated badly designed shampoo from a confused bloated badly designed brand. I simply can’t recommend this shampoo. I can’t recommend a shampoo to seb derm sufferers that contains shea butter. I can’t recommend this shampoo to dry skin sufferers because it contains anti-fungal agents. I can’t recommend this shampoo to anyone because almost half of the ingredients are low grade, low cost, high damage contact irritants or allergens that the manufacturers KNOW cause contact dermatitis.

Avoid. There are many many better shampoos for dry skin and seb derm sufferers out there.

NOTE – Suave has since discontinued this shampoo and replaced it with a Dandruff Shampoo and Conditioner for Men. This “new” shampoo is essentially nothing but a cynical rebrand. It’s the same bad clumsy formulation without the shea butter or coconut extracts. Why it’s for men I don’t know… I’d avoid the new one too.


  • 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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9 thoughts on “Suave Scalp Solutions Anti-Dandruff Shampoo with Coconut & Shea Butter”

  1. Thanks for the info about the shampoo. Ive been looking for this everywhere its not on the store shelf. All i can say to you is, it works on me. I have always had a bad dandruff problems during winter or summer season and it never goes away. I tried different and all kinds of anto dandruff and nothing works. This product make it gone. I used this twice a week but not everyday. After i used this, i saw definitely a nice results. Those nasty dandruff in my head are gone. I dont used conditioner but for this as a anti dandruff conditioner yes it works. Shampoo with anti dandruff didnt works but this works in one used. My scalp are happy and my head doesnt itch because of those white stuff. I used shampoo first, washed thoroughly then this product coconut she butter anti dandruff. I let it sit for a couple of minutes and massage my head. When you rinse your hair massage your entire scalp. Its a nice product for me. I tried lots of lots of antidandruff shampoo and nothing works. It maybe not a great idea for ingdredients for you but it do what anti dandruff supposed to do. I have a very sensitive skin and if I used a wrong brand it make my scalp itch right after used. this product dont. I think coconut and she butter helps to moisturize your skin but i get your point that its no good combo for a anti dandruff but it did the work though. I understand that after using it my hair kinda not a conditioned hair. Its more like stiff hair and not smooth kinda feeling. All i can say is because its anti dandruff solution not a conditioner that smooth your hair. I rather like the stiff feeling why??? Its because the product works.. i conditioned my hair with different brand and it still works.. i put other conditioner before it only leaves your scalp oil. Too much oily but this none. Dry scalp and dry hair… i dont think so. My scalp are fine after using this. I run out of supply and problem occurs no suave. but i hope they remove the bad ingredients but let the good one stays.. it works but as you point out theres a bad ingredients in it.

    • Hi Marie – that’s a great comment right there. An important one too. Different shampoos work for different people – or rather different active ingredients have differing effects on different people and some shampoo formulations work better with some folk than others. It’s a very personal experience. All I can do is rlay my personal experience and be as objective as I can with the ingredients.

      You may be interested to note that Suave updated that shampoo to this one . Other than branding, the differences are negligible.

      That shampoo used an active ingredient called Zinc Pyrithione and it sounds like that ingredient works for you. We’ve reviewed tons of other Zinc Pyrithione shampoos that you may want to check out.

      Best of luck!

  2. I don’t understand, this shampoo and conditioner healed my scalp and I don’t know what to do now, nothing out there works like this did for me, I have sores now on my scalp from shampoos that leave me itching! I really liked this shampoo and conditioner and I bought several at a time in case this very thing happened. Now I don’t have any left!

    • If it works for you, absolutely continue to use it! There’s no better reviewer than yourself. I can only advise for a general audience what ingredients are in there. If there are a lot of harsher chemicals in the shampoo, there is a greater chance people will react. If you don’t then fantastic!!

      If you’re still concerned, the active ingredient in this shampoo is Zinc Pyrithione. There are plenty of alternatives out there. My two favorites being DHS Zinc and Dead Sea Spa.

      There’s a whole heap of information about that ingredient and other shampoos in our page on zinc pyrithione

  3. Small correction: the name in the Technical Specs box on the righthand side is “Alba Botanica Clarifying Shampoo”, although this page is for Suave Dandruff Shampoo.

  4. Hi, Found your article googling for Suave dandruff shampoo. I actually had the coconut stuff a couple of times and had good luck with it, and the men’s zinc pyrithione kind too. The best I ever found, though, was the Suave dandruff shampoo with sulfur as the active ingredient (zinc sulfide?). So naturally they stopped making it, lol. It had a sulfury smell out of the bottle but it didn’t stay with you when your hair dried. If I sweat profusely – like to the point where there are salt lines on a dark shirt after it dries – there’s a sulfury tang to the sweat. Maybe the shampoo’s chemistry was a good match for my own? I don’t know but I wish I could find another like it. I’ve had dandruff since I was 12 and I’m in my 50’s now. It’s not severe but enough to be annoying if it’s not controlled. I tried a lot of different kinds, including expensive ones (coal tar made it worse), before I happened onto the Suave. Are you aware of any with a similar formula? Thanks, either way.


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