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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.
Suave is a brand you probably know in the US but isn’t so well known on European shores. It’s a 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 women and some unisex. I couldn’t find any consistency air all. At first glance, I would call it quite a confused brand, but the Suave Shea Butter Dandruff Shampoo comes highly recommended on Amazon so I thought I’d take a look.
The bottle is brown and white in color and there’s nothing stand 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’d 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 its 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:
- DMDM Hydantoin is a preservative that releases formaldehyde. The same formaldehyde they use to preserve corpses. I haven’t seen this ingredient for a while now, most manufacturers have found better ways to preserve their shampoos.
- Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate is used to preserve wood. Who would have thought that wood preservers would cause a reaction in some folk…
- Cocamidopropyl Betaine is both a foam booster and cleaner and has the dubious distinction of being named named contact allergen of the year in 2004
- Methylisothiazolinone and Methylchloroisothiazolinone are preserving agents that, when combined, have the trade name Kathon CG. Kathon CG caused a epidemic of allergic reactions in its prime. Many manufacturers promised to remove it from their products but unfortunately Unilever are seemingly not one of them.
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 have 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 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 safehouseholdcleaning.com