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6 May

Head & Shoulders Goes Minimalist With First Nine-ingredient Dandruff

For Head & Shoulders, the important thing to unlocking more within the dandruff care arena could also be using less.

The brand’s newest shampoo, called Bare, accommodates just nine ingredients — all of that are purposefully displayed on the front of the bottle — and seeks to meet consumers’ growing demand for pared-down formulas that don’t compromise efficacy.

“Using just nine ingredients eliminates one in every of the most important barriers as to why people don’t use a drugs to resolve an issue they’ve — they don’t want more chemicals of their hair,” said John Brownlee, vice chairman, Head & Shoulders’ North America hair care portfolio. “We’re on this era of minimalism; if there are fewer ingredients in a product, there’s more that’s in [the consumer’s] control.”

Bare retails for $9.97 and is launching at Walmart in May, with plans to roll out to other retailers in the next months. The brand went through greater than 100 iterations to land the shampoo’s final formula, which taps zinc pyrithione as its dandruff-fighting lively, while other ingredients reminiscent of citric acid, acrylates copolymer and polyquaternium-10 work in tandem to foster healthy strands.

“People are likely to use dandruff shampoos reactively, but they’re setting themselves up to only have that scalp issue return,” said Jeni Thomas, scientific communications fellow and senior director of world hair care at Head & Shoulders, adding that with this launch, the brand is fixated on bolstering consumers’ understanding of — and commitment to — dandruff prevention.

“Prevention is our next frontier; the SPF category has made great strides in getting people to acknowledge the importance of prevention, and that’s one in every of the following big moves for the scalp care category,” she said.

Brownlee and Thomas didn’t comment on sales expectations for Bare, but industry sources estimate the clinically tested shampoo could do $20 million in first-year sales.

The product’s minimalist ethos extends to its packaging, as well.

“The aesthetics we measure the Head & Shoulders brand against should not versus dandruff shampoos, but versus cosmetic shampoos,” said Brownlee, adding that since the FDA doesn’t permit the usage of PCR within the packaging of drug products (which dandruff products are classified as), the brand opted to harness 45 percent less virgin plastic than is typical, leading to a pliable “ecobottle” that may roll up for efficient meting out.

“Showing people they will address dandruff in a non-aggressive way, or in a way that doesn’t feel chemically harsh — it normalizes scalp care a bit, which is the trail Head & Shoulders has been on for a very long time,” said Brownlee, adding that the brand recently wrapped a social media partnership with Bill Nye (scientist, educator and Gen Z middle school science classroom linchpin) to teach the masses on misconceptions about dandruff.

“There’s a growing awareness that dandruff is a fairly common thing, so it’s like, why are we being coy or evasive about it? In case you could make that education snackable and something of a type of actual cultural currency and prove it’s fun to learn — that’s very effective, and TikTok is an actual revelation as a format since it lends itself well to explaining things in a fun and pithy way,” Brownlee said.

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