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Head & Shoulders Interview: 24 minutes with a scientist and a stylist

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How different is the SOS range from your existing anti-dandruff products?

It’s the same technology called the ZPT or ActiZinc technology which provides the scalp benefits, but what we’ve done here is tailor the range of products to the specific scalp needs. What we have in terms of the overall differences among the products is we’ve got nine products that are tailored to specific hair needs, e.g. long hair versus short hair, thick versus thin hair, et cetera.

How can this range help with the common hair and scalp care problems of residents here in the UAE such as dandruff and hair loss?

We have to look at two different things. We have to look at the scalp and the hair. They both have a connection, actually. If you think about it, the scalp is basically just skin, but it is the factory for your hair.

Logically, if your scalp is in good condition, it’s much more likely to grow beautiful hair. The condition of your scalp has a direct effect on the quality of your hair.

We hear a lot about the issues you mentioned: high temperature and lots of humidity – all these things that can play a role in your personal comforts. We know that dandruff is not really dependent on the season. One can have dandruff all year round and it affects about 50 per cent of the population. That means every other person has dandruff no matter if you’re in Dubai or Stockholm.

The reason for it is we’re producing oils on our heads – sebum – and we have a fungus that lives on our head that eats the oils. Our skin is trying to get rid of the fungus by reacting. What it does is it speeds up its natural renewal process to push the fungus away. The skin cells clump together and become those big chunks, or flakes, that you see. It’s a perfectly normal skin reaction.

Those issues are a mixture of different things. If you have very high temperatures, you’re likely to have an irritated scalp and it might be more uncomfortable than in a colder condition. Obviously, you sweat more and that can have an effect on your style, for example. Water as we know is one of the key elements that we use to style hair with. Humidity levels can actually undo styling and change the hair to what it was before.

What we’re trying to do is normalize your scalp condition to get rid of some of the symptoms you have, like itch, dryness and tightness, as well as flaking. At same time, we’re trying to improve hair quality with our product technology.

What is the special ingredient in this new range?

There’s one ingredient that really delivers the scalp care benefits, and that’s Zinc Pyrithione (ZPT) or what we call ActiZinc. We first introduced it into hair products 50 years ago and we have continuously optimised it since then. We’ve changed the formulation, thrown in different particles and made different blends and that is the ingredient that really tackles the fungus to eliminate dandruff. It normalises the scalp condition, bringing it from an irritated state into a normal state.

On top of that, we also now have the hair care ingredients that provide conditioning benefits for the hair surface. It’s really the whole composition that make using Head & Shoulders a highly beneficial experience for the consumer.

This new range has the shampoo only. What about the conditioner?

We do have a conditioner line as well which specifically delivers hair and scalp benefits. I don’t think it’s on the market here, but there might be plans to bring it in.

When is the new range going to be available?

It should be available on the market as of next month.

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