Is Dove shampoo good or bad for your hair? Can it cause hair loss?

Dove shampoos are some of the most affordable and no doubt among the most purchased by consumers around the world. The brand has released a wide range of shampoos over the years catering to all hair types. But while you get excited after watching a new Dove ad on TV announcing a new product release, have you ever wondered if Dove shampoos are actually good for your hair? Do they cause hair loss etc.?  In this article, we will provide you with all the information you need. 

Dove shampoos ingredients

Here is a list of some of the most common ingredients found in Dove shampoos.


These are a mix of synthetic and naturally-derived chemicals that wash off dirt and excess oil from the hair and scalp. The most used include Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate and Cocamidopropyl Betaine.


These are synthetic chemicals used as film formers, binders, or viscosity adjusters in hair products. They help enhance the texture and add water-resistance properties to shampoos. Examples include Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer and PEG-45M.

Silicon polymers

These are synthetic compounds that confer condition properties to shampoos. They help soften and smoothen the hair and facilitate detangling after rinse-off. Some include Dimethicone and Dimethiconol.


These are chemicals used to prevent the development of bacteria once a shampoo bottle is opened and exposed to water. Common preservatives in Dove shampoos include Sodium Benzoate, Methylchloroisothiazolinone and Methylisothiazolinone.

Fragrance ingredients

Dove shampoos are known for their lovely scents created by using a blend of both natural fragrances like Limonene, Citronellol, Linalool, and synthetic fragrances like Hexyl Cinnamal.


Dove shampoos contain micas (mineral colourants) or synthetic dyes to impart color to the formulations.

Amino acids

Some Dove shampoos are enriched with amino acids such as arginine and lysine. These are beneficial for hair since they help hair retain moisture. They do this by preventing hair cuticles from drying out. 


Keratin is a natural protein usually found in the hair that gives it a glossy and shiny look. Some Dove shampoos are enriched with this protein to revive and nourish dry and damaged hair.


Humectants like glycerin and gluconolactone are commonly used in Dove shampoos to draw moisture into the hair. 

Natural oils

Some Dove shampoo formulas also contain rich plant oils and butters like shea butter, coconut oil and sunflower oil to moisturize and nourish hair strands.

Plant extracts

Certain shampoo formulas are enriched with plant extracts that reinforce the hair like aloe vera, caffeine, menthol, vitamins, and minerals. 

Does Dove shampoo have sulfates?

The term sulfates in cosmetics refers to sulfate-based surfactants used in the manufacture of cleansing products like shampoo. This group of synthetic detergents is associated with irritations to the skin and scalp due to their sometimes harsh cleansing properties. Unfortunately, these are the most commonly used surfactants in the hair care industry and are present in Dove shampoos.

Some of the most commonly used sulfates by the brand include Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES). SLS is made from either petroleum or plant sources like palm oil or coconut oil. SLES, on the other hand, is made solely from plant sources of palm oil and coconut oil.

Does Dove shampoo have DMDM hydantoin?

DMDM Hydantoin is a preservative used in hair care products. Over the years this chemical has fallen under a lot of controversies as it is suspected to be cancerous. In fact, DMDM hydantoin is known to be a formaldehyde releaser. It prevents bacteria growth by releasing small amounts of formaldehyde, a substance that causes cancer when absorbed into the body.

Although generally considered safe to use by the cosmetic review panel, DMDM hydantoin is still associated with hair loss and scalp irritation. Some Dove shampoos like the Dove Soothing Moisture Anti-Dandruff Shampoo contain DMDM hydantoin.

Harmful ingredients in Dove shampoo

Dove shampoos contain certain ingredients which may be harmful to your hair. These include the following:

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

This detergent can be very harsh on the scalp and can cause dryness as well as itchiness. It is too stripping and washes even the essential lipids present on the scalp to guarantee moisture retention in hair strands.

Prolonged use of shampoos containing this ingredient may be harmful in the long run. It may be best to wash your hair only periodically for a deep cleanse and recommended to apply oil on your scalp immediately after use to prevent dryness. This should only be the case if you have dry, sensitive, or thin hair. It’s even better if you avoid this ingredient altogether and choose shampoos that contain milder surfactants such as Sodium coco sulfate.


Methylchloroisothiazolinone is a preservative used in cosmetics to prevent the growth of yeast and bacteria in products. It is a well-known allergen and when present in high concentrations can cause chemical burns to the skin.

Although it is considered safe to use, it is reported to cause contact dermatitis (contact allergy). In Europe, a voluntary ban has been placed on its use in leave-on products and is only allowed in rinse-off products at a concentration of 0.0015%. 


Fragrance ingredients are the most allergenic substances used in cosmetic products. They usually consist of complex blends of several chemicals that are potent irritants.

A wide range of Dove Shampoos contains a mix of several fragrances that can cause mild to serve allergic reactions. Although they contribute to the aesthetic of the final product, regular exposure to fragrances can sensitize the scalp over time. It is best to opt for fragrance-free formulas if you have a sensitive or eczema-prone scalp.

Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate

This water-based preservative is commonly used in cosmetic products. It is considered safe at a concentration of 0.1%, however, this chemical is known to frequently cause allergic reactions. Common reactions to this include itchiness, redness, bumps, or small papules. 

DMDM hydantoin

This preservative is a formaldehyde releaser and may potentially be carcinogenic. Because it is absorbed by the skin this raises a real concern. The nature of this product is also reported to cause hair loss and scalp dryness. 

Silicone polymers

Silicon-based polymers are used to create a protective film over hair strands. While they contribute to making hair soft and silky, their main side effect is that they tend to build up and weigh on hair strands resulting in dull and dry hair. They also tend to clog hair cuticles and irritate the scalp causing dandruff.

Does Dove shampoo cause hair loss?

So far, there is no concrete scientific evidence that Dove shampoos cause hair to fall out. However, many customers’ reviews online show negative reactions to Dove shampoos. Most complaints of hair loss and itchy or irritated scalp come from Dove Anti-dandruff shampoo line users. These products are currently under investigation for a possible class-action lawsuit. 

Dove shampoo hair loss lawsuit

As stated above, Dove is currently under investigation for a possible class action lawsuit. The investigation is centered around the use of DMDM Hydantoin and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate in 4 Dove shampoos. The products concerned include:

  • Dove Anti-Dandruff Shampoo – Dryness & Itch Relief
  • Dove Anti-Dandruff Shampoo – Soothing Moisture
  • Dove Anti-Dandruff Shampoo – Coconut & Hydration
  • Dove Men+Care Anti-Dandruff Fortifying Shampoo & Conditioner – Dandruff Defense
  • Dove Men+Care Anti-Dandruff Fortifying Shampoo & Conditioner – Dryness & Itch Relief

Does Dove men’s shampoo cause hair loss?

Dove men’s shampoos do not cause hair loss. DMDM hydantoin has been removed from some products in the Dove Men Care + line and potentially harmful Sodium Lauryl Sulfate has been replaced with Sodium C12-13 Pareth Sulfate, a gentle and non-irritating surfactant. While this is good news, on the downside, all Dove men’s shampoo still contains preservatives and fragrances that can irritate dry and/or sensitive scalps. You want to make sure you check the ingredient list of the product before your purchase.

Does Dove anti-dandruff shampoo cause hair loss?

The Dove anti-dandruff shampoos are not proven to cause hair loss in consumers although this range of products is being investigated for the presence of DMDM Hydantoin.


Can Dove shampoo cause an itchy scalp?

Dove shampoos can cause an itchy scalp, especially on dry and sensitive scalps. A lot of the brand’s products still contain Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and other allergens that can trigger irritations on the scalp. However, the brand has also sulfate-free and fragrance-free options.

Is Dove shampoo paraben-free?

For many years parabens have been a controversial topic in the beauty industry as they are suspected to cause cancer. While scientific evidence has not proven this, this group of preservatives has stuck with this bad reputation. Dove shampoos are all paraben-free. However, the preservatives used in the brand shampoos still present a risk of irritation.

Is Dove shampoo good or bad for your hair?

So is Dove shampoo good or bad for your hair? 

Dove shampoos are particularly popular for their attractive pricing however, they are not the worst shampoos available on the market. It is true they contain potentially harmful ingredients, but the brand offers a variety of products that are suitable for all hair types. Some  Dove shampoos also contain nourishing ingredients like plant extracts, natural oils and amino acids and vitamins that help keep hair healthy and clean. 

The key is to be careful and identify the right ingredients to soothe your concern. For example, oily hair types won’t have a huge problem with sulfates as this hair type needs deep cleansing to get rid of excess sebum. On the other hand, sensitive or dry hair types should opt for Dove shampoos that do not contain Sodium Lauryl Sulfate or are completely sulfate-free and fragrance-free.

All in all, if you are worried about certain ingredients damaging your hair or causing unwanted reactions, it’s best you choose natural shampoo containing milder surfactants and primarily natural ingredients. Some of the best natural shampoo brands include John Masters Organics, Green People and Urtekram.