Do anti-pollution hair care products work?

A growing number of companies are including ‘anti-pollution’ messaging on hair care products. They claim to remove dust, toxins and pollutants from your hair.

But do they work? And are they any better than regular shampoo?
Bust this myth and we’ll grant you this special badge to highlight your BS busting abilities.


No and No.

The term marketing spin comes to mind.

If a product can fulfil its claims, I would be more concerned about what wss in the product than the likely (very low risk) of having any ‘air pollution’ in my hair.

Unless one works in a smelter, clay refactory, panel bewters spray booth etc, it is unlikely that one would come into contact with ‘air pollution’ in Australia which would be a concern, or have any impact on the hair.

In suspect the claims about retarding air pollution comes from research that shows that hair can absorb some contaminants such as heavy metals etc. Whether this occurs in a normal head of hair, is highly questionalble.


The concept of anti-pollution hair care products is a bit of an oxymoron from my experience.

I have worked in a number of environments where the need to wash down head to toe was a daily ritual. With long hair originally, I now sport a more streamlined look, it is possible to suggest the most polluting item that goes into your hair is hair product!

A daily rinse with straight water, comb and brush used to be all that was needed most of the time. When there was a need to be more aggressive the endless cycle of shampoo and conditioner simply destroyed the look and drove the scalp bright red,itchy and flaky!

I now prefer a no 2 or 3 which is a short 30 second experience. :cowboy_hat_face:


It may be trivially true that there is ‘pollution’ in your hair. If so does it really matter if it is there in terms of your health and if so are the products that claim to remove it any better at removing it than those that do not claim this? Both of these propositions need to be true to make the anti-pollution wash worth the effort. Until there is evidence to this effect these claims are just marketeering waffle.

I have used this one before but it fits here so I’ll say it again.

Be wary of those selling a solution to a problem that they may well have constructed.


Having little hair left of my own, I reckon I’m not in the running to be selected as a product trialist.
However, a search of Google Scholar revealed no peer reviewed articles on the subject, only patent applications which do not need scientific scrutiny to be approved.

If there is genuinely an issue somewhere with chemical fallout that can damage hair, then protection is all that will prove effective. Similar to barrier cream for hands, a good conditioner may provide hair this protection. Washing the nasties out after they have done damage is not only somewhat pointless, almost any shampoo will be effective at doing this.

Hair is often sampled for metals as a marker for pollution in a given area. These metals come from a persons body and are trapped within the hair. No hair care product is ever going to remove these metals short of using a depilatory cream.


In the mid 1980’s, I started to suffer a condition whereby my scalp was unbearably itchy, and when I scratched it, small dandruff-like white flakes would fall out of my hair.

Our GP referred me to a specialist who advised me to use Ego Pharmaceuticals Sebitar shampoo on a daily basis, which I have done ever since and the problem has never reoccurred.

I use it daily along with Ego Pharmaceuticals Sebirinse conditioner and have never had a problem with using these products.

I would also expect that persons working in coal and iron ore mining, extractive industries, cement powder industries, fertilizer industries, waste disposal industries and so forth would also want to wash their hair daily for both health and hygiene reasons.

However, I would be very sceptical of any so-called anti-pollutant hair products manufacturers who cannot back up their claims with creditable research.

Unless of course they can prove their products are manufactured using oils from all natural, free range, organically raised, non-GMO snakes.


I did a search as my BS-o-meter was ringing loudly. It wasn’t encouraging to find a lot of industry chatter quoting industry experts saying this is a big issue and suggesting it is an emerging market. Of course the industry in question is the cosmetics industry. One even referenced This Paper giving the opposite impression of what the paper seems to be saying, as @V8Snail et al have observed, by the time much of the serious bad stuff is in your hair it has already been through the rest of you and the hair is its way out, so to speak …

So I reckon its balderdash.

I can only imagine what a no 3 is, but I can’t say I’ve ever managed a no 2 inside 30 seconds, unless startled :wink: OK, jocularity aside, I’m guessing you are talking clipper combs … I’m more a fan of the pony tailed pattern bald look, though I’m probably alone in that one … I figure use it or lose it, or maybe use it before its all gone! It has increased my shampoo usage though, but maybe longer hair extracts more heavy metals? (desperately trying to avoid any references to Black Sabbath …)


Thanks for the discussion everyone! We’ve awarded some BS Buster badges to @phb, @mark_m, @syncretic, @V8Snail and @draughtrider for their comments on whether hair pollution is a real concern for consumers or just marketing spin.
We’ve got an article exploring this strange claim and agree it’s more of a buzzword than anything else :wink: