The short answer: No, Head & Shoulders is not cruelty free.
The long answer: Head & Shoulders is an anti-dandruff shampoo that was developed in 1961. It was originally created as a cream by a team working under chemical engineer and bacteriologist, John Parran Jr. Fourteen years later, they transformed it into a clinically proven dandruff-fighting shampoo. At present, Head & Shoulders not only sells anti-dandruff shampoo and conditioner, but also hair styling products.
Head & Shoulders is owned by American multinational consumer goods corporation Procter & Gamble (P&G), which also distributes Herbal Essences, Aussie, and Pantene. On its website, it states, “As part of the Procter & Gamble family, Head & Shoulders adheres to the same standards of safety as regulatory bodies around the world.” This hair care line is one of the P&G brands that is being sold in mainland China. As such, it needs to follow the country’s importation laws—one of which is to undergo product testing on animals before they can be sold across the country. Chinese health authorities can also choose to retest the products on animals if a customer files a complaint, or simply to do a random check. Because of these reasons, Head & Shoulders cannot be considered a cruelty-free brand.