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Clean Haircare: 11 Best Natural and Non Toxic Shampoo And Conditioner
When it comes to our daily beauty products, effectiveness is key, but not at the cost of our health or the planet.
This principle holds true when choosing non-toxic deodorants, natural skincare, and of course, extends to our haircare. After all, as the saying goes, it's about caring "from head to toe!" Embracing clean haircare is about personal choice as much as it is about holistic well-being and environmental responsibility.
Unfortunately, the majority of conventional shampoos and conditioners contain ingredients like silicone that never biodegrade. These compounds, washed into our waterways and affecting aquatic ecosystems, underscore the urgency of choosing eco-friendlier options.
It's in our everyday decisions where we find the power to make a real difference – for both our health and the planet. Even one small change, like switching to a non-toxic shampoo and conditioner, can contribute significantly to this cause.
In this post, we’ll guide you through everything you need to know to find the best natural and non-toxic shampoo and conditioner.
What Makes Shampoo Non-Toxic?
In the world of hair care, the term 'non-toxic' is gaining momentum. But what does it really mean?
While all products, from organic shampoos to everyday items like coconut oil and baking soda, contain chemicals, it's the type of chemicals that makes all the difference. Non-toxic shampoos and conditioners are formulated with a focus on safety and natural ingredients, conscientiously avoiding known harmful chemicals.
This approach involves steering clear of harmful substances such as sulfates, parabens, phthalates, and artificialfragrances, commonly found in conventional hair care products.
Embracing plant-based, natural, and organic ingredients, non-toxic hair care offers a safer, more nurturing alternative for hair and scalp. These products often focus on environmental health as well, featuring biodegradable formulas and sustainable packaging, aligning personal care with ecological responsibility.
Let's take a deeper look into what makes a shampoo truly non-toxic as we share our favorite shampoos and conditioners that champion the clean beauty space.
So, what are the best and healthiest shampoos and conditioners?
Here is the Full List of the Best Non Toxic Shampoo Brands
Innersense | Shop Here*
True Botanicals | Shop Here*
100% PURE | Shop Here*
Rahua | Shop Here*
MÁDARA | Shop Here*
Evolvh | Shop Here*
Acure | Shop Here*
Ceremonia | Shop Here*
Ethique | Shop Here*
Shea Moisture | Shop Here*
Plaine |Shop Here*
Criteria for Non Toxic Shampoo
In our top picks list, only shampoos that meet the following criteria are included:
Shampoos that are certified with a natural cosmetics seal recognized in the U.S., such as USDA Organic, Made Safe, ECOCERT or EWG Verified.
Gentle shampoos free of silicones, parabens, sulfates, and petroleum products.
Natural cosmetic shampoos that are easily accessible in the U.S., available in retail and/or on Amazon.
The Best Chemical-Free Shampoos & Conditioners
$28 for 10 oz
$64 for 2lb refill pouch
Best For: Medium texture, chemical and colored hair.
Why We Like It:
This shampoo stands out for its ability to revitalize and maintain the vibrancy of color treated hair, thanks to its rich blend of raw coconut and shea butter. It's particularly admired for its nourishing properties and ability to enhance the texture and volume of medium textured hair.
Innersense Color Awakening Hairbath features a blend of gentle and nourishing ingredients. Key components include cocamidopropyl hydroxysultaine and sodium cocoyl isethionate derived from coconut, offering a mild cleansing action. The formula also contains glycerin and honey, providing hydration and softness to hair. Certified organic oils such as orange peel, lemon peel, and eucalyptus add refreshing scents. Additionally, this best natural shampoo shampoo incorporates quinoa and rice protein for strengthening, avocado oil and shea butter for conditioning, and cucumber, avocado, mango extracts for added nourishment. This composition supports healthy, vibrant hair while being environmentally conscious with gluten-free and cruelty-free commitments.
Customers praise this shampoo for its cleaning power and organic ingredients. They appreciate its pleasant smell, effective lather, and its ability to make hair less dry. The shampoo is also commended for enhancing hair health, maintaining shine in color-treated hair, and being lightweight and suitable for fine hair.
Image @ Innersense
Pricing: $102 for bundle
Best For: Those with fine hair seeking hydrating and antioxidant-rich hair care.
Why We Like It:
We like this shampoo for it's hydrating properties, using green tea and meadowfoam seed oils to nourish and protect the hair.
The True Botanicals Nourishing Shampoo contains a blend of natural and beneficial ingredients. It features green tea leaf extract and aloe vera leaf juice, known for their antioxidant and soothing properties. The shampoo also includes sodium lauroyl methyl isethionate and cocamidopropyl hydroxysultaine derived from coconut, offering gentle cleansing without harsh effects. Meadowfoam seed oil and camellia oleifera (tea) seed oil hydrate and nourish the hair. Additionally, the product incorporates a blend of natural citrus and floral oils for fragrance, along with other plant-derived ingredients, creating a formula that supports healthy hair while being mindful of gentle cleansing and nourishment.
Customers highly recommend this shampoo, particularly for those with fine hair and sensitive scalps. They praise its mild fragrance, its effectiveness in maintaining hair volume and softness without causing scalp issues, and it's ability to clean without stripping the hair's oils. Users appreciate its non-toxic formulation, finding it worth the price, and report softer hair even without conditioner.
Image @ True Botanicals
Pricing: $38 for 16 oz
Best For: Those seeking volume and hydration
Why We Like It:
The gentle shampoo the Kelp and Mint Volumizing Non Toxic Shampoo is distinguished for its invigorating and hydrating properties, offering both bounce and shine to the hair, with a refreshing minty scent.
This natural shampoo contains key ingredients like Panthenol (Vitamin B5) for moisture lock-in, Neem for treating skin concerns, and Vitamin E for protection against free radical damage. It also includes Mint for soothing the skin and Kelp for enriching hair with essential minerals. The complete ingredient list includes organic aloe leaf juice, rose hydrosol, vegetable glycerin, and saponified coconut oil, among others, ensuring a nourishing and natural formula.
Customers are particularly satisfied with the hydrating properties of this shampoo. It's appreciated for helping revive dry hair, making it lively again, even in humid environments. Users value its natural formulation, free from fillers and harsh chemicals. The shampoo is also noted for not having an overpowering smell and for leaving hair feeling great.
Image @ 100% Pure
Pricing: $40 for 9.3 oz
Best For: Oily hair, dry scalp and fine hair.
Why We Like It:
Rahua's Scalp Exfoliating Natural Shampoo is unique for its dual-action exfoliation and nourishment, using organic ingredients like star anise and mango sugars for a healthy scalp and hair.
The shampoo features Rahua oil for strengthening hair, Sacha Inchi rich in omega-3 and antioxidants, and Morete oil for UV protection. It also includes organic star anise for its antimicrobial properties, organic passion fruit for pH balance, and organic mango sugars for hydration.
This shampoo receives high praise for its effectiveness in making hair feel exceptionally soft. It is well-regarded as a scalp scrub, offering easy application and rinse. The product also serves effectively as a clarifying shampoo, aiding with flaky scalp issues, despite having a somewhat unique scent.
Image @ Rahua
Pricing: $17.95 for 8.45 oz
Best For: Enhancing hair's shine.
Why We Like It:
Mádara's Gloss and Vibrancy Shampoo stands out for its ability to enhance the natural shine and vibrancy of hair, utilizing natural extracts like birch and cranberry.
This natural shampoo includes ingredients like Rosa Damascena Flower Water which serves as a hydrating and soothing agent, while Birch Leaf Extract strengthens and adds shine. Cranberry Fruit Extract, rich in antioxidants, enhances hair vibrancy. Sodium Coco Sulphate and Coco Glucoside, derived from coconut, act as gentle cleansers. Betaine, from sugar beets, moisturizes, and Glyceryl Oleate conditions the hair. Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein strengthens and hydrates, making this shampoo ideal for boosting gloss and vibrancy in hair using natural ingredients.
Users highlight the pleasing scent and effectiveness of leaving hair clean without drying the scalp. Many note improved hair shine and softness, particularly in combating winter dullness. Described as economical and efficient, users appreciate its ability to make thick hair soft and shiny, with some considering it a favorite due to its restorative properties, leading to repeat purchases.
MÁDARA KIND Mild Shampoo* ( for the whole family)
Pricing: $15.26 for 8.5 oz
Best Shampoo Bar For: The whole family - ideal for sensitive scalp and all hair types.
Why We Like It:
Mádara's Mild Shampoo is known for its gentle yet effective cleansing formula, perfect for sensitive scalps, enriched with natural extracts like flaxseed and linden flower.
This shampoo includes Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice for soothing hydration, Rosa Damascena Flower Water for nourishing properties, and Cocamidopropyl Betaine for mild cleansing. It also contains Linum Usitatissimum Seed Extract and Tilia Cordata Flower Extract, offering additional scalp and hair benefits. Glyceryl Oleate serves as a natural conditioner, while Furcellaria Lumbricalis Extract adds unique hair care properties.
Users are pleased with this shampoo's mild yet effective cleansing ability and its light, pleasant scent. It's noted for requiring only a small amount to leave hair feeling silky smooth, earning praise as a favorite among users for its softening effect.
Image @ Madara
Pricing: $30 for 8.5 oz
Best For: Those looking for a natural shampoo that strengthens hair and amplifies shine that's also safe for color treated hair.
Why We Like It:
EVOLVh's UltraShine Moisture Shampoo is appreciated for its vegan and non-GMO formulation. It stands out with its ECOCERT certified ingredients, ensuring a high standard of natural and organic content.
This shampoo features ECOCERT certified ingredients such as Decyl Glucoside and Cocamidopropyl Betaine for gentle cleansing, along with natural elements like Seaweed Extract, Sunflower Seed Oil, and Soy Amino Acids for hair health. It includes Rose Hip, Wild Pansy, and Sweet Clover Extracts for additional benefits. It's also vegan and non-GMO, emphasizing a commitment to health and environmental sustainability.
Customers highly praise this shampoo for its superior effectiveness, with many considering it the best they've tried. It's noted for softening hair, reducing frizz, and providing a clean, non-greasy finish, particularly beneficial for fine curly hair. The economical aspect, where a little goes a long way, and its mild, pleasant scent further add to its appeal.
Image @ Evolvh
Pricing: $9.49 for 8 oz
Best For: Super stressed hair that needs to be refreshed and re-energized.
Why We Like It:
Acure's Juice Cleanse Supergreens & Adaptogens Shampoo combines adaptogenic herbs like Ashwagandha with nutrient-rich supergreens such as Spirulina and Kale, offering a unique blend for stressed hair.
The Acure Juice Cleanse Supergreens & Adaptogens Shampoo is formulated with a blend of natural ingredients. Ashwagandha, known for its stress-relieving properties, and Spirulina, a nutrient-rich algae, work together to rejuvenate the hair. Kale, high in vitamins A and C, revitalizes the hair. This natural shampoo also includes Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice for hydration and soothing effects, and a variety of plant extracts like Spinach Leaf Extract and Turmeric Root Extract, offering additional nourishing benefits. The presence of these natural components makes the shampoo a good choice for those looking to infuse their hair care routine with the goodness of supergreens and adaptogens.
Customers rate this shampoo highly, placing it among the top choices for its effectiveness in cleansing and managing various scalp conditions. They appreciate how it makes their hair more manageable, with noticeable improvements in hair thickness, softness, and scent. Users also value its non-toxic formulation, emphasizing its positive impact on hair quality.
Image @ Acure
Pricing: $38 for 8.5 oz
Best For: Thick and dry hair of Hispanic decent.
Why We Like It:
Ceremonia's Deep Moisture Wash Day shampoo is notable for its hydrating formula, using natural extracts like Yucca and Witch Hazel, and is designed specifically for thicker and/or textured hair.
The Deep Moisture Wash Day shampoo by Ceremonia includes various natural ingredients for deep hydration and hair health. Aloe Vera Juice conditions and moisturizes the hair, while Babassu Oil and Patauá Oil provide essential fatty acids for scalp health. Caffeine stimulates hair growth, and Cupuaçu Butter offers intense hydration. Additionally, the formula contains Blue Agave Extract for hair strengthening, Yucca Extract for cleansing, and Witch Hazel Extract for scalp soothing. These ingredients collectively contribute to the shampoo's effectiveness in nourishing and revitalizing hair.
Customers report seeing significant improvements in hair definition, hydration, and scalp health. The shampoo and conditioner are effective across various hair types, from curly to wavy, in addressing issues like dryness and flakiness. Praised for making hair soft, shiny, and manageable, the products also stand out for their pleasant scent and effectiveness in relieving chronic scalp conditions.
Image @ Ceremonia
Pricing: $22.95 for 3.88 oz bar
Best For: Babies and children
Why We Like It:
Ethique's Oaty Delicious™ Shampoo Bar is unique for its solid bar format, combining natural ingredients like oatmeal and coconut oil with lavender oil for a mild, gentle cleanse.
This best shampoo bar's concise ingredient list is a key benefit, ensuring a simplified yet effective cleansing experience. Key components include Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate and Sodium Coco-Sulfate, which are mild cleansers derived from coconut. Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Butter and Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil provide nourishment and hydration. Ground oatmeal is included for its soothing properties, particularly beneficial for sensitive scalps. Lavandula Augustifolia (Lavender) Essential Oil adds a calming scent. The limited number of ingredients in this natural shampoo reduces potential irritants, making it suitable for children and those with sensitive skin.
Customers highly value this shampoo for its gentle formula, particularly suitable for children and those with sensitive skin. Its eco-friendly aspect, reducing single-use plastics and being compostable, along with its long-lasting effectiveness and pleasant, subtle lavender scent, makes it a favored choice.
Image @ Ethique
Pricing: $9.99 for 13 oz
Best For: Perfect for those with thick, curly hair seeking to enhance curl definition and add shine.
Why We Like It:
Shea Moisture products stand out for their moisturizing properties. Shea Butter and Coconut Oil bring hydration to the hair, and Hibiscus Flower Extract makes gives more elasticity.
The shampoo features Shea Butter for deep moisturization, Neem Seed Oil for hair repair and shine, and Coconut Oil for hydration and protection. Hibiscus Flower Extract enhances elasticity, while Aloe Vera provides soothing properties. The inclusion of fewer ingredients in the formula helps focus on targeted benefits for curly hair.
Customers are highly impressed with this shampoo, particularly praising its ability to hydrate and define curls while leaving hair soft and shiny. The coconut and hibiscus ingredients receive accolades for enhancing hair health and adding a pleasant fragrance.
Image @ Shea Moisture
Pricing: $60.00 for bundle
Best For: Ideal for those seeking a sustainable, vegan, and nourishing shampoo for all hair types.
Why We Like It:
The shampoo brand Plaine is not only appreciated for its nourishing, plant-based formula, but also for its commitment to sustainability, showcased in its eco-friendly aluminum bottles designed to reduce single-use plastic waste.
The shampoo includes Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice and Glycerin for moisture, Sodium Cocoate and Sodium Safflowerate derived from coconut and safflower for gentle cleansing, and Cyamopsis Tetragonoloba (Guar) Gum for hair conditioning. It also contains natural extracts like Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract and Carica Papaya (Papaya) Fruit Extract, offering additional hair benefits. The concise ingredient list ensures focused and effective hair care.
Customers are delighted with this shampoo, especially for its pleasant smell and effective hydration without leaving hair greasy. The eco-friendly approach of reusable bottles and packaging is also highly appreciated, contributing to its appeal for environmentally conscious users. The product's performance, combined with its environmental benefits, makes it a popular choice.
Image @ Plain
These were our favorite natural shampoos.
How Do You Know If Shampoo Is Toxic?
Determining whether a shampoo is toxic involves a good look at the label. It's important to understand the listed ingredients and their potential impact on your health as well as some background on the brand. Here are some key considerations:
Ingredient List: Look for red flags like sulfates (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Sodium Laureth Sulfate are the two most common), parabens, phthalates, and synthetic fragrances. These are common toxic substances in hair care products.
Certifications: Check for certifications like USDA Organic, EcoCert, or the Leaping Bunny. These labels often indicate a product is free from certain harmful chemicals.
Transparency: Brands committed to non-toxic ingredients will usually be transparent about their formulations. Look for detailed ingredient information and their safety standards.
Research: Utilize resources like the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Skin Deep database, which rates the toxicity of personal care products.
Irritation and Allergies: Pay attention to how your scalp and skin react. Frequent irritation or allergic reactions can be a sign of harsh chemicals in your shampoo.
Remember, the absence of a strong fragrance or luxurious lather does not necessarily mean a product is toxic-free. Although these are often the result of synthetic additives, it's important to be thorough and do your research.
How Do I Choose A Natural Shampoo?
When selecting a natural shampoo, consider these steps to making the best choice for you:
Step 1. Identify Your Hair Type: Choose a product formulated specifically for your hair type, whether it's oily hair, dry, curly, or color-treated hair.
Step 2. Examine Ingredients: Prioritize chemical free shampoo with beneficial ingredients like natural aloe vera, coconut oil, tea tree oil, or shea butter, and avoid long lists of unrecognizable chemicals.
Step 3. Seek Certifications: Look for certifications such as USDA Organic or EcoCert, which can authenticate the shampoo's natural claims.
Step 4. Check pH Balance: Opt for shampoos with a balanced pH, which will be gentler on your hair and scalp.
Step 5. Assess Brand Ethics: Choose brands that are transparent about their ingredients, manufacturing processes, and environmental impact.
Step 6. Read Reviews: Consult reviews and recommendations, especially from individuals with similar hair types and concerns.
Finding the right natural shampoo may require some experimentation, but the effort is worth it for the benefits of a gentler, more natural product.
Avoid These Ingredients In Your Shampoo and Conditioner
Here are some of the key ingredients to avoid:
Sulfates (like Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Sodium Laureth Sulfate): Often used for their lathering properties, sulfates also strip the hair and scalp of natural and necessary oils, leading to dryness and irritation.
Parabens (such as Methylparaben, Propylparaben): Used as preservatives, these chemicals can disrupt hormonal balance and have been linked to health concerns.
Phthalates: Commonly found in fragranced products, phthalates are associated with reproductive and developmental issues.
Synthetic Fragrances: These can cause allergies and skin sensitivities. Products that instead contain essential oils are a much better option.
Formaldehyde Releasers: These preservatives release a small amount of formaldehyde over time, which is a known carcinogen. Examples: quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, polyoxymethylene urea, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, bromopol and glyoxal
Silicones (like Dimethicone): While they make hair feel smooth, silicones can build up over time, weighing down hair and preventing essential moisture from penetrating the hair shaft. Look for ingredients that have these endings: –cone, –conol, –silane or –siloxane.
Alcohol (certain types like Isopropyl alcohol): Some forms of alcohol can be overly drying to the hair. Examples: ethanol, propanol, propyl alcohol, isopropyl alcohol and SD alcohols.
Synthetic Colors: Often, these are derived from petroleum and can cause scalp irritation.
Carefully check labels to make sure your natural shampoo and conditioner don't contain these ingredients.
Why You Should Switch to Non Toxic Shampoo
Non-toxic shampoos offer a gentler touch for both your scalp and hair, reducing the risk of irritation, dryness, and damage. Over time, using non-toxic shampoos can improve the overall health and appearance of your hair, avoiding the build-up often caused by synthetic ingredients in conventional shampoos and conditioners and from color treated hair. You'll find yourself with a healthier scalp and more vibrant hair.
You'll also minimize your contact with harmful chemicals that can be absorbed by your skin, thus reducing the risk of related health concerns.
Non toxic shampoos are not only kinder to your body but also to the environment, often featuring biodegradable ingredients and eco-friendly packaging. Many non-toxic hair care brands also engage in ethical practices, like cruelty-free testing and sustainable sourcing, supporting broader ethical consumerism.
Your Hair May Need Some Time To Adjust
Transitioning to natural shampoos can be a process of adjustment for your hair and scalp.
Here's what you should know:
Initial Transition Phase: When you first switch to natural shampoos, you might notice your hair feeling different. This is normal. Conventional shampoos strip natural oils from your hair, and your scalp may have been overcompensating by producing more oil. A natural shampoo allows your scalp to rebalance its oil production.
Patience is Key: It may take a few weeks for your hair to adjust. During this period, your hair might feel greasier or drier than usual. Be patient as your scalp adapts to the gentler formula and returns to its innate ability to maintain the ideal amount of oil.
Detoxing Process: Your hair is undergoing a detoxing process, removing residues left by conventional products. You might experience changes in hair texture or an increase in scalp flakiness as your hair returns to its natural state.
Styling and Appearance: You may need to experiment with styling techniques, as your hair's response to natural shampoos can vary. Give your hair some time to reveal itself the way it was born to be!
Long-Term Benefits: Once your hair adjusts, you'll likely notice it looking and feeling healthier, with a better balance of oils and visible vitality.
Embracing natural shampoos is a commitment to your hair's health. While the adjustment period can be a bit challenging, the long-term benefits of using natural, non-toxic hair care products are well worth the wait.
Bonus Tips for Maintaining Healthy Hair
Adding the following tips to your non-toxic haircare routine will take the health and appearance of your hair to the next level.
Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse
An ACV rinse can rejuvenate hair by restoring your scalp to a balanced pH. Healthy hair starts with a healthy scalp. It will also help close your hair cuticles, supporting your hair in being able to absorb and lock in moisture, resulting in a smoother, softer appearance.
For a rinse, mix one part ACV with five parts water. After shampooing and conditioning, apply the diluted ACV evenly to your hair and scalp. Let it sit for a few minutes to allow the vinegar to break down the excess oil and build up. Then, thoroughly rinse your hair. This routine addition can be especially beneficial for those with oily or dandruff-prone scalps, as ACV has natural antibacterial and antifungal properties.
Proper Nutrition and Hydration
Healthy hair really starts from within. What you eat and drink has a direct impact. Incorporate foods rich in proteins, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins A, C, E, and B. These nutrients are vital for hair strength, growth, and shine. Foods with lots of protein, like lean meats, beans, and nuts, are essential for hair structure. Hydration also plays a crucial role. Drinking enough water ensures that your hair stays moisturized and healthy from the inside out.
Regular Trimming and Low-Heat Styling
Maintaining healthy hair also involves regular trimming and cautious use of heat styling. Trimming hair every 6-8 weeks helps prevent split ends, reducing breakage and maintaining your hair's overall health. When it comes to styling, excessive heat can weaken hair strands. Opt for low-heat styling methods and always use a heat protectant. Embracing air-drying and experimenting with no-heat hairstyles can also preserve hair integrity.
What ingredients in conventional shampoos and conditioners are damaging to hair?
Yes, many conventional shampoos and conditioners contain ingredients that can be harmful to hair. These include sulfates, which strip hair of natural oils, parabens that can disrupt hormonal balance, phthalates, and artificial fragrances that can cause scalp irritation and have been linked to other health issues. These ingredients can lead to dryness, irritation, and long-term damage to hair and scalp health.
Are natural shampoos better for hair?
Natural shampoos are often better for hair in the long run. They are formulated with gentler ingredients that cleanse without stripping natural oils, maintaining the hair’s natural balance. They also usually contain nourishing ingredients that promote scalp health and hair vitality. While the transition to natural shampoos may require an adjustment period, they ultimately lead to healthier, more balanced hair.
How do I find healthy shampoo?
To find a healthy shampoo, focus on products with natural and nourishing ingredients, avoid harmful chemicals like sulfates and parabens, and choose shampoos suitable for your hair type. Look for transparent brands with positive reviews and certifications like USDA Organic or EcoCert. It may take some trial and error to find the perfect match for your hair.
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