Commercial shampoos can cause serious scalp and health issues. Here’s the list of the 10 best organic shampoos that are safe to use for our health and the environment.
I always struggled with sensitive skin, including my scalp. But, a year ago, the situation got worse. I started noticing redness and tons of flaky dandruff. Plus, my scalp was itching like crazy. It got so bad that I had to get professional help. According to my dermatologist, I had seborrheic dermatitis because of toxic ingredients in the shampoo I used.
I was able to fix the issue by using the products my dermatologist recommended. But the real challenge came afterward: which shampoo to use so I don’t develop the issue again? Shampoos commonly have ingredients such as parabens and synthetic fragrances, which can cause headaches, and even cancer.
I spent countless hours researching organic shampoos and once again consulted a dermatologist. Here are the ten best organic shampoos, plus I’ll include a guide on making an organic shampoo at home.
It wasn’t until I developed a serious scalp problem that I realized my regular shampoo was full of toxic chemicals. Moreover, I wasn’t the only one using it, so my entire family was also exposed to harmful chemicals.
Regular shampoos are also harmful because they don’t only get rid of the dirt in your hair, but they can remove natural oils in your scalp. We need these natural oils to prevent dryness. A dry scalp results in rough and itchy hair and possible dandruff.
I know it can be overwhelming going through the scientific terms on the ingredient list, so I compiled a list of ingredients to avoid in a shampoo:
Sulfates are one of the most common shampoo ingredients. They are strong detergents that take out all the oils when you rinse out the shampoo. They are very harsh, and they can damage your hair and even cause allergic reactions.
It creates foam, which some people love. However, SLSs can have toxic effects on the body. Also, if you have color-treated hair, it will fade your color.
Used as preservatives to prevent bacteria in shampoos. However, research has found they can cause the growth of breast cancer cells.
Is salt. It’s used to maintain shampoo and conditioner thick consistency. But, it can cause itchy scalp and hair loss.
Another thickening agent. It’s derived from petroleum, so it’s full of byproducts, such as ethylene oxides.
Foam agents and emulsifiers that help combine water-soluble and oil-soluble ingredients. Studies found links between DEA and cancer in animals.
One of the worst ingredients in shampoos. It’s a known carcinogen absorbed through the skin. It can be listed under different names, but the most common in shampoos is quaternium-15
Has a drying effect. However, not all alcohol is bad for the hair. If alcohol is labeled with a C or an S (Cetearyl alcohol and Stearyl alcohol), it can help hair retain moisture. Bad alcohols are listed as Isopropyl alcohol or propanol, and are especially harmful if you have dry hair.
Fragrances can be extremely dangerous, as they can cause cancer, asthma, and even go into women's breast milk. Plus, they irritate the scalp and can cause hair loss.
Shampoos are usually dyed with synthetic colors to look better. These colors are from petroleum sources, which have harmful health effects. If a shampoo has an FD&C or D&C combined with a number, you’ll know its synthetic color.
A kind of silicone that acts as a protecting cover on hair’s surface. It stops moisture and nutrients from reaching the scalp and collects dirt, which can clog the pores.
Be careful with this one. Some shampoos that claim they are organic can have this ingredient, but it can cause rosacea and eczema.
It is banned from being used in soaps, but it’s still allowed in shampoos, deodorants, and toothpaste. It can cause hormone disruptions and even affect fetal development.
It converts into retinol when it comes into contact with skin and can cause peeling, redness, and itching.
Unfortunately, our reality is that it’s almost impossible to avoid all of these ingredients in an organic shampoo and conditioner. However, the natural shampoo market is rapidly expanding, so you can make an informed decision when choosing a shampoo.
Yes, you can make natural shampoo at home. In fact, it’s easier than you think. However, the thing about homemade natural shampoo and conditioner is that it may not work for all hair and scalp types, so make sure to find the recipe that works for your hair type.
Castile vegetable-based liquid soap
Vegetable oil or glycerin (avoid for oily hair)
A couple of drops
Note: Don’t be worried if the shampoo doesn’t foam and suds as much as a commercial one. It’s thinner, so this is normal. It’ll still get rid of oil and dirt from your hair.
If you want to have a scented shampoo with natural ingredients, you can also make it yourself. Start with the basic natural shampoo recipe, but instead of water use scented soap, or strong herbal tea.
Good examples are chamomile, lavender, and rosemary.
To make apple cider vinegar conditioner use a box of baking soda and some apple cider vinegar:
Note: This conditioner also doesn’t create suds, but you’ll have shiny and clean hair.
Alternatively, you can make a deep conditioner if you have very dry or damaged hair. Use these ingredients:
Note: You can use one of these or mix them all together.
Massage the ingredients into wet hair, wrap hair into an old towel and leave for 20 minutes before rinsing.
Always make sure to take proper precautions when making natural shampoo and conditioner. Of course, it’s best to make the one that suits your hair type best.
Organics Therapy Thickening Shampoo works best for thin hair that lacks volume. It gently cleanses and nourishes, which helps thin hair build volume.
This shampoo has a plant-based formula that contains botanicals and essential oils without any synthetic colors or fragrances. It contains biotin, which makes the hair glisten, and makes the hair shafts larger in diameter.
Moreover, I checked Avalon organic shampoo reviews, and users say this is the best organic shampoo for hair loss. You can use this if you struggle with hair loss, either naturally or due to health issues, such as chemo treatment. Combined it with apple cider vinegar rinse for best results.
It’s on the pricey side, especially compared to Avalon, but it gets the job done. It received Eco Beauty Award, so you know it doesn’t contain any harmful ingredients, and it’s good for the environment.
This nourishing shampoo works on all hair types, but it’s best if you have dry hair, as it has excellent moisturizing properties. It contains coconut and shea butter, which rinse and cleanse your hair. There are also protein-bonding sugars, which help combat any hair damage.
Finally, I have to mention the signature scent, which is a heady palo santo fragrance that’ll make you feel as if you’re on a tropical island.
Drunk Elephant Cocomino is a blend of nourishing oils, amino acids, and hydrating agents. It creates a foam that gently but effectively removes dirt and residue from styling products and other substances without damaging the hair or stripping its color. The amino acids give the hair a healthy, glossy look.
All ingredients are biocompatible. They are non-irritating and benefit the skin and help achieve ideal pH levels.
It’s enough to apply the shampoo once on wet hair and massage, then rinse. There’s no need to repeat, so the shampoo will last for a long time.
Pro tip: Combine it with Cocomino conditioner for best results.
Christina Moss shampoo ingredients include coconut, olive oil, and sunflower seed, which is especially good for moisturizing and soothing the scalp. There’s also certified organic aloe.
The whole family can use it, as it’s suitable for babies. The formula produces a full lather, and it’s safe for color-treated hair.
This shampoo comes in a 9 oz bottle, which can last for up to 6 months. Moreover, each bottle is recyclable, so the shampoo is good for the planet too.
The shampoo also contains saw palmetto, which is a plant-based extract that promotes hair growth. This makes this shampoo a great choice if you struggle with hair loss. It stimulates hair follicles, so your hair is rejuvenated.
It’s also a scalp cleanser, and it removes dirt, dead scalp cells, and styling products, so it’s also the best organic shampoo for curly hair.
The shampoo promotes healthy hair growth and also helps if you struggle with split ends. Use shampoo twice a week for silky soft hair that doesn’t break.
The shampoo has argan and pumpkin seed oil which provide omega fatty acids that give your hair lasting moisture and leave it soft. The shampoo reduces frizz, boosts shine and elasticity, nourishes hair, and aids healthy hair growth.
This is a 100% vegan and cruelty-free formula without parabens, sulfates, or other harmful ingredients. Make sure to massage the shampoo into the scalp and ends before rinsing. The first wash isn’t very lathery, but the second one is, so you’ll get the best results if you apply twice.
Another of its strong characteristics is its soothing and calming smell. Most of
The formula is betaine-free. Betaine is often used to replace sulfates and can cause scalp irritation. Instead, this best organic natural shampoo contains apple cider vinegar, tea tree oil, and other plant ingredients.
The shampoo and conditioner formula helps you have a salon-like shine thanks to the powerful duo of shea butter and jojoba oil. Plus, peat protein repairs damage and restores hair health.
The shampoo and conditioner aren’t only good for you, but for the planet too. It’s completely cruelty-free, gluten-free, and vegan. It comes in recycled plastic bottles with vegetable, non-toxic ink to print. The shampoo is shipped in 65% recycled cardboard boxes, so it doesn’t get more eco-friendly for a cosmetic product than this.
What’s special about this shampoo is that it contains plant-based botanicals, essential oils, and tea tree, which gently cleanses hair and helps with any scalp discomfort.
A lot of commercial shampoos contain a foaming agent called Cocamidopropyl betaine, which many people are allergic to, so it causes dandruff and scaly red patches on the scalp. Avalon Organics scalp treatment is one of the few shampoos that doesn't contain Cocamidopropyl betaine, so it’s safe to use. Plus, it still lathers nicely and has a faint scent, so it’s good if you’re scent sensitive.
This shampoo leaves the hair feeling squeaky clean, without any tangles. You won’t have any issues combing your hair.
Finally, the shampoo is cruelty-free, and it’s verified by the Leaping Bunny Program, so you can be sure it isn’t tested on animals.
This best natural shampoo has a tropical coconut mango scent. Tropical mango is mixed with papaya with a background of coconut milk and vanilla bean, so you’ll end up feeling refreshed.
All ingredients are naturally derived, so the shampoo has a Ginger Lily Farms blend of vitamins, essential oils, and botanical extracts. The formula is completely toxin-free, without any parabens or sulfates, and it’s gluten-free.
Ginger Lily Farms are PETA-certified and 100% vegan. The shampoo comes in a gallon size bottle, which will not only last for a very long time, but it reduces plastic use, as you’ll buy less shampoo, which means fewer bottles in use. You can also use it to refill shower dispensers or transfer it into a smaller bottle and take it with you when traveling.
Its ingredients include Longsheng rice, cocoa butter, shea butter, rice bran oil, and rice protein. These repair hair, moisturize, improve volume and shine. Finally, the bamboo conditioner smoothes the hair.
The bar doesn’t have any added fragrance, but it doesn’t mean it’s scent-free. It has a light rice-bran, barley, and tea leaves scent from all its natural ingredients.
The bar is easy to use. There’s no need to lather it up a lot. Instead, rub through your hair and then lather it up with your hands. It rinses easily. Finally, there aren’t many tangles, so there’s less hair loss.
No matter if you have a scalp condition or not, I firmly believe everyone should use organic shampoos. Commercial ingredients are full of toxic chemicals that can cause everything from scalp issues to serious health issues such as cancer. But, organic shampoos have natural, plant-based ingredients, so they are completely safe to use.
As an added bonus, natural shampoos are better for the environment. Most of them come in recycled bottles or in large containers that last a long time.
Check the list of harmful ingredients I listed above, and be careful the next time you buy shampoo.