So, you’ve cleaned up your cabinets and cosmetics. Now it’s time to show your hair some love. See our choice for best natural shampoo of 2021.
Going green and all natural has been a big trend in the personal care world the last several years. Brands across the board are now advertising their products with images of lush forests and taglines about being made with plants and without x, y, and z. Unfortunately, many brands don’t walk their talk, and a peek at their products’ ingredients lists quickly reveals the contents aren’t as innocent as described.
This shows up frequently in hair care products. How often do you read the back of your shampoo bottle, anyway? It’s an easy product to sneak nasty ingredients in while putting a botanical image on the front. The problem with this is that, not only do those ingredients end up in your hair, they also stream down your face and body while you’re in the shower, meaning a large portion of you ends up absorbing those chemicals and additives. Another downside is that those chemicals also end up going down your drain and into water systems, adding to global water pollution.
Looking for the best natural shampoo can be intimidating, though, because not only do you want clean ingredients, you want it to perform well. Which shampoos are made with ingredients you can trust, perform up to standard, and reduce water pollution all at the same time? Here are our top choices.
Public Goods: Vegan Shampoo
This vegan shampoo from Public Goods has a gentle formula powered by a blend of essential oils that both clean and nourish your hair. It’s made with zero parabens, synthetic fragrances, sulfates, and anything derived from formaldehyde, so it won’t strip your hair and leave it dry and dull. It’s also cruelty-free. But it doesn’t just leave out the bad; it contains a lot of good. In it you’ll find essential oils of orange, geranium, vetiver, cinnamon, mandarin, nutmeg, petitgrain, rosewood, celery seed, and grapefruit. It smells amazing and leaves hair shiny and soft. It’s also made with sustainability in mind. When you’re done with your first bottle, you can order a shampoo refill, so you don’t have to keep ordering the packaging and contributing to landfill waste.
Avalon Organics: B-Complex Biotin Thickening Shampoo
Avalon Organics is a popular brand in the green personal care realm. You can find it at Whole Foods, Walmart, Target, even some drugstores. It’s certified organic and verified by the Environmental Working Group. The pH-balanced formula of this shampoo is perfect for anyone with thinning hair. The key is in the mixture of biotin, sa palmetto, vitamin E, and quinoa protein that strengthen hair and boost body. It’s also made with organic botanicals and essential oils, but includes no parabens, harsh preservatives, synthetic colors or fragrances, phthalates, or sulfates. It’s vegan and never tested on animals as well.
Innersense: Pure Harmony Hair Bath
The Pure Harmony Hair Bath from Innersense is a best-seller. It’s gentle formula includes aloe, pumpkin seed, shea butter, and coconut oils that leaves hair healthy without lingering residue. The brand uses certified-organic ingredients and is transparent about how they achieve their fragrances, something many brands won’t disclose due to icky ingredients. Innersense is also committed to sustainability, using low-impact packaging for its products.
True Botanicals: Nourishing Shampoo
The Nourishing shampoo variety from True Botanicals is full of antioxidants and hydration. The formula is suitable for all hair types, and it’s made to cleanse and nourish not only your hair but your scalp as well. The brand credits the success of this shampoo to it’s sulfate-free composition, using a coconut-derived surfactant to help you get a good lather without stripping your hair of its natural oils. It also uses aloe, green tea seed oil, and meadowfoam seed oil to strengthen and soften hair.
Public Goods: Solid Shampoo Bar
If you’re not familiar with shampoo bars, they might become your new favorite product. This solid shampoo bar from Public Goods has everything you love about liquid shampoo but without the packaging, which is a win for sustainability. Plus, it’s compact and less messy than liquid shampoo, so it’s ideal to travel with. It has no parabens, sulfates, synthetic fragrances, phthalates, or any ingredients from formaldehyde. It gives your hair the same deep clean of regular shampoos and has an uplifting scent thanks to lavender oil and rosemary extract.
Reverie: Smooth as Silk Shampoo
This shampoo formula from Reverie is free of all questionable ingredients and packed with botanical goodness, like jasmine, sandalwood, and sweet almond oil. Sweet almond oil is rich in vitamins A, E, B1, and B6, so this shampoo is sure to provide serious nutrients to your hair. It also includes oat proteins that increase luster, reduce breakage, and smooth and repair hair cuticles. It’s shining star, though, is zinc, which prevents harmful bacteria from forming on the scalp, which often leads to dandruff and similar conditions.
Avalon Organics: Nourishing Lavender Shampoo
This certified-organic formula is filled with plant-based botanicals and essential oils, as most products from Avalon Organics are. What it’s not filled with are parabens, harsh preservatives, phthalates, or synthetic colors and fragrances. The formula meets the Environmental Working Group’s strict criteria for ingredients, transparency, and health, and it’s also vegan and never tested on animals. Plus, users rave about it. Check it’s ratings online and you’ll quickly see it’s a favorite.
Innersense: Color Awakening Hair Bath
We’ve already shared about Innersense’s low-impact packaging and ingredient transparency, but what users really love is that their products work. Finding natural shampoos that are high-performance is difficult enough, but finding ones that are safe and effective on color-treated hair is a real challenge. This color-safe formula, however, is designed to revitalize color-treated hair. It’s made with coconut, pumpkin seed oil, shea butter, and other emollient plant ingredients that protect your color. It won’t lead to any color fading or dryness, and rinses clean without residue that can dull your hair’s shine.
Andalou Naturals: Sunflower & Citrus Shampoo
You’ve likely seen Andalou Naturals products at your local Whole Foods or Target. They’re popular because they work and they’re affordable. The brand operates by the idea that you shouldn’t have to compromise ethics for efficacy, and it’s vegan and cruelty-free. The formula is free of silicones and sulfates that can fade and strip hair of oils while leaving behind nasty residue. It does contain a fruit stem cell complex that enhances brightness and supports strength and flexibility while minimizing the look of split ends. Its ingredients also stimulate scalp circulation to inspire hair growth and shine.
Rahua: Hydration Shampoo
If your hair is feeling on the dry side, this is the shampoo for you. Rahua’s hydration shampoo is made to replenish dry, thirsty hair. This protein-rich formula helps hair look and feel stronger and more alive, and it’s even safe for color-treated hair. The vegan ingredient list includes morete fruit oil that’s rich in vitamins A, C, and E, as well as fatty acids, beta-carotene, and tocopherols that protect color from damaging UVA rays. It also includes sacha inchi seed oil, which contains omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants to condition hair and lock in moisture, as well as soothe your scalp.
John Masters Organics: Scalp-Stimulating Shampoo
This one’s for those with oily hair troubles. Not only does the John Masters Organics brand use quality, organic ingredients, but it’s cracked the mystery on naturally treating oily scalps. The organic spearmint leaf oil and meadowsweet flower extract in this shampoo work by detoxifying the scalp to eliminate excess oil and regulate sebum production so oiliness doesn’t keep coming back.
Acure: Curiously Clarifying Shampoo
Clarifying shampoos are great for when your hair starts to feel weighed down. After a few weeks, or even days, of products and pollution, it can feel like your hair never quite gets cleaned. Many products leave behind residue, and the pollution we inevitably come in contact with latches onto our strands as well. A clarifying shampoo provides a deeper clean than traditional shampoo, so your hair can be its light, bouncy self again. This formula from Acure is free of sulfates, dyes, parabens, formaldehydes, and many other ingredients you’d rather avoid while still getting your hair seriously clean. It includes argan oil for hydration, so you don’t have to worry about the dryness that often comes with getting squeaky clean. And it has an invigorating lemongrass scent users love.
There you have it. Twelve amazing natural shampoos that get your hair clean without dirty ingredients. Which has your vote as best natural shampoo? You may need to try a few out before finding a favorite, as your hair type and scalp have their own unique needs.
While you’re cleaning up your shampoo, you may also want to toss out nasty ingredients in your other personal care items as well. Check out our selection of high-quality personal care items made with natural ingredients and none of the questionable funny business.
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