Too many bad hair days? It's time that you pay more attention into what goes on your scalp.
Many of us would love shower time a lot more if it weren’t for washing our hair. But shampoo isn’t as bad for your hair as you think. In fact, you probably need to be shampooing more often! It’s necessary for clarifying your scalp to prevent hair loss and scalp conditions. Shampoo gets a bad rap when it contains harsh synthetic ingredients that are more stripping than nourishing for your scalp and hair. Here’s our guide to the best organic shampoos to switch up your routine.
Why choose an organic shampoo?
Conventional shampoos are notorious for containing a type of harsh synthetic detergent called sulfates. On your shampoo label, they might show up as “sodium lauryl sulfate” or “sodium laureth sulfate.” They create the lather in your shampoo so that it foams up when you rub it between your wet hands.
But there are some cases—especially for sensitive skin—where sulfates can irritate eyes and skin, which isn’t ideal if you’ve already been going to lengths to grow your hair out. While this isn’t the case for every shampoo out there, sodium laureth sulfate does have a high chance of being contaminated with the carcinogen 1,4-dioxane. Not great news if you’ve been trying to live a cleaner lifestyle.
But choosing your next new shampoo isn’t as simple as going sulfate-free. Have you checked to see whether your shampoo is free of parabens that are used as a quick way to preserve your personal care products, but have been linked to breast cancer? Or how about phthalates that give your shampoo a gel-like consistency, but can cause hormone disruption? If you’re looking to keep these harmful ingredients out of your bathroom cabinet, you’ll likely want to avoid synthetic fragrances too. Their individual ingredients are never disclosed, and they often contain phthalates in them.
How to choose the best organic shampoo
If you read our guide to organic skin care, you’ll remember that the FDA doesn’t regulate the term “organic” in cosmetics and personal care products. What’s more, the USDA doesn’t have any authority over cosmetic products that don’t have agricultural ingredients. As a result, choosing an “organic shampoo” doesn’t guarantee that you’re choosing the best product for your hair and scalp. That’s why some brands might obtain USDA certification for their products, while others won’t. No one needs certification to be able to market their shampoo as an “organic” one, and certified organic formulas aren’t always the best for you.
That said, always check the ingredients label when out shopping, and do research on how trustworthy a brand is. Avoid both synthetic and natural ingredients that you know you are sensitive to, and double check on ingredients you don’t know about. We’ve based our recommendations on the best organic shampoos by only selecting brands that consistently bar harmful ingredients and animal testing from their formulas. Many of these shampoos contain organic ingredients that are specifically chosen for being beneficial for specific hair or scalp conditions. So there’s sure to be a healthier pick out there to nourish your hair back to health.
10 best organic shampoos
Burdock & Neem Healthy Scalp Shampoo from 100% Pure
Cruelty free, vegan, gluten free
If you’ve been fighting psoriasis, dandruff, or any itchiness that’s been literally making you tear your hair out, this purifying shampoo can give you the relief you need. Burdock stimulates circulation for healthier hair growth, while neem soothes inflammation. Get a moisturizing boost from kelp, panthenol, and Vitamin E. In short, every ingredient in this botanical shampoo has the purpose of nourishing your hair and scalp (yup, no harmful synthetic ingredients!).
Shampoo for Normal Hair with Lavender & Rosemary from John Masters
Washing our hair regularly is just as important as cleansing our face. We need to get rid of the excess oil to avoid clogging pores, but at the same time we don’t want to strip our skin. This no-nonsense shampoo from John Masters balances your scalp with rosemary and lavender oil, and restores shine without the grease. It lathers up beautifully thanks to the naturally derived surfactants that cleanse and polish without irritation.
Vivacious Volume Shampoo from Acure
Cruelty free, vegan
Organic shampoos do more than just cleansing. This moisturizing shampoo turns flat fine hair into full voluminous locks. Antioxidant-rich fruits like pomegranate and acai nourish thin hair for lusher growth. Argan and sea buckthorn oil are packed with beneficial fatty acids to repair the cuticles of your hair for better moisture retention and thicker texture. Be sure to massage this shampoo into your scalp and all the way to the ends.
Smooth Shine Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo from Avalon Organics
Cruelty free, vegan
Ever heard of your skin’s acid mantle? Turns out it’s relevant to hair health too. Balancing the pH of your scalp and hair helps to keep your hair cuticles closed, which lessens frizz, dryness, and breakage. This process is especially important for people with curly hair whose cuticles are already slightly open. The acidity of apple cider vinegar in this shampoo helps bring back hair to its naturally acidic state and restore shine.
Awakening Peppermint Soapberry Shampoo from Tree to Tub
Cruelty free, vegan
You might be having the best hair day ever with soft dreamy locks, but only you’ll know that your scalp is actually a greasy mess! Tree to Tub fixes this problem by offering a shampoo that fights excess oil not by drying out your scalp, but by balancing the pH of your skin and hair. Wild soapberry soothes inflammation and is naturally antibacterial for a refreshed scalp. Peppermint essential oil helps to clarify and eliminate excess oil.
Cruelty free, vegan
Curly hair doesn’t always need to be a hassle to take care of. This shampoo helps you embrace your curls by cleansing without the frizz, and helping to restore a gorgeous bounce to your locks. The acids in pineapple extract help to balance the pH of hair for less frizz, while hyaluronic acid hydrates for brighter shine. Argan oil restores heat-damaged hair. Rinse and let dry to enjoy smooth, defined curls.
Organic Shampoo Fertile Roots from Laritelle (featured in our Bath Time Trio Giveaway!)
Cruelty free, gluten free
The great thing about natural shampoos is that they’re not only often free of harsh chemical ingredients that cause hair loss, they also help to encourage healthy hair growth. This shampoo contains antioxidant-rich herbs such as ginger and gotu kola to protect and stimulate the scalp for hair growth. Clary sage purifies the scalp to help unclog pores and prevent hair loss. The formula also contains a enriching mix of B Vitamins.
A daily shampoo that’s ideal for any hair type and will make hair-washing less of a chore. Olive squalane moisturizes hair strands to smooth out frizziness and lessen breakage. Bergamot and peppermint refresh the scalp for less itching and more comfort. We love that Puracy re-formulated this natural shampoo for more luxurious foam—all running on the power of coconut-based cleansers that are sulfate-free.
Organic Shampoo from Christina Moss Naturals
Cruelty free, vegan
This shampoo is the perfect pick for those with sensitive skin or scalp conditions such as seborrheic dermatitis. It cleanses and nourishes without leaving behind buildup that can further irritate the scalp. Coconut oil is highly compatible with hair proteins so it’s ideal for moisturizing hair without clogging pores. Aloe vera and shea butter are both ultra soothing, making this shampoo ideal for even baby skin and hair.
Argan Oil Shampoo from Maple Holistics
If you’re looking to repair dry damaged hair, an argan oil shampoo should be your go-to. This shampoo contains only 10 ingredients, meaning you get more of the restorative argan oil in this potent formula. Argan oil is rich with Vitamin E to repair damaged hair, as well as essential fatty acids for restoring shine and smoothness. It’s combined with light, fast-absorbing jojoba oil for a luxe formula that revitalizes for luscious hair.
Lather up those locks
With so many natural formulas out there with specially curated ingredients, picking the best organic shampoo for your hair and skin type isn’t as difficult as it used to be. If you don’t trust your skin with dubious synthetic ingredients, why neglect your hair?
Interested in more ways to clean up your haircare routine? Here are more natural remedies worth trying: