The Best Natural, Cruelty-Free Shampoos

Have you ever looked at the ingredient list on a typical bottle of shampoo? Although you’d need a PhD in chemistry to know what most of the ingredients actually are, it’s pretty obvious from the length and sound of the names that they are decidedly unnatural!

Although there are dozens of nasty chemicals to watch out for, there are six main offenders we’d all be better off avoiding. They include:

1 – Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfate (SLS) is a common ingredient found in nearly every conventional shampoo on store shelves. Used as a foaming agent, SLS has been found to be potentially carcinogenic, and can be irritating to the skin and eyes.

2 – Diethanolamine (DEA) is used as a wetting and emulsifying agent in many personal care products, including shampoo. Although it is not considered harmful on its own, it can create carcinogenic compounds when mixed with other substances commonly found in personal care products. One such compound, called nitrosodiethanolamine (NDEA), is easily absorbed through the skin and can damage the stomach, esophagus, liver, kidney, and bladder.

3 – Parabens are a preservative added to personal care products to help prevent the growth of bacteria and prolong shelf life. Repeated exposure has been linked to increased estrogen levels in the human body, which could contribute to the development of hormonal disorders and cancers.

4 – Formaldehyde. Although you probably won’t see it labeled as such, formaldehyde is a common shampoo ingredient! More likely marked as doazolidinyl or imidazolidinyl urea,  this chemical can cause allergic reactions and damage the central nervous system over time.

5 – Methylisothiazoline is a chemical used to preserve freshness in many personal care products, including shampoo. Evidence suggests it can harm the skin with repeated use, and may contribute to immune system problems.

6 – Phthalates, or Artificial Fragrances. Although the word “fragrance” can actually point to the presence of up to 4,000 different chemicals, phthalates are are particularly damaging type. Their presence in personal care products has been linked to cancer, birth defects, central nervous system problems, and allergic reactions. Certain phthalates, known as “plasticizers,” have also been linked to reproductive and hormal problems, especially in children.

Natural Alternatives

Although not all conventional shampoos contain all these ingredients, most contain one or more. Thus, the best way to ensure you’re using a safe, natural shampoo is by choosing products from companies that are committed to using all-natural ingredients, and preferably those that are also sustainable, organic, and cruelty-free.

We’ve put together a list of great shampoo options from four such companies below. You really can’t go wrong with any of these companies and their products!

Jason makes a line of 9 natural, cruelty-free shampoos. From Tea Tree Oil to Jojoba Long and Strong, there’s a formula for every hair type, and a fragrance for every preference (including Fragrance Free!)

Nature’s Gate also has an extensive line of natural, and environmentally-friendly hair care products. Calming, Moisturizing, Revitalizing, Volumizing, Strengthening and Shine Enhancing are just a few of the many specialized formulas the company produces. All products are certified cruelty-free and vegan!

Desert Essence makes an amazing line of hair care products that are all certified vegan, and gluten free. Coconut, Lemon Tea Tree, Italian Red Grape, and Green Apple are just a few of their delicious formulations, each designed for a different hair type. It also comes in Fragrance Free.

Finally, Giovanni has a great line of basic shampoos, and has also recently come out with a couple of new 2chic lines – Ultra Sleek and Ultra Moist. Their most popular basic shampoos are the super-invigorating Tea Tree Triple Treat, 50/50 Balanced, and Smooth As Silk formulations. For a real treat, try their Magnetic Energizing Shampoo or Avocado and Olive Oil or Brazilian Keratin 2Chic lines.

Did we miss your favorite? Add it to the list via the comments section below!