There are many claims made about products being natural. While it may seem that the manufacturer’s claims would be based on scientific evidence, that isn’t necessarily the case. The FDA doesn’t regulate the term “natural,” so it is up to the consumer to read labels. “I do not feel that it is always necessary to use organic products however I do think specific chemicals should be avoided,” says celebrity hairstylist and colorist Bianca Hillier. “Steer clear of sulfates that can strip your color, parabens and phthalates.” Parabens, a chemical preservative often found in beauty items like shampoo, may act as a weak estrogen in the body. Phthalates, a compound used in various products, may disrupt how certain hormones function in the body.
Furthermore, 100% natural shampoos can have drawbacks. “They are usually not effective and expire quickly,” says Jennifer MacDougall, hair colorist, and Better Natured brand ambassador. “Instead check labels for words that you can pronounce and as many natural ingredients as possible,” she says. Still, shampoos have evolved and there are many options available with less offensive ingredients.
But here at SPY, we recognize you don’t have the time and energy to sift through the likes of Amazon and Sephora, obsessively checking labels and researching ingredients to see if they are, indeed, good or bad. So, we did it for you! We’ve found the best natural shampoos, whether you have curly hair, thinning hair or nearly any other hair type imaginable.
Ready to kick chemicals to the curb? Take a look at our list below.
1. Odele Curl-Defining Shampoo
BEST FOR CURLY HAIR
Curly hair needs moisture, but often, hydrating ingredients can weigh it down. Odele shampoo is no-lather, meaning bounce without your hair being stripped and left limp. It is also a vegan formula and made with 100% natural fragrance that smells as clean as its sulfate-free formula. Great for men with hair similar to that of Kit Harington.
2. Grooming Solutions Nourishing Shampoo + Conditioner
BEST FOR REMOVING BUILD-UP
Sometimes you need to remove all the gunk from styling products like gel and hairspray, that you have been using. Kiehl’s Grooming Solutions Nourishing Shampoo+Conditioner is gentle enough to cleanse your hair and also your beard by using alternative sulfate ingredients. The mix of oils from bark, eucalyptus, orange and peppermint gives it an earthy scent.
3. Vitabrid C12 Scalp Shampoo
BEST FOR SCALP HEALTH
If your scalp tends to get irritated easily, you should add Vitabrid C12 Scalp Shampoo to your list. It is created with vitamins C and B complex, and it is pH balanced to work well with all hair types and textures. Plus, it is free from substances such as silicon, parabens and sulfates.
4. Inna Organic Cedarwood Shampoo
BEST FOR DAMAGED HAIR
Upgrade your routine with a hydrating and fortifying shampoo that can help to heal damaged hair. Inna Organic Cedarwood Shampoo’s woodsy smelling blend is made sans parabens, phthalates, silicones, sulfates and artificial fragrances, leaving you with nothing but the good stuff.
5. Gage For Men Daily Shampoo
Though Gage For Men Daily Shampoo is created with yeast protein that conditions your hair and celery seed extracts for improved texture, it’s the smell that might win you over. We added it to our list of the best natural shampoos for the ingredients, but we put it at #5 because of that smell. Yes, it’s that good.
6. Urban Hydration Honey Health & Repair Shampoo
BEST FOR DRY HAIR
Urban Hydration Honey Health & Repair Shampoo is created with sweet vanilla bean and honey, which are excellent for enhancing elasticity and reducing breakage. And best of all, it’s free of sulfates, parabens and dyes.
7. Color Wow Shampoo
BEST FOR COLORED HAIR
Whether you color your hair because you have grays or because you like highlights, you should use a shampoo formulated to help keep your color from fading. Color Wow, which is made sans sulfate, silicones, parabens and conditioning agents, gets your hair clean without stripping your color.
8. Better Natured Shampoo
BEST SHINE FORMULA
Produced with 86% naturally-derived ingredients, Better Natured Shampoo’s triple plant blend is all about moisture and shine. “The 14% purely science ingredients are synthetic ingredients necessary to ensure the efficacy and stability of the formula,” says MacDougall. And if we had to concede some synthetics in our natural shampoos, those are the kind we’re fine with.
9. Curls Cashmere & Caviar Hair Bath
BEST FOR TIGHT CURLS
If your curl is similar to Trevor Noah’s Curls Cashmere & Caviar Hair Bath luxe formula will leave your hair feeling super soft. It cleans your hair and scalp without sulfates, silicones, parabens, artificial oils, or fragrances. For tight curls, it’s truly one of the best natural shampoos on the market.
10. Design Essentials Peppermint & Aloe Therapeutics Anti-Itch Shampoo
An itchy scalp is not a happy scalp, and Design Essentials Peppermint & Aloe Therapeutics Anti-Itch Shampoo can provide soothing relief. It also removes excess oils and build-up, which can sometimes be the cause of irritation.
11. Monpure Strengthening Silk Protein Shampoo
BEST FOR THINNING HAIR
Made with vegan silk peptides, Monpure Strengthening Silk Protein Shampoo protects your hair and scalp while skipping pore-clogging silicones. It’s also free of sulfates, silicones and parabens, plus labeled cruelty-free, and the packaging is recyclable, making this an eco-friendly, natural shampoo.
12. Masami Shampoo
Masami is created with natural oceanic ingredients such as nutrient-rich seaweed from Japan, otherwise known as mekabu. It hydrates your hair with apricot and coconut oil without silicone and drying alcohol.
13. Herbal Essences Hemp + Potent Aloe Shampoo
Hemp is all the rage and Herbal Essences Hemp + Potent Aloe shampoo has nixed colorants, sulfate, parabens and is certified cruelty-free by PETA. You’ll love the smell and its frizz-fighting ability.
14. Everist Waterless Shampoo Concentrate
A primary focus of the brand Everist is a commitment to being a zero-waste beauty company. This gave birth to a zero water (waterless) shampoo. Armed with the knowledge that most shampoos are more than 70% water, they’ve created a cream paste concentrated into a smaller container. But once you are in the shower, Everist Waterless Shampoo Concentrate is activated by the water. In other words, you get the same experience of washing your hair, all with less damage to the environment.
15. Olaplex No. 4 Bond Maintenance shampoo
ALL TYPES OF HAIR
Your hair need not be damaged to benefit from Olaplex’s bond builder No.4, but if it is, you will notice that after the first use it will look better. “I absolutely love Olaplex No. 4,” says, Hillier. “It is free of over 50 questionable ingredients, plus smells fresh and clean without a heavy fragrance.” Hard to argue with that, right? Hillier’s recommendation alone makes this one of the best natural shampoos available right now. But since it works with just about every type of hair, we knew we had to add it to our list.