The 10 Best Organic Shampoos
Finding a hair care product that's actually organic is a near-impossible task. For example, a product can contain just one plant-based ingredient and call itself natural — and organic certifications vary widely. To narrow down the best organic shampoos, Bustle spoke with the creators behind Intelligent Nutrients, one of the cleanest, most eco-conscious hair care brands around.
“For shampoo, skin care, aroma, or any beauty product, the words 'truly organic' do not really mean anything right now," explains Nicole Rechelbacher, Co-Owner of Intelligent Nutrients. Additionally, "The words clean, organic and natural are not clearly defined or monitored by any government agency in the USA. Until all are defined by a government agency, brands have been left to define these terms for themselves, leading to 'green-washing' and misleading the consumer."
Rechelbacher goes on to note, "Because of this lack of standards or enforcement, just adding one drop of organic ingredients to a synthetic product allows brands to add the word organic to the label" — which is proof that to be a conscious consumer, you can never rely on marketing. So if labels can be this misleading, how can a customer tell if the product they're buying is truly clean? "Right now, the best way to know is to look for the words USDA certified-organic and check the label for ingredients. Check for third-party certifications!” Brands that are cruelty-free and use renewable energy should be prioritized, as well.
One of the most trustworthy third-party certifications to look for is the COSMOS standard, which, as Rechelbacher explains, "requires 95 percent of the product's agro-ingredients be organically produced. The remaining ingredients pose no known risk to health or environment." You can also look out for certifications from European organizations such as the Soil Assocation (the UK), ICEA (Italy), and ECOCERT (France), which regulate the amount of certified-organic ingredients a product must contain (and ensure that the rest are safe for both people and the environment).
If you're more concerned with what ingredients you should be avoiding, Janell Schroeder, Head of Regulatory Affairs at Intelligent Nutrients says, “The FTC is concerned with products marketed as 100 percent natural or all-natural that then contain synthetics such as dimethicone or phenoxyethanol, which should be avoided." Additionally, "You will not find sulfates in a USDA certified-organic product. They just are not available certified-organic," though she does note that "COSMOS does allow sulfates such as sodium lauryl sulfate, but the individual ingredient would not be labeled as organic."
While all of this is undoubtedly illuminating information to absorb, right now, you're probably just wondering what the best organic shampoos are. Scroll on to discover 10 great picks that you can trust.
1. Best Organic Fragrance-Free Shampoo
If you hate products with fragrance in them — natural or artificial — you'll love this pick from Desert Essence. The formula contains organic jojoba oil, to soften and moisturize hair; organic green tea, which enhances shine; and other vitamin- and mineral-rich botanicals that work to keep hair healthy and strong. Accredited by the NSF for meeting its organic standards, it's also free of parabens, SLS, silicones, glycol and phthalates. Because it's gentle but nourishing, this basic-in-a-good-way shampoo is a great choice for everyday hair-washers.
2. Best Organic Shampoo For Super Sensitive Skin & Scalps
Odylique's Gentle Herb Shampoo was the first ever shampoo to be certified-organic by the Soil Association. Made for super sensitive scalps, this hypoallergenic formula is free of sulfates and other common allergens, including dairy, soy, gluten, and nut oils, etc. The herbal blend includes aloe and chamomile to soothe the hair and scalp, as well as coconut oil, to deeply condition, and rosemary oil, which promotes shine and encourages healthy hair growth. Plus, in addition to being cruelty-free, Odylique also packages their products in recyclable materials.
3. Best Organic Volumizing Shampoo
Sante is a clean German beauty brand that uses natural ingredients sourced from local farms, many of which are organically-cultivated. They're also NATRUE-certified, which ensures transparency to prevent "green-washing," and prohibits the use of artificial, potentially harmful ingredients. Their Henna Volumizing Shampoo contains a unique combination of organic honey, henna extract, and beer, which work together to volumize hair, enhance its elasticity, and increase shine. What you won't find in the formula are sulfates, paraffins, parabens, silicones, and other common, potential irritants.
It's rare to find a natural shampoo that's so affordable, especially one that's imported, making this a must-try. You can also try their Natural Balance and Velvet Rose shampoos, if the brand has piqued your interest.
4. Best Organic Replenishing Shampoo
If you're looking for a natural shampoo that will strengthen and replenish your hair, try this protein-enriched formula from Intelligent Nutrients. "Our PureLuxe Replenishing Shampoo is designed to repair, mend and moisturize dry/damaged medium to coarse hair," Rechelbacher explains.
This sulfate-free shampoo is loaded with natural botanicals and certified-organic ingredients that work to strengthen hair from the inside out. Non-greasy yet nourishing, the formula helps soften and repair hair that's become damaged from chemical treatments, hot tools, or, hair dye.
Though this specific formula isn't certified-organic by the USDA (though it does contain certified-organic ingredients), many of the brand's other products are. This shampoo does boast the brand's Harmonically Made certification, however, which ensures it contains only clean, skin-safe ingredients that rate four or less on the EWG's Skin Deep Database. What's more, the PureLuxe Replenishing Shampoo is vegan, gluten-free, and Leaping Bunny-certified cruelty-free. It also has a Green-E certification, which means its manufactured using clean, renewable sources of energy.
5. Best Organic Neutralizing Shampoo
Created by another lesser-known brand from abroad, this neutralizing shampoo works to leave hair healthy and balanced. It helps absorb excess oil on the scalp while still providing conditioning benefits, and it's free of glycols, mineral oils, parabens, sulfates, and all the other usual irritating suspects. Moreover, it's certified-organic by the ICEA and made using 99 percent natural ingredients, many which are wild-harvested in Siberia.
While Natura Siberica, a Russian brand, hasn't taken off in the U.S. yet, it's become quite the hit in the UK and Europe, so it's only a matter of time before American clean beauty obsessives discover this gem of a brand. As a whole, the brand offers dozens of other products that are certified-organic by organizations including ECOCERT, COSMOS, and the Soil Association.
6. Best Organic Clarifying Shampoo
Clarifying shampoos deeply cleanse the scalp of product buildup and anything else that might be contributing to greasiness or itching. Because of this, they don't need to be used everyday, so limit the use of Avalon Organics' Clarifying Lemon Shampoo to a couple a times a week. Enriched with chamomile, aloe, and lemon essential oil to cleanse and clarify hair without stripping it of color or its natural oils, this formula boasts an NSF/ANSI 305 certification, which ensures it's made of at least 70 percent certified-organic ingredients. It's also EWG-verified, vegan, and biodegradable, in addition to being free of sulfates, GMOs, parabens, and synthetic dyes and fragrance.
7. Best Organic Strengthening Shampoo
Another awesome Russian discovery — what are they on to over there? — Dr. Konopka's Strengthening Shampoo uses a special blend of herbs that work to revitalize weakened hair. The rosemary in the formula has antiseptic properties, and can even help promote blood circulation, which is great for the scalp. This is key, because a healthy scalp encourages healthy hair growth. Then, the argan and jojoba oils in the formula help replenish moisture and soften hair that's become brittle or damaged.
Dr. Konopka's formula, which uses mostly organic ingredients, is vegan, cruelty-free, and certified by both COSMOS and BDIH, a German association that regulates natural cosmetics.
8. Best Organic Baby Shampoo
Eco by Naty's Baby Shampoo is a pick from Sweden that's certified-organic by ECOCERT, a French organization that regulates natural and organic personal care products. Made for the super delicate skin of babies, adults with highly sensitive skin will enjoy this tear-free shampoo equally, thanks to its ultra gentle, hypoallergenic formula. Using ingredients like aloe leaf juice and vegetable-based moisturizers, it cleanses hair and skin, making it suitable for daily use as a shampoo and body wash.
Eco by Naty's Baby Shampoo is free of the 10 most common known skin irritants — like parabens, mineral oil, phthalates, etc. — and, like the Desert Essence shampoo, doesn't contain any fragrance. Moreover, the formula is ethically-sourced, cruelty-free, and vegan.
9. Another Great Intelligent Nutrients Shampoo To Consider
According to Rechelbacher, Intelligent Nutrient's most popular shampoo for men, women, and children is their Harmonic Invigorating Shampoo. "[This] non-toxic, antioxidant rich shampoo removes prior chemical buildup for a weightless clean," she explains. "Mild and gentle and smells amazing, thanks to the rosemary and bergamot essential oils [that] leave hair and [the] scalp feeling refreshed, and hair silky with a beautiful shine."
Made with at least 80 percent natural ingredients and packaged in 100 percent post-consumer recycled plastic, this sulfate-free, cruelty-free formula boasts all the same certifications as the PureLuxe Replenishing Shampoo.
10. An Organic Soap That Can Be Used As Shampoo, Body Wash, & All-Purpose Cleanser
Clean beauty enthusiasts who enjoy no-fuss, multi-use products will love Dr. Bronner's 18-in-1 soap. Certified-organic by the USDA, this peppermint-scented castile soap can be used as body wash, shampoo, hand soap, or as an all-purpose cleanser. Because customers wind up using it for everything, it comes with two giant 32-ounce bottles, so you'll be stocked for ages.
To leave hair and skin moisturized and soft, the formula relies on a blend of organic hemp, olive, jojoba, and coconut oils. Free of pretty much any potential toxin or irritant you can think of (unless you have a sensitivity to peppermint), this soap is also bottled in 100 percent post-consumer plastic.
This post was originally published by Deanna McCormack on 5/11/2018. It was updated and republished on 6/28/2019.
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