Buying organic and sustainably-sourced beauty products allows consumers to purchase formulas with ingredients they can pronounce, trace back to the original source, and hopefully, consume more consciously in order to push companies towards ethical production of their stock. Hair care products are, of course, no exception, which is why it's well worth investing in a couple of bottles of the best organic shampoos and conditioners.
Unfortunately, when it comes to labeling beauty products as "organic" or "natural," there isn't a real industry standard for what those words actually mean. Some companies will put the exact percentage of natural ingredients found in the product on the packaging, while others will use "natural" as a cop-out to make products that may be completely water-based and ineffective — though technically natural since it's, y'know, water — seem more attractive to consumers. However, when a product is labeled "USDA organic," that means that at least 95 percent of the ingredients are considered organic... though even the meaning of that word here is relatively ambiguous.
Regardless, we made sure that more than half of the products on this list are USDA-certified organic. Though a couple are not, they come pretty darn close — or are doing everything else right when it comes to sustainability — which is why they made the cut.
Whether you're searching for an organic clarifying shampoo or some all-natural products for curly hair, you'll find it, below — and thanks to these brands' health-conscious formulations and sustainable efforts, you can feel so much better about your purchase.
1. The Overall Best Organic Shampoo and Conditioner
While this shampoo and conditioner set from Rahua is advertised to folks with color-treated hair, anyone with flat, limp tresses looking for a much-needed injection of moisture and volume would do well with these products. Rahua makes 100 percent vegan, USDA-certified organic hair products, and their formulas are free of harmful irritants like sulfates, silicone, and parabens. Packed with hydrating miracle ingredients like aloe, shea, and vitamin E, Rahua's shampoo and conditioner manage to repair damage while controlling sebum production in the scalp, which helps to decrease overall oiliness. This set is one of the pricier items on this list, but if you do the math, each product is less than $25, which is definitely on the lower side of prestige brand price points.
2. The Best Organic Shampoo and Conditioner For Curly Hair
This shampoo and conditioner set — with nourishing (and delicious smelling) ingredients like coconut and hibiscus — is perfect for curly-haired folks looking to repair damage and tame any frizziness or tangles. And at that price point? How could anyone say no? While Shea Moisture's products aren't USDA certified, they're basically as close as you can get. Additionally, they also have pretty much the most amazing and beautiful mission statement of all time. Their products all contain shea butter as the brand's signature hero ingredient, which they ethically source from women's cooperatives in Northern Ghana. Their Community Commerce model is not only a sustainable sourcing practice that betters the lives of the women they employ, but also makes a positive economic impact on the surrounding communities.
3. The Best Organic Shampoo For Color-Treated Hair
Whether your dye job is red, brown, or ashy blonde, this color-preserving shampoo from Intelligent Nutrients will make sure your dye job stays intact and bright over time. It's plant-based, USDA-certified organic, and produces a light enough lather in the shower that it'll keep your hair clean and free of grease without stripping it of the natural oil it needs to keep from drying out. Unusual ingredients like tilia, quinoa, and brown algae help protect your hair from murky color and outside elements by forming protective barriers that allow for perfect color retention wash after wash. While this shampoo is definitely the most pricey single product on this list, it's definitely not nearly as expensive as an extra color-correcting dye job would be. For that reason and many more, it's totally worth it.
4. The Best Organic Shampoo For Oily Hair
This shampoo from Desert Essence is not only great for your oily scalp, but it's also easy on your wallet! With ingredients like lemon, tea tree oil, and maca root, this shampoo is perfect for folks whose hair can get super oily, but not enough to warrant a hardcore clarifying shampoo for serious build-up. Not only will this formula help strengthen and protect hair, but it'll help quell any persistent greasiness by dissolving excess oil with gentle-yet-effective USDA-certified organic ingredients. As one happy Amazon reviewer put it, "I usually wash my hair every three days with dry shampoo on the second and third day. Now I am able to go two whole days without dry shampoo." Whether your hair is thick, thin, coarse, or fine, if you're looking for a non-abrasive formula that'll keep your hair feeling squeaky clean, this is the perfect product for you.
5. The Best Organic Clarifying Shampoo
If a shampoo formulated for oily hair just isn't cutting it, you might need something a little stronger. Enter clarifying shampoos, which help eliminate product build-up and excess oil that's reduced your hair's natural shininess and health over time (pro tip: they're also the solution if your hair ever turns green from swimming in a pool). This clarifying shampoo from Avalon Organics is perfect for someone looking for a squeaky-clean derived from natural ingredients like lemon and aloe, instead of harsh chemicals. While the brand's products aren't USDA certified, like Shea Moisture, they're committed to improving the world around them through their practices. Avalon Organics is one of the founding partners of CARE's "Empower Her Through Education" campaign, which helps make education accessible to young girls in developing countries. By buying this shampoo — which comes in a two pack for less than $20 — you're not only helping your hair, but you're helping support access to education, too. And we all know that's way more important.
6. The Best Organic Baby Shampoo
This two-in-one shampoo and body wash by California Baby may not be USDA-certified organic, but just like the two other products on this list who haven't earned an official seal of approval, that doesn't make it any less health- and eco-conscious. California Baby formulates their products without potential irritants that don't even make the usual lists, like avocado and peanuts (or anything with soy, dairy, oats, and gluten), which are technically natural, but don't cater to people with relatively common allergies. Instead, they use all-natural, plant-derived ingredients that are always organic when possible. This vegan formula (which is free of GMOs, parabens, triclosan, DEA, and sulfates) is created with sensitive skin in mind, so it's not only great for infants, but perfect for anyone with a picky scalp. The light lavender scent will make your hair smell amazing, and clary sage and calendula will help strengthen tresses and curb oil in the most gentle-yet-effective way possible. Also, though it's not super cheap, you're getting two products in one, since it doubles as an all-over wash.
7. The Best Organic Leave-In Conditioner
I've said it before and I'll say it a million more times: I love any and all things Dr. Bronner's. Their products are all vegan, USDA-certified organic, and made without any synthetic detergents or preservatives. This leave-in conditioning treatment is an all-in-one treatment that works to rejuvenate dry and damaged hair, untangle it to make it easier to brush, and give it a shiny, healthy look and feel. With ingredients like organic coconut and jojoba oils, your hair will feel stronger and be better able to withstand your daily styling routine. Plus, because this creme is so effective, you only need to use a small amount, so this bottle should last you months even with daily use.
8. The Best Organic Hair Mask
While this coconut oil hair mask from St. Tropica requires a little more work than your average product — they don't call it a hot oil mask for nothing — this USDA-certified hair fortifier is definitely worth the extra effort. Formulated with coconut oil to hydrate and smooth over-processed or damaged hair, this product also contains biotin and green tea to stimulate follicle growth and help strengthen hair from root to tip. This do-it-yourself mask is safe for all hair types and you can rest easy knowing that not only will your hair look and feel better, but you're purchasing a product that's made with only the finest quality ingredients. Even the packaging is BPA-free! And if that's not enough, with 82 percent of reviewers rating this product five stars, you can be absolutely sure that it works to improve hair quality, texture, and shine. Plus, in these TSA-friendly packets, you can easily take them when you travel, which will be especially beneficial on beach trips where your hair is being exposed to the salt water and sun.
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