Finding a hair care product that's
actually organic is a near-impossible task. For example, a product can contain just one organic ingredient and market itself as an organic product, or, a brand can say its ingredients are organic without actually providing any sort of evidence to back that claim up. To make things even trickier, organic certifications vary widely by country, and each each third-party agency that provides these certifications has different criteria. To help shed some light on organic hair care products — and, more specifically, the best organic shampoos — Bustle spoke with the creators behind Intelligent Nutrients, one of the 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" — another example of how 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 organic? "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!” Rechelbacher says.
One of the most trustworthy third-party certifications to look for is the
COSMOS standard, which, as Rechelbacher explains, "requires 95% 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 to be labelled as organic. Similarly, if a product boasts an NSF or NSF/ANSI 305 certification, that’s a promising sign, too.
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 added fragrance — whether natural or artificial — you'll love
this shampoo from Desert Essence. The formula contains organic jojoba oil to soften and moisturize hair; organic green tea, which helps enhance 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 free of parabens, SLS, silicones, glycols, and phthalates. Because it's so gentle and nourishing, this basic-in-a-good-way shampoo is a great choice for everyday hair-washers. User review: “Because I don't like perfumes in shampoos, this really filled the bill. I feel I've found the organic fragrance-free shampoo I'd been looking for. It lathers very well and clears out leftover hair gel residues. Does a great job of cleaning. If you're looking for a shampoo (and conditioner) that has no scent, this can be what you're looking for. Recommended.” 2 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 once a week, or a couple of times a month. 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% 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. User review: “I swim almost daily and use this each time. I find that it's able to remove the chlorine from my hair without making my hair dry and straw-like. It has a great smell that is not too strong and very natural smelling. Plus, it's an organic product! I would definitely recommend this product.” 3 Best Organic Multi-Use Soap
Organic 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 all-purpose cleanser. Because most 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 uses a blend of organic hemp, olive, jojoba, and coconut oils. Free of pretty much any potential irritant you can think of (unless you have a sensitivity to peppermint), this soap is also bottled in 100% post-consumer plastic.
Note that Dr. Bronner’s castile soap also comes in other scents, like
lavender, almond, rose, eucalyptus, and citrus, as well as an unscented version. User review: “I have severe allergies to chemicals and scents and this is one of the only products I can use! I use this as a body wash, shampoo, dog shampoo, surface cleaner (diluted), you name it! I do have to use a good conditioner as it does make my hair feel a little dry but I have to say the Peppermint is great for the scalp and my hair has been growing so much since I started using this!” 4 Best Organic Shampoo For Dry, Damaged Hair
Certified organic by European organizations COSMOS and ECOCERT, Natura Siberica’s
Hydrolate shampoo is ideal for use on dry, damaged hair. Like all of the brand’s products, it harnesses the powers of rare Siberian botanicals — in this case, cedar, crepis sibirica, and rhodiola rosea, among others — to work its hair-transforming magic. The unique blend of ingredients in the formula aims to repair and prevent damage, balance excess oil production, and leave hair feeling silky and smooth, while also offering up a gentle, but effective cleanse. 5 Best Organic Shampoo For Volume
If your hair is fine, limp, or generally lacking oomph, try
Dr. Konopka's Volume Shampoo. The COSMOS-certified formula is rich in hair-boosting botanicals that will help give you some lift at the root while providing overall nourishment to the rest of your hair. It smells amazing in a soothing, herbal way, too. 6 Best Organic Dry Shampoo
If you’re after an
organic dry shampoo, you can’t do much better than this one from ACURE — it’s USDA certified-organic, housed in a non-aerosol bottle, and costs less than $10 on Amazon. Made with just a handful of ingredients to give your hair a refresh — like kaolin clay, corn starch, rosemary, and peppermint — this can be applied onto either your scalp or a brush, and then combed through your hair. It comes in a version for dark hair, too! User review: “I have tried several dry shampoos for dark hair and this one has been my favorite so far. I have very dark brown/black hair and I’ve struggled with finding a cruelty free, non-aerosol shampoo that doesn’t leave a grey cast on my hair. This one soaks up oil well and after applying it in the morning, it lasted through the night and the next day. The twist top dispenser with small holes (similar to a spice container) works very well. Quality product packaging, and design.” 7 Best Organic Baby Shampoo & Body Wash
Since baby products tend to be a lot gentler than products made for adults, it’s usually easier to find baby shampoos that are organic. Obviously, you don’t have to be (or have) a baby to use baby shampoo — in fact, if you have very sensitive or allergy-prone skin, you may want to consider making the switch to baby products entirely. This
COSMOS-certified shampoo is made with all sorts of soothing and moisturizing ingredients to help you (or your little one) maintain healthy hair and skin. It’s a tear-free formula, so you don’t have to worry if it gets in your eyes, and it boasts a delicate, floral-sweet scent that’s derived from 100% natural sources of fragrance. You won’t find any sulfates, fragrance, silicones, alcohol, or soap in here, and it’s free of propylene glycol as well (a common allergen among people with sensitive skin). 8 Another Great Organic Shampoo & Body Wash
Another great (and even cheaper) two-in-one formula is this gentle,
NATRUE-certified shampoo and body wash from Weleda, the natural German brand best known for making the cult-classic Skin Food moisturizer. The hero ingredient in here is soothing calendula, which — combined with glycerin, sweet almond oil, and sesame seed oil — works to leave your hair (and skin) feeling super soft. This is fragrance-free, sulfate-free, and safe for use on the most delicate skin, including that of newborn babies. User review: “I LOVE this shampoo. I’m a natural momma and I’ve tried bronners, babo, Shea moisture, California baby, some indie brands and this is THE best. I even found it’s the best shampoo that I’ve found for my thin, easily greasy hair! It smells great, is a lovely cream that suds up nicely but it doesn’t strip hair at ALL. It makes it shiny, full, and clean. My thin hair, and my toddlers, look so great my husband even mentioned it after the first use. We also love the cream bath! Great for my reactive son and his rosacea, dermatitis, eczema, and cradle cap.” 9 A Splurge-Worthy Organic Shampoo & Body Wash From Sweden 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. Featuring ingredients like aloe leaf juice and vegetable-based moisturizers, this, too, can be used as both shampoo and body wash for babies, children, and adults with sensitive skin. The formula is free of parabens, fragrance, and gluten, and is ethically sourced, cruelty-free, and vegan. Buying it on Amazon is a splurge since it’s coming all the way from Sweden, but you do get a generously sized bottle, and it’ll give your bathroom a Scandinavian-chic touch. 10 You May Also Like
shampoo from Nature’s Brands isn’t certified organic, but it’s about as “natural” as you can get. In fact, it’s so unlike other shampoos that the brand warns users not to expect the sensation of washing your hair with a traditional shampoo when using their herbal blend. That’s because it contains absolutely no detergents or surfactants to produce a lather — the formula is just water, a few plant-based oils and extracts, xanthan gum, and castile soap. That’s it. Choose from eight scents, or an unscented version: Eucalyptus & Fennel, Green Tea & Peppermint, Lavender & Calendula, Lemongrass & Ginger, Rosemary & Chamomile, Sweet Orange & Cranberry, Sage & Thyme, or Tea Tree. Experts: Nicole Rechelbacher, Co-Owner of Intelligent Nutrients