Want your hair to be healthier? Try using natural & organic shampoos! We’ve found some of the very best for all hair types
By Diane Small
While we often worry about what goes in our cosmetics and skincare, we neglect to check the ingredients of a product we all use every day: shampoo. And unfortunately, almost all of the most readily available commercial products are not natural or organic shampoos, and they may even contain animal ingredients like keratin, or ones that can harm your health.
And the main such ingredient? That would be sodium laureth sulphate (SLS).
With sodium laureth sulphate, dioxins are created – and they are some of the most potentially dangerous carcinogens in the world. In fact, here’s a shocker: Agent Orange, the chemical spray used by the United States to defoliate the jungles of Vietnam, was made of that.
SLS is commonly used, nonetheless, because it’s cheap and has the ability to foam up when mixed with a bit of salt. Unfortunately, many consumers have the perception that lots of foam = cleaner hair, but this is not the case: the foam itself doesn’t help clean your hair much. But SLS does get rid of grease – which is why it is used for cleaning car engines and kitchen floor cleaning products.
Common but nasty: the dangers of SLS
If you’ve ever wondered why shampoo labels always warn against getting the product in your eyes, it’s not because it stings – we all know that – it’s because SLS is highly irritating to all mucous membranes and the upper respiratory tract; yet avoiding inhaling droplets of it is difficult in a hot shower. It’s also damaging to hair follicles themselves.
SLS also corrodes hair follicles and impairs our ability to grow hair. One study showed that if you use pure SLS on your scalp it will actually cause hair to fall out! Some trichologists (hair specialists) believe that increasing use of SLS and the salt that is added to it to make it foam is leading more women to lose their hair (or to have it thin out) than ever before.
There are, however, other more profound health hazards associated with SLS. Scientists have researched the effects of SLS extensively, and their studies reveal compelling and alarming evidence indicating that it should be avoided. Among the findings is that SLS is rapidly taken up by eye tissue and retained; even more so for children. SLS is absorbed through skin contact, not just through the eyes, and has been documented to enter and maintain residual levels in the brain, liver, heart, and lungs.
It can damage the immune system and cause severe inflammation of the skin, but scariest of all, the damage is accumulative, and once your immune system is damaged, it takes long time for it to recover. This can lead to a form of suppression of your body that allows you to become more vulnerable to viruses or bacteria.
Not just in shampoo, either
Unfortunately, it’s not only non- natural shampoos we have to watch out for. SLS is in a lot of other personal care products as well, including toothpaste, hand and body soaps, bubble baths, facial cleansers and shaving gel.
But don’t worry – just bin the SLS-laden shampoos in your bathroom and replace them with one of the fantastic all natural or organic shampoos below, all of which contain at least some organic ingredients, and which we’ve tried and tested ourselves, below.
Please note: Eluxe was not paid for any of these endorsements
Our Top 15 Natural & Organic Shampoos
Australian haircare brand Original & Mineral has gone global in its popularity, thanks to its gentle formulae that have been created specifically with hair health in mind. Created specifically to prevent UV damage and to maintain colour, these natural shampoos use deeply conditioning active ingredients sourced from the ocean and the plant worlds. No matter which of their natural shampoos you choose, your hair will shine with health, and dry scalps will be soothed and hydrated.
Price: Around $28 a bottle
Want super soft hair that smells terrific, too? Try anything by Aveda! Their Cherry Almond Softening Shampoo is divine. It’s infused with a bunch of beneficial ingredients, including cherry blossoms and sweet almond oil to effectively eliminates impurities, whilst delivering plant-based moisturising and reparative properties to leave hair feeling surprisingly silky.
In fact, the brand is so well known for their deliciously scented hair care products, they’ve actually dubbed the aroma “pure-fume™”. The one used in their Cherry Almond Shampoo is derived from 38 flower and plant essences, and is so gorgeous, we’re sure it will get you compliments wherever you go!
Price: Around $17.50 per bottle
3. Juice Beauty
Good news! Juice Beauty’s hair care products – called Juice Organics – are all made without petrochemical-derived ingredients. But it gets even better than that! They’re concentrated so they last: you’ll never see water on the ingredient list! Instead, their chemists start with antioxidant rich organic botanical juices, vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids. They’re all designed to revitalise your hair and boost its shine. The brand is fully committed to using only certified organic ingredients, and they guarantee over 70% certified organic content of their shampoos and conditioners.
Price: Around $15.00 per bottle
This really gentle, certified organic shampoo shampoo is made of 70% organic ingredients. And forget about SLS! Instead, coco glucoside acting as its main cleanser. It has a very subtle, light scent, as it is perfumed with just the lightest touch of chamomile and rosemary extracts.
If you’re looking for a product to perfume your hair, this may not be right for you, but the shampoo creates a gentle lather with a clean finish. And best of all, doesn’t strip hair of colour or natural sheen.
Price: Around $12.00 per bottle
Rich with organic and 100% natural ingredients, Rahua oil from the Amazon fortifies weak, damaged strands while nourishing and regenerating the scalp and hair follicles, allowing for hair to grow longer and stronger. South American Palo Santo offers delicate fragrance, providing a soothing aromatherapy experience while shampooing.
Here, it’s coconut that is used to effectively remove oil, dirt and bacteria without stripping necessary nutrients, and shea butter ensures your hair doesn’t dry out. This pure, gentle formula cleanses hair with fewer suds, which means it’s not removing colour or previously applied treatments.
Price: Around $28.00 a bottle
Apparently a fave of Kate Moss’s, this is a soothing natural shampoo for all hair types, but especially for those with skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. British brand Green People make a range of shampoos with various ingredients, and their products have no SLS or no foaming agents at all. We found a little of this lavender scented product went a long way, and Kate has said that this shampoo has changed her hair for the best – and that she uses it as a shower gel, too!
Price: Around $15.00 per tube
This one’s for the luxury lovers! The herbal, SLS free formula leaves your hair surprisingly soft and bouncy after use. In fact, many people, including me, feel a conditioner isn’t even necessary! No wonder it’s become something of a cult favourite and a best seller, despite the lofty price.
Price: Around $18.00 per bottle
8. John Masters
John Masters really is the ‘Master’ of natural hair care! His wide range of shampoos, conditioners, hair masks and styling products are fully based on natural ingredients, with many of these being from organic sources.
We’ve tried and tested a good many of these JMO natural shampoos, and have several favourites, including this Honey and Hibiscus one, which can be used every day. Fortified with soy, rice and oat proteins to renew and reconstruct damaged hair, this SLS-free shampoo permeates every shaft of hair with nutrients. Of course, the added organic honey and hibiscus make your hair smell gently wonderful!
Price: Around $26.oo per tube
Of all the natural shampoos on this list, Natulique may be one of the gentlest. This is one of the few brands that offers certified organic hair care, as well as three basic types of shampoo: moisturising for dry hair, volumising for those with thin or flyaway hair, and every day shampoo for the rest of us.
Besides making some of the best organic shampoos, Natulique also produces incredible natural (and partly organic) hair colouring, too.
Price: Around $20 a bottle
Got frizzy hair? We found the solution. And it’s 98% all natural and organic, too! Organic Surge Moisture Boost Shampoo cleanses your hair and scalp gently, without removing their natural protective oils, thanks to ingredients like grape vine extract, wheat protein and olive leaf extracts.
This gentle formula is also fully free from harsh foaming agents that can strip hair of its natural oils and can cause scalp irritation, but it does have a nice, lightweight lather, thanks to its naturally-derived ingredients. This is one of the best organic shampoos for the price. Oh, and did I mention it comes with a matching conditioner, too?
Price: Around $10.00 per tube
Eco certified with organic aloe, olive extracts and lavender oil, this highly balanced, very mild formula was made for those who are looking for a wonderful natural shampoo for daily use. It adds a healthy shine to the hair shaft, and was especially formulated to protect coloured treated hair – but it works a treat on natural hair, too, of course!
Not only does Naturigin make some of the best organic shampoos, they also produce natural hair dyes, too.
Price: Around $17.00 per bottle
12. 100% Pure
Stronger, healthier locks are promised by all of 100% Pure’s natural shampoos – and they have many, including tangy yuzu and pomelo, herbal burdock and neem, and rich sea kelp and mint. But their wonderfully scented virgin coconut and honey variety is probably our favourite! It’s a rich coconut foam made with hydrating, gently cleansing coconut and sweet honey, which promotes scalp health. This sulfate-free shampoo is safe and gentle enough for colour treated hair, too.
Price: $30 per bottle
Coloured hair needs special care, as the folks as Pureology know well! For that reason, they’ve formulated this deeply hydrating shampoo with an organic formula that’s designed especially to keep dyed hair soft, lustrous, and full of shine.
Instead of harmful SLS, the brand uses ZeroSulfate, a mild cleansing system that won’t strip hair of its colour. Derived from all-natural ingredients, including coconut, corn and sugar, it delivers a rich lather and helps optimise colour. In fact, this brand is one of the best brands of organic shampoos for those of us with dyed hair.
And did I mention they just launched a shampoo that’s naturally fragranced with pink grapefruit, rose, and cedar? It smells DIVINE!
Price: Around $27.00 a bottle
Treat yourself to some incredibly luxurious natural shampoo! Leonor Greyl Paris was one of the first hair care brands to create their shampoos from plant-based, all natural ingredients. Its cult formulas are free from silicones, coal tar, parabens and sodium laureth, and have been developed to address a variety of hair and scalp concerns, drawing on the expertise fostered at its research institute in Paris.
The brand offers all kinds of natural shampoos for all kinds of hair, from oily and thick to fine and dry.
Price: Around $47 per bottle
There are plenty of reasons for using a dry shampoo. Maybe you have no time to wash and blow dry; maybe you’re camping or travelling to a place where water is scarce. Or, perhaps you’re trying to preserve an awesome hairstyle. Or maybe you just want the volume that a dry shampoo offers (it really can give hair a boost, right from the roots). In any case, nobody does luxurious dry shampoos better than Tabitha James Kraan.
This Organic Dry Shampoo will naturally help balance oil production and soothe the scalp. It’s suitable for all hair types to refresh and volumise. The lovely gold compact can be popped in your purse for emergency freshen-ups, too! It’s definitely one of the easiest and best best organic shampoos to use on the go!
Price: Around $25
Main image: Beauty Press