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Not all chemicals are bad, but you don't need a long list of them in your hair products. One popular ingredient you've probably skipped over a bunch of times on product labels, sodium lauryl sulfate, actually strips your hair of natural oils you need, leaving you with dry, sad strands. Organic shampoos are just as strong and fortifying as their competitive counterparts. But like the rest of the beauty industry, not all non-toxic shampoos (opens in new tab) are created equal. It ain't easy being green, but we've found the best of the best completely clean options your hair will thank you later for.
What does "organic shampoo" mean?
Organic, here in the U.S., is a distinction given to produce grown on soil that hasn't been treated with chemical fertilizers. Because shampoos are chemical compositions, definitionally, organic doesn't quite work. Instead, "organic shampoo" is a designation given to products that are clean and natural, formulated without chemicals deemed bad for you or the environment. Also? Sustainable packaging (opens in new tab) matters, too, in our shared quest to do better.
Do organic shampoos work?
Here's the truth: organic shampoos get a bad rap for falling short on formulations that offer a lackluster lather and a sud-less shower experience. Some of them don't make the cut, that's for sure. But fortunately, there have been many innovations in this clean product category (opens in new tab) with amazing natural makeup brands (opens in new tab) and organic shampoos that work well on all hair types and give you the hair growth (opens in new tab), nourishment, hydration, shine, and lather you're looking for. These shampoos are free of icky ingredients and are full of rave reviews.
THE GREEN JUICE FOR YOUR HAIR
You know what they say about superfoods: they'll allow you to live your best life. Now, your hair can live its best life too with this superfood shampoo, which uses the power of supercharged ingredients like apple, matcha, spinach, and vitamin C to ensure your strands have all the fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals they need. Inspired by all the nutrients green juice provides, this shampoo is the ultimate reviver.
This sulfate-free formula utilizes coconut oil and egg whites to cleanse and hydrate your hair. Bonus: It smells amazing.
Looking to add bounce and volume to your limp strands? This completely clean formula acts as a thickening agent, adding a noticeable amount of volume, while the rahua oil, which is rich in fatty acids, strengthens hair prone to breakage. It's also full of detoxifiers and antioxidants like green tea, citrus, and lemongrass to rid your hair of build-up and excess oil.
Don't you worry—dry, dull hair isn't your forever. For all of $5, you can spoil your strands with this shampoo full of nourishing coconut extracts to cleanse and coat your hair in moisture. This formula is 98-percent naturally-derived and 100-percent vegan and will sensorially transport you to the tropics with its amazing scent. Yes, please.
THE CBD SHAMPOO
If slathering your strands in hemp-derived CBD doesn't sound appealing, then IDK what will. Your hair needs some R&R, too, and this shampoo will bring it back to a peaceful state using calming CBD, which has scalp-soothing benefits. There's also coconut, moringa, peppermint, and eucalpytus oil swimming around in this shampoo to stimulate hair growth. Even better: the environmentally-conscious bottles are made from plastic waste to reduce the brand's footprint.
THE ELEGANT OPTION
It's hard to believe that this entirely translucent formulation could deliver such a wide-array of benefits to your hair. Seaweed extract, mango, and apricot quench with plumping nutrients amino and fatty acids bring patch ragged zones. If you haven't danced with Evolvh before, the company aims to create products that work elegantly, with no nonsense, aka sulfates, parabens, silicones, pthalates, or propylene glycol.
THE SCALP SOOTHER
Tea tree is a skincare classic, and why shouldn't your scalp get just as much attention as your face? If you find yourself scratching away, this option will quell irritation and bring you back to baseline.
THE INSTANT SPA
You know that heavenly, steamy, herbal smell that hits you the second you walk into the spa? This calming lavender and rosemary-scented shampoo will make you feel like a guest at the White Lotus in just moments.
It seems like everyone is complaining about hair loss these days. Whether it's COVID-related, period stuff, or just plain stress, clumps of hair can end up on your shower floor if your body feels off. A volumizing shampoo can help hide any sparse spots up top, and give you a little lift to make you feel more confident.
THE HYDRATING HERO
Pumpkin isn't just for spicing up your autumnal coffee choices. Organic argan oil and pumpkin rich in omega fatty acids with hydrate and nourish hair with just one wash.
If you're trying to go plastic-free, or even just cut down on your consumption, a shampoo bar is an easy swap for your routine. This unscented option is as soothing as it is simple: babassu oil and cocoa butter hydrate strands, while sugar beet-derived betaine reduces scalp irritation.
THE EVERYDAY ESSENTIAL
What's cool about this coconut-derived shampoo is that it leaves behind a light lather full of nutrient-boosting bubbles that detoxify and nourish the hair with a healthy amount of hydration. It's careful not to strip away your hair's natural oils and overtime stimulates your roots for optimal hair growth. Prepare to be hypnotized by its amazing scent of black coconut, orange blossom, fresh sandalwood, and pacific musk.
This sleek bottle holds a concentrated dose of coconut-derived surfactants, which provides a nice lather that will cleanse and nourish your hair with hydration without over-stripping. It's gained a cult following, and is loved by celebrities like Olivia Wilde and skilled stylists alike for its ability to work its hydrating and shine-boosting magic on hair without icky ingredients.
THE UNFUSSY CHOICE
Coconut-derived sulfates are the hero in this minimalist celebration, which also boasts a rather addicting high-end hotel scent bouquet of grapefruit, mandarin, wood and celery seed.
Drench your thirsty hair in a hydrating bath of balancing essential oils and softening emollients to smooth your hair cuticles. This rich and creamy texture works best on thick, coarse hair in need of more moisture. Made of shea butter, coconut, and tamanu oil, it has all the vitamins and nutrients for the healthy, happy hair you deserve.
THE ETHICAL OPTION
For under $20, you can cop this sulfate-free and naturally/neutrally scented wunderkind, which hails from a female-owned and operated company, offering all cruelty-free and vegan products.
THE PLASTIC-FREE SHAMPOO BAR
According to Odacité, approximately 552 million plastic bottles end up in landfills each year—let that sink in. This plastic-free soap works just as well on its own with the help of argan oil, cupuaçu butter, castor and coconut oil to thoroughly cleanse and nourish your hair. "All the perks of your high-quality shampoo, sans the plastic pollution," the brand notes. Here's to shiny, soft hair that didn't involve harming the earth while in production.
THE CUSTOMIZABLE OPTION
The first step with the Function of Beauty range is selecting your base shampoo—in this case, wavy. (Which, as someone with wavy hair, is rarely found as an option.) Next, you dip into add-ins, single-serving ampoules that can be swirled into the base to add ingredients that strengthen, lengthen, enhance shine, or protect. The result is a shampoo that's anything but one-size-fits-all. All ingredients are clean, all plastics are recycled and recyclable.
THE HYDRATING BAR
Just lather this obelisk between your palms, and then treat your strands to a soap-free, sulfate-free, phthalate-free, silicon-free, paraben-free, and cruelty-free adventure. Most bars last at least six months, and each arrives in a compostable paper pouch.
THE LUXE + SUSTAINABLE CHOICE
If you're someone who believes in the benefits of fancy shampoo—I am very frugal and I am one of those people—rejoice in the environmentally-friendly alternative that requires zero compromise. R+Co Bleu comes to you in packaging entirely constructed from PCR (post consumer recycled) plastic and paper, not to mention what's inside: tananu, maracuja, and argan oils for ultra hydration, plus the zippy scents of softening blood orange and primrose extracts.
THE POWDER SHAMPOO
Why use a powdered shampoo (not to be confused with a dry shampoo), you might wonder? The idea is that less packaging can deliver more product, and all you need to do is add water. This particular version contain milk surfactants, rice protein, and aloe vera, plus is a heck of a lot of fun.
THE 5-INGREDIENT WONDER
Don't let the cheeky name deceive you. Mother Dirt shampoo is clean, preservative-free, unfragranced and plant-based, but still leaves your strands squeaky clean (in a good way). Five high-powered botanicals team up for an earthy scent and a deeply effective clean.
Taylore Glynn is the Beauty and Health Editor at Marie Claire, covering skincare, makeup, fragrance, wellness, and more. If you need her, she’s probably roasting a chicken, flying solo at the movies, or drinking a bad Negroni at JFK.
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