I am answering the burning question, does organic hair dye exist? As a hairstylist, hair color was the first thing that changed when I moved towards a greener lifestyle years ago. Not that organic hair dyes are perfect, because they aren't. But there are better options than the conventional hair dyes out there, especially if you're breathing in toxic fumes all day as a stylist. I actually stopped doing hair for a bit until I found a safer option. I didn't want to be around conventional color, and I definitely didn't want to be exposing others to chemicals.
*Affiliate Disclosure: I do have affiliate links in this blog post. If you purchase something from my link, I will receive a small commission from the sale. This comes at no cost to you, but is paid by the company. I do not take becoming an affiliate with any company lightly. If I am, it’s because I believe in the company and their product.
*Suzi (Gurl Gone Green) is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.
You may be thinking that hair dye isn’t that big of a deal if you are only using it a handful of times per year. But I am here to say that it can’t be ignored when you consider the toxic ingredients in hair dye and the fact that
66-77 percent of women dye their hair (1)
Pretty crazy statistics! And when you consider that some (maybe even many) women might not know what they're putting on their heads along with the fact that the FDA doesn't regulate hair dye it definitely gets a little more scary. In fact,
“the FDA cannot take action against a coal-tar hair dye on the basis that it is or contains a poisonous or deleterious ingredient that may make it harmful to consumers, as long as the label includes a special caution statement and the product comes with adequate directions for consumers to do a skin test before they dye their hair. PLUS, Coal-tar hair dyes, unlike color additives in general, do not need FDA approval. (FD&C Act, 601(e)).” (2)
YIKES! And this “coal-tar” hair ingredient I am talking about, well it’s in a lot of hair dyes…even some of your so-called natural hair dyes. You also need to know that hair dye that is “For Professional Use” isn’t required by the FDA to list the ingredients even. That’s right, your hairstylist may not even know what is in that professional box of hair dye. So scary!
But, I am here to provide everything you need to know when deciding if you want to dye your hair (or not) and what you would want to use if you are aiming for a less toxic hair dyeing experience.
What exactly is in hair dye that makes it so toxic?
Taking a closer look at hair dye means we need to look at the ingredients that make up your favorite color for your hair. Here are a few ingredients to consider when deciding if you want to continue using your current hair dye or not:
This is one of the most dangerous chemicals found in hair dyes. It has been known to cause bladder cancer and to cause cancer in experimental animals. One of the most common names for it is p-phenylenediamine (PPD). You will even find it in natural hair dyes (although the percentage is a lot lower). It functions as the main coloring agent in hair dye and it helps the color to last through shampoos.
While toxic alone, it gets even more toxic when paired with hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide is what's used in formulations with the PPD to get it to activate. It's interesting to me that the FDA has not approved for this chemical to be tested on the skin, yet it's nearly impossible to not get it on your skin if you're coloring your hair…crazy! Many stylists can end up with dermatitis because of constant exposure to PPD and those getting their hair dyed report eczema and dermatitis. Studies link it as a possible carcinogen. (3)
This is the most popular chemical people tend to hear about when faced with mainstream hair dyes. Ammonia is used in hair color to blast the cuticle and deposit the color. Besides it being toxic, it's also really damaging to your hair. Why do you think stylists are always pushing those conditioners like crazy?!
There is plenty of research showing ammonia is a respiratory and asthma irritant (4). Plus it is just plain not good for the environment considering it is washed out of your hair and goes down the drain into our waterways. This is a big deal because it is known to be toxic to aquatic life even in low concentrations. (5) Besides inhaling the toxic fumes, once it is on a client's scalp it seeps into the pores, which is then carried into the bloodstream. Bottom line-avoid it!
These are used in permanent hair dyes. Besides getting headaches, getting dizzy and having allergic reactions, long term exposure can lead to female reproductive system damage and pregnancy loss. (6)
Parabens, Resorcinol, lead acetate are a few other offenders.
*There's a slew more chemicals you can find in your hair dye – actually there can be up to over 400 chemicals!
What is the best natural hair dye?
As both a consumer and a hair stylist, I have to say that the best professional natural hair dye is Oway. But there are 2 other brands I want to include in my list of better hair dye options if you are getting your hair dyed professionally. When I say professional, I mean these are only available to those licensed as a cosmetologist.
I have to say this line I've been the most impressed with. I've only used them a handful of times – unfortunately when I had my salon it wasn't available otherwise I would have definitely used it. First they're made in Italy. They're ammonia free and offer 89 colors which is a decent selection. They actually have 6 legit natural ingredients in their hair color, which is rare to find. They really push the words biodynamic, natural and organic. Obviously, if you've been reading through this post you know that it's probably a marketing term, which it is. But I am shocked how they do really have a high standard when it comes to being more eco-friendly all around. You don't have to sit under heat to process the color or do a ton of steps to cover grays – which isn’t the case with all the brands I will mention. If you're a stylist and reading this definitely use a scale, it's essential for good results with this color line. I was impressed with how I didn't have to pack on the color with this line too – again, not the case with all the brands I will mention. Obviously, it's still not completely natural but I would say as far as being a stylist and having ease of use, consistent results and doesn't smell horrible, it's definitely a better option.
I wanted to also mention how much I loved Oway's Hbleach lightener! It's the best lightener I've ever used. It actually makes the hair feel better after using…I know crazy. It's ammonia free and contains lavender essential oil and kukui butter. It's so creamy. If you're a stylist and you're wanting to try out Oway, check out the website simplyorganicbeauty.com. You will have to get accepted as a stylist in order to purchase products. Also, if you're not a stylist but want to find a stylist that uses Oway, call their number (888)213-4744 and then push the number 4 to find a salon near you that uses it. You can also email them here.
This is the professional line I used at my salon. They are made in the UK, which is great because they have higher standards than the U.S. It is ammonia and resorcinol free. This was one of the main reasons I went with the line at the time. It was back in 2013 and this really was the only option when it came to natural hair dye from what I knew. It still does have PPD in it but has the lowest amount needed in order for it to still be effective. Instead of Ammonia in the product they use Ethanolamine and Triethanolamine. They don't smell as bad, but as far as toxicity goes, are still up there with ammonia. Not really that much better in my mind. They use Ethanolamine and Triethanolamine in combination with heat for the color to penetrate the hair shaft. You can read the full ingredient list here. This line covers grey and gives beautiful results. Your hair feels healthy and shiny. The fading was no different than mainstream color. I dare say it was actually better than traditional color.
The smell is more of an earthy smell, nothing unpleasant about it at all. If you've smelled ammonia color then you know what I'm talking about. They offer 64 colors that can be made permanent or semi-permanent depending on the developer and they offer two lightening powders. The lightening powders are ammonia, bleach and dust free. The line is vegan and some of their products do contain a wheat protein, however they claim that they are gluten free. I would still ask them if you're sensitive to gluten in any way before applying this color just to be sure. Some of their colors, as well as the lightening powders, have wheat protein in them.
They also have a truly semi-permanent line that's called No Limits. These dyes will wash out in 6-12 washes but don't contain PPD or PTD and you can use them in the convenience of your home. They are sold as a retail product from the salon. As I mentioned above, just because this line is “natural” and has the word “organic” in it does not mean it doesn't contain toxins. When I used it, I still wore gloves. Although it is better in some ways than standard hair dyes, it still is hair dye at the end of the day. To find a stylist using OCS, please e-mail them at email@example.com.
O&M stands for Original Mineral. I used it here and there in my salon. It is newer and made in Australia. O&M is ammonia, resorcinol and PPD free. But still contains a host of other toxic chemicals instead of PPD like p-aminophenol, 4-Chlororesorcinol, Toluene-2,5-Diamine Sulfate and 2, 4 Diaminophenoxyethanol hcl. Here is a full ingredient list.
The smell of O&M is more of a cleaning agent smell. I'm not a fan to be honest. It's not overly strong or burning like ammonia at all but it isn't as pleasant as OCS. It does not require heat to penetrate the hair shaft like Organic Color Systems does, which I loved. They also have a very creamy consistency. The hair felt great after using the product. They are a lot larger than OCS in terms of colors, they offer 99. They come in a cream form for permanent and liquid for semi-permanent. The results I got from using O&M were great. It covered grey well. The hair shined and lasted through shampoos also. If you're a stylist and you're wanting to try out O&M, check out the website simplyorganicbeauty.com. You will have to get accepted as a stylist in order to purchase products. Also, if you're not a stylist but want to find a stylist that uses O&M, call their number (888)213-4744 and then push the number 4 to find a salon near you that uses it. You can also email them here.
So, is organic hair dye any better than conventional hair dye?
I do think it’s better. But, have you looked on the back of your “organic” hair color at the ingredients? Because there's definitely some serious artificial ingredients going on, meaning it’s anything but organic.
Below is a list of ingredients found in “natural” boxed hair dye. They aren't pretty. It would be different using it if it only had a couple toxic ingredients but when the list is this long, it makes you think twice before using it. They may remove some of the heavy offenders when it comes to conventional dye but they are far from safe. If there is a score next to the ingredient list it's the score from EWG's Skin Deep DataBase.
- PEG's(polyethylene glycols)- Petroleum based enhancers. Usually contaminated with heavy metals, Ethylene oxide (used in World War 1 nerve gas) and 1,4 dioxane-(a carcinogen) and makes it easier for ingredients to absorb into your skin/scalp. Not something you want in your products if there are a list of other toxic ingredients. The EWG Skin Deep DataBase rates this as a 1 but that's not accurate. They aren't looking at the whole makeup of the ingredient. Some brands can try and remove these impurities but it would be hard to find that out.
- Mineral Oil- Made from petroleum. Can be contaminated. It can even be a possible carcinogen. (7)
- Propylene Glycol- Very similar to (PEG's- polyethylene glycols), it also makes it easier for ingredients to penetrate the skin and can be a skin irritant.
- Parfum/Fragrance- Can cause phototoxic reactions and can be photoallergic. Skin irritant, and has been known as a neuro-toxin, hormone disruptor and an allergen.
- p-Phenylenediamine- Score of 7- Allergies and immunotoxicity as well as cancer.
- Ethanolamine- Score of 5-6, Allergies and Immunotoxicity
- 4-Chlororesorcinol- Score of 6- Allergies, Immunotoxicity, and cancer.
- 2-Methylresorcinol- Allergies and immunotoxicity.
- 2-Amino-4-Hydroxyethylaminoanisole Sulfate- Score of 3 but it did have a reference for cancer.
- m-Aminophenol- Score of 5, for allergies and immunotoxicity and cancer.
- N-Phenyl-p-Phenylenediamine Sulfate- Score of 7, allergies and immunotoxicity, cancer.
Despite this, I do think organic hair dye is better than conventional because you’re not using ammonia which blasts your hair and in the end damages your hair. The integrity of the hair is preserved so much better and the hair is overall healthier when using organic hair dye or dye that doesn't use ammonia in it. There are less overall potentially harmful ingredients in organic hair dye versus conventional hair dye as well. Although not perfect, I think if you’re going to dye your hair organic hair dye is a better option.
Is organic hair dye bad for your hair?
I don’t think hair dye in general is good for your hair but organic hair dye is the best option and I wouldn’t say it’s bad for your hair. It actually nourishes it so much more and has a much more gentle approach to getting the color in the hair cuticle compared to conventional hair dyes that blast your cuticle and leave hair feeling dry and brittle.
What natural hair dyes can be done at home?
If you want to continue dyeing your hair yourself, then here are some of the natural boxed hair dye options, however just remember they are not completely natural.
Many of these boxed dye options are even available on Amazon!
I will say that I was most impressed with Madison Reed's ingredient list. Still totally not squeaky clean at all, but compared to the other boxed dyes it wasn't as crazy. Madison Reed's are also PPD free, for those that are allergic or sensitive to PPD. But know that doesn't mean the ingredient they use instead, para-toulenediamene sulfate, is non toxic. It has its own set of side effects too.
I will list some hair dye alternatives below that are definitely safer. But these boxed options are for those that just don't want to spend that much time doing their hair every 6 weeks, or they have red hair, want highlights, etc. The alternatives to hair dyes just won’t be able to meet everyone's needs.
What are the best hair dye alternatives?
I have 3 options for natural hair dye alternatives for you to check out, although I do think Hairprint is the best option with just 8 food grade ingredients.
This is the only completely safe color line available at the moment. But I wouldn't really call it a hair color line. It's a boxed dye you can use at home that doesn't work like you might think a conventional color would. It uses 8 food-grade ingredients to dye the hair. I've personally used it on my mom's hair several years ago. Although it's completely safe it's also a lot of work. It took us about 2 1/2 hours from start to finish. I fully recommend it if you're just wanting to cover your roots and you have brown to darker hair naturally, but it doesn't work well with someone who wants to cover their dark roots and have highlights, which was my mom. It turns your hair to its original color. So if you're a natural level 5 brown, that's what the color will look like when done. In my experience it was even darker though. It looks very opaque and not see through. It faded on my mom but still was too harsh for her. As you get older the rule of thumb with color is add warmth and go lighter. Darker can make you look older and the skin more sallow. Hairprint doesn't work for blondes, redheads or reddish hair. You can buy it online here!
Henna is a plant and completely natural. There are still henna dyes that contain small amounts of PPD, so make sure if you are using henna it's pure. Typically henna will reveal a reddish brownish color but some companies have added in other plants with henna now to change the color.
Henna is really hard to work with. Once you put it on your hair, you really can't get it out. It's permanent. But a different permanent than conventional permanent dye. I've tried stripping henna out before with bleach and what happens is it turns brassy and red. The problem is once you put it on, you really can't do much else with your hair. Nowadays you can achieve different colors using a variety of henna powders. Check out Morocco Method for more info.
This is a great alternative to hair dye – a root concealer! This isn't actually an all over color for your hair but for just your roots. You use it when you are trying to hide those grey hairs. It really does blend well and covers the grey! It just washes out after shampooing. You use it like you would mascara. Now this isn't by any means completely natural. It rates a 5 on the Think Dirty app. However, this is definitely a better alternative to dyeing hair in my opinion. You are giving yourself a lot less of a toxic load. It is a lot better than mainstream root concealers too. Plus, if it can help you stretch getting your hair dyed then it's worth it. Check it out here.
Conclusion: Does organic hair dye exist?
If you’re thinking truly organic in terms of no harmful chemicals then no- unless you’re talking about Hairprint. Are there better options, absolutely. While terms like organic and natural are thrown around with hair dye, they shouldn’t be taken lightly. I tell people it’s a good place to start when looking for a safer approach to hair dye but also can be a greenwashing term if you’re not careful. There are better options out there when it comes to dyeing your hair and that’s where you might see the organic hair dye label pop up. A great place to start but not the only thing to consider when looking for a safer hair dye.
Do you dye your hair? What’s your favorite natural hair dye?
If you like this post, checkout past posts:
- Saitta, P., Cook, C. E., Messina, J. L., Brancaccio, R., Wu, B. C., Grekin, S. K., & Holland, J. (2013, January). Is there a true concern regarding the use of hair dye and malignancy development?: A review of the epidemiological evidence relating personal hair dye use to the risk of malignancy. The Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3543291/.
- Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. (n.d.). Hair dyes. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/cosmetics/cosmetic-products/hair-dyes.
- Koutros, S., Silverman, D. T., Baris, D., Zahm, S. H., Morton, L. M., Colt, J. S., Hein, D. W., Moore, L. E., Johnson, A., Schwenn, M., Cherala, S., Schned, A., Doll, M. A., Rothman, N., & Karagas, M. R. (2011, December 15). Hair dye use and risk of bladder cancer in the New England Bladder Cancer Study. International journal of cancer. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3203248/.
- Toxicant and disease database. Toxicant and Disease Database – The Collaborative on Health and the Environment. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.healthandenvironment.org/our-work/toxicant-and-disease-database/?showcategory=&showdisease=&showcontaminant=&showcas=7664-41-7&showkeyword.
- Environmental Protection Agency. (2021, February 29). https://www.epa.gov/wqc/aquatic-life-criteria-ammonia. EPA. Retrieved from https://www.epa.gov/wqc/aquatic-life-criteria-ammonia.
- Toluene. Toluene – Overview | Occupational Safety and Health Administration. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.osha.gov/toluene.
- Mineral oils: Untreated and mildly treated. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/ntp/roc/content/profiles/mineraloils.pdf.
The best natural shampoo and conditioner's post is here! I have all the details on all my favorite natural shampoos and conditioners in clean beauty. I’ve tried a lot of shampoos and conditioners in my day since going green and I’m here to share the best of the best!
If you're new here I want to emphasize a couple points. There is a reason I advocate for clean products for SO many reasons but one of them is the total body burden. Many product and ingredients have an accumulative affect on the body. Basically, the more you use them, the more they add up in your body. My goal is to arm you with healthier options that you can feel good about using daily so you're not taxing your body. After all, it's the thing you do daily that adds up over time, not the product you use once in a while.
Affiliate Disclosure: I do have affiliate links in this blog post. If you purchase something from my link, I will receive a small commission from the sale. This comes at no cost to you, but is paid by the company. I do not take becoming an affiliate with any company lightly. If I am, it’s because I believe in the company and their product.
One of the newest natural shampoos and conditioners I've discovered and love!
Since we know shampoo is one of those daily products, I think it's imperative that we have a look at what shampoo we're using. Do the ingredients create a healthy environment for our bodies? What does the research say about the ingredients? We know from studies that as we reduce certain ingredients in our products, then you see them less and less in our bodies(source).
The scalp is 4 times more absorbent than other parts of our body, it's important what we use when it comes to shampoo and conditioner. A study even showed how massaging a certain oil with a medicine into the scalp was absorbed almost the same as an oral dose(Source)! Definitely showing the power of the scalp to absorb ingredients.
Before we dive into the best natural shampoo and conditioners, let's take a look at the ingredients you don't want to be lurking in your shampoo bottle.
What's In Your Shampoo?
Have you ever thought about what's in your conventional shampoo and conditioner? Let's just say there are some heavy hitters when it comes to ingredients you're going to want to avoid putting near your scalp! Allow me to explain.
Some Ingredients To Avoid In Your Shampoo and Conditioner: If you see a few of these you can know that there are probably other ingredients in it you shouldn't be using too.
- Methylchloroisothiazolinone- This is used as a preservative. It can have a harmful affect of the lungs(Source), cause allergies(Source) and is a possible neurotoxin(Source).
- Sodium Laureth Sulfate(SLS)- This is a surfactant and helps to create the suds that we come to love in shampoos. The main concern with it is that it's been shown to be contaminated with 1,4 dioxane, which has been classified as a carcinogen(Source). 1,4 dioxane is left behind because of the process of ethoxylation. Some companies have started to strip the sodium laureth sulfate from the shampoos but it's hard to tell which have. You could definitely call them and ask, but make sure you have some documentation to back up their claims. The more people are asking for transparency the more change will happen. SLS can also be a skin irritant to many people as well. Especially if you suffer from eczema, rosacea, or sensitive skin in general. Instead of SLS, companies will use decyl glucoside. This is a type of sugar and doesn't contain any 1,4 dioxane. It's also a lot less harsh, so great for sensitive skin types.
- Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate- Similar to sodium laureth sulfate in that it is also a surfactant. It also can contain 1,4 dioxane and be irritating to the skin. ALS can also form nitrosamines when mixed with other ingredients. This nitrosamines has been found to cause cancer(Source). This can also occur when SLS is present too.
- Fragrance- Can cause phototoxic reactions and can be photoallergic. Skin irritants, reproductive damage and has been known as a neurotoxin(Source).
- Methylisothiazolinone- Used as a preservative. An allergen, causing skin burns, allergic reactions(Source).
- Behentrimonium Chloride- Used as an emulsifier, conditioning agent, defrizzer, and preservative. Skin and eye irritant, can cause nerve damage, cancer risk and highly flammable(Source).
- Polysorbate 20- By itself polysorbate 20 is not harmful, however when it's used in cosmetics it's treated with ethylene oxide which then ethoxylates it and can contaminate it with 1,4 dioxane- a known carcinogen(Source). There have also been studies on polysorbate 20 showing reproductive issues and developmental issues(Source).
- DMDM Hydantoin- It is used as an anti-microbial agent in products. It releases formaldehyde a known carcinogen(Source). Since most people know to avoid formaldehyde companies list their ingredients with dmdm hydantoin instead. It can cause skin reactions, from burning to skin rashes, overall sensitivity. Also cancer. It can also cause irritation to the nose, eyes and throat.
- Propylene Glycol-PEG's of any kind- Has been found to be contaminated with 1, 4 dioxane, which is cancer causing. Can cause acne, skin irritant. They have a penetrating affect to the formula. This creates even more of a problem as other harmful ingredients are able to penetrate further into the skin(Source).
- Cocamide Mea- A fatty acid made from coconut oil mixed with diethanalomine. It creates a creamy formula and foaming agent. It can cause allergic reactions in some and be a skin irritant. It can also form nitrosamines when mixed with other ingredients. This nitrosamines has been found to cause cancer(Source).
- Parabens(not as prevalent as they used to be. This includes methyl-, propyl- ethyl-,butyl)- Used as a preservative. Hormone disruptor also known as endocrine disruptor. Has been found in breast cancer tumors, may cause male infertility and early puberty(Source).
- Quaternium-15- Used in products to avoid yeast, mold and bacteria. Skin and eye irritant, can cause respiratory issues, digestive tract and nervous system(Source). It also releases formaldehyde.
Haven't found a natural shampoo and conditioner you love? Check these out!
Give Your Hair Some Time To Adjust To Natural Shampoos
I get e-mails all the time from readers telling me that natural shampoos don’t work for them. Now, I understand it definitely depends on the shampoo and conditioner you’re using, but it also could be a phase you’re hair is going through. Hair can go through a detox period where it actually gets oilier before it gets better when transitioning to a natural shampoo and conditioner. Mainstream products are full of such harsh ingredients that strip the hair every time you use them. Your hair gets used to feeling “clean” you think, and so when you switch to a gentler shampoo and conditioner your hair freaks out. It’s used to constantly being dried out everyday and used to overcompensating by producing more oil to nourish your hair again. Give your hair 6-8 weeks to detox. This means stop shampooing your hair everyday-yes this is not necessary and actually could cause more damage to your hair. Shampoo every other day at the most and in between days if you get oily, just use a dry shampoo. This is my favorite natural dry shampoo. You may notice your hair greasier than usual, but that is because your hair’s ph balance was out of balance from all the harsh chemicals you were putting on it everyday. Give it some time…it will get better!
I always think a good clarifying treatment is in order every now and then too. Sometimes when using natural shampoos the hair gets weighed down, no matter how great they are! This gives it a nice boost, getting rid of any residue that’s been hanging on to your strands. I do this whenever my hair is feeling drab. The recipe is easy just 1 part apple cider vinegar to 1 part water (I usually use 1/2 cup of each but you may need more if you have thick or long hair). Mix it together and pour over head concentrating on using your other hand to rub it in your hair. Let it sit on your hair for 10 minutes. Then rinse off and apply conditioner as usual. I've also added it to a squirt bottle and then just squirted it all over my head too.
*Also I wanted to share that I'm a former hair stylist and so this best natural shampoo and conditioners list is legit! I really took my time- over a year to create this post. I wanted it to be a comprehensive list that anyone can find something.
I wanted to offer a shampoo and conditioner for all of these categories:
- Budget Friendly
- Fragrance Free(even essential oils)
- Curly Hair
- Fine/Thin Hair
- Color Treated Hair
- Purple Shampoo
- Black Hair
I hope you can find this best natural shampoo and conditioner's post helpful in finding your new favorite shampoo and conditioner!
Best Natural Shampoo and Conditioner's
Natural shampoo and conditioner have come a long way in the last 10 years!
Natural Black Hair Routine
As I was trying out natural shampoos and conditioners I realized I had a blind spot when it came to black hair. I've had people ask me before what I would recommend as natural shampoos for black hair and I couldn't. I didn't even know what natural hair products in general to recommend for black hair. I wanted to enlist an expert. Monique from Brown Skin Green Beauty was so gracious to share her expertise with my audience on her top picks for best natural shampoo and conditioners for black hair. I learned so much from getting her expert tips on how to care for black hair.
Hi there! My name’s Monique, aka Brown Skin Green Beauty- Instagram @brownskingreenbeauty.
I’m an advocate of clean beauty and wellness. My journey into the clean space began 13 years ago when I had a horrible reaction to conventional hair care products marketed to Black women. It was then; I learned most Black hair care products were laden with chemicals that were not ready for the natural hair movement and unsafe for my health. Super excited to learn more, I dove right into understanding how ingredients worked and made the necessary changes to take better control of my health and improve the health of my hair and skin. I created Brown Skin Green Beauty
to share my experiences with safe alternative beauty products to inspire other women, especially Black women, to go beyond the bells and whistles and learn more about clean and nontoxic options for beauty.
Since losing my hair two years ago, not only has my wash day been simplified, but the products I use are lightweight, oil-based, and more plant-based instead of the heavy cream products that once served my hair needs.
The first step to my wash day is a pre-poo of coconut oil and aloe vera juice. I spritz my hair with aloe vera juice and work the coconut oil in my locks from base to end. This process helps to create a moisture barrier to keep my hair from drying out when shampooing. Next, I wash my hair with Nikki’s Naturals Black Soap Clarifying Shampoo. This liquid black soap gently clarifies without stripping my hair’s natural oil. My hair is left feeling very clean, soft, and moisturized.
To keep hair from overdrying, I wrap my wet hair in a cotton t-shirt to absorb most of the water. Once my locks feel damp, I oil my scalp with an oil mixture of Paparozier Castor Oil of Haiti, sweet almond, jojoba, peppermint, and rosemary. When styling, I spritz my hair with aloe vera juice and retwist with coconut oil to clean up my boxes and lock in moisture. At night, I wear a silky scarf to keep my hair lint-free. Every three days, I give my hair a light spritz of Al Wadi Rose Water and massage a light layer of avocado oil or coconut oil in my locs to keep them hydrated and well moisturized. On occasion, I’ll use Oyin Handmade Greg Juice for a moisture boost.
*Keep reading to see all the best natural shampoo and conditioners!
I tested out all of these as well as my sisters. I wanted to get an idea with different hair types. We tested the shampoos and conditioners together. Here are my top picks for best natural shampoo and conditioners.
Formula- I’ve been testing it out and have been super impressed with the overall formula. My hair feels so bouncy and clean. And the clean feeling lasts for days! I get so much volume from this shampoo and conditioner, plus it foams too!
Hair Type- Any hair type. I've used it and I have fine, thin hair. My sister has used it and she has thick, fine hair. I have a friend who loves it and she has coarse thick curly hair.
Scent- Smells citrusy. I really smell grapefruit to be exact.
Review- This is the shampoo I've been recommending for really any hair type. It just gets the job done! Especially great for someone who is used to mainstream shampoos and conditioners and wants one that is going to really get their hair clean. I can go multiple days between shampooing my hair with this shampoo. It was a no brainer for the best natural shampoo and conditioner's post! Get it here!
Formula- It creates a gentle lather and helps to stimulate the scalp. It's gluten free, nut free, and cruelty free.
Hair Type- I would recommend for any hair type. You might have to use a little more product if you have lots of thick hair to really get it in there but my sister with thicker hair than me loved it too.
Scent- Fragrance free! It doesn't smell like much at all. Great for even the most sensitive scalps.
Review- I was really excited about this shampoo because it really hits all the marks for someone who may have a sensitive scalp and needs something that's gentle. Although it is fragrance free, nut free and gluten free, it still cleans the hair so well! My hair always feels clean and it definitely adds some volume like the name suggests. This was a no brainer to add into the best natural shampoo and conditioners post. Highly recommend! Get it here.
Formula- It's a very creamy formula overall. Best suited for those with dry, damaged or color treated hair that needs extra moisture.
Hair Type- I would recommend for any hair type that is colored or is curly. As I stated above it is very hydrating/ Great for those with curly or drier hair types.
Scent- Smells good, but not overwhelming. A fruity mango scent.
Review- This shampoo isn't for any hair type. I will use it after I get my hair done for a couple days but after that if I continue to use it, my hair will become greasy and weighed down. I've had a lot of curly haired gals love it who have drier hair. Get it here!
Formula- It feels very refreshing on the scalp and hair.
Hair Type- This would be great for any hair type, even men's hair. One of my sister's has course thick hair and she didn't like it, but it's been hard to find anything for her hair! It's not going to be as cleansing as the Evolvh but a nice in between.
Scent- The scent is reminiscent of the outdoors. More pine and fresh smelling. I love how it smells!
Review- This is such a good all around shampoo and conditioner. It really makes my hair feel clean and bouncy. Not a heavy shampoo at all. It still lathers a little too which I love. The conditioner is light, yet my hair still feels hydrated. My husband also loves this shampoo too. Get it here!
Formula- Comes in a jar! So different than any other formula I've used. It looks like a salt scrub you would use for the body but instead it's actually for your hair.
Hair Type- This is great for any hair type. It really gives a great lather and works so well at giving my hair that clean feeling.
Scent- It has a fresh smell of mint, rosemary and orange.
Price- $42- pricey but you don't need a lot!
Review- This is the one I was most surprised how much I loved. I knew it was going to be in the best natural shampoo and conditioners post.I remember seeing this shampoo and thinking there is no way that would work. Well, I was wrong! After reading so many 5 star reviews I finally got my hands on some and wow was I so impressed! It really cleans the hair so well. I love how it produces a lather too. It feels very invigorating on the scalp too. Highly recommend! Check it out here!
Formula- Comes in a tube and a little goes a long way. Suds up a little and gets my hair feeling clean.
Hair Type- This is great for any hair type. I used it and my fine, thin hair loved it and so did my sister with thick hair.
Scent- It doesn't have a scent! It is made for the most sensitive scalps.
Price- $19.99- one of the more budget friendly picks.
Review- Love this shampoo and conditioner, knew it was going to go into the best natural shampoo and conditioner post! It gets my hair clean and doesn't weigh it down. My sister loved it as well. Super impressed with the ingredients, no scent and lower price point compared to others too. Especially great if you don't do scents or have a sensitive scalp. Get it here!
Formula- Comes in a pump bottle which I love. It's a creamy formula, but does suds up.
Hair Type- This is great for any hair type. It adds a little moisture but doesn't feel heavy.
Scent- Love the scent! I'm a huge mint fan and this one hits the mint note hard. Leaves your hair smelling fresh and your scalp feeling invigorated.
Review- This shampoo smells amazing! I love anything mint, so this is right up my alley. It really cleans my scalp and keeps it from feeling oily. My hair doesn’t feel weighed down either. It also comes in a pump which I love! Get it here!
Formula- It gives you a slight suds but you have to use a good amount of product to get it sudsy.
Hair Type- This is great for fine to thin hair types. I've had people with thick coarse hair try it and they weren't a fan unless they had shorter hair.
Scent- It doesn't have much of a smell. Just smells clean overall.
Review- This was the first natural shampoo I used that I actually liked and worked. It performs considerably well, and it’s filled with ingredients that will make you swoon! Things like Ungurahua oil, green tea, jojoba and lavender just to name a few. This is also safe for color treated hair. You do have to use a considerable amount of product sometimes to get a decent lather- that would be the one drawback and the price is a little steep. Get it here!
Formula- Love this shampoo! It really suds up, gets your hair feeling so clean and bouncy- say goodbye to grease.
Hair Type- This is great for any hair type. I love it for my fine/thin hair, my friend who has thick hair loves it- it's a crowd pleaser.
Scent- The scent is subtle and good. It has a mix of ylang ylang, orange and lemon.
Review- This is one of my faves when it comes to natural shampoos! It works so well at giving hair that deep clean and giving it body and lift. I wish they hadn't changed the conditioner. The formula was so good, but now it doesn't hydrate the hair and feels like it's a lotion you can't get out. Just buy the shampoo and grab a different conditioner! Get it here!
Formula- This comes in a tube and does give a suds, but I do feel like you have to use a decent amount of product to get it sudsy.
Hair Type- I would only recommend this for fine, thin hair, or hair that is a little dry. It does tend to weigh it down after several washes. I wouldn't use any of the other Acure shampoos because they really don't give my hair the clean feeling. My sister didn't like it at all and she has thick, fine hair.
Scent- Smells good, has a lemongrass scent.
Price- $9.99- the cheapest natural shampoo.
Review- I wanted to include a more budget friendly option, especially if you have kids that use shampoo and they're not as picky. This is a decent option that gets the job done. You might want to do an apple cider vinegar rinse every couple weeks just to get rid of any build up. Get it here!
Formula- This really suds up and performs well at getting your feeling very clean- almost too clean? Kind of.
Hair Type- I would for anyone who has color treated hair- specifically highlights and wants to keep them bright and not brassy. It brightened my highlighted ends and offered them a refresh overall.
Scent- Smells very sweet- like grape candy.
Price- $15.90- that's for the smallest size which is 3.3 oz. Not very much. Then you have to pay at least $20 for shipping to the U.S. since it's only available in Australia. So it definitely can get pricey.
Review- I love the ingredients for the Berry Blonde Shampoo but I wish it was available in the U.S. You could stock up when you purchase it to make it a little more feasible. It does tend to get the hair really clean as I mentioned above, which I love but it can almost feel stripping if you used it all the time. I think it works though because you usually don't want to be using a purple shampoo every shampoo- more like every two weeks to a month. Get it here.
Formula- This is a creamy texture overall. It does suds up a bit.
Hair Type- I would for anyone who has color treated hair. It helps to protect color treated hair while also nourishing it.
Scent- It has more of a gardenia flower scent to it.
Price- $38- this is definitely a pricey shampoo.
Review- This natural shampoo feels like a rich velvet lather on your head. It does clean the hair well, but doesn't feel stripping at all. I like to use this post getting my hair colored to really give it some extra nourishment. It will help to keep your hair balanced if you're a consistent hair color gal. Get it here!
Formula- This is a great leave in conditioner and the only one I use! You spray it all over, super convenient!
Hair Type- I would recommend for anyone wanting a little extra hydration, for those who get tangles easily in their hair, or for those who prefer a leave in conditioner opposed to a wash out conditioner.
Scent- It has a light scent of jasmine, and rosemary. Not too heavy.
Review- I always have a bottle of this on hand. Great for my girl's hair when it gets tangles in it. Easy to brush out, doesn't feel too heavy for a leave in conditioner but lightweight. Also great for spritzing on hair before going into chlorine water to help protect your hair. Get it here!
That sums up the best natural shampoo and conditioners! Did you find one you want to try? What do you love?
If you liked the best natural shampoo and conditioners post, check out past posts below:
Sharing my favorite natural shampoos and conditioners on the blog.
Guys, I couldn't just keep all these sales to myself! Discounts galore are happening this weekend in honor of Labor Day, and I don't want you to miss out. Here's what's trending:
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They are offering free shipping this weekend through Monday night. They offer green beauty galore and a ton of high end green beauty brands, but all in one place. You can find everything from hair, skincare, and makeup too. Oh and of course they give out samples!
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Love this green beauty haven! Through Labor Day they are offering $10 off $100, $30 off $200, and $60 off $300. They have it all-seriously! Trust me, $100 will go quick!
Ok you little green lovers, get to shopping!