Living a natural lifestyle is tough in a world where the words “natural” and “organic” mean very little to the health and beauty industry. There aren’t any real standards for shampoos and other health and beauty products when it comes to using the term “organic.” Because of this, it can be hard to tell if the product you're using is as natural as it claims. That's where we come in.
We not only put together a list of some of the best organic shampoo options for your family, but we also put together some FAQs to help you identify truly natural products. We also came up with a handy buyer's guide and comparison table of our favorites to ensure that you’re getting the best product for your needs.
We’re sure you have plenty of questions about organic shampoos, especially if you’re shopping for this type of product for the first time. We’ve compiled a few of the questions we’ve heard most to help get you the answers you’re seeking.
- 1How can I tell a shampoo is really organic?
Although there aren’t restrictions yet for when a business can use the term organic on a shampoo label, the consensus is that a product must be comprised of 95% organic ingredients to be truly organic. It can be tough to tell which non-food products are organic due to the lack of regulations, but if you read the ingredients list carefully, it can help.
Some other ways to ensure a product is truly organic is to shop at a retailer that has standards for its products, like Whole Foods. You can also go to the website for the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and search for the product you’re questioning. It will list all ingredients and let you know if they are organic and give you information on toxicity.
You should also be aware that there are certifying agencies that a product can use to prove their organic status. For non-food products that is an NSF/ANSI 305 logo. If you don’t see this logo, it’s okay to question the product. Although legally, no product can use organic unless they meet some standards, it still happens more often than you’d think.
- 1What ingredients should I avoid in an organic shampoo?
There are plenty of ingredients we should all avoid in any personal care products because of their toxicity. You can learn more about these products on EWG’s skin-deep database. One such ingredient is phenoxyethanol, which is a biodegradable preservative that is toxic and quickly absorbs into the skin and can get into your bloodstream and breast milk if you’re nursing.
Other ingredients to avoid always, but especially if your product claims to be organic are phthalates, parabens, GMOs, sulfates, synthetic colors, silicones, and the words “fragrance” or “perfume.”
If you see the latter words versus oils or exact sourcing for scents in your product, you should be wary. Fragrance is often a place for companies to hide the naughty stuff that they don’t want you to see on their ingredient list, and the FDA or any other agency does not regulate them.
- 1Why should I buy organic shampoo versus conventional shampoos?
There are plenty of misconceptions about organic versus conventional shampoos. Conventional shampoos tend to have a laundry list of synthetic ingredients that help it to lather heavily and often strip hair of healthy and natural oils. Organic shampoos usually don’t lather much if at all, but that isn’t necessary for a great clean, despite what you’ve heard.
Sulfates and other synthetic ingredients in conventional shampoos can strip moisture from the hair and cause irritation and dryness of both the hair and scalp. Studies have also linked some common synthetics to higher cancer risks and risks of other diseases. Organic shampoos don’t use these products, which makes them safer and more effective.
How We Reviewed
We took the time to research hundreds of shampoos that claim to be organic. We got rid of the products we couldn’t trust, and then we started to compare for effectiveness. We found that, generally, when we saw one product from a brand that was organic and effective, the other products followed suit. Based on this, we have included a few whole brands on our list.
We looked at shampoos that are safe for the whole family, how easily available they are, the cost, and how well each shampoo does what it claims to do (e.g., moisturize, volumize, brighten, etc.). We took all of this information into account, and then we narrowed our list to our top # favorites to share with you.
Overall Price Range
It’s important to understand that price range is relative in the health and beauty industry because of the large variety of sizes available from each company. The shampoos on our list range from $15 to $50, but not all of them come in the same sizes, so make sure to do the math to find out how much a product costs per ounce if you’re concerned about budget.
Organic Shampoo Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Shampoo
We wouldn’t be exaggerating if we said it took us hours of research and reading to find the products on our list. We had to read reviews of each product, research all of the ingredients in the products, and read all about the laws and regulations surrounding organic personal care products. We know all too well that buying real organics is a tough business.
We want to help you to find the best products without having to put in quite so much research, so we’ve come up with some pro tips. Make sure first to take a look at the questions we answered above to understand which ingredients to watch out for and how to tell if a product truly is organic, then you can follow the rest of our tips to get the perfect shampoo for your family.
Because organic shampoos don’t contain synthetic ingredients, they often don’t lather like conventional shampoos, but that doesn’t mean they don’t work well to cleanse your hair. Most companies will include a “directions” section on their packaging, so you’ll know if a shampoo with lather or not before you buy it. If lather is crucial, pay special attention to that section.
You should also take a look at what the shampoo in question claims to do. If you need volume, you’ll want to look for a shampoo that lightens or volumizes, but if you’re looking for a frizz tamer, you’ll need a different shampoo altogether.
It’s important to consider who will be using this shampoo. Is it a shampoo for the whole family, or are you looking for the best organic shampoo for an individual? That makes a difference because not everyone in your family has the same hair care needs. For instance, you wouldn’t want a shampoo that requires a vinegar rinse for a baby, but you may for an adult.
The Top 7 Organic Shampoos
The results are in, and we’ve found the seven best organic shampoos on the market. In a couple of cases, we listed a whole brand versus a single product because they have many pure and organic options that could work for you. In those cases, we will talk about the brand as a whole and tell you what varieties we recommend.
Living Libations Seabuckthorn or True Blue Spirulina Organic Shampoos
Living Libations is an overall great brand, and the two shampoos we are featuring are the best of the best from their product line. The seabuckthorn shampoo is incredible for color-treated hair and leaves you will a shiny, voluminous look. The true blue spirulina shampoo is great for soothing irritate scalps without weighing hair down like some conventional shampoos.
100% Pure Organic Shampoos
We love this brand! It’s full of excellent options for personal care, including some great shampoos! 100% Pure’s products are packed with certified organic ingredients, so you can trust that these shampoos won’t harm you or your family.
Laritelle Organic Shampoos
Every Laritelle shampoo contains at least 75% organic ingredients, and 25% natural/wildcrafted ingredients. Our concern is the potassium sorbate in these products. Potassium sorbate is often safe, but some sources create risks for contamination, so you should use it with caution. We still wanted to include this brand because of their other excellent ingredients and variety of options.
Although the three brands that we’ve highlighted above are the overall winners, we have four more shampoos that we wanted to highlight as part of an honorable mention category.
All of the shampoos in honorable mention are pure and organic. Since they are single shampoos, they might not work for every person, so we recommend you visit them online before you buy.
Miessence Desert Flower Organic Shampoo
Josh Rosebrook Balance or Nourish Organic Shampoos
Odylique Gentle Herb Organic Shampoo
Bubble and Bee Shampoo
Odylique Gentle Herb
Bubble and Bee
15, 30, 120, 240, 1000, 4250ml
8 or 13oz
8 and 16oz
6.8 and 16.9oz
Seabuckthorn, True Blue Spirulina
Yuzu and Pomelo,
Fertile Roots, Sensual Bliss
Desert Flower and Lemon Myrtle
Gentle Herb, Tea Tree
Lemon, Peppermint and Tea Tree
Where to Buy
It’s difficult to choose an overall winner here because there are so many different people with different hair care needs out there. We wanted to show you a variety of options that we have personally researched and know to be great products. All have solid, organic ingredients, and we think we've succeeded in giving you an excellent selection.
Overall we love the Living Libations brand because of their purity and quality standards, and because they’re still a mom and pop setup that hasn’t been tainted by the corporate machine. We understand that their products are limited right now, so if you’re looking for more options, don’t hesitate to checkout 100% Pure. They have a great variety without giving up quality.
Every other shampoo on our list, including the four honorable mentions, are great shampoos that will do the trick and meet our high standards for what we call “organic.” We know that you’ll find something on this list perfect for every member of your family, from babies to the older adults. These truly are the best organic shampoo brands on the market. Living Libations is an overall great brand, and the two shampoos we are featuring are the best of the best from their product line. The seabuckthorn shampoo is incredible for color-treated hair and leaves you will a shiny, voluminous look. The true blue spirulina shampoo is great for soothing irritate scalps without weighing hair down like some conventional shampoos.
Featured image by: Pixabay