Welcome to another installment of my “ultimate guides” series, this time featuring my thoughts on green, natural shampoos.
This guide will be helpful for you if the following is true:
- You have fine hair.
- You have oily hair.
- You have non-color-treated hair, or very gently color-treated hair that does not require a heavy moisturizing shampoo.
As with all of my “ultimate guides,” this ultimate guide to natural shampoos will be constantly updated as I try new products, and I’ll be sure to ping you with a social media update to let you know when it’s updated.
Now, onto the natural shampoo reviews!
*Indicates press sample. Yes, I do buy my own products, and yes, free stuff gets the same level of criticism as stuff I paid for myself!
Natural Shampoos I Liked and Will Repurchase
I like to keep a clarifying shampoo in my hair for weekly use — gotta de-gunk product buildup — but Acure Organics Lemongrass + Argan Stem Cell Clarifying Shampoo, which features moisturizing avocado, argan and olive oils, is gentle enough for daily use.
I love the generous lather and light, fresh scent. I’ve repurchased this several times and would highly recommend it to anyone new to natural shampoos or looking to introduce a non-stripping, clarifying shampoo into their arsenal.
When I first met Acure Organics Pure Mint + Echinacea Stem Cell Volumizing Shampoo, it was love at first lather.
Affectionately referred to as “the Acure shampoo in the blue and white bottle,” this is my hands-down favorite shampoo that I’ve repurchased time after time and constantly recommend to my fine and oily-haired friends.
My fine hair gets a boost of volume after using this shampoo (seriously, no product needed — just shampoo and a quick blow dry without any teasing), yet never feels depleted of moisture or shine. A+
It’s well-documented that I love minty-fresh products in my shower (as I’m a morning shower-taker but not exactly a morning person), so Avalon Organics Strengthening Peppermint Shampoo had an easy edge — but scent isn’t the only thing that matters in a natural shampoo, obviously.
I’ve been impressed with how well this natural shampoo has kept my hair looking sleek and healthy (though I’m in need of a trim!) without coating it in a ton of silcones.
It’s quite surprising to me how much Evolvh UltraShine Moisture Shampoo captured my heart (hair?), but it did, thanks to the incredibly smooth, baby-softness it imparted on my hair without making it feel weighed down.
Seaweed extract, mango and apricot quench thirsty strands’ thirst without dousing them in excess moisture. It’s just enough to tame flyaways and set your hair up for a perfect, sleek blowout.
This shampoo is more expensive than I like to pay for natural shampoo, but it’s totally worth it.
John Masters Organics holds a special place in my heart. It’s one of the first green beauty lines I fell in love with when I made the switch to naturals back in 2007, and this is one of those solid, staple shampoos that just delivers.
With hair- and scalp-friendly ingredients such as lavender and rosemary, John Masters Organics Lavender Rosemary Shampoo stimulates the scalp and volumizes the hair. The ingredients list is quite impressive, with a cocktail of hair-healthy herbs and vitamins (I love when products include borage seed oil, one of my favorite hair/skin/nails supplement that I also take internally), and the price is reasonable.
Bonus: It’s easily available at Whole Foods and many natural foods stores.
I’m glad I received a small sample of Josh Rosebrook Deep Nourishing Shampoo in one of my green beauty boxes, because otherwise I wouldn’t have tried it! Now don’t get me wrong — I love and deeply respect Josh — but I tend to avoid moisturizing / nourishing shampoos because of how fine my hair is.
Josh has created a beautiful shampoo that works for various hair types. I’ve talked with my dry-haired friends about this shampoo and they’ve raved about how well it works for them. And here I am, the oil slick of the group, raving about this shampoo.
Again, this is one that’s on the pricier side for a shampoo, but it’s well worth it. Josh is thoughtful with his formulations (this puppy has aloe vera, African black soap, various organic oils and a multitude of hair-healthy herbs packed in!) and is extremely accessible via social media for any questions you may have about hair!
Another fantastic clarifying shampoo, Just Natural Hair Care Shampoo to Remove Build Up is a great once-a-week treatment to truly de-gunk and start fresh.
I don’t recommend it for daily use, as it’s quite potent with its combination of aloe vera hydrosol, burdock extract, papaya extract, peppermint essential oil, cajeput essential oil and grapefruit essential oil, but it’s damn good at doing exactly what it says it’s going to do: Remove all that buildup!
Pro tip when using this natural shampoo: Be sure to shake it up to ensure all those cleansing ingredients are well-mixed.
Marketing tip for Just Natural: Update your packaging design! The pump bottle is awesome and so is the product, but the design of the label could use some love.
Healthy hair is dependent on having a healthy scalp, and that’s why Max Green Alchemy Scalp Rescue Shampoo is much-loved natural shampoo for me. This is one of those natural shampoos that I like to switch it up with if my scalp if feeling itchy (especially during season changes) and needs some attention.
With its amazing blend of botanical extracts, vitamins and essential oils, this natural shampoo brings out the best in your hair — think strong, beautiful, lustrous hair supported by a healthy scalp that’s free of irritation.
Another fantastic natural shampoo for scalp stimulation and your morning wake-up call, Stop the Water While Using Me! All Natural Rosemary Grapefruit Shampoo provides a healthy lather and even cooler reminder to your bathroom guests to be conscientious about water use.
Though my hair is not currently color-treated, this natural shampoo, as invigorating as it is, is safe for color-treated hair and even better for fine, wimpy hair like mine that needs a boost. I’ve used this shampoo so many times and gone without my usual volumizing styling products post-shower — it’s that great at offering some lift!
Natural Shampoos I Liked But Will Not Repurchase
The definition of minimalist natural shampoos, John Masters Organics Bare Unscented Shampoo is packed with all the great ingredients you’d expect — jojoba oil, evening primrose oil, white tea and chamomile — without the scent that can conflict with some people’s personal preferences.
For me, though, this was a dealbreaker. I like for my shampoos to have some sort of pretty, clean scent. Everything else — lather, performance, ingredients, pricing — is on point. If you’re sensitive to scents or like to add natural perfume to your hair, this one is for you!
I go back on this darling of the green beauty world. Rahua Voluminous Shampoo works well on my hair when it comes to volume, but I’m just a bit unsure on the scent — think black licorice — and I just cringe at paying this much for a shampoo that I’m not totally in love with.
As far as performance and packaging, Rahua is spot-on. Gorgeous and effective! It’s just not quite the right fit for what I want and need in a natural shampoo.
Saavy Naturals Moisturizing Shampoo takes advantage of luscious oils such as kukui seed, argan, moringa and coconut to drench your hair in a sea of moisture — yet it doesn’t weigh down my baby-fine hair, and it somehow offers a nice, gentle lather that even a newb to natural shampoos would appreciate.
I’m on the fence with this one because of the inclusion of honeysuckle extract as a preservative. There’s a lot of other great natural shampoos out there that omit this controversial ingredient, which gives them the edge.
Natural Shampoos I Did Not Like and Will Not Repurchase
This natural shampoo is simply too heavily scented for my tastes. The lather is great and the ingredients are clean, but I’m kind of wondering if that addition of “fragrance” at the end of the ingredients list is bugging me. Holy smell zone.
I used Aubrey Organics Rose Mosqueta Nourishing Shampoo two years ago when I was regularly coloring my hair and wanted a safe, gentle, natural shampoo. It served those purposes, but it did nothing for volume
Despite being formulated and marketed for oily hair, Just Natural Hair Care Shampoo for Oily Hair did absolutely nothing for me. I didn’t see any difference in volume after using this, and I had issues getting this natural shampoo to lather up to my liking. You can’t win ‘em all, eh?
Another disappointment in the lather department, Surya Brasil Amazonia Preciosa Shampoo for Normal and Straight Hair was extremely runny and didn’t feel like it was getting my hair clean.
I know that lather is not an indicator of cleanliness, but my issue with a non-foaming natural shampoo is that I never have an indication that I’ve used enough product or covered all my hair for a good cleanse. Call it psychological, but those powers are fierce! Besides that, I didn’t notice a difference in volume — in fact, my hair looked a little flat after using this.