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 natural 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 natural 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.
Gentle enough for everyday use, BeautyCounter’s citrus-scented natural shampoo breaks down buildup gently without leaving my hair feeling dry or static-y. There’s just the right amount of moisture, and I like the sleek, minimal packaging. This truly is a wonderful everyday shampoo that won’t strip your hair or leave it with a dull buildup.
A simple, softly scented natural shampoo infused with nettle, propolis, chamomile, orange peel, yarrow and honey, Beesentials Honey & Botanical Sulfate-Free Shampoo produces a generous lather and leaves your hair feeling clean, soft and naturally beautiful. Honey and silk proteins naturally hydrate the hair while plant extracts strengthen and smooth the hair. I’m a bit smitten with the light, airy and slightly sweet scent of this natural shampoo.
While the packaging is a bit cutesy and young, this natural shampoo stands up to the other natural, luxurious picks on my list in both effectiveness and high quality ingredients. I like the bounce that this natural shampoo leaves my hair with, and it’s another one that my boyfriend gravitates to when he showers at my place.
Loaded with powerful ingredients such as green tea, avocado, bamboo, aloe vera, rice extract and vitamin E, Briogeo’s Be Gentle, Be King Cleansing Shampoo is perfect for fine, oily hair that needs moisture as well as a thorough cleansing. The lather is perfect, and the generous 8.5-ounce bottle rivals other luxury natural shampoos that match a high price but deliver less product.
Davines has been one of my cleaner beauty hair obsessions for years, and the Authentic Cleansing Nectar Hair & Body Oil Shampoo is no exception.
First, while you can obviously use any natural shampoo as a body wash as well, I like that Davines markets this with this cleanser. It’s gentle enough for true head-to-toe use, and the lather is just right for your hair (not too bold, but enough creamy bubbles to satisfy your mind). This mild, moisturizing natural shampoo is just a joy to use.
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 natural 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 natural 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 natural 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.
As much as I feel sheepish for saying I love a $34 shampoo, it’s true. Rare Elements Pure Shampoo is the best of luxury and natural, and the subtle, earthy scent is soothing to my senses.
The lather is lower than many on this list, but the texture of the actual shampoo is thick and coating, allowing you to massage your hair and scalp and rest assured that you’re not overdrying or stripping your hair.
Instead, you’re drenching your locks with rare Kalahari watermelon seed oil that naturally dissolves sebum and other buildup. Blackseed oil, murumuru utter and marula oil pamper your hair and scalp with moisture. While this natural shampoo is suitable for all hair types (I had zero issues with weight!), it is especially wonderful for color-treated or moisture-deprived hair.
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 natural shampoo so many times and gone without my usual volumizing styling products post-shower — it’s that great at offering some lift!
If you’re a fan of Acure Organics, but long for a bit more moisture, then you must check out everything from The Wonder Seed. This line takes advantage of the ultra-nourishing properties of hemp seed oil, and for dry or color-treated hair, this natural shampoo is absolutely fantastic.
For my fine, oily hair, though, this natural shampoo also does not disappoint. Little secret: With every shampoo I use, I always condition just the ends of my hair first, and then I shampoo. Does anyone else do that? That keeps my fine hair from being weighed down (which happens with this shampoo if I shampoo and then condition — I just don’t need that much moisture).
But with this way of washing, The Wonder Seed Hemp Shampoo in Sweet Orange delivers the perfect amount of flyaway-taming moisture with a delicious scent of sweet oranges. Sweet orange also helps balance the scalp’s natural oil profile and seals in moisture. Win-win, even for us oily gals!
Natural Shampoos I Liked But Will Not Repurchase
For those who are truly sensitive to gluten and fragrances, Jason’s Gluten Free Daily Shampoo is an excellent pick. It has a fantastic lather, a generous-sized bottle and is extremely affordable. My no-frills boyfriend typically reaches for this natural shampoo when it’s stocked in my shower, and it could make an excellent guest bathroom / shower natural shampoo for guests who may be very particular about their scents.
For me, however, one of the biggest draws of shampooing daily (yes, I shampoo daily; I am hella oily) is enjoying the lather and scent of my favorite natural shampoos. I don’t wear perfumed hair oils, and rarely spray my hair with fragrance, so I rely on my shampoo to give my locks a fresh, alluring scent.
If I ever were to spritz my hair with scent, though, this would be a good natural shampoo to keep on-hand. So, while it’s in the “like but won’t repurchase” list, it really might be a repurchase to just have on hand. But I can’t make a category for that, so it goes here. :)
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 natural 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 natural 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?
This natural shampoo is clearly for dry or damaged hair, so it’s a bit unfair of me to judge it, as it’s not the right fit for my oily, fine hair. But, in case you are tempted by it and have hair like mine, just don’t. It will weigh your hair down. Instead, consider it as a luxe hair conditioning treatment for a night in (followed by a great wash in the morning).
This is another natural shampoo designed for color-treated hair, but my real issue with it was the scent. It was just too strong for my liking. Lather was great, and it’s a wonderful brand regardless, but scent is just hard to nail down sometime!
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.