The Best Organic Shampoo Ingredients Plus The Ones to Watch Out For

Finding an organic shampoo doesn't have to be complicated. We've made this handy guide outlining the best ingredients and the ones you should avoid when choosing and organic shampoo.
The Best Organic Shampoo Ingredients Plus The Ones to Watch Out For

Having gorgeous, healthy hair can make all the difference when it comes to self-confidence. Something about having a great hair day just makes everything else fall into place.

Fortunately, you don’t have to sacrifice your values and ethics when it comes to great hair. With organic shampoos, you can have beautiful hair while protecting the environment and avoiding animal products. These moisture shampoos are made of all natural ingredients that are non-GMO and produced in an environmentally conscious way.

Finding an organic shampoo doesn’t have to be complicated. We’ve made this handy guide outlining the best ingredients and the ones you should avoid when choosing and organic shampoo. With these tips, you’re sure find the best shampoo for your needs.

Best Ingredients in Organic Shampoo

Essential Oils

Organic shampoos use essential oils to add natural fragrance without harmful chemicals. Since there are hundreds of different essential oils, there is almost certainly an aroma for everyone. Essential oils also contain intelligent nutrients that can help treat a host of hair problems.

Tea tree oil is commonly used in organic shampoos thanks to its refreshing, tingling effects. Tea tree shampoos are also antiseptic, making them ideal for people who suffer from bacteria-caused dandruff.

Sea buckthorn essential oil is another popular favorite as it contains amino acids and vitamins that support hair growth.

These natural ingredients not only add fresh scent, they also boats antibacterial properties. Essential oils helps to detoxify and eliminate bacteria that can cause oil buildup and hair loss. Some essential oils such as lavender and rosemary oil can even promote hair growth.

Organic shampoos also make use of natural oils such as argan oil, jojoba oil, and coconut oil to enhance moisture and nourish locks. These carrier oils help to prevent skin irritation and make hair shinier.

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera nourishes hair and locks in moisture for hair that looks great. Aloe Vera also acts as a mild hair gel, making it ideal for organic shampoos that tame thick or frizzy locks. This ingredient helps to make hair easier to comb and smooth the hair shaft without leaving thick build-up.

Shea Butter

Shea butter is extracted from the nut of the African shea tree. Shea butter is certified by the USDA as edible and is commonly mixed with cocoa butter in shampoos. Shea butter is a complex fat that is absorbed rapidly by the skin.

It’s known for its nourishing properties and is particularly useful for people with damaged or color-treated hair. Shea butter may also prevent damage from UV rays, ensuring your hair looks healthy all year long.


Lecithin is a fatty acid found in soy products as well as eggs. Many organic shampoos use plant-based lecithin in order to make their products vegan friendly. Lecithin contains phospholipids that help moisturize hair while taming flyaways and frizzy hair. Lecithin also adds shine, helping to brighten dull and lifeless hair.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is a natural astringent that helps to remove dirt and product build-up for hair. It is gentle enough for use on all hair types and strong enough to detoxify and eliminate even the thickest hair care products.

Ingredients to Watch Out For

As demand for natural hair care products increases, so does the pressure for manufacturers to deliver. Many hair care brands claim to make all natural shampoo & conditioner, only to fall short when it actually comes down to the ingredients. Organic shampoos should never contain the following ingredients. If you see them listed on the label, opt for something else.


Sulfates are salts that result from a chemical reaction between sulfuric acid and other chemicals. The most common sulfates in shampoos are sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES). Sulfates are used in shampoo to create a rich lather. Sulfates are derived mainly from petroleum, but can also come from plants such as palm oil and coconut oil.

Most reputable organic shampoo brands avoid using sulfates, even if they come from plant-based sources for a number of reasons. First, sulfates can irritate skin and cause a burning sensation in your eyes. Some sulfates are also contaminated with other chemicals during the production process.

Sulfates, even those derived from plants, can be harmful to the environment. Palm oil sulfates have been controversial because of the destruction of the rainforest that occurs in order to make way for vast palm oil plantations.

Sulfates also end up in the environment by way of streams and rivers and may have harmful effects on wildlife. In addition, shampoos containing sulfates are often tested on animals to determine the severity of skin irritation. As a result, most truly organic shampoos avoid using sulfates at all costs. Always look for sulfate-free shampoo when transitioning to all natural products.


Parabens are preservatives added to normal shampoos to extend the shelf life of the product. Parabens are easily absorbed by the skin and have the ability to mimic the activity of estrogen. They have been linked to increased growth of breast cancer cells and may be harmful even in small quantities. Parabens have also been linked to early puberty in girls.

Organic shampoos don’t use any parabens. Instead, they use natural preservatives such as rosemary, lemon, vinegar, and vitamin E also known as tocopherol. These preservatives are not as powerful as parabens, but they don’t have any negative side effects. Make sure to pay attention to the expiration date on your organic shampoo to ensure maximum benefit.

Artificial Fragrance

Artificial fragrances are among the leading causes of skin irritation and allergy symptoms. These fragrances are protected by patent laws and as a result,  companies don’t have to disclose what comprises their fragrance. Often times, fragrance contains harmful chemicals and irritants that can dry out dry and cause brittle hair. Organic shampoos typically replace these artificial fragrances with essential oils.

Going Organic

Some of the best organic shampoo brands include Acure, Rahua, Avalon Organics, and 100% Pure. Organic shampoos are formulated for all hair types so you can make the switch whether you have dry hair, fine hair, or oily hair. You can also find specially formulated organic shampoos for frizzy hair, curly hair, damaged hair, and color-treated hair.

The organic ingredients are non-irritating and can be used even if you have sensitive skin on your scalp. Many all natural shampoo brands are also vegan friendly and gluten free so you can rest easy knowing your products are good for the environment and your health.

Now that you know which ingredients to look for and which ones to avoid, you can make an educated choice when it comes to organic hair care products. You can find top brands on or make your own organic shampoo at home. Stick to the basics and discover naturally fragrant shampoos that clean hair without the negative side effects.

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