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9 Natural Shampoos and Conditioners That Are Healthy For Your Hair and the Planet

Discover a selection of offerings that offer blissful benefits and clean formulations.
Photo: Shutterstock

As a teenager, I was intrigued—and slightly mortified when my parents were in the room watching TV with us kids—by the racy commercials for Herbal Essences shampoo, where the model felt orgasmic joy at the scent of the products. I frankly had no idea how the products were made or what they contained. At the time, when it came to my hair, I was less concerned about the ingredients and their impact on the planet than by their ability to be used to craft a big, teased Dallas- and Dynasty-style ‘do with a powerful fruit and floral scent that complemented my fruity Lip Smackers lip gloss. Since then, my haircare approach has significantly changed. 

While I do still appreciate an enticing fragrance, I’m more attracted to products that are formulated with natural, clean ingredients that are healthy for me, my family (who sample my products on the regular), and the planet. So, I was excited to try out an exciting assortment of shampoos and conditioners that are effective and also stay true to sustainable roots. 

Looking for natural hair solutions that will make you as ecstatic about clean haircare as the women in the 1990s Herbal Essences commercials? Here are nine sustainable selections that are both effective and eco-friendly.

Attitude
Ingredients of Note
  • Panthenol (vitamin b5)
  • Watercress extract
  • Indian cress extract
  • Lemon leaf extract
  • White tea extract
  • Moringa seed extract

The light fresh scent of this shampoo is immediately appealing, as is its ability to provide a deep clean naturally. The ingredients work beautifully together to deep clean and provide antioxidant benefits—lemon leaf extract purifies and restores shine, antioxidant-rich white tea leaf protects against oxidation, watercress and Indian cress regenerate the scalp, and moringa seed extract offers anti-pollution properties. The shampoo is EWG verified and Eco-Logo certified and is also vegan, hypoallergenic, and cruelty free. Plus, the bottles are made from recycled plastic, and the Canada-based company plants one tree for every product purchased, a dedication that I appreciate and respect. I paired the shampoo with Conditioner Clarifying, which offers some of the same ingredients and more to add to the clarifying, anti-aging, protective benefits.

Ethica Anti-Aging Shampoo ($39.95)
Ingredients Of Note
  • Taurine
  • Hydrolyzed vegetable and soy protein
  • Caffeine
  • Panthenol
  • Biotin
  • Reishi mushroom
  • Arginine
  • Grape seed extract
  • Ginseng root
  • Piroctone olamine
  • Rooibos
  • Saw palmetto

As a bit of a beauty science nerd, my favorite thing about this shampoo is that it combines a scientific approach with thoughtful natural ingredients to provide an anti-aging solution for hair that addresses the scalp, follicle, and hair shaft. It offers a variety of benefits, including static control, shielding dust, smoothing, hydration, style hold, and volumizing. I also appreciate its natural formulation—it is sulphate, paraben, and gluten free; its surfactants are coconut and plant derived; its fragrance comes from ginger root; and it is cruelty free. The shampoo works best and is most effective when paired with Anti-Aging Conditioner and Ageless Daily Topical.

Maria Nila Head & Hair Heal Shampoo ($32) & Conditioner ($32)
Ingredients Of Note
  • Olamine
  • Aloe vera
  • Vitamin E
  • Apigenin
  • Peptides
  • Oleanolic acid

Everything about this line feels very elegant and decadent—from the lovely packaging to the rich texture of the products to the enticing fragrance of the conditioner. I highlight my hair and spend a good bit of time in the pool with my kids, so perhaps that is why these nourishing, damage-control products were so appealing to me. The products are color-preserving and treat and prevent dandruff and other scalp problems. They are also intended to prevent hair loss and stimulate hair growth. The shampoo features piroctone, olamine, and natural aloe vera extract to treat and prevent dandruff and scalp problems; vitamin E, apigenin, and peptides to stimulate hair follicles for increased hair growth; oleanolic acid to prevent hair loss; and a proprietary Colour Guard Complex to protect and maintain color. Meanwhile, the conditioner contains many of the same ingredients, as well as an allergen-free perfume, developed for extra sensitive skin, with a unique floral scent of white jasmine, galbanum, and linden blossom. The products are sulphate and paraben free, vegan, and animal friendly, and the company carbon offsets their packaging. For extra nourishment, use the Masque ($36) once a week.

MONPURE London Shampoo and Conditioner ($98)
Ingredients Of Note
  • Aloe vera
  • Argan oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Keratin
  • Pro Vitamin B5
  • Silk peptides

I have fine hair, and I found this set to be particularly good at managing my flyaways—no surprise, as it was named a Good Housekeeping Institute Winner in 2021 as the Best Anti-Breakage Shampoo and Conditioner. I also quite liked the subtle, fresh fragrance. At first, I was a little dubious at its lack of foamy lather and its ability to truly cleanse but soon discovered that this is intentional. According to the company, it may not foam as much as other varieties, but this means it won’t leave hair dry and brittle either. Instead, it allows its star ingredients, including coconut-derived cleansing agents, hydrating aloe vera, and strengthening vegan silk peptides, to do their work. Even without a luxe lather, my hair felt clean and refreshed.

Odele Leave-In Conditioner ($11.99)
Ingredients Of Note
  • Amaranthus caudatus seed extract
  • Hydrolyzed rice protein
  • Essential oils, including ylang ylang, lime fruit, cucumber, oakmoss, galbanum, red cedar, champak flower, and castor seed

My daughter and I have fine hair that gets terribly tangled, so we love a good leave-in conditioner like this one from Odele. I liked the texture and the results, and my morning brush and braid of her hair involved much less complaining about hair pulling to get through her knots after its use. I also liked the subtle scent, which was designed specifically to be gender neutral with notes of notes of cucumber, oakmoss, and ylang ylang. Along with the affordability of this line, I really appreciated the clean focus. Odele does not use sulfates, formaldehyde, phthalates, paraben, dyes, synthetic fragrances, or any of the 1,328-plus cosmetic ingredients banned by the E.U. It is also cruelty-free, vegan, allergy-tested, and dermatologist-tested. Plus, it is women owned and operated and has an inclusive philosophy. Odele, a riff on the Norwegian phrase “å dele” which means “to share,” was created to be clean, inclusive, quality, and affordable.

Odylique Gentle Herb Shampoo ($20)
Ingredients Of Note
  • Horsetail
  • Coconut oil
  • Chamomile
  • Biodynamic nettle
  • Rosemary
  • Aloe vera juice

I particularly like this natural, vegan, cruelty-free certified organic herbal shampoo for its clean, sustainable focus—it is the first shampoo that ever achieved Soil Association approval. It is also free from wheat, dairy, soy, common allergen nut oils; is pH neutral (5.5) to be in balance with the skin; and is packaged in a 100-percent recycled UK-made bottle. It is also quite effective and is ideal for sensitive scalps prone to psoriasis, dermatitis, or eczema. The hypoallergenic formula is infused with organic herbal ingredients, such as strengthening horsetail, conditioning coconut oil, soothing chamomile, biodynamic nettle for scalp health, and shine-promoting rosemary. Another cool aspect of the shampoo is that thanks to its natural herbs and oils and lack of harsh detergents, after a week or so of regular use, many people find that they don’t need a separate conditioner.

Oyin Handmade Honey Wash Hydrating Shampoo ($12.99-$35.99) and Honey Hemp Detangling Conditioner ($13.99-$37.99)
Ingredients Of Note
  • Pure honey
  • Quinoa protein
  • Aloe vera juice
  • Hempseed oil
  • Silk

I always love products made with honey, and these are no exception. I found both the shampoo and conditioner to be nourishing and sweetly scented. The shampoo, which is particularly effective for dry and highly textured hair, softens, nourishes, and increases shine. The conditioner, which is considered to be one of the brand’s cult favorite products, is rich and luxurious. It detangles well but also rinses clean. They are part of the Rich Moisture capsule collection, which also includes hair pomades, a deep-moisture mask, an all-in-one coil styler, and various bundle sets. I also appreciated the ethos of this company, which is an artisanal manufacturer of moisture-rich personal care products, especially formulated for highly textured hair and dry skin. Oyin is the Yoruba word for honey, which is a natural hydrating ingredient for dry hair. But it is also reminiscent of sweetness, love, and joy, which brand founder Jamyla Bennu believes are the feelings we seek to inspire in the everyday acts of self-care.

Pura D'Or Deep Moisturizing Biotin Conditioner ($17.99)
Ingredients Of Note
  • Argan oil
  • Apple extract
  • Hydrogenated olive oil
  • Pumpkin enhance shine
  • Biotin
  • Black cumin seed oil
  • Nettle

When it comes to a luxe, nourishing conditioner that really made an impact on my hair, this was hands-down my favorite. It has been clinically tested and proven to reduce hair thinning due to breakage and to increase volume, strength, and shine, which it did for me. This is courtesy of ingredients like argan oil, which adds shine and manageability; apple extract, which nourishes and detangles hair; and hydrogenated olive oil and pumpkin, which enhance shine. It is made with certified organic ingredients and does not contain sodium lauryl sulphate, parabens, harmful chemicals, or gluten. It is also hypoallergenic, cruelty free, and manufactured in the U.S. in a facility that uses renewable energy.

Ursa Major Go Easy Shampoo ($26) & Conditioner ($28)
Ingredients Of Note
  • Coconut-derived surfactants
  • Macadamia
  • Licorice
  • Bergamot
  • Jojoba
  • Sandalwood
  • Hydrolyzed soy protein
  • Aloe

One of my favorite things about these products is the aroma, which is a warm, woodsy blend of ginger, balsam, and fir. The shampoo itself is also quite nourishing. In fact, it can be used without a conditioner, and hair is still manageable thanks to ingredients like easy rinse, full lather coconut-derived surfactants; fatty acid-rich macadamia and bergamot; and licorice, which helps combat dandruff and promotes a healthy scalp. I preferred to use it in conjunction with the conditioner, which nourished with fatty acid-rich jojoba, shine-boosting sandalwood, moisture-retaining hydrolyzed soy protein, and hydrating and soothing aloe.

Looking for other ways to be eco-conscious with your haircare choices? Check out 4 Shampoo and 2 Conditioner Bars That Nourish the Hair.

About The Author
julieKeller_author-1

Julie is the co-founder of Well Defined and a longtime influencer and advocate in the wellness world. Along with her work at Well Defined, she is an executive recruiter and marketing specialist for Hutchinson Consulting. She is also a consultant and content strategist for numerous wellness brands. She is the former editor-in-chief and publisher of American Spa and was named a 2019 Folio Top Woman in Media in the Industry Trailblazers category and a 2018 winner of ISPA’s Innovate Award. She is also a seasoned journalist, specializing in spa, travel, health, fitness, wellness, sustainability, and beauty. She has been published in Departures, ForbesTraveler.com, E! Online, Gayot.com, Insider’s Guide to Spas, Luxury Travel Advisor, Marin Magazine, Ocean Home, Smart Meetings, Spa Asia, and Travel Agent.