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11 Nontoxic Hair Products for Your Beauty Routine

Last Update: January 19, 2024

Cleaning up your beauty routine means swapping out old favorites for new products that’ll get the job done—naturally. To make the transition to nontoxic and chemical-free hair care brands even easier (like choosing the best sulfate-free hair care products), we’ve done the research for you and curated top industry picks at the best prices. Have a read to get primed on the can’t-miss brands that’ll have you loving your locks!

Chemicals to Avoid in Hair Care Products

None of the ingredients listed below are inside any of the products we stock, but it’s smart to know what things should be avoided as you venture deeper into clean beauty buys.

1. Formaldehyde

This preservative has been classified as a “probable human carcinogen” by the EPA and is known to irritate the skin and eyes.

2. Isopropyl

While it’s important to clean your hair thoroughly, this ingredient may strip your scalp of essential oils, leaving your mane dry and brittle.

3. Methylisothiazolinone

It’s a tough one to pronounce, but just know methylisothiazolinone a common preservative in hair products that the EPA says is “acutely toxic when applied dermally or to the eye and is considered to be corrosive.”

4. Parabens

Parabens are xenoestrogens—aka, agents that mimic hormones in the human body and may act as endocrine disruptors. (Keep reading for our list of paraben-free hair care picks.)

5. Phthalates

The CDC cautions that while more studies need to be done, some types of phthalates have affected the reproductive system of laboratory animals.

6. Retinyl Palmitate

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) notes that retinyl palmitate (considered a gentler version of retinol) is a known human reproductive toxicant, among other concerns.

7. Sulfates

Listed as Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, and Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate, this class of chemicals is known to deplete your hair’s natural sebum and reduce moisture, which can be especially problematic for curly hair.


How to Choose Nontoxic Hair Care Products

Ready for your masterclass on nontoxic hair care? ThriveMarket.com is home to clean beauty brands that keep out the bad stuff (goodbye, phthalates) while infusing formulas with the good stuff (hello botanicals and plant-based ingredients). Here’s a look at some of our member-favorite brands and the most popular products your tresses will love.

Certifications for Nontoxic Hair Products

1. EWG Verified

EWG (Environmental Working Group) Verification means a product meets this organization’s strict health and transparency standards. This organization’s team of scientists do the research on every product to make sure they are toxin-free

2. Certified B Corporation

A B Corp is a company that’s received Certified B Corporation status, which means the brand becomes legally required to consider the impact of its decisions on workers, communities, customers, suppliers, and the environment. The “B” in B Corp stands for Beneficial. Learn more here.

3. Non-GMO Project Verified

GMO stands for “Genetically Modified Organism“. Non-GMO Project Verification means a product has been made with no genetic engineering, and that this has been verified by a trusted third-party group.

Best Nontoxic Shampoo

Give your hair and scalp a clean slate with our best chemical-free shampoos.

1. Juice Organics Rose Fig Color Protect Shampoo

For color treated hair, there’s no better nontoxic option than this fig-scented formula from Juice Organics. The shampoo leans into the power of antioxidants with a blend of blueberry, rice bran, and linseed oil.

2. Kiss My Face Wherever Shampoo

Lather up wherever—at home, on vacation, or at the gym. This shampoo is infused with aloe, vitamin E, and Moroccan argan oil to add shine. The formula is totally vegan and cruelty-free.

3. Thrive Market Shampoo, Bulgarian Lavender

For a soothing shower experience, reach for our shampoo that hydrates and cleans with aloe vera and argan oil—and it won’t strip your hair of essential moisture. Scented with Bulgarian lavender, this nontoxic shampoo is a treat for the senses.

4. Giovanni Tea Tree Triple Treat Invigorating Shampoo

Nourish your hair with Giovanni’s shampoo that cleans, purifies, and helps alleviate a dry or flaky scalp. Naturally sulfate-free, this formula features invigorating peppermint, rosemary, and eucalyptus oils.

5. Desert Essence Lemon Tea Tree Shampoo

Restore moisture and add shine with a little help from eucalyptus, Australian tea tree oil, and yucca. This toxic free shampoo helps give your hair a real deep clean while maintaining its natural moisture.

6. Jason Natural Thin-to-Thick Extra Volume Shampoo

For a volume boost, Jason Natural uses B vitamins to protect hair from breakage, and deep cleans with botanical ingredients so you can enjoy a thicker mane (and some extra shine).

Non-Toxic Men’s Shampoo

Shampoo contains on average somewhere between 10 to 30 different ingredients, and they are often a mix of natural and synthetic ingredients. Unfortunately, the word “natural” has no clear definition in the beauty world, and can essentially refer to a wide range of ingredients. Natural doesn’t necessarily mean non toxic or clean, and is not based on any standard or certification. Environmental Working Group (EWG) has more narrow guidelines as to what is clean and safe. Here at Thrive Market, we maintain our own high standards based on cutting-edge research, and deep industry experience.

When it comes to clean beauty products,Thrive Market offers a wide variety of non toxic men’s shampoos for all ages, preferences, and hair styles. We carry the best non toxic shampoos for men on the market and make them available for our members at the best possible prices. Our standards for clean beauty ensure high quality ingredients and exceptional clean beauty products.

Favorite Nontoxic Conditioner

These popular hair conditioners help lock in moisture and pamper your tresses sans chemicals.

1. Juice Organics Coconut Repairing Conditioner

No sulfites here! Coconut, plant protein, and vitamin B5 help hydrate your locks, while argan and jojoba oils add extra shine.

2. Juice Organics Passion Flower Volumizing Conditioner

If your hair needs more volume, coat your strands with Juice Organics Passion Flower Volumizing Conditioner. Passion fruit lends a floral scent—plus antioxidants to promote healthy looking hair.

3. Acure Ultra Hydrating Conditioner, Argan & Pumpkin

This nontoxic conditioner hydrates your tresses with organic pumpkin seed and argan oils—all formulated to moisturize dry, damaged, or curly hair.

4. Babo Botanicals Smoothing & Detangling Conditioner

Perfect for both kids and adults, this toxic free moisturizing conditioner helps detangle and soften hair with evening primrose oil, calendula, and aloe vera.

Non-Toxic Leave-in Conditioner

Leave-in conditioner can provide one with hydration, protection, and nourishment for hair, but it is not necessary for everyone. If you’re looking to provide an extra dose of moisture and nourishment to hair, a non toxic leave-in conditioner is always recommended. This means the leave-in conditioner is formulated without conventional haircare toxins. More than 1,000 ingredients in American products have been banned by countries in Europe and others worldwide. At Thrive Market, we take strict measures to ban ingredients that don’t measure up to our high standards and the standards of our members, who desire better, non toxic beauty products.

Chemical-Free Styling Products

Keep the nontoxic train running with chemical-free styling products to finish your look.

1. Best Nontoxic Hair Gel

From Giovanni, here’s a hair gel that’ll keep your style in place without adding unnecessary chemicals to your ‘do. The nontoxic formula makes this hair gel vegan, cruelty-free, and biodegradable.

2. Captain Blankenship

Skip the suds and refresh your hair with Captain Blankenship’s Dry Shampoo. This talc-free formula uses natural powders to help absorb oil and add volume. Use it whenever you need a little pick-me-up (or you overslept).

3. Giovanni Hold Hair Spritz

Lightweight yet powerful, this mist helps your style last all day while also adding shine—no brittle strands here!

4. Pacifica Salty Waves Texture Spray

It’ll feel like a day at the beach when you coat your locks with a cruelty-free texture spray infused with sea algae, chia, and banana.

Low Waste Hair Products

Check out the nontoxic hair products that are better for you and the planet.

1. Everist Waterless Shampoo and Conditioner Concentrate

Everist’s concentrated shampoo and conditioner come in small, recyclable aluminum tubes. These are perfect for throwing in your suitcase for trips and are free of parabens and preservatives. You only need to add a  pea-sized amount to wet hair.

2. Moon Valley Organics Herbal Shampoo Bar

This chemical-free shampoo bar is a plastic-free alternative to traditional shampoo. It will last twice as long as liquid shampoos and is free of GMOs and parabens.

3. Kitsch Rice Water Protein Conditioner Bar

Both your hair and the planet will love this low-waste & sulphate-free conditioning bar. Research suggests that rice water may have amazing benefits on your hair’s strength and elasticity.

Haircare Packaging

Haircare products come in a variety of packaging styles, and some are less sustainable than others. While plastic is, unfortunately, one of the most prevalent, other popular haircare packaging materials include stainless steel, tin, aluminum, and occasionally glass. Plastic has become an incredibly popular packaging material due to its lower cost and durability during transportation, but there are much more sustainable alternatives. Stainless steel and tin are the most environmentally friendly options due to their high recycling rates, but are somewhat rare to find in today’s market because they often cost more and add heft during transit. Aluminum is another highly recyclable option that can be recycled an infinite number of times, making it a circular material. Glass bottles are another option for haircare brands and consumers seeking to minimize or eliminate their plastic footprint.

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Nicole Gulotta

Nicole Gulotta is a writer, author, and tea enthusiast.

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