11 Nontoxic Hair Care Brands for Your Clean Beauty Routine

March 31, 2020

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 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.

  • Formaldehyde: This preservative has been classified as a “probable human carcinogen” by the EPA and is known to irritate the skin and eyes.
  • 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.
  • 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.”
  • 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.)
  • Phthalates: The CDC cautions that while more studies need to be done, some types of phthalates have affected the reproductive system of laboratory animals.
  • 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.
  • 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? 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.

Best Nontoxic Shampoo

Give your hair and scalp a clean slate with our best nontoxic shampoos.

Juice Organics Rose Fig Color Protect Shampoo

For color treated hair, there’s no better 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.

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.

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, it’s a treat for the senses.

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.

Desert Essence Lemon Tea Tree Shampoo

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

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).

Favorite Nontoxic Conditioner

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

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.

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.

Acure Ultra Hydrating Conditioner, Argan & Pumpkin

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

Babo Botanicals Smoothing & Detangling Conditioner

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

Chemical-Free Styling Products

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

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 formula is vegan, cruelty-free, and biodegradable.

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).

Giovanni Hold Hair Spritz

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

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.

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Nicole Gulotta

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

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