If you’re a big believer that products labeled “organic” and “natural” are better, safer and healthier… today, we’re going to challenge your beliefs, at least, when it comes to organic hair care.

When it comes to organic hair care there may be no product more misunderstood than shampoo. There are hundreds of shampoos to choose from in stores. So maybe it makes your decision easier, and you feel more confident about your choice if you just go with a natural or organic hair care formula.

But the reality is that when it comes to shampoo ingredients, organic and natural options could actually have negative consequences for your hair. Let us explain.


Well, in order to properly clean hair, a shampoo formula must contain a form of surfactant (aka a cleansing agent). There are two types of surfactants: those with sulfates and those that are sulfate-free.

What’s sulfate? A type of detergent derived from mineral salt that is altered to cleanse the hair. Many formulas favor sulfates because they’re great at removing heavy buildup. But many are also wary of sulfates, believing that the salt dries out hair.

So many people turn to sulfate-free surfactants. These cleansing agents can wash hair without salt-based detergents. But take note, whether it contains sulfate or not, there are no truly natural surfactants.

The term natural is not actually regulated by the government or any other industry. So marketers can really put the term on just about anything. This has led to a lot of “green-washing” where consumers think they’re buying a healthy alternative, but instead are just being mis-directed.

While these ingredients may clean the hair, and are derived from natural ingredients, they have been synthetically modified so they are no longer 100% “natural”. Shampoos that effectively clean your hair and scalp are formulated with 'surfactants'. Surfactants are cleansing agents that are absolutely necessary to remove dirt, pollutants, product buildup. Co-washes are, by definition, 'conditioners'. They do not contain surfactants, i.e., cleansing agents.”

Here’s a list of common Synthetic Shampoo Ingredients:

* Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate
* Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate
* Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine
* Sodium Lauroamphocetate
* Sodium Cocoyl Glycinate
* Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate
* Decyl or Lauryl Glucoside

In many other cases, when a shampoo claims to be all natural they typically substitute oils, honey, corn starch, essential oils, aloe, and other ingredients for cleansing agents. The problem with this approach is that none of these shampoo ingredients will remove grime, salts, or pollutants from the hair. In fact, instead of removing buildup they adhere to the hair and scalp and are difficult to remove. It is critical to have a form of surfactant as a shampoo ingredient within a formula in order to maintain a healthy scalp and properly cleanse the hair.


Well aside from feeling uncomfortable after a few days sans washing - dirt, oils, and environmental residue can build up on strands, causing hair to look weighed down, and color to look dull. A scalp that’s left unwashed for long enough, can even find its follicles clogged, leading to more complex problems like hair thinning. So naturally, to avoid all of this, you want to ensure you have an effective shampoo.


Many DIY recipes call for ingredients like baking soda, or apple cider vinegar. But the reality of it is that these ingredients while they are anti-bacterial can easily get stuck to the hair and scalp, and block follicles.


We believe that sulfate-free surfactants are the safest cleansing agents.

You should also make sure that your cleanser never contains any shampoo ingredients that may adhere to the hair and scalp. This list includes things like: silicones, thickening resins, conditioning agents, and pearlizing ingredients.

One should be wary of these shampoo ingredients because they are not easily rinsed out and can block the follicle, leading to complications like thinning. A truly effective shampoo should simply clean the hair and leave nothing behind like Color Wow’s Color Security Shampoo.

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