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Cruelty-Free and Nontoxic Shampoo and Conditioner

Cruelty-Free and Nontoxic Shampoo and Conditioner


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This post has been a looooong time coming. Ever since I broke up with coconut oil last September, I’ve been searching for a shampoo and conditioner that was natural AND didn’t use oil deemed the “holy grail” in the beauty industry. Before I went “clean’, I used TRESemmé. You can actually see my old hair care routine here! I actually still really like their products… just wish they didn’t use fragrance and such. Buuuut that is honestly how I feel about most old products I used in general. I didn’t stop using them because I didn’t like them, but because I decided to change my whole lifestyle.

When I first switched to a nontoxic shampoo, I reached for Carina Organics. I was already using their hairspray and loooved that, so it just made sense. Once I started to kick coconut oil out of my life, I realized that their shampoo did in fact have coconut oil. DANGIT. Thus my hunt began.

I did a load of research, then finally landed on Clean Kids Naturally. I liked them except for the fact that it was literally made for kids/not a lot of hair. I had to use almost 20 pumps of the shampoo to cover my adult hair of head! Also, these shampoos don’t suds… coconut oil is used a natural surfactant in most products and without it, you pretty much have no reason to suds. If you want to get more into the WHY behind it, this pin will take you to an excellent article that explains surfactants and dive deeper into sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and what to watch out for. The CliffsNotes version is that it is a harsh chemical that somehow made its way into our personal products and household items. But anyway, I used up most of the bottles of Clean Kids, but towards the end I noticed that there were parts of my hair, mostly along my hairline, that were kind of greasy, heavy, and flat. Even when I had just washed it! So off I went to find the next one.

Next I tried Acure. I think that it broke me out, but when I wore my hair up, it wasn’t as bad. I really liked it, but was still hopeful of finding one that didn’t break me out, so I looked for another. Trader Joe’s super budget friendly shampoo and conditioner seemed like a good option. I really liked it as well, but my forehead was once again plagued by menacing little dots. Sooo on to the next one.

After that, Morocco Method. I found them when I initially researched everything, but it was more expensive and I felt good trying Clean Kids Naturally first. I had high hopes for Morocco Method, but let me tell you… I did not like it. I barely made it 4 weeks testing it! $50+ later and I went from washing my hair 3 times a week MAX to pretty much washing it EVERY day. They say it has to go through a “detox” phase, but I thought that was weird since I had been using natural shampoo. My hair also wouldn’t dry. Historically I have let my hair air dry most of the way, but that changed with MM. Not only would it not air dry, but it also wouldn’t dry with a hair dryer. It was so heavy and greasy that my co-workers literally thought I came to work with wet hair. GROSS. I tried using baking soda to help soak up some of the grease, but that didn’t work. Apple Cider Vinegar rinses didn’t help either. I was at a loss. On top of that, my scalp was very itchy and broke out, even on my actual scalp where hair covered it, not just on the exterior of my face. I tried to talk to their customer service and DM them on Instagram, but they didn’t really help. They told me to buy other products to try and help the process. I had already spent quite a bit of money, so I didn’t really want to spend more. Ya know? To make matters worse, MM does not accept returns, so I was stuck with a product that didn’t work and broke me out!

I then went back to Acure, but after a month or two thought it didn’t clean my hair as well as I wanted it to? Not entirely sure. I could have tried another “scent”, but I honestly just missed Carina Organics.

Sooo, what did I do next? I went back to Carina Organics. I never should have strayed! Yes it does have coconut oil, but it doesn’t really make me break out. I do try to keep my hair out off of my forehead at all costs, even when sleeping, so that helps too. I do currently have breakouts along my hairline, but that was there before I switched back to Carina Organics.

Why should you care about using nontoxic shampoo Why would you want to leave your current (and potentially toxic) favorite to be plagued with what I went through?! Here’s some food for thought and things you should look for in a shampoo.

  • Sulfate-Free: Most shampoos will contain sulfates to help give you those suds you love, like I mentioned above. They will often be under the ingredient names of sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), and ammonia laureth sulfate (ALS). Basically you want sulfate-free products because sulfates are actually really harsh chemicals that you don’t want in contact with your body AT ALL. They are known endocrine disruptors than can and will mess with your hormones and a lot of other things too.

  • Paraben-Free: Parabens help extend the shelf life of your products and they usuallllllly have controversial preservatives. Other common names of bad, paraben-like substances are benzyl alcohol and methylisothiazolinone / methylchloroisothiazonlinon. These are endocrine disruptors as well.

  • Fragrance-Free: I know it is great to have your hair smell wonderful, but there are many natural scents out there that smell great too! They won’t last as long since they won’t have phthalates in them, but it can still smell good and not be an endocrine disruptor!

Sooo where can you shop for these products? You can look for them anywhere really! Just have to read the labels. I’m going to be honest. It’s pretty hard to read the labels. I’ve gotten a lot better, but they hide so much stuff in there, it is sometimes hard to navigate. Not to mention, there is so much green washing these days! Green washing is when a company makes it appear that they are clean and nontoxic, but actually aren’t. A good example of this is the Love Beauty and Planet line. They are really cute, the products work well, and are budget friendly. They market themselves as cruelty-free and vegan, which is great! But just because something is CF and V doesn’t mean they are “clean”. What makes it even more confusing is that Target even lists them as “Clean at Target”. In their defense, they don’t have parabens, sulfates, or dyes, buuuut not having really bad things doesn’t make it clean either! I say all this to say, I thought they were a clean brand! I was duped by them and used them…because I didn’t read the label.

Like I mentioned, reading the label isn’t super easy, so I lean a lot on EWG, I’ve mentioned EWG before, but they are the Environmental Working Group and they have a skin database where they rank products. Not everythingggg is ranked, but at the very least, you can search by ingredient. Looking at the Love Beauty and Planet shampoo label (under drug facts), you can already see they have fragrance, which is no bueno; however, there are other iffy ingredients too. For example, Benzyl Salicylate ranks a 7/10 on EWG, 10 being the worst! I try to use products in general that are a 1 or 2 rating. You could say “oh a 4 or 5 isn’t thaaat” bad, but think about all the other toxins in your life. They add up!

Companies are always changing their ingredients, so always check up on your products, but as of today, here are some great options on the nontoxic spectrum:


Cruelty-Free and Nontoxic Shampoo and Conditioner without Coconut Oil:


Cruelty-Free and Nontoxic Shampoo and Conditioner: (does include some form of Coconut Oil)


Sooo yeah! As of right now I use Carina Organics shampoo, conditioner, and hairspray. Other haircare products I use are:

Do you have a favorite that I missed? Let me know! It’s been a loooong journey, but I always welcome advice and thoughts!

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