20 Best Shampoos for Healthy Hair and Scalp

Image Source: Thinkstock
Image Source: Thinkstock

I recently wrote a post explaining some of the questionable additives that are often found in shampoos. Of course, this made me wonder what might be lurking in some of my favorite shampoos. I was surprised to find that many salon-quality cleansers do contain some of these ingredients. In fact, it was difficult to find any that didn’t have at least one or two.

However, it’s important to note that not all of these ingredients are harmful to your health. For example, sulfates are detergents that can be too harsh for some people with damaged or colored hair, but might be appropriate for others, like those who have oily hair. Silicones and waxes can build up on hair but can be removed with a periodic clarifying treatment.

If you are concerned about questionable additives, you may need to turn to the aisles of your favorite health food store. Look for products that are 100% natural and check the label for any questionable additives. Unfortunately, I’ve tried many of these shampoos and I personally feel that many of them sacrifice performance, leaving my long hair feeling dry and tangled.

This list is comprised of shampoos that I, as a hairstylist and colorist, would recommend. Many offer alternatives to chemical additives and are formulated with higher quality ingredients. I’ve included highly-rated all-natural choices as well as a couple of treatment shampoos that address buildup and dandruff naturally. For me, these options balance the potential questionable effects of some additives without compromising performance. With that caveat, here is my list of the best shampoos for healthy hair and scalp.

1. L’Oreal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Color Care System Moisture Shampoo. If you prefer to buy shampoo from the drugstore, this is a solid choice. It’s sulfate-free and helps prolong hair color.

2. Paul Mitchell Spring-Loaded Frizz-Fighting Shampoo. It’s designed for curly hair, but I love the detangling quality of this sulfate-free shampoo so much that I recommend it to anyone that has problems with tangles, even if their hair is straight.

3. Kerastase Crystalliste Bain Crystal. Kerastase shampoos leave hair feeling really soft, and this one offers great manageability and shine without silicones or parabens. It’s available in two varieties: one for thick hair and one for thin hair.

4. Kiehl’s Sunflower Color Preserving Shampoo. This paraben- silicone and sulfate-free shampoo nourishes hair with apricot kernel oil and sunflower oil.

5. Redken Nature’s Rescue Refreshing Detox Shampoo. Wash away build up, pollution, and other impurities with this great daily shampoo free of silcones, sulfates, and parabens.

6. Bumble and Bumble Seaweed Shampoo. This mild shampoo contains marine extracts for extra nourishing and hydrating qualities.

7. DevaCurl No-Poo Cleanser. As a hair stylist, I’ve learned that cleaning your hair does not require lather; it requires surfactants that adhere to dirt and oils so that they can be rinsed away. This suds-free cleanser rids hair of impurities without harmful detergents.

8. Living Proof No Frizz Shampoo. This smoothing shampoo fights frizz with OFPMA instead of silicones for shiny hair without the buildup.

9. Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Special Shampoo. Tea tree oil treats dandruff and itchy scalps without harmful ingredients.

10. Carol’s Daughter Monoi Repairing Shampoo. Moisturizing monoi oil nourishes hair with this shampoo free of sulfates, parabens, petroleum, and mineral oil.

11. Giovanni 2Chic Ultra-Moist Shampoo. If you prefer to buy shampoo at the health food store or other eco-friendly retailer, I’ve been consistently impressed with the performance of Giovanni products. This one is sulfate-free and includes a number of natural ingredients like avocado, lychee, olive oil, and shea butter.

12. Redken Hair Cleansing Cream. I’m partial to this shampoo because it removes impurities gently with fruit acids in place of drying alcohols.

13. L’Oreal Professionnel Serie Nature Source de Richesse. This shampoo is sulfate-, silicone-, and paraben-free and offers the antioxidant lycopene to combat oxidative stress.

14. Pureology Hydrate Shampoo. This sulfate-free shampoo for color-treated hair keeps hair healthy with a number of plant-based extracts.

15. Arbonne FC5 Nourishing Daily Shampoo. This gentle shampoo is listed as the top rated shampoo by readers of Total Beauty. It’s made with an impressive amount of plant-based ingredients and is naturally fragranced.

16. Aubrey Rosemary Peppermint GPB Glycogen Protein Balancing Shampoo. To avoid harmful ingredients entirely, you’ll need to try an all-natural shampoo like this highly-rated one from Aubrey. It contains many organic ingredients and no artificial fragrances.

17. Ojon Rare Blend Infusion Shampoo. This hydrating shampoo features Ojon’s rare blend of nourishing oils and is formulated without parabens, sulfates, or phthalates.

18. Kevin Murphy Angel Wash. This shampoo is sulfate- and paraben-free and contains a number of natural ingredients and extracts to protect color and add volume.

19. Oribe Signature Shampoo.  The company insists that though this shampoo contains sulfates, the formulation is so gentle that it is safe to use even after keratin straightening treatments.

20. Phyto Phytonectar Ultra-Nourishing Brilliance Shampoo. This thick shampoo softens brittle hair without parabens, synthetic dyes, petrochemicals, or phthalates.

For more information about potentially harmful additives, please visit 10 Questionable Ingredients in Shampoo.

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