Dr. Alkaitis is a line of “natural and certified organic” skincare products that was new to me – though I found some older reviews of the doctor’s products in the TIA archives. The website touts a philosophy of herbal, raw, biologically active ingredients (“if you can’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin” – not unreasonable!) and presents the founder’s credentials as a research scientist in physical chemistry. TIA recently offered me the chance to try the Dr. Alkaitis Organic Herbal Shampoo ($45) and I gladly agreed. I have tried a number of shampoos and while I’ve found quite a few that are okay – like many TIA readers, I generally come back to Nutra-Lift Shampoo ($22) – I haven’t quite found any I love. So about three weeks ago, I started this trial and have been using it exclusively since.

I’m highly inexpert, but it was hard not to recognize after just a quick glance at the bottle that this was an unusually plant-rich, herb-laced, chemical-free (indeed, tasty-sounding) formulation – apparently living up to the line’s philosophy. And this was clearly a different product. While most commercial shampoos are thick, almost gelatinous, Dr. Alkaitis’ is a thin, runny liquid – exactly what you’d expect in the absence of chemicals. And it’s brown. And it has a smell – like herbs – and I don’t mean the kind of “herbal” smell associated with cheesy mass-market brands. It’s really a bit funky, almost medicinal. It didn’t bother me one little bit but I know some TIA readers might be put off.

The first question was whether or not the shampoo would actually clean: that’s usually the concern with chemical-free shampoos. The answer is an emphatic and surprising yes. Researching the two ingredients in Dr. A’s “Coconut Oil/Amino Acid Cleansing Base” (see below), both get good marks on the TIA Ingredients Database. My hair is unusually thick, generally healthy, but, of course, color-treated. It left it clean but not dry, supple, with good body and sheen. Note that I used it without a conditioner: the product contains a variety of vitamins and oils already.

My first thought was to write a clearly favorable review while questioning whether I’d really pay for a shampoo that costs $45 for a mere 8 ounces – that is, more than twice the cost of reliable old Nutra-Lift. I always think of these things in terms of price/performance. But then I realized that Dr. A. doesn’t sell a conditioner (though they do offer a “treatment oil” that can be used on the scalp as well as face and body), and so in some sense the shampoo is a two-fer. Thus it’s better value than it first appeared, and in fact, at least during this hot summer weather, I find it very nourishing and don’t miss conditioner at all. (The site, surprisingly, suggests shampooing, rinsing, and repeating, but that doesn’t seem necessary for regular daily use.)

I am not sure, though, that this shampoo would be for everyone (albeit Dr. A’s site says it’s for “normal, dry, oily, and color-treated” hair). I don’t know whether those with very oily hair would find it sufficiently cleansing, and I would worry that those with very thin or fine hair might find the shampoo too heavy due to the presence of various oils. I also can’t comment on whether it does, as claimed, “support regeneration.” But for me, it worked extremely well; my hair looks healthy, has good shine, and is particularly manageable. My current thought is to alternate it with other favorites – it is a bit of a luxury – but I will definitely keep it in rotation.

Ingredients: Organic Aloe Vera Gel*, Distilled Water, Coconut Oil/Amino Acid Cleansing Base (sodium cocoyl sarcosinate and cocamidopropyl hydroxysultaine),Vegetable Glycerin, Dr. Alkaitis’ Hair & Scalp Herbal Complex (Horsetail*, Oat Buds*, Coltsfoot*, Wild Chamomileº, Lacris*, Boxwood, Greater Nettle*, Comfrey*, White Man’s Foot*, Garden Sage*, Panama Barkº, Dulseº, Rosemary*, Jojoba*, Mexican Sarsaparilla, Aztec Marigold*, and Wild Andean Roseº), Vitamin B-5, Hydrolyzed natural Rice Protein, Grapefruit Seed Extract, Natural Vitamin E Complex (D- alpha, beta, gamma, delta tocopherols), natural Vitamins C, F, and A complexes, and 100% Pure Essential Oils

* Certified organically grown
º Ethically wild-crafted