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Five Best Shampoos May 2009

Is a Solution for:
Oily Hair, Thinning Hair & Shedding, Dry or Brittle Hair
May 6, 2009 Reviewed by Marta 14 Comments
Since starting TIA, I have become more than ever convinced that shampoo is grooming's poorest relation, condemned to cosmetic cast-offs like sulfates and silicones with little to nourish. Factoid from Kate: the average “shower” (vs “bathtub”)  person spends 122 hours per year sudsing and rinsing?  That is the equivalent of  standing in the shower covered with shampoo and soaps for more than five straight days each year! Think of all that paraben/sulfate/chemical contact. Fortunately, there are a growing number of natural shampoos, but unfortunately they seem to lack oomph. I don't yet feel that here at TIA we have yet got a really great list of suds recommendations. But I got badgered (in the nicest possible way) into doing a Five Best round up by Michelle. So here is what I can best describe - with valiant optimism - as the best so far.

Enjoy Hydrating Shampoo ($25). If you worry about a gentle shampoo being able to do the job of a shampoo - ie: clean your hair - look no further than Enjoy. Kate found that not only cleansed her locks of daily grime, but of the build up of chemicals from previous shampoos. The handful of sudsers are joined with nourishing avocado oil and soy protein.

Earthly Delights Tropical Rain Shampoo ($15.99). This is my personal best yet. Earthly Delight eshews alcohol, animal products, color or sulfates. The admirably simple list of ingredients includes an uncommon, shampoo ingredient: horsetail. The stems of this plant (also called bottle brush) are rich (10%) in silica and silicic acids, which help mend broken bones and form collagen, plus potassium and calcium. The handful of other botanical ingredients include wheat germ, which has hair-loving vitamins B1 and B3. It also has a lot of ergothioneine, claimed by some to be a good antioxidant. The result: healthy tresses with just the right amount of volume and bounce.

REN Moringa Seed Micro-Protein Universal Shampoo ($26 for 8.5oz). It is a bit gratuitous to add this one because REN is out of stock and we're not even sure if it will continue to make it. However, I'm hoping that REN will see our posts and get back into business with it. This is a great shampoo for removing build up from conditioners, styling gels and whatever other gunk you've subjected your hair to. REN is a British company that focuses on natural ingredients. Most are derived from coconut. In addition, there is tomato bioferment. Moringa helps remove the dirt and the tomato bioferment adds manageability and strength. Tomato has serine and lycopene. Serine helps replenish cysteine levels in the hair to keep it strong and smooth. Lycopene is an antioxidant, similar to beta-carotene, but it is very soluble and easily penetrates the hair shaft to keep it moist and manageable. Pleeeease REN, bring it back!

Max Green Alchemy Scalp Rescue Shampoo ($15). According to Jimmy, this shampoo deserves a medal. It lived up to its name and did a spectacular rescue job on his scalp after a mishap (understatement of the month) with his colorist. MGA’s shampoo is vegan and there’s no SLS, parabens or petrochemicals. One of its finest attributes is its ability to help treat psoriasis of the scalp, seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff. Or, in Jimmy's case, a severe case of scalp grossness. Tea tree is a top ingredient, as well as some less commonly used ingredients like coltsfoot, burdock and yarrow. Max Green's conditioner is also brilliant, in my experience.

Juice Organics Pomegranate Shampoo ($6.99). Another Kate recommendation, this sulfate-free poo gets her  waist-length hair "delightfully clean" and  without that “stripped” feeling that the harsher products.  It has a nice smell and works up a good lather. It is packed full of antioxidants in the forms of aloe, grape, soy protein and, of course pomegranate. Plus there are amino acids and fatty acids. Double whammy: Kate also uses it to shave her legs. For the price, it's brilliant.

Ingredients in Enjoy Hydrating Shampoo:

Water, Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate, Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Phenoxyethanol, Glycol Distearate, Polyquaternium-7, Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate, Potassium Sorbate, Avocado (Persea Gratissima) Oil, Dimethicone, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Disodium EDTA, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Citric Acid, Fragrance, Orange 4 (C15510).

Ingredients in Tropical Rain:

Distilled water, sage, rosemary, nettles, wheat germ soap, horsetail, essential oils of neroli, cinnamon and coconut.

Ingredients in Max Green:
Purified Water, Aqueous Herbal Extract (Glycyrrhiza Glabra* (licorice) Root, Tussilago Farfara+ (coltsfoot) Leaf, Achillea Millefolium* (yarrow), Salix Alba+ (willow), Tabebuia Impetiginosa+ (pau díarco), Arctium Lappa* (burdock) Root, Berberis Aquifolium (mahonia), Calendula Officinalis* (calendula), Equisetum Arvense* (horsetail), Urtica Dioica* (nettles)), Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate (coconut derived surfactant), Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine (coconut derived surfactant), Sucrose Cocoate (sugar/coconut emulsifier), Coco-Betaine (coconut derived surfactant), Leptospermum Petersonii (lemon tea tree), Melaleuca Alternifolia* (tea tree), Lavandula Angustifolia* (lavender), Pelargonium Capitatum* (geranium), Rosemarinus Officinalis* (rosemary), Oryzanol (rice extract), Hydrolysed Soy Protein (hair strengthener), Glycerine (vegetable source), Panthenol (pro vitamin B5), Sodium Chloride (solar sea salt), Macadamia* Ternifolia (macadamia) Seed Oil, Parfum (fragrance of plant origin), Xanthan Gum, Ascorbyl Palmitate (vitamin C ester), Aloe Barbadensis* (aloe vera) Leaf, Mixed Tocopherols (plant derived GMO-free vitamin E).
* Organic + Wildcrafted

Juice Organics Pomagranate Shampoo Ingredients:

Organic juices of vitis vinifera (grape), punica granatum (pomegranate) & aloe barbadensis leaf, cocamidopropyl betaine, oat amino acids, soy protein, sodium anisate, organic oryza sativa (rice) syrup & extract, glycerin, organic plant oils of olea europaea (olive) fruit, punica granatum (pomegranate), vitis vinifera (grape) leaf & butyrospermum parkii (shea butter), organic essential fatty acids of oenothera biennis (evening primrose), linum usitatissimum (linseed) seed & borago officinali (borage) seed, phytic acid, decyl glucoside, sodium chloride, sodium levulinate, disodium cocoamphodiacetate, sodium laurylglucosides hydroxypropylsulfonate, sodium cocoyl glutamate, sodium dehydroacetate, sodium benzoate, sorbic acid, panthenol (vitamin B5), extracts of punica granatum (pomegranate), vaccinium myrtillus (blueberry), fragaria vesca (strawberry), melia azadirachta leaf (neem) & coccinia india fruit. *certified organic by a US Department of Agriculture approved agency.
  • November 3, 2009

    by marta

    The reason for not including Burts Bees is that we haven't tried it. We try to confine Five Bests to things we have actually used. Still, you have galvanized me to give it a go - thanks!

  • November 2, 2009

    by Deborah

    Hi - Any reason that Burt’s Bees Pomegranate & Soy shampoo didn't make the list, since the conditioner was in the Best 5? Thanks!

  • October 23, 2009

    by Asya

    Dear Marta,

    could you maybe tell us what should by all means be avoided in a shampoo (I am thinking about the sulfates, parabens, etc.)? Sometimes as a replacement, the manufacturers are putting obscure stuff that is even more confusing to know if it is any good (all the coco betaine family...).
    Thanks for shedding some light, as always :-)

  • September 24, 2009

    by marta

    Hi Bethany, we reviewed <a href="" rel="nofollow">Wen</a> and had mixed feelings about it:

  • September 24, 2009

    by Bethany

    Have you tried the Wen Hair care system? Is it any good. I have color- treated, thin hair. I am 40.

  • August 28, 2009

    by deena karabell

    check out mastey hair and skincare...

    masterful and generously informative

  • June 12, 2009

    by Junko

    My Whole Foods in Berkeley, CA doesn't carry Earthly Delights (NY) brand. After a lengthy search I managed to find the Tropical Rain Shampoo at ** $11.60 + shipping.

  • May 10, 2009

    by JulieK

    and mebbe Ojun? ~jk

  • May 9, 2009

    by marta


    Consider us on to it. Thanks for the suggestions!

  • May 9, 2009

    by sylvie

    I'd would really like to see reviews from these natural brands:

    Ole Henricksen's shampoo & conditioner

    Jurlique's shampoo(s) & conditioner(s)

    Athanor's shampoo(s) & conditioner(s)

    Triology's shampoo(s) & conditioner(s)

  • May 7, 2009

    by Junko

    Marta, I'd like to 2nd Michelle's request for your Best 5 Conditioner's. I like the Burt's Bees Pomegranate & Soy Conditioner you recommended recently, and purchased the companion shampoo also. Because your best 5 lists are always so good, I'll be trying out the MGA & Earthly Delights soon! Many thanks!

  • May 7, 2009

    by marta

    I found Earthly Delights at Whole Foods.

  • May 7, 2009

    by Michelle

    Thank you Marta! So, since I've already bagered you into this, would it be horrible of me to ask about the 5 best conditioners to go along with these? LOL. hehehehe, I hope it didn't cause you too much trouble to post this. I definitely appreciate it! Thank you again! =D oh, and I do have the same question as the other Michelle about where to purchase Earthly Delights. I couldn't find it on Amazon.

  • May 6, 2009

    by Michelle

    Where can I find the Earthly Delights Shampoo?

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