Free shipping on all domestic orders over $39

Uniquely Emu Revitalizing Shampoo and Conditioner

Is a Solution for:
Oily Hair, Thinning Hair & Shedding, Dry or Brittle Hair
June 21, 2010 Reviewed by Marta 12 Comments
I was really pleased when I found Uniquely Emu and its highly refined emu oil products that many of us are finding invaluable for their abilities to help thinning hair grow thick and strong. So you can imagine that I was excited to receive samples of Uniquely Emu’s Revitalizing Shampoo ($13.95) and Revitalizing Conditioner ($13.95) to test. Unfortunately my test turned out to be the equivalent of tripping over in the middle of a victory lap.

I love what they are doing for my hair, but while the conditioner is something I would recommend the same cannot be said of the shampoo. Plus, I have found that both formulas are available under another brand name (Country Divine) at a slightly lower price.

As far as the shampoo is concerned, Uniquely Emu has marred a perfectly good – probably excellent – product with sodium lauryl sulfate. And I am not just splitting hairs here. It’s actually unforgivable that a quality niche brand is still using an ingredient that even drugstore brands proclaim to be free of. Heck, even the latest from TreSemme says it is “now with fewer sulfates”.

If anyone needs a recap on sulfates, studies have shown  “significant correlations” (in the words of one) between SLS and contact dermatitis. The Journal of the American College of Toxicology says that it has “a degenerative effect on the cell membranes because of its protein denaturing properties”. The Journal adds that “high levels of skin penetration may occur at even low use concentration. Worryingly, tests on young animals showed permanent eye damage – even when the SLS was applied to areas other than the eye.

In addition, the shampoo contains coal tar, another controversial ingredient. At least one study associates it with cancer and, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, preparations that include more than 5% of crude coal tar are Group 1 carcinogen. Against that, the National Psoriasis Foundation and the FDA insist that concentrations between 0.5% and 5% are safe. However, the FDA insists that it is safe. The EWG gives it a perfect (hazard) score of 10. Not good.

Happily, the conditioner (which I shall continue to use) is almost squeaky clean. I love the idea of standard hair care products with emu oil. Research has shown that emu oil can wake up even dormant hair follicles. Polysaccharides and phospholipid rich emu oil is joined by aloe vera. Ginseng can also summon research to prove it helps hair. There is a Korean study on mice that demonstrated ginseng accelerated the recovery of hair cells and prevented apoptosis in hair follicles.

A novel and rather good idea is the inclusion of grape seeds in the conditioner – you’ll see little dark flakes in the formula – that are there to exfoliate the scalp.

The rich and creamy formulas leave my hair soft and shiny. I feared that products so unctuous would be heavy and make my hair a little greasy. Far from it, in fact I’ve found that I can last three days (depending on how sweaty my scalp gets from NYC’s summer humidity) until the next shampoo. NB: curious folk might want to know that standamul is cetearyl alcohol and Germaben llE is a preservative based on a couple of parabens.

Ingredients in shampoo

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Ethyl Sulfate, Laureth 3, Glycerine, Glycol Stearate, Emu Oil, DL Pathenol (Vit B5), Aloe Vera Extract, Ginseng Extract, Chamomile Extract, Comfrey Extract, Mallow Extract, Coal Tar Extract, Germaben II, Linoenyl Dea, Fragrance, FD&C Yellow 6.

Ingredients in conditioner

De-Ionized Water, Standumul Concentrate 1002, Emu Oil, Deoiled Grape Seeds, Lactic Acid, Aloe Vera Extract, Mallow Extract, Chamomile Extract, Calendula Extract, Ginseng Extract, Comfrey Extract, DL Panthenol (Vit B5), Germaben IIE, Fragrance, FD&C Yellow 6.
  • October 18, 2010

    by anna

    hi! i found this shampoo/conditioner: has anyone tried it?

  • September 22, 2010

    by marta

    Hi Maria, I haven't seen a sprayable emu oil (its a bit too thick, I'd imagine). Please take a look at our Five Best shampoo recommendations: And Five Best for under $10

  • September 22, 2010

    by Maria

    I am a bit confused. You said that you have had good success using Emu Oil, does it come in a spray form? Also, you tried and recommend the Emu conditioner but the shampoo has sulfates in it, what shampoo would you recommend that has no sulfactes?

  • September 15, 2010

    by Jaysie

    Marta - Thank you for enlightening me! As Junko stated, we really do rely on you and the TIA site for educating us on the good, bad, and mediocre in the Land of a Thousand Beauty Products.

  • September 14, 2010

    by Junko

    That FYI is why we're here! Trying to figure out if ingredient(s) are safe or even what they are when they're obscure can make a person crazy, whacked-out and depressed...Thanks Marta for helping to keep us calm and sane :)

  • September 14, 2010

    by marta

    Just an FYI that diazolidinyl urea and imidazolidinyl urea (trade name Germall 115) both release formaldehyde. Plain urea is actually a good moisturizer. Copley explains in this post:

  • September 14, 2010

    by Jaysie

    Junko - The Urea is also a suspect. I think formaldehyde is a by-product of Urea though, not being a scientist, I don't know under what conditions it produces this unfriendly compound. In my case, the peppermint oil so high on the list would also probably cause frizz, breakage or itchy scalp, perhaps all three. :(

  • September 14, 2010

    by Junko

    Anna, I was so excited to see that Uniquely Emu was producing a SLS free shampoo until I looked at the ingredients: Purified Water, Cocamide DEA, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Natural Glycerin, Emu Oil, Natural Peppermint Oil, Fennel Extract, Hops Extract, Chamomile Extract, Balm Mint Extract, Mistle Toe Extract, Yarrow Extract, Urea, Citric Acid, Rosemary Extract. They decided to use Cocamide DEA AND Cocamidopropyl Betaine instead of Sodium Laurel Sulfate, can't say I think this is better and it seems to me like it's worse.

  • September 14, 2010

    by anna

    it looks like there is a SLS free shampoo...has anyone tried it?

  • July 11, 2010

    by Ellena

    Is there a cheaper Emu oil from Contry Divine? I find $35 for 1oz it is too much...

  • June 30, 2010

    by Linda

    If it is 'Uniquely Emu, then the emus should be allowed to keep what is their's.

  • June 21, 2010

    by Junko

    What are they thinking!!!??? I so love their Emu oil and it seems they could have a lovely team of products with the conditioner. But to foul the shampoo sufficiently enough to get a red card and have it thrown out of the game? I don't understand. It's very disappointing.

Join the discussion! Leave a comment below.

My Comment

Add a comment...

-or- Cancel Comment
* Required Fields
truth in aging's five best

Truth In Aging's Five Best

The very best to choose from for your skin concerns.

Read More

truth in aging videos

Truth In Aging Videos

Helpful how-tos and reviews from Marta and friends.

Watch Now

meet our contributors

Meet Our Contributors

The TIA community consists of our trusted reviewers.

Meet Them

be inspired

Be Inspired

Inspiring thoughts and women who are aging gracefully.

Read More