After reading shampoo bottle labels in the grocery store recently, I decided to explore my options for chemical-free shampoo… that is, shampoo free of chemicals that are toxic to the environment or to people who use the products.

Here are three routes you can go:

  1. Homemade Shampoo
  2. Selecting a commercial shampoo which ranks well for its contents
  3. Giving up shampooing altogether. Really!

I’ll discuss each one in turn.

Homemade Shampoo

Googling “homemade shampoo” gave me enough ideas to keep me busy for weeks! In a nutshell, many of the recipes are based on using castile soap. It is available in various scents or (I hope) plain, and comes as liquid, flakes or bars.

So what is castile soap?

It is not a brand name, but a category of soaps that use vegetable oils rather than animal ones. Traditionally it only made with olive oil, not surprising since the name comes from the Castile region of  Spain, where they have been growing olive oil for centuries. Nowadays, it may also be sold with coconut or other vegetable oils in it, though ideally for no more than 20% of the total.

Dr. Bronner soaps are probably the best-known Castile soaps. I like almond scents and my husband is okay with it too.. he doesn’t like flowery smells on his body. There are other scents available too, but we’ll stick with this one.

You can also read about all the Dr. Bronner products at drbronner.com and chances are your local health food store has several. I will report back later on how we like this as a shampoo.

Evaluating Commercial Shampoos

Goodguide.com rates many shampoos for their contents — that link takes you right to the shampoo page. The top three are Nurture My Body, Burt’s Bees Rosemary Mint Shampoo Bar, and Suave Moisturizing Shampoo — I might have even been able to find some of these in the grocery store! There are links to Amazon from Goodguide, and buying through those links is a good way to support their research. (Whenever you see links to Amazon around the web, including my site, the webmasters usually earn a small percentage of sales.)

Life without Shampoo

There is a movement to do without shampoo but this does not mean you will look like a greasy-haired nerd! Here is one article on the no ‘poo approach, as it is sometimes called. Unfortunate phrase to my mind as it makes me think of another bodily process instead of the cute abbreviation for “no shampoo” it is meant to be… but an interesting idea, whatever you call it! This article has a lot of comments from readers who have done it.

  • Homemade Shampoo

    Simple homemade shampoos have the power to transform all sorts of hair problems- if you know how to use them. For example, I just discovered that coconut milk works well for swimmers hair.

  • Zana

    Thanks!

  • Chem Free

    If you truly want a chemical free hair or any product you need to read the ingredients. I love the shampoo and chemical free products such as lotions, face cream at Alamo Organics, http://www.alamoorganics.com you can read all the ingredients and don’t need a dictonary.

  • Lynne

    Some of those products that are listed still use sulfates to get your lathering factor. Try Ebelegy’s shampoo, it’s made with soapnuts and decyl polyglucose (a very mild surfacant from sugar and oils) —it’s not a big brand but it’s a chemical free shampoo that’s great for eczema and psoriasis.

  • http://www.natural-organic-products.com Belle

    I only use certified organic shampoo. The chemicals used in shampoos are really scary.