Five of the best…eco friendly shampoos

| 27th October 2011
green shampoo
All are surfactant, pollutant and paraben free but which eco shampoo is best? Ruth Styles put them to the test

Much has been said and written about surfactants in shower gels and dodgy colourings in lipstick, but one beauty product that is commonly overlooked is shampoo. But shampoo and other haircare products are one of the beauty industry’s biggest earners, with some to be found in every bathroom in the country. Not surprisingly, annual sales figures are impressive, with haircare worth around £712 million a year, 41 per cent of which comes from shampoo.

But despite being a daily essential, shampoos are also among the worst offenders when it comes to toxins and synthetics. Most high street brands contain sodium laurel sulphate - a chemical considered by the industry to be a gentle cleanser for skin and hair. And it is gentle in small doses but in high concentrations can inflame the skin, produce allergic reactions and dry out the scalp. Worse, it is also a persistent pollutant that has been previously used as a pesticide that when released into waterways can be extremely toxic to marine life. What’s more, many of the cheaper brands are packed with preservative parabens and industrial detergents containing surfactants. Luckily, there are healthier, greener products on the market, with numerous organic brands producing eco-friendly shampoos and conditioners. But do they really work? Our intrepid reviewers put them to the test.

Aveda Damage Remedy Restructuring Shampoo, £18.50
A shampoo based on botanicals such as quinoa protein, coconut and babassu; everything in Aveda’s repairing shampoo is 100 per cent natural. It’s also manufactured using wind power and all ingredients are ethically sourced. But does it really work? According to our tester, it had a rich nutty fragrance and left her hair looking shiny and healthy.
Tester’s verdict: ‘Loved it! Definitely one to try, especially if your hair is in need of a little TLC.’
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Dead Sea Spa Magik Mineral Shampoo, £8.26
Paraben, allergen and synthetic detergent free, Dead Sea Spa Magik’s mineral shampoo is packed with natural nutrients and smells utterly gorgeous thanks to the presence of a high dose of rose essential oil. It ticks all the eco boxes but according to our tester, you do have to use quite a lot of it to get the job done – especially if you have long or thick hair. Helpfully, can be used as an all over body cleaning product, which saves time and money.
Tester’s verdict: ‘My skin, scalp and hair definitely felt softer but you need to use a lot and it doesn’t clean really dirty hair that well.’
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Pureology SuperSmooth Shampoo, £14.50
A US import similar in look and feel to mainstream salon brands such as Redken, Pureology products are 100 per cent vegan, sulphate and paraben free and aren’t tested on animals. It’s not cheap but does come in super-sized bottles that last for ages. Definitely the office favourite, our testers reported smooth and shiny hair as promised with a gorgeous smell as an added bonus.
Tester’s verdict: ‘It did what it was supposed to and left my hair smooth and shiny. The only quibble is that the conditioner can weigh hair down if you use too much – a hazelnut-sized amount is about right.
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Lovea Bio Tahitian Monoi Moisturising Shampoo, £4.99
Boasting double organic certification from ECOCERT and CosmeBio, everything in Lovea Bio’s range is 100 per cent natural and partly organic. The shampoo is also paraben, sulphates and phthalate free and vegan friendly. A good one for families, Lovea Bio’s effort is gentle on tender skin and hair, and at £4.99, won’t break the bank. Our tester loved the delicate fragrance and effective cleaning power but found it a little heavy on her fine hair.
Tester’s verdict: ‘Great value and pleasant to use. My hair felt soft but a little bit weighed down – if you have fine hair, choose another one.’
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Miessence Organics Lemon Myrtle Shampoo, £18
An Aussie import with impressive eco credentials, Miessence’s Lemon Myrtle shampoo is certified by no less than three organic certification schemes: Australian Certified Organic (ACO), Biological Farmers of Australia (BFA) and United States Dept. of Agriculture (USDA).  What’s more, it’s cruelty, synthetics and paraben free. The main drawback is that thanks to its lack of silicones, hair tends to feel try and knotty for the first few weeks at least, while the chemicals are stripped out. If you can get past that, it’s worth a go. Our tester couldn’t.
Tester’s verdict: ‘It smells beautiful which made it even more annoying when it didn’t work for me. It definitely cleaned my hair but I couldn’t bear the tangles and don’t have the patience to wait three weeks for them to go.’
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