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Best natural shampoo 2023: Achieve clean hair without the chemicals

Hate the thought of nasty chemicals in your shampoo? Try out the best natural shampoos

If you’re finding that a good hair day is becoming increasingly out of reach, then the best natural shampoos could come to your rescue. Often it’s the chemicals, perfumes and colours found in shampoos that can be the source of dryness, itchiness, greasiness and the general lacklustre appearance of hair.

Once relegated to the dark corners of health food shops, natural shampoos are now hitting the mainstream, with their devotees swearing by the benefits to the scalp and hair. Ingredients that are exclusively plant-based are thought to be more gentle and therefore better for the overall health and appearance of one’s hair. Not only that, but by opting for a shampoo made from only natural ingredients, you’ll be doing your bit for the planet too.

However, with the shampoo market vast and often confusing as a result of the countless promises made and labels that are difficult to decipher, finding the perfect shampoo for your needs can prove a challenge. Luckily, we’ve put plenty of products to the test and below you’ll find our pick of the best natural shampoos currently available. But first, read our guide to the things you should consider before you buy.

Best natural shampoos: At a glance

How to choose the best natural shampoo for you

What is the definition of a natural shampoo?

A natural shampoo should contain only plant-based ingredients, ideally organic and those that have undergone minimal processing. Strictly-speaking, it shouldn’t contain any sulphates at all, but note that many products that claim to be natural still do include them. As such, you’ll find some such formulations in the list below, but they’ve been included because they contain largely organic products and have stellar eco credentials as well.

Do natural shampoos feel different to use?

As mentioned, natural formulations of shampoo shouldn’t really contain sulphates, specifically sodium lauryl sulphate, which is responsible for creating a lather during washing. As a result, on first rubbing a natural shampoo into hair, you may be under the impression it isn’t actually cleaning your hair, due to the minimal suds. But this couldn’t be further from the truth; it’s just a case of trusting in the product – and letting the results speak for themselves.

Which ingredients should I look for on the packaging?

Looking for natural, organic and plant-based ingredients is a great place to start; but remember: natural doesn’t automatically mean organic, vegan or sustainable. Beware of greenwashing – where general claims are made about the natural benefits of a product, or environmentally friendly productions, but which fail to point to any single ingredients, for example, or whose processes are decidedly synthetic.

Ingredients should comprise completely or mainly fruit, vegetable or botanic extracts or essential oils. You’ll commonly find nut oils, olive oils, honey, hemp, lavender, aloe vera and chamomile in natural shampoos.

How much should I be willing to spend?

You can find natural shampoos at price points from about £5 to upwards of £20. The most cost-effective shampoos that we have found are those delivered in a bar format.

How we test natural shampoos

At Expert Reviews, we know that hands-on testing gives us the best and most complete information about a product. Following the brand’s directions for use, our tester washes their hair with the same product at least twice over the course of a week, using the same water supply and using the same conditioner and drying process – in this case, natural air drying.

We check the natural credentials of the product. We look at the fragrance, texture, and the lather of the shampoo during washing. Ideally, we want to see that the shampoo is easy to rinse out and that no residue is left in the hair. After drying, we examine the hair’s fragrance, softness, and any knottiness, and whether the scalp feels clarified, taking into account any irritability. We also note how long it takes for the hair to need a wash again.
Finally, we confirm the volume of the bottle, or bar, and how many washes it is likely to provide.

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The best natural shampoos you can buy in 2023

1. Awake Organics Natural Hair Growth Shampoo: Best natural shampoo overall

Price: £15 | Buy now from Awake Organics

Taking the form of a fine powder (which arrives in a cute plastic-free bottle), this shampoo might feel a little strange at first. However, it’s super-easy to activate: simply add a little water to powder equivalent to the size of a 10p coin, to form a soft and malleable paste.

And it impressed us from the very first wash. The powder lathers up a treat, despite the formula being free of sulphates and other nasties, and it includes ingredients such as rosemary, which not only helps with scalp health and follicle stimulation, it also gives the product a botanic fragrance that lingers subtly after washing. It’s especially good for those with thinning hair, too, including dihydrotestosterone (DHT) blockers to stop shrinking hair follicles.

Our hair felt super-clean and fresh after washing, and this wee bottle of powder delivers on the value for money front, too; the 55g here creates three times the volume of a conventional 250ml bottle of shampoo. It’s easy to travel with, too.

In short, this is a bit of a wonder product – it ticks every box and, in our opinion, is a total game-changer.

Key specs – Quantity: 55g

Buy now from Awake Organics

2. ishga Organic Seaweed Shampoo: Best natural shampoo for treatment

Price: £18 | Buy now from ishga

Containing pelvetia canaliculata seaweed extract, Hebridean spring water as well as aloe vera, lavender and bergamot, this is a veritable cocktail of natural goodness for the hair and scalp. The former bring vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to restore and strengthen tired or damaged hair, while Aloe vera soothes, and lavender and bergamot promote healing and growth. All ingredients are organic and certified by the Soil Association.

The shampoo has a very light, gentle fragrance, making it ideal for anyone with sensitive nostrils! It’s lovely to use, light and almost creamy, creating a good lather on application. Afterwards hair felt smooth, glossy and lightweight.

Key specs – Quantity: 250ml

Buy now from ishga

3. Moo & Yoo Miracle Shampoo: Best natural shampoo for fragrance

Price: From £23 | Buy now from Moo & Yoo

If your hair care products sit front and centre on your bathroom shelf, then the packaging here won’t disappoint, more so when you consider it’s recyclable.

Moo & Yoo is hugely eco-conscious, with the brand planting a tree for every online order so any carbon emissions as a result of transportation can be offset. The shampoo’s ingredients are sustainably sourced and processed – and free of palm oil.

As a result of the natural credentials of this shampoo, including Marula oil and Icelandic moss, ingredients are prone to separating, so you’ll need to shake the bottle well before use. It’s gentle and kind to the hair and scalp: one wash and our hair looked instantly healthier, shiny and swishy – proper TV commercial stuff. It also boasts an amazing smell, which was stronger and fruitier than expected but a complete joy before, during and after a wash.

Key specs – Quantity: 250ml

Buy now from Moo & Yoo

4. Monoi Rescue Natural Shampoo: Best natural shampoo for dry hair

Price: £14 | Buy now from Evolve Beauty

Arriving in a bottle that’s modern and elegant, with a simple monochrome label, the Monoi Rescue shampoo is suitable for all hair types. In particular, it promises to work wonders on dry hair thanks to a formula that includes quinoa proteins, which essentially preserve the hair’s moisture without making it greasy. Also at work are Monoi and Karkade flower acids for their anti-frizz properties – and the results were instant; even without using a conditioner, hair was silkier.

The shampoo smells divine, both rich and sweet without being overpowering, with a fragrance that lingers even once hair is dry. Despite being free of SLS, the shampoo created a luxurious lather, with a little product going a long way. This is a great value for money option.

Key specs – Quantity: 250ml

Buy now from Evolve Beauty

5. Childs Farm Strawberry & Mint Shampoo Bar: Best natural shampoo for children

Price: £8 | Buy now from Childs Farm

This smooth and diminutive shampoo bar is soap-free and contains only natural and naturally derived ingredients – which is exactly what every parent wants when choosing a product for their child.

Take the bar out of the (fully recyclable) box, and you’ll be hit by the deliciousness of the strawberry and mint fragrance – it’s fun and fruity and, happily, the scent will last even once the hair is dry.

Application is simple: directly to the hair, or rub it through your hands and apply the resulting suds to the head. Either way, you won’t need much for a thorough wash. In fact, each bar delivers up to 60 washes, which is twice what you’d get from a standard 250ml bottle of shampoo.

And, unless hair is prone to being knotty, you won’t need to use a conditioner either – which is likely to be music to the ears of parents and children who aren’t a fan of hair-wash nights.

Key specs – Quantity: 60g

Buy now from Childs Farm

6. Grüum hår Revitalising Shampoo Bar: Best natural shampoo bar

Price: From £5 | Buy now from Grüum

At first you might wonder whether this bar will create any lather; it’s quite a dense slab, with very little “give”, and it doesn’t contain any SLS to provide a helping hand. But, as if by magic, simply run it across your scalp a couple of times and within seconds you’ll have more foam than you ever thought possible!

Free of all nasties, the smell of grüum’s bar is comforting, the cocoa butter fragrance sweet without being cloying. And while we expected a bit of an oily finish because of the cocoa butter and coconut oil in the formula, we were amazed to find hair was left squeaky clean, without any hint of oily residue. Hair felt soft, light and shiny.

Each bar lasts for some 60 washes, which makes this shampoo bar bank-balance friendly, too. Meanwhile, buy a storage tin from grüum and the product will last longer than if left to go soggy on the side of the shower, and will make it a breeze to take on your travels, too.

Key specs – Quantity: 50g

Buy now from Grüum

7. Odylique Gentle Herb Shampoo: Best natural shampoo for sensitive skin

Price: From £13 | Buy now from Odylique

This formula is certified organic. It’s the first shampoo that ever achieved Soil Association approval, no less, making it one of the most impressive shampoos in this roundup. It’s handmade and is bottled in 100% recycled packaging.

And if that wasn’t enough, its gentle formula includes ingredients such as coconut oil, chamomile, nettle and aloe vera, to ensure that both your hair and skin are in safe hands.

Delivering plenty of nourishment for sensitive scalps, follow the brand’s advice to leave the shampoo “in” the hair for a couple of minutes before rinsing to allow the ingredients to fully permeate, and you’ll find you won’t even need to use a conditioner.

Key specs – Quantity: 200ml

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