Cruelty-free daily shampoo that won't strip hair to death?
March 17, 2017 11:20 AM   Subscribe

Looking for a gentle, daily-use shampoos that will clean my post-workout sweaty head without leaving my hair dry, limp, and sad. I prefer cruelty-free/natural products. Suggestions?

I have very fine, very straight, medium-length dirty blonde/light brown hair. Lots of hair, but not a lot of volume. It tends to look best when I wash it every other day, sometimes every three days with dry shampoo on the third (but by then I feel really greasy and gross). I'm lazy/unskilled at styling, so usually just wash, condition, and towel/air dry. I'm currently using OGX Thick & Full Biotin & Collagen Shampoo and Conditioner, which really seems to have helped my hair look fuller! but I think the shampoo is a bit harsh for daily use.

I recently upped my workouts from three to five days/week, and I wash my hair after every workout, which means I've gone from three to five shampoos/week. It's been looking limp, flat, dry, and just meh. I assume this is from over-washing and stripping of natural oils? But I sweat from the head A LOT, and can't imagine not washing the sweat out after a run.

Any suggestions for gentle, daily-use shampoos that will get rid of the sweat without leaving my hair looking so sad? Affordable, cruelty-free products preferred. Thanks!
posted by adastra to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (23 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I recently learned that Paul Mitchell refused to sell in China (because they require animal testing), so they are on my list lately. I haven't used a lot of their products but I do like the clarifying shampoo (again, too much for daily use I'm sure).

I like Acure which I got from Costco - also cruelty free. I don't have the same hair type as you, but maybe those brands will get you on the right track?
posted by getawaysticks at 11:28 AM on March 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

One of LUSH's solid shampoos will probably fit the bill! Do you have an actual store near you? If you go in, they can recommend one. They're a tad on the expensive side, around $10-15 per bar but they last FOR-EV-ERRR. Like, I get tired of using it looong before it runs out. And it would be excellently portable for carrying in your gym bag because it's solid and won't leak.
posted by Aquifer at 11:29 AM on March 17, 2017 [3 favorites]

I have the same hair type as you, and quite like Trader Joe's Tea Tree Tingle (cruelty-free, about $4/ 16oz bottle). I see they sell it on Amazon for double the price, but still not a bad deal.
posted by Zenobi at 11:31 AM on March 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

I have very similar hair and I prefer aloe-based shampoo as it doesn't seem to strip as much. And instead of conditioner, I use spray-on detangler (usually some cruelty-free kids brand). (I also think thoroughly rinsing your hair instead of shampooing some days might be something to try out!)
posted by jillithd at 11:49 AM on March 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

I like Desert Essence Coconut Shampoo.

If you go to the site where I got it (, you can search specifically for cruelty-free shampoos and read the reviews. In general, I really love Vitacost for all kinds of things.
posted by FencingGal at 11:50 AM on March 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

Sukin brand products, made in Australia, but available elsewhere as well, are cruelty free, vegan, and actually devote a hefty chunk of each label to listing all of the things they don't include, as they want it to be easy for you to be confident in them. I have a fantastically sweaty head that necessitates shampooing every day and it's what I use. If you're in the US or another country that has TJ/TK Maxx stores, you can often find it there for a lower price. Amazon has tons of their stuff.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:50 AM on March 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

Hi! I have your hair! And I wash my hair almost every day.

I've been using Not Your Mother's Sulfate-Free Shampoo.

It smells like apples, and it's tested on humans, not animals. It's like $5 at Target for 8 oz.
posted by mochapickle at 11:51 AM on March 17, 2017

I've generally been happy with SheaMoisture's products, which I've seen at Target and most drugstores and run about $10 a bottle. The Peace Rose Oil Complex shampoo is my favorite - it gets my hair clean without drying it out.
posted by Metroid Baby at 11:58 AM on March 17, 2017 [3 favorites]

I use Giovanni Avocado and Olive Oil Ultra-Moist Shampoo and accompanying conditioner daily, and am pleased with it.
posted by delight at 12:05 PM on March 17, 2017

Have you considered scrubbing with conditioner some days instead of shampoo? That's what a lot of curly-haired girls do because curly hair needs those natural oils. I use a light conditioner for those days and just scrub really well with it, then rinse it off and condition as usual. It definitely gets my head clean and smelling good. Not sure how this would work for fine, straight hair but worth considering.
posted by yawper at 12:18 PM on March 17, 2017 [5 favorites]

We've been using the BWC shampoo and conditioner for years. They're affordable, smell subtly but lovely, last a long time, and are quite gentle.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 12:20 PM on March 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

The Lush Jumping Juniper shampoo bar.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 1:35 PM on March 17, 2017

I swear by Alberto V05. 99 cents for a 12.5 oz bottle, so even if you don't like it, it's not a big investment. I just checked the bottles in my shower and they specifically state "This product is not tested on animals." They are also silicone and paraben free, if that matters to you.
posted by basalganglia at 3:04 PM on March 17, 2017 [3 favorites]

Have you tried baking soda & apple cider vinegar?
posted by falsedmitri at 3:47 PM on March 17, 2017 [2 favorites]

I'm not sure what qualifies as affordable, but the nicest shampoo and conditioner I tend to use come from Loma. I found the moisturizing line a little too heavy for my very fine hair, but the daily works perfectly. The products are cruelty free, organic, paraben, sulfate and sodium chloride free, and smell really good. I buy mine from my hairdresser or sometimes Amazon.

And as yawper says, you can alternate days where you shampoo with days where you skip the shampoo and just condition and rinse.
posted by Squeak Attack at 4:16 PM on March 17, 2017

You're probably going to think I'm crazy, but bear with me. Have you tried only conditioning for a few of these post-workout showers? Sure you've gotten sweaty, but sweat isn't particularly dirty (mostly just saltwater!) so assuming you're washing right after your workouts I think a thorough rinse then condition as normal is all that's necessary. There's really no reason to shampoo every time.

Full disclosure: I have actually stopped using shampoo entirely and use Trader Joe's Tea Tree Tingle Conditioner basically as my shampoo. Uh and conditioner. I only use shampoo now if I've had occasion to style my hair with a ton of product. I have thick curly hair so I'm not suggesting you do what I do...but I am suggesting you don't need shampoo with every shower.

Worth a try!
posted by JuliaIglesias at 4:50 PM on March 17, 2017 [5 favorites]

I've been happy with Aveda's Shampure. It is "people tested". We have similar hair, although mine has a bit of wave. Nthing the suggestions to rinse/condition only some days, and keep shampooing to every 2-3 days.
posted by AliceBlue at 6:18 PM on March 17, 2017

Nthing the conditioner-only route, at least for some of the washes in your week. It will get your hair clean enough, you can scrub your scalp with it, and it will leave your hair smelling nice without overdrying.

I'm also a huge fan of LUSH -- cruelty-free. American Dream is my favorite liquid conditioner. :)
posted by leticia at 6:20 PM on March 17, 2017 [2 favorites]

I didn't realize VO5 was cruelty free, and that being the case, I'll recommend that for CO "washing" as well.
posted by getawaysticks at 9:43 PM on March 17, 2017

Another vote for LUSH shampoo bars.

Jason and the Argan Oil has a lovely smell, is moisturizing, and very portable for the gym.
posted by cranberrymonger at 10:11 PM on March 17, 2017

This Unwashed cleansing conditioner might do the job for you. I have very similar hair, and this stuff works pretty well for me.
posted by Fig at 8:05 AM on March 18, 2017

Aveda Shampure is wonderful, the best shampoo I've used/
posted by fingersandtoes at 4:23 PM on March 18, 2017

I really like Korres Aloe and Ditanny Shampoo. Very gentle and delicately scented (and cruelty free).
posted by exquisite_deluxe at 4:46 PM on March 18, 2017

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