Shampoo recommendation -- that's non-synthetic re scents
June 15, 2021 1:09 PM   Subscribe

I still have hair on my head (winning!) but it is thinning (boing) as I age. Asking the hive for their favorites for a shampoo that's most likely not a 'major commercial brand' (or maybe it is) with no scent or if it is scented it's derived from natural oils or whatever, as long as it's not overpowering. Something light and pleasant is fine, but nothing that would blow out my olfactory system.

I'm noticing that even my old-time favorites by Aveda and Paul Mitchell are coming off as too cloying nowadays.

Did I mention my hair is thinner? So if it has thickening properties that's double plus good.
posted by zenpop to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (25 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Bronners baby?

Also, is Orwell ghostwriting now?
posted by firstdaffodils at 1:12 PM on June 15

Suave rosemary and mint is very inoffensive. I myself hate highly scented things.
posted by 8603 at 1:18 PM on June 15

I really like the Body Shop's (anti-dandruff) Ginger range. It's very subtle.
posted by socky_puppy at 1:27 PM on June 15 [1 favorite]

I'm a big fan of Loma Organics. The shampoos and conditioners are not cheap, but they are naturally fragranced and leave my hair soft and shiny.

I'm sensitive to many fragrances but the Loma shampoos and conditioners don't bother me. They have a light citrus or pear fragrances that don't linger in your hair once it is dry.
posted by See you tomorrow, saguaro at 1:28 PM on June 15 [1 favorite]

My house has solid shampoo from Junebug Soap because we can specify the base oil, but you can also specify the scent, including 'none'. Lasts a LONG time IME, and if I leave a faint trace in it works like mousse used to. (Don't know if this counts as thickening. Makes it easier to style.)
posted by clew at 1:40 PM on June 15 [2 favorites]

I use Dove shampoo. The plain old daily moisture kind. It has fragrance, but it's a clean soap fragrance--it doesn't try to smell like anything to my nose. And it doesn't seem to linger with my hair.

For other hair products, the Garnier Fructis products that specifically say things like 99% naturally derived on them also just smell clean. The rest of their line smells more fruity imo.

You will probably have the best luck going to Target, sneaking your mask down just a bit, and doing a sniff run of the shelf. In my experience the products from the really spendy brands tend to have a SALON smell which I find horribly overpowering. Cheap shampoos spend the least amount on ingredients, and that includes less fragrance.
posted by phunniemee at 1:42 PM on June 15 [1 favorite]

I use Suave daily clarifying shampoo and while it's scented, it is not strongly scented. I could not describe the scent other than "clean and inoffensive" despite having used this shampoo for years. It doesn't have any sort of thickeners though. My wife alternates between that and what I think is the same Dove daily moisture shampoo mentioned above, and I don't recall that having much of a fragrance either.
posted by fedward at 1:44 PM on June 15 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I use Nioxin System 1 shampoo, which is for slightly thinning hair. I think it smells good - just a hint of peppermint, which is my favorite scent. It's pricey, but you only need a little at a time, so it lasts. One 16.9 oz bottle is about 8 months for me, using it basically every day, and I have fairly long hair. I haven't used any other shampoo for years.
posted by gemmy at 1:59 PM on June 15 [1 favorite]

If you’re interested in using a shampoo bar, this one from ecoroots has zero smell and lathers well.
posted by umwhat at 2:14 PM on June 15 [1 favorite]

I've used Whole Foods 365 shampoos in the past (it's their store brand), though not the unscented version. The citrus and lavender versions have a light-and-pleasant-to-me scent but your mileage may vary.
posted by mskyle at 2:17 PM on June 15 [1 favorite]

+1 for shampoo bars in general. Something about them just feels so much less gloopy and so much more like I'm just doing a quick clean of my scalp. I found a shampoo and conditioner together bar I liked at Target
posted by bbqturtle at 2:19 PM on June 15

Combining two of the recommendations above, we used to use Dr. Bronner's baby/unscented bar soap as a shampoo before we transitioned to no poo and haven't looked back.
posted by 10ch at 2:22 PM on June 15 [1 favorite]

I've been using Mane and Tail shampoo for years, largely because I don't handle artificial fragrances well. It's unscented and I find it works great on my thick, coarse hair - of course YMMV.
posted by restless_nomad at 2:30 PM on June 15

I have used the unscented version of the Whole Foods 365 brand shampoo mentioned by mskyle. It is indeed unscented and seems to work fine as a generic shampoo.
posted by Ms Vegetable at 4:00 PM on June 15

If you use soap - that will give the hair more volume. Neutrogena works well in that regard and is pretty much scent free.
posted by Barbara Spitzer at 5:21 PM on June 15

It's mail-order only, but Function of Beauty lets you customize both the colour and the fragrance, including no-color and unscented, as well as specifying your hair type (straight/wavy/etc) and goals (soothe scalp, volumize, shine, etc).

I've been using their shampoo & conditioner for a couple of years and they've been great.

They do have a eucalyptus fragrance option that uses natural oils, but even at the lightest fragrance level I found it overwhelming. There's a lavender oil one as well, but I haven't tried it.
posted by burntflowers at 5:28 PM on June 15 [1 favorite]

I use a ketoconazole shampoo because it helps with hair growth. Think they're available as Nizoral over the counter.
posted by saveyoursanity at 7:44 PM on June 15

I like Duross and Lange, a local brand to me that ships. This is their unscented shampoo.
posted by sepviva at 8:58 PM on June 15

I recently had to do an inventory of all my household and personal products because I’m dealing with various skin flare up allergic response things and needed to basically do a product elimination “diet”. My local swanky grocery store had the Desert Essence brand fragrance free shampoo and conditioner. It is legit, much to my surprise. Doesn’t destroy my hair, and truly has almost no smell, and no added fragrance ingredients in a poor attempt to mask anything, either.
posted by Mizu at 9:04 PM on June 15

Trader Joes Spa Shampoo has little fragrance and no parabens. I finish up with Garnier moisturizing rinse in a tiny quantity. There is very little scent in ether. Neither is expensive, with moderate use they last a long time. At 1/2 tsp per application, the rinse will last a long time.
posted by Oyéah at 9:13 PM on June 15

I really like the Body Shop's (anti-dandruff) Ginger range. It's very subtle.

I came to say exactly this! As a former Aveda diehard, this Ginger range smells like light bounced off of ginger and landed in the shampoo. It's so subtle that it's ephemeral even in the shower with the suds still in my hair. It doesn't leave a lingering scent (which became my problem with Aveda products).
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 4:50 AM on June 16

Response by poster: Thank you all for the suggestions! Going to do some experimenting with a couple of the options here!
posted by zenpop at 6:43 AM on June 16

We use Jason Fragrance Free Shampoo.
posted by jocelmeow at 12:38 PM on June 16

About six years ago, when my usually abundant hair was falling out and neither my hairstylist nor I knew what the hell was going on, I asked her what shampoo I should use.

Before she could answer, someone who was waiting to get their hair cut suggested Aveeno Pure Renewal Shampoo.

The excessive hair shedding that I'd been experiencing definitely stabilized, though it didn't really decrease until I was diagnosed with and prescribed medication for hypothyroidism.

That said, if your thinning is the result of aging rather than any medical conditions, and if you're in the US, this is a great pick. It's cheap (about $7-$8 for 10.5 oz.), widely available, and sulfate free. The scent is light, described by the writer who blogs as My Dad the Chemist (specifically, a cosmetic chemist) as "pleasant" and "not too in-your-face." She also delves into the more substantive advantages of this shampoo and its accompanying conditioner -- the review is worth a read.
posted by virago at 7:35 AM on June 17

Response by poster: Thank you virago -- going to check that out. Just ordered some. No, it's not related to any health issue. Simply the process the hair goes through as one ages (turning gray, becoming more frizzy and not as thick).
posted by zenpop at 3:13 PM on June 17

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