It’s a shampoo smackdown! I’ve been getting lots of questions lately about shampoo, so this smackdown is timely. Today I’m comparing my current favourite, Andalou Naturals Brilliant Shine Shampoo, with a Proctor & Gamble one from Herbal Essences. I’ve chosen shampoos that are both aimed at normal hair.
To start with, let’s have a quick look at what’s in shampoo. Shampoos generally contain:
- detergents – this is what gets rid of the oil and dirt on your hair. They’re the surfactants, and they not only clean but they often do the lathering thing as well. The lathering doesn’t actually clean your hair any better, but consumers seem to prefer shampoos that lather. The problem can be that they are rather drying to your hair, and irritating to your scalp. Often you’ll find sulfates as the surfactants in shampoo. Sulfates lather up really well, but they’re not great for you. They can be quite drying for your hair, and irritating to your scalp.
- conditioning agents – so that your hair isn’t left feeling dry and stripped. These conditioning agents often include silicones and polymers, to condition and stop those flyaways, but they can be oils.
- protectants – like sunscreens, or heat protectants to help with straighteners and hair dryers, or even chemicals to protect against chemical damage from swimming pools.
- cosmetic ingredients – ingredients that don’t really do anything, but add things that consumers seem to like. These are things like fragrances and colours.
- functional ingredients – preservatives, thickeners, etc. The thickening agents mean that it doesn’t all run through your fingers when you pour it out of the bottle. Thickeners can be things like guar gum and salt, which is often used to help thicken products. And of course, you need preservatives because shampoos are water based products, and you need to keep the bacteria at bay!
Andalou Naturals Brilliant Shine Shampoo
Ingredients: Aloe Barbadensis Juice*, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) and Linum Usitatissimum (Flax) Oils*, Vegetable Glycerin, Nigella Sativa (Black Cumin) Oil, Cyamopsis Tetragonolobus (Guar) Gum*, Chamomilla Recutita (Chamomile) and Pyrus Cydonia (Quince) Extracts*, Fruit Stem Cells (Malus Domestica, Solar Vitis) and BioActive 8 Berry Complex*, Hyaluronic Acid, Panthenol (Pro-Vitamin B5), Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Aspalathus Linearis (Rooibos) and Hibiscus Sabdariffa Extracts*^, Allantoin, Sodium Benzoate, Citric Acid, Potassium Sorbate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) and Citrus Tangerina (Tangerine) Oils* (Non-GMO verified, *Organic, ^Fair Trade)
Price: $13.95 for 340 grams. Find it here.
The surfactants (detergents) chosen are very gentle. These are the Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate and the Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate. There’s also sunflower and flax oils in here for conditioning and some citrus essential oils for fragrance.
Herbal Essences Classics Normal Shampoo
Ingredients: Water, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Fragrance, Cocamide MEA, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Benzoate, Tetrasodium EDTA, PEG-60 Almond Glycerides, Linoleamidopropyl PG-Dimonium Chloride Phosphate, Guar.
Price: $9.49 for 490 mls. Find it here.
I couldn’t find this on EWG, but I’ve run it through the database and estimate it at a 4. So it’s not scoring high on EWG, but there are still some problematic ingredients.
There’s fragrance, of course, which can be a source of irritation and all sorts of other issues.
Cocamidopropyl Betaine can be a skin and eye irritant when it’s used in soap and shampoo, depending on how much of it is in the product. It’s fourth on the ingredients list, so it’s hard to tell how much is in there.
There’s also PEGs in here, which I avoid if possible.
Smackdown: Andalou Naturals Shampoo vs Herbal Essence Shampoo
Even though the Herbal Essences shampoo doesn’t rate too high on EWG, there are still ingredients that I’d prefer to avoid. The Andalou Naturals shampoo doesn’t have anything that concerns me, and I know that this is a great product. You can see my recent review of it here.
If you’re looking for other great natural shampoos and hair care, jump over to Hello Charlie.
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