Consumers Survey Top 5 Shampoo & Conditioner GuideUpdated 02/25/2017
Damaged Hair? Hair Loss? Thinning Hair? Discover the Best Shampoo and Conditioner on the Market
The Consumer Survey Research Group has gathered months of research to discover the top 5 shampoos and conditioners. This article reviews shampoos and conditioners, and highlights the good and dangerous ingredients that are commonly found in your hair care products.
Continue reading to find out what you need to know when selecting a quality shampoo and conditioner and how we chose our top 5 brands.
The Shampoo and Conditioner Scene
We cannot escape it, an ad featuring Beyonce's perfect hair, a massive billboard with the current pop star's luscious locks, or even walking down the shampoo and conditioner aisle - celebrity branding is everywhere - and it influences our buying decision.
But what are we paying for? Celebrity endorsements? Sleek billboards? How about an amazing shampoo and conditioner, the kind that effortlessly makes our hair beautiful.
The main way women and men restore their hair's health is with a high-quality, effective shampoo and conditioner set.
The Hidden Dangers of Shampoos and Conditioners
According to the Journal of the American College of Toxicology, common shampoo and conditioner ingredients such as Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) can damage the immune system, cause separation of skin layers, and inflame your skin leaving it dry, rashy and irritated.
SLS is found in about 90% of hair care products, but is also found in several harsh floor cleaners, engine degreasers and car wash detergents, not exactly something you would want to put in your hair.
The sad truth is that most manufacturers cut corners and use cheap synthetic ingredients when formulating their products because it saves them money and most consumers can't tell the difference.
You may wonder why your hair is unhealthy, but you never think to blame your good ol' shampoo and conditioner.
The Importance of Shampoo and Conditioner Ingredients
You are what you eat, right? Consuming processed and unnatural foods makes you sluggish and can lead to numerous health issues. The same goes for your hair.
Your hair and scalp act like a sponge absorbing the nutrients you feed it.
You want to find the right mix of essential oils, vitamins, natural extracts and mild cleansers to gently clean your hair and scalp, while fortifying it with beneficial natural ingredients.
Listed below are beneficial and natural ingredients a high-quality shampoo should have.
Beneficial and Natural Shampoo Ingredients:
- Peppermint oil - Fortifies and stimulates the hair cuticle to take in moisture from other ingredients.
- Cedarwood Oil - Stimulates circulation in the scalp which helps to promote healthier hair growth.
- Tea Tree Oil - Cleanses your hair and scalp, by removing dead cells and unblocking hair follicles.
- Jojoba Seed Oil - Similar to the natural oil your scalp produces, sebum, Jojoba is used to treat a dry scalp.
- Grapefruit Oil - Hydrates the scalp helping to prevent dandruff and skin irritation.
- Horsetail (plant) - Promotes circulation and assists in nourishing and strengthening hair follicles. also aids in removing styling product build up.
- Nettle - Promotes hair growth and obstructs surplus DHT, the hormone that causes male and female baldness.
- Willow bark - Stimulates hair growth and encourages thicker hair.
- Keratin - Promotes hair growth by protecting your hair cells from styling products and heat tools.
- Soy and Wheat Proteins - Penetrates the cortex of you hair strands, strengthening and moisturizing them.
- B5, D3 and E - Prevents damage, stimulates hair growth and hydrates your scalp.
Natural Foaming Agents
- Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine - Derived from the fatty acids in coconut oil, acts as foaming and anti-static agent, conditions and thickens hair.
It is important to know the ingredients are good for your hair. But it is equally important to know which Ingredients to avoid. Many people don't understand why their hair is damaged. If you are experiencing an itchy or dry scalp and have noticed hair loss or thinning, you might want to look at what is inside your shampoo and conditioner.
Listed below are harmful shampoo ingredients you need to lookout for.
Harmful Shampoo Ingredients:
- SLS and SLES are chemicals proven by the American Journal of Contact Dermatitis to cause irritation and are added to shampoos because of their cheap and effective bubbling properties.
- Chemicals including methylparaben, ethylparaben and propylparaben can be absorbed through your skin and have been linked to breast cancer.
- Found in many products claiming to be natural, the basis of this chemical—coconut oil—seems innocent enough. But scientists tinkered with the ingredient, modifying it into an unnatural, toxic form. In 2012, California added it to its known carcinogens list.
Now that we've reviewed the beneficial ingredients in shampoo (and the harmful ingredients you need to avoid!) let's take a look at conditioner.
Conditioner is used to moisturize and protect your hair. Because of conditioner's protective properties, you want to make sure there are plenty of natural occurring proteins and amino acids to nourish and restore damaged hair.
Listed below are beneficial and natural ingredients your conditioner should contain. Just as importantly, make sure you read the list of harmful ingredients you must avoid.
Beneficial and Natural Conditioner Ingredients:
- Keratin - The strongest hair protein which everyone's hair is made from, this protein prevents hair breakage, reduces frizz, smoothes and shines your hair.
- Hydrolyzed Soy Protein - Strengthens your hair, increases your hair's ability to trap moisture and adds shine.
- Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein - Fortify and moisturizes your hair by penetrating each cortex.
Essential Oils (conditioning)
- Marula Oil - Seals, coats and smoothes your hair cuticle.
- Argan Oil - This high omega oil coats, protects and moisturizes your hair.
- Coconut Oil - Helps make your hair stronger, more flexible, and promotes hair growth.
- Avocado Oil - Coats and strengthens damaged hair, leaving your hair thick and shiny.
- Silk Amino Acids - Help rebuild and nourish damaged hair without weighing it down or causing buildup. They also high levels of serine which has excellent moisture preservation characteristics.
- Behentrimonium Methosulfate - Mild and recommended for use on baby products, derived from rapeseed oil, best used for detangling, prevents dandruff and hair loss.
Harmful Conditioner Ingredients:
- Also known as Docosyltrimethylammonium chloride, this cheap, harsh chemical can cause skin and eye irritation.
- Used in antifreeze, wood finish and shellac, strips your hair of its natural oils and can cause damage to your hair. Avoid this ingredient.
- While you usually can't avoid them in your styling products, they shouldn't be present when conditioning your hair. They create the illusion of healthy hair. when in actuality they clog your pores and dry your hair from the inside out.
The Truth About Sulfates, Parabens, and Silicones
Sulfates, parabens and silicones are harmful. Studies link them to cancer, hair loss and scalp irritations.
The harsh reality, they are commonly used in your shampoo and conditioner.
Take a look for yourself, if SLS and SLES are not listed as some of the first ingredients in your shampoo then you're on the right track.
TThe best way to take care of your hair is with a natural shampoo and a natural conditioner. Here are some tips on what to look for:
- Look for mild cleansers, essential oils, vitamins and extracts they will gently clean your hair and scalp, while fortifying it with beneficial natural ingredients.
- Look for Essential Oils from Coconut, Avocado, Argan, and Marula - they will give your hair shine and moisture without the oily build up.
- Look for Vitamin B, D and E - they will nourish your hair follicles and help retain your hair's natural properties
- Avoid harsh sulfates, parabens and silicones. these ingredients may work for the very short term, but they do more harm in the long run and can seriously damage your hair and can even cause premature hair loss.
- For colored treated hair make sure you avoid harsh chemicals such as SLS and SLES and choose a formula with mild cleansers to preserve and protect your color.
Top 5 Shampoo and Conditioner Sets
We've compiled this list after testing over 60 different brands of hair shampoo and conditioner for potency, clinically proven ingredients and user satisfaction. These are the brands that made it to the top
The Shampoos and Conditioners We Tested
- Wen Cleansing Conditioner
- Kerastase Bain Chrome Captive
- Kerastase Bain Riche
- Kerastase Satin 1
- Kerastase Satin 2
- Redken Extreme Hair Strengthening Shampoo
- Redken Frizz Dismiss Sulfate-Free Shampoo
- Nisim Shampoo
- Alterna Repleneshing Moisture Conditioner
- Alterna Bamboo Smooth Anti-Frizz Shampoo
- Alterna Bamboo Smooth Anti-Frizz Conditioner
Consumers Survey Recommended
- Each bottle contains a proprietary blend of 21 natural ingredients specifically formulated to rebuild and protect your hair.
- These ingredients include: Argan Oil, Marula Oil, Avocado Oil, Coconut Oil, Jojoba Seed Oil, Saw Palmetto, and Silk Amino Acids. All vital for a natural healthy hair lifestyle.
- Sulfate Free, Paraben Free, Silicon Free.
- Made in the USA in a FDA registered cGMP compliant lab.
- User experience and reviews are outstanding.
- Color safe since it uses only mild cleansers
- 100% no-hassle money back 90-day guarantee.
Coming in at number one, Hair La Vie Revitalize and Restore natural hair care system received the highest user ratings. This shampoo and conditioner is formulated with 21 natural oils, extracts, vitamins, proteins and amino acids. It was originally designed to prevent hair loss and promote healthy hair growth however we read rave reviews across the board for this powerful formula. It also a higher count of natural ingredients than any other brand we tested.See Our Complete Review > > I Want The Best Choice > >
- Several essential oils.
- Contains silicones, parabens and synthetic colors and fragrances.
- Decent user experience and reviews.
- 28 day conditional guarantee.
Taking our number two spot, Pureology Hydrate Shampoo and Hydrate Conditioner is a highly concentrated salon product. However we were surprised to find so many harsh chemicals in a brand with a name like "Pureology".See Our Complete Review > > Learn More > >
- Cleansing Conditioner designed to provide beautiful, shiny and healthy-looking hair
- Five-in-one formula, takes place of your shampoo, conditioner, deep conditioner, detangler, and leave-in conditioner.
- Contains no cleansers which can lead to long term buildup.
- Contains silicones, which shouldn't be present in a natural shampoo and conditioner
- Poor customer satisfaction
- Unclear results
Coming in at third place, is Wen Cleansing Conditioner. This celebrity-endorsed Cleansing Conditioner has become controversial due to a recently filed class-action lawsuit filed by several hundred women that experienced hair loss as a result of using the product.See Our Complete Review > > Learn More > >
- Great minty smell, great lathering and great tingling effect.
- Thoroughly cleans hair
- Know to cause dandruff and dry itchy scalp
- Contains harsh chemicals
- Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate are listed as its first few ingredients
- Contains sulfates, silicones, and uses synthetic colors and fragrances
- Contains little to no natural oils, extracts, vitamins, proteins or amino acids
P.S. Even though Hair La Vie is the our top rated Hair shampoo and conditioner, we would still love to hear about any others you've tried. If you have had a great experience of your own, please send me an email at Bianca@ConsumersSurvey.org with the details. We'll check it out and if it looks good, we'll post it on our blog.
What We Do
ConsumersSurvey uses a unique three-step approach to reviewing the most popular products in the online marketplace
1. Research First we conduct in-house research with a highly qualified editorial team comprised of individuals who specialize in various fields.
2. SurveyWe survey our readers who have tried the product over time in order to learn from their experiences.
3. OpinionWe monitor public opinion in the world’s most popular marketplaces, from Amazon and eBay, to Bizrate and Pricegrabber.