Some shampoos contain a chemical called DMDM Hydantoin, which is a formaldehyde-releasing preservative.
In this post, we’ll look at some of the harmful effects of DMDM Hydantoin, such as scalp irritation, dryness, and even hair loss. We’ll also talk about other potentially toxic ingredients to avoid when buying your shampoo.
Below we’ve put a handy list of non-toxic shampoos together for you to try, and we’ve made sure the products on our list are cruelty-free and not tested on animals.
What is DMDM Hydantoin?
DMDM Hydantoin is a preservative and antimicrobial agent used in many shampoos and other products. It is seen as a formaldehyde donor, which means it releases small amounts of formaldehyde while it helps to keep products fresh and free from other contaminants.
Formaldehyde is technically a natural ingredient found in things like bananas, apples and spinach. It is safe in small quantities. However, it can be challenging to determine how much formaldehyde you are exposed to, as each little bit of exposure can add up to a problematic amount if unchecked.
Exposure to DMDM Hydantoin can lead to several issues:
Hair Loss, there is currently pending class-action lawsuits against companies that use DMDM Hydantoin in their products as the suit claims the chemical leads to hair loss. But there’s very little research to back this up.
Cancer, in general formaldehyde, is seen as a potential carcinogen if you’re exposed to high quantities over a long period. But no one is monitoring the accumulated exposure of the chemical directly, so it’s hard to say how much you may be exposed to every day.
Eyes and airway irritation, formaldehyde can irritate some people’s eyes, nose, and throat, especially when heated. This can cause an issue if, for example, you’re using high heat salon-quality hair straighteners.
For a Completely Non-Toxic Shampoo, you should also avoid:
- Sulfates such as Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Sodium Laureth Sulfate. Both these are a type of sulfate used as foaming agents that can be contaminated with a carcinogen called dioxane.
- Artificial fragrances, toxic ingredients such as phthalates can be hidden in fragrances because manufacturers do not have to list ingredients used for fragrance. But it can contain all kinds of irritants and nasty ingredients.
- Certain types of preservatives such as DMDM hydantoin, parabens and other types of harmful preservatives
- Silicones make your hair feel silky smooth, and healthy, but they can build up and eventually make your hair feel greasy and weighed down.
- Phthalates can make shampoos more spreadable but can interfere with hormone function and cause other conditions like obesity, cancer, asthma and other allergies.
Let’s look at 21 shampoos that don’t contain a list of nasty ingredients. This list is in no particular order as each has its own unique goodness for you to consider!
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Here is our list of 21 Non-toxic Shampoos Without DMDM Hydantoin
EVOLVh is a super moisturising shampoo suitable for all hair types, including fine, flat, coarse and curly hair. It contains nutrients for improved shine and balances the hair’s PH level, leaving it strong and silky. It’s a non-toxic shampoo that contains active ingredients such as seaweed extract, mango, apricot and amino fatty acids.
EVOLVh creates products built on science, health and sustainability.
This is a scalp balancing and soothing shampoo suitable for all hair types. It’s also sulfate-free and works to balance the PH of your scalp, taking your hair back to its natural state the way nature intended. In addition, it contains aloe vera, chamomile and calendula extracts which promote a healthy scalp.
The organic jojoba oil balances your scalp’s natural oil production while the coconut-derived cleaning agent clarifies to remove buildup.
If you’re looking for colour protection and non-toxic shampoo, then the EVOLVh SmartColor Shampoo could be for you. It’s an eco-luxe product that maintains colour vibrancy and intensity for longer.
It also gives shine and softness while reducing the impact colouring has on your hair. In addition, you’ll find it protects against breakage, split ends and an overall frizzy mess.
Made in the USA with 100% pure tea tree oil, aloe vera, peppermint and lavender oils, this shampoo is gentle enough for everyday use. It’s a clarifying shampoo that means you don’t have to worry about buildup or residue. Instead, work up a rich lather and rinse for shiny and soft locks. Plus, it’s paraben-free and contains no sodium lauryl sulfate.
Pura D’Or manufactures sustainable, non-toxic and environmentally friendly products in Southern California.
This shampoo contains apple cider vinegar, which helps to brighten, straighten and restore your hair. In addition, it is a good moisturising shampoo that is said to stimulate hair growth. The bottle contains 15 active substances without artificial ingredients.
Say goodbye to plastic shampoo bottles and hello to eco-friendly and non-toxic shampoo bars! The bar shampoo bar is handmade in the USA. So get ready to enjoy your new favourite hair product without the guilt of filling up landfills with plastic bottles. And did we mention these shampoo bars are hypoallergenic, easy on your hair, and work just as well as the dreaded bottled thing?
Meow Meow Tweet is a US-based company that makes clean and ethical personal care products. We love the cheeky and playful packaging of their products. This particular product is a shampoo that comes in powder form, becoming popular amongst those committed to the environment.
This shampoo is safe for you and the planet. Made with a 100% natural, plant-based formula, this water-activated powder is an excellent toxin-free shampoo that goes from powder to lovely lather in your palm. You’ll find it similar to lotion-based shampoos and conditioners with a sweet floral scent. Just add water and lather, and you’re good to go.
Alba Botanica produces shampoos without DMDM Hydantoin that is plant-based and does not contain harmful ingredients such as sulfates. Their shampoos are 100% vegetable-based and vegetarian and use recycled packaging where possible. This is a moisturising shampoo that will leave your hair beautiful and soft. As a bonus, it smells like summer with a hint of coconut. It’s like a holiday for your hair.
You deserve the best, and Plaine Products deliver in that respect. Plaine sells natural and sustainable beauty products without all the toxins and harmful chemicals. They are committed to giving you the healthy and clean hair you have always wanted. With this shampoo, hair will be clean and shiny without harsh or toxic nonsense. Plus, it’s gentle enough for every day. They use ingredients that are safe for people with sensitive skin, too.
Packed with antioxidants, True Botanicals is a non-toxic and DMDM Hydantoin free shampoo that cleans without being harsh. It’s a great smelling shampoo with hints of floral and citrus. The ingredients are vegan and don’t include any fillers.
We love that this shampoo contains aloe leaf extract and meadowfoam seed oil as it helps to control oil and works if your scalp is on the sensitive side.
An old-time trusted and a favourite amongst shampoo bars, Ethique delivers a toxin-free full bar and comes without any plastic packaging. So if you live in a hard water area, shampoo bars might not be for you, but if you don’t, then it’s worth a try.
Ethique started in New Zealand in 2012 as a kitchen operated company. Today you can find them across the globe as a trusted zero-waste and ethical brand.
Find them on Amazon
Puracy uses coco glycinate, a surfactant made from coconut, as their foaming agent, which permits water, oil and dirt to mix so that your hair can get clean. It creates a great lather, but without the nasty chemicals and toxins.
This shampoo is packed with botanical ingredients to help detangle your locks without added silicones. They also offer a refill option which helps to reduce plastic waste and packaging. It certainly is a DMDM Hydantoin free favourite.
Find them at puracy.com
If you’re looking for something different from a run-of-the-mill shampoo, this balancing clay cleanser from UNEARTH is good choice. It’s a waterless cleanser made with natural minerals that surprisingly works for all hair types and lathers.
In addition, being a clay-based cleanser helps absorb excess oils while protecting your scalp’s natural oil. To top it all off, it is also packed with antioxidant ingredients such as blueberry seeds. An excellent option for oily hair as well.
Find them at Credo Beauty
Suitable for all hair types, Captain Blankenship’s Sea Shine Shampoo is gentle and refreshing, good enough for daily use. It lathers well, hydrates and adds shine thanks to the added punch from aloe vera. Interestingly, the ingredients list includes sea kelp, spirulina, organic bladderwrack, and minerals and amino acids.
You won’t find any nasty chemicals in this bottle, and they use recyclable and reusable packaging, which means you’re doing your bit for the planet.
Find them at Credo Beauty
Innersence Organic Beauty delivers a hydrating shampoo that works for all hair types, especially dry, coarse and damaged hair. It boosts hydration, which helps reduce your hair’s propensity to tangle. Even though it’s super moisturising, it’s still a lightweight formula.
You won’t find any silicones or nasty ingredients in this bottle. Innersense is also a Certified B-Corp. They partner with 1% for the planet, so you know they aren’t just chasing profits, but they’re responsible corporate citizens who proactively look after people and the earth.
The 100% Pure range is made with natural foaming ingredients that cleanse while it refreshes and restores your hair. It contains essential vitamins and nutrients for your hair.
Concentrated with honey and superfruit antioxidants, they deliver incredible shine and softness. You’ll be happy to know that it doesn’t contain any sulfates and is safe enough to use on colour treated hair.
Green People makes a range of non-toxic shampoos that contain organic ingredients. This particular moisturising shampoo uses natural oils to promote tangle-free and easy to manage hair! Green People doesn’t use SLS, silicons or gluten in their products, and 82% of the ingredients are certified organic.
It is pretty concentrated, so it goes a long way and contains organic aloe vera, neroli, orange and chamomile. Their packaging is plant-based and recyclable.
Monpure is a UK based luxury shampoo brand that makes shampoos and other personal care products using natural and non-toxic ingredients. Their strengthening silk protein shampoo lifts dirt without stripping your hair from its natural oils. Monpure uses vegan silk peptides to create a second skin on the scalp and hair. This protects against irritants, pollution and bacteria. It has a lovely herbal fragrance and will not weigh your hair down.
Find them at Monpure
Powdered shampoos are gaining popularity as it’s usually highly concentrated and come in eco-friendly or zero-waste packaging. It’s super easy to use. All you need to do is shake the powder into your hand, add a bit of water, and rub your hands together until it lathers and you’re ready to wash.
This shampoo is toxin-free and is excellent for all hair types and textures. It smells citrusy thanks to the lemon and bergamot essential oil. It’s also infused with sunflower and camelina seed oils.
Find them at Earth Hero
Reverie is super gentle and nourishing. It’s suitable for all hair types as well as colour treated hair. The shampoo does give your hair shine. It’s not drying and provides your scalp with nourishment. Fragrances are all from essential oils, blended to create a unique scent.
Reverie is made in California using botanical ingredients from sustainable sources. They are plastic neutral, thanks to their partnership with rePurpose Global.
Find them at Credo Beauty
The Josh Rosebrook Balance Shampoo is a gentle daily balancing shampoo – just what it says on the label. It’s great for all hair types, including oily hair, as it stops oiliness and creates a reasonable volume.
The shampoo contains aloe vera and other herbal infusions to help make your hair more manageable. It’s a natural shampoo made with plant oils that make your hair nice and soft with incredible shine. Made in the USA, many of its ingredients are certified organic, making it a tremendous toxin-free shampoo overall. It’s also a beautifully fragranced product that doesn’t leave any buildup.
Find them at Credo Beauty