Do your eyes and nose get watery, red, and irritated when you shampoo your hair? Chances are, this is because of the formaldehyde used in the formula. Formaldehyde-free shampoos are much gentler on your skin and eyes and healthier for your hair as well. They do not irritate the skin or cause related allergies.
But why is formaldehyde used in the first place? Well, they keep the formula germ-free for a long time and enhance the shelf-life of the hair care product. Does that mean that a formaldehyde-free shampoo is unhygienic and infected? Definitely not! There are alternative preservatives that are much less toxic but stay effective for a short while. Naturally, these products will have a shorter shelf life. So, if you believe that healthy scalp and hair is more important than storing a bottle of shampoo on the shelf for 3 years, check out our list of the 11 best formaldehyde-free shampoos that you can add to your hair care routine!
|Best Overall:Vanicream Free And Clear Shampoo
|Price on Amazon
|Best For Hair Growth:Acure Curiously Clarifying Shampoo - Lemongrass And Argan
|Price on Amazon
|Best For Dry And Frizzy Hair:Alba Botanica More Moisture Shampoo - Coconut Milk
|Price on Amazon
|Best For Shiny Hair:OGX Nourishing + Coconut Milk Moisturizing Shampoo
|Price on Amazon
|Best For Daily Use:Puracy Natural Shampoo - Citrus And Mint
|Price on Amazon
|Best For Grey Hair:Aloxxi Violet Shampoo With Color Care Complex
|Price on Amazon
|Best Hypoallergenic:FRAGFRE Hydrating Shampoo
|Price on Amazon
|Best For Deep Cleansing:Faith In Nature Grapefruit and Orange Shampoo
|Price on Amazon
|Best Ph- Balanced:No Nothing Very Sensitive Repair Shampoo
|Price on Amazon
|Best For Thinning Hair:Avalon Organics Therapy Thickening Shampoo
|Price on Amazon
In This Article
11 Best Formaldehyde-Free Shampoos For Luscious Hair – 2024
1. Best Overall:Vanicream Free And Clear Shampoo
Are you one of those people who get the feeling of nausea because of the shampoo’s fragrance? Vanicream Free And Clear Shampoo is a fragrance-free brand especially formulated for sensitive skin and is free of fragrance, parabens, gluten, and sulfates. As mild as it is, this pH-balanced, gentle shampoo has no formaldehyde releasers, making it great for daily use. You can use this on a dry scalp to remove flaking and scaling too. If you have an oily scalp, you can use it to control the sebum secretion effectively. Keep your hair smooth and shiny with this shampoo that has a built-in conditioner too. Use this dermatologist-tested product and have a tearless and toxic-free hair wash.
- Paraben and phthalate-free shampoo
- Prevents flaking and scaling
- Offers oil control
- May not lather or spread easily
2. Best For Hair Growth:Acure Curiously Clarifying Shampoo – Lemongrass And Argan
Boost your hair growth and improve its luster with Acure Curiously Clarifying Shampoo. This clean shampoo is formulated with the best quality ingredients and beneficial oils infused with lemongrass and argan oil. The botanical extracts in it keep your hair hydrated and also boost its shine. This natural shampoo is a gentle formula with safe key ingredients, ensuring a non-toxic mild cleansing that promotes scalp health. It is free of mineral oils, phthalates, and sulfates. The fragrance is light and pleasant while elevating your mood. It can be a perfect shampoo for daily use if you have a normal scalp. If you want to know more about the product, take a look at this review featuring a tester’s experience of using the product.
- Gentle and effective cleansing
- 100% vegan
- Infused with double the quantity of hair nourishing ingredients
- The shampoo might not suit oily scalp.
3. Best For Dry And Frizzy Hair:Alba Botanica More Moisture Shampoo – Coconut Milk
Dry, frizzy, and brittle hair can look like a bird’s nest, and who wants that? Hydrate and manage it with Alba Botanica More Moisture Shampoo. The shampoo is made with nourishing ingredients like coconut milk, aloe vera, and calendula extracts that lock in healthy moisture in your hair and soften it like a pro. It also helps you steer clear of dry and frizzy hair. Calendula is also known for its protection against heat and damage. With this shampoo, you can style your hair any day and flaunt it with grace. Use it every day as there are no formaldehyde-releasing preservatives, sulfates, or any other harmful chemicals present in the composition.
- No harsh sulfates
- Leap bunny certified (cruelty-free)
- Repairs split ends
- Formaldehyde-free dandruff shampoo
- The coconut fragrance may be overwhelming for some
"The Alba Botanica shampoo nourishes my tresses and adds a healthy shine. The creamy formula spreads evenly on my tresses. It soothes my scalp and feels lightweight on my hair. The soapy suds wash off easily from my hair without leaving sticky residues."
Vanicream Free And Clear Shampoo
Acure Curiously Clarifying Shampoo - Lemongrass And Argan
Alba Botanica More Moisture Shampoo - Coconut Milk
|2 x 1.5 x 8.3 inches.
|2 x 3 x 8 inches
|3.2 x 3.2 x 10 inches
4. Best For Shiny Hair:OGX Nourishing + Coconut Milk Moisturizing Shampoo
The OGX Nourishing + Coconut Milk Moisturizing Shampoo contains a nourishing blend of coconut milk, oil, and proteins extracted from whipped eggs that works to make hair healthy. With every wash, the unique formula of the shampoo strengthens and hydrates each cell of your hair and scalp. This shampoo smoothes the tresses and leaves you with glowing hair. It also contains white peach, creamy coconut, and shea butter that help increase hair’s strength and elasticity and leave it smelling incredible.
- Sulfate-free surfactants hair care system
- Suitable for all hair types
- Some may experience itchiness
5. Best For Daily Use:Puracy Natural Shampoo – Citrus And Mint
Treat your hair with the pure and natural elements of nature that come formulated in Puracy’s Natural Shampoo. The shampoo lathers with coconut-based cleansers and has zero chemicals to clean your hair without drying the scalp. Vitamin E, olive oil, and beet sugar extracts in the toxin-free shampoo provide hydration and they strengthen the scalp naturally. You would love the sweet citrus fragrance and the cooling effect of mint when you shampoo your hair. This is the best citric acid shampoo without DMDM, sulfates, parabens, and gluten that is ideal for daily usage.
- Cooling effect
- Natural and vegan
- Cruelty-free shampoo without formaldehyde
- The shampoo may not be an ideal detangling shampoo
6. Best For Grey Hair:Aloxxi Violet Shampoo With Color Care Complex
Not all color care shampoos have a chemical formulation. Aloxxi Violet Shampoo With Color Care Complex comprises 10 natural antioxidants like grape seed, pomegranate, white pine bark, green tea leaf, and more to nourish your hair and enhance the color. Pump this shampoo out of the bottle, lather it on your hair to have an effective cleansing, and knock out the brassiness. The shampoo is great for color-treated hair as it promotes hair color enhancement of silver color tones such as grey, blonde, and white. It is one of the best shampoos on the formaldehyde-free shampoo list and works excellently on boosting color and adding deep hydration to your hair.
- Formaldehyde releaser-free shampoo
- Kicks out brassiness
- Boosts color
- Infused with natural antioxidants
- The color-enhancing shampoo does not affect dark hair colors like black and brown.
"This shampoo enhances the look of my hair. The formula nourishes and softens my hair. It spreads easily on my tresses and foams up quickly. It never breaks my tresses or causes brittleness. I also love its scent."
7. Best Hypoallergenic:FRAGFRE Hydrating Shampoo
Say ‘hello’ to pleasant mornings with FRAGFREE Hydrating Shampoo. Infused without formaldehyde, parabens, sulfates, or anything harsh, the shampoo gently cleanses your hair and scalp without irritating your skin. The cucumber juice extracts infused in it add shine and smoothness to your hair and make it oil-free and yet hydrated. This is one of the formaldehyde-free shampoo brands that can be used for colored, treated, and sensitive hair and scalps. This popular shampoo has garnered countless positive reviews on Amazon, all vouching for its quality and effectiveness!
- Deep cleansing
- Color protection
- Frizz control
- Sweet fragrance of cucumber
- The shampoo does not lather much.
8. Best For Deep Cleansing:Faith In Nature Grapefruit and Orange Shampoo
Faith In Nature Grapefruit and Orange Shampoo is derived naturally from a blend of essential oils extracted from grapefruit and organic orange. The unique formula of the shampoo makes it ideal for normal as well as oily hair. The citrus extracts in grapefruit and orange penetrate deep into the hair follicles and provide vitamins and minerals the hair requires for growth. It also deeply cleanses and strengthens the hair to completely remove greasiness from the hair.
- SLS and SLES-free
- 99% naturally derived
- Might be over-clarifying
"This shampoo removes impurities from my hair and absorbs excess sebum. It leaves my hair looking luscious and feeling nourished. It is a non-toxic formula that never itches my scalp or causes redness. It has a refreshing scent of grapefruit and orange that lingers for a long time and keeps me feeling fresh."
9. Best Ph- Balanced:No Nothing Very Sensitive Repair Shampoo
People with sensitive skin may have a sensitive scalp, sensitive hair, and sensitive olfactory receptors too. Their day could spiral down if they start by washing their hair with the wrong shampoo. If you face this, switch to No Nothing Very Sensitive Repair Shampoo that has no irritants, and thus no side effects. The hypoallergenic shampoo is designed to promote moisture retention. Infused with amino acids and natural ingredients, this no-fragrance shampoo offers deep cleansing with ultimate care and makes damaged and dull hair stronger, smoother, and shinier. This deep cleansing shampoo is marked safe by the Finnish Allergy and Asthma Association, so it brings no hair worries but only a smile to your face. It is also not tested on animals, making for an ethical choice.
- Promotes strong, straight, and smooth hair
- No parabens and chemicals like formaldehyde
- Vegan and cruelty-free
- Marked safe by Finnish Allergy & Asthma Association
- Daily use might leave the hair dry.
"This shampoo lathers well and spreads easily on my hair. The foam penetrates my scalp and deep cleanses my follicles. My hair looks vibrant and feels soft to the touch. It balances my scalp's pH level and prevents hair breakage. I like that it does not leave residues between my tresses."
10. Best For Thinning Hair:Avalon Organics Therapy Thickening Shampoo
It’s time to bring volume to your fine and thin hair with Avalon Organics’ Therapy Thickening Shampoo. This shampoo contains biotin b-complex, vitamin E, quinoa protein, and saw palmetto, which cleanse and nourish the hair from root to tips. The absence of formaldehyde ensures a balanced pH of the hair, while the unique blend of botanical extracts and essential oils strengthens the hair and the scalp.
- Biodegradable formula
- Synthetic color-free
- No harsh preservatives
- Might cause breakouts
11. Best For Hydration:Curly Girl Citrus Shampoo
One main issue that women with curly hair face is too much tangling. The curls get frizzy and knotted, and the hair looks clumsy in no time after multiple settings. If you have curly hair that cannot be managed, get Curly Girl Citrus Shampoo now! The shampoo gently cleanses each of your curls and defines it better. Enriched with grapefruit, avocado, and cucumber extracts, the shampoo prevents dandruff and hair thinning. The sweet citrus punch can boost your day and add nourishment to your hair to make it shiny and soft. This shampoo helps you achieve tangle-free and shiny hair. Use it on normal hair or the color-treated one, and all you will have is perfect curly hair.
- Defines curls
- Deeply cleanses
- Color protection
- The shampoo does not treat split ends.
These are the best shampoos in the formaldehyde-free products list and each of them is safe. However, you need to understand a few more things before choosing the right one.
How To Choose A Formaldehyde Free Shampoo
- Shampoo ingredients
You are already looking at products that are free of formaldehyde. However, this is not enough to completely protect your hair. Choose a dermatologist-recommended shampoo that is free of other common harmful ingredients like sulfates, phthalates, parabens, and other chemicals to avoid unwanted itchiness and scalp inflammation. There might be chemicals like DMDM and urea that release formaldehyde too. Avoid such products and go for naturally formulated ones. However, always perform a small patch test before using any product to avoid any potential risks such as skin sensitivity, allergic reactions, and discomfort.
- Hair texture
Frizzy and rough hair needs the proper treatment if you need to prevent damage and splits. If you have such hair, the best shampoo is something that, however, has collagen and keratin. The high amount of amino acids can make your hair smooth and soft. If you have dry hair, choose shampoos enriched with nourishing ingredients like coconut milk and natural butter to lock moisture, make the hair unbreakable, and to achieve soft hair. Oily scalps can be treated with shampoos with aloe vera and cucumber extracts to remove excess oils and keep the scalp healthy gently.
- Color protection
The normal shampoo does not have hair color-preserving properties. There are color protection shampoos that reduce your hair pH levels to 4.5. This tightens the matrix around the cortex and keeps the color pigments frozen for the longest time. If you have color-treated or streaked hair, go for a formaldehyde-free shampoo that protects your hair’s color, enhances it, and makes your hair look beautiful. Siding with an expert-recommended formula is also quite wise.
Infographic: Benefits Of Choosing Formaldehyde-Free Shampoos
Formaldehyde-free shampoos offer a range of benefits for your hair and scalp. They are an eco-friendly option and gentle on your skin and eyes. If you want to know more about their benefits, check out the infographic below!
Shampoos are the best way to cleanse the scalp and hair. Unfortunately, regular shampoos are loaded with formaldehyde, which might strongly irritate a sensitive scalp. So your scalp needs formaldehyde-free shampoos that are gentle for your eyes, hair, and scalp. Some shampoos provided above do not dry your scalp, and remove flakes, while some shampoos boost your hair growth and prevent split ends. Consider investing in shampoos that are gentle and offer effective cleansing. The Vanicream Free And Clear Shampoo is perfect for those with sensitive skin, while the OGX Nourishing + Coconut Milk Moisturizing Shampoo is ideal for dry and damaged hair. But if you are looking for a volumizing solution for your thinning hair, the Avalon Organics Therapy Thickening Shampoo is the right choice for you. And steer clear of the shampoos that turn your hair dry and frizzy. Alexandro Vasquez, an expert hairdresser says, “Formaldehyde is toxic and hence should be avoided. There are certain countries that have prohibited the purchasing or selling of these products to protect people’s health.”
Why Trust Stylecraze?
Kirtana Divakar, the author, is passionate about hair care and sharing cleaner and better products to improve your hair health. Formaldehyde is added in many shampoos as a preservative, but it can also affect your eye and skin adversely. She recommends using the above-listed shampoos, formulated free of formaldehyde. Each of these shampoos was carefully studied and vetted, from their ingredients to their reviews. They were chosen based on their hair care benefits, ingredients, and many more factors.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are formaldehyde-releasers?
Formaldehyde releasers are chemicals that are added to beauty and wellness products to preserve them. Such products release formaldehyde to extend the shelf life of the products. Some examples of formaldehyde releasers are urea, DMDM, dimethicone, and Sodium hydroxymethylglycinate.
Is formaldehyde in shampoo dangerous?
Formaldehyde is considered a 1B carcinogen that can probably cause cancer and tumors. However, it is allowed to be used in small quantities to preserve shampoos. It is not a good idea to use formaldehyde shampoos daily.
What shampoo does not contain formaldehyde?
Most of the naturally composed herbal essence shampoos are free from formaldehyde and formaldehyde releasers.
Is formaldehyde-free keratin treatment safe?
Keratin treatment shampoos that are formulated with or without formaldehyde are to be used only once a week or thrice a month to have safe and effective hair wash. It is not recommended for daily use.
Is sulfate-free shampoo bad for your hair?
Sulfates are added for too effective cleaning of your hair and scalp. During this process, it may dry out the oils and moisture and make your hair frizzy and dry. It is good to use a sulfate-free shampoo to prevent extensive damage.
What shampoo are sulfate and silicone-free?
Shampoos that are generally formulated with natural cleansing milk and products like coconut milk, citrus, and mint extracts are free of sulfates.
Are formaldehyde releasers toxic?
Yes. Formaldehyde releasers like DMDM hydantoin, methylene glycol, and 3 dioxanes are toxic. They can cause itchiness and scalp infections. Even inhaling the vapor of these releasers causes swelling and skin infections.
Is formaldehyde-free shampoo good for colored hair?
Yes. Colored hair is weaker and drier compared to natural hair. Formaldehydes draw out the remaining moisture of the colored tresses. So, using a formaldehyde-free shampoo is effective in retaining the luster of your colored tresses.
Is formaldehyde-free shampoo good for hair fall and dandruff?
Yes. Formaldehydes in shampoo strips, your hair’s natural oils, dry out the scalp, accumulate dry flakes, and cause hair fall. Therefore, use a formula free from formaldehyde to control hair fall and eliminate dry flakes from the scalp.
How does formaldehyde extend the shelf life of shampoo?
Formaldehyde releasers act as a preservative against microorganisms. As a result, they prevent the bacteria from developing in the formula and extend their shelf life.
Do formaldehyde-free shampoos help hair grow?
Yes. Formaldehyde-free shampoo retains the moisture in your hair, strengthens the follicles, and boosts hair growth.
Are keratin shampoos formaldehyde-free?
No. Not all keratin shampoos are formaldehyde-free. Many have formaldehyde to free the hair from frizz and straighten it. So, be mindful while buying keratin-rich hair products.
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