11 Best Shampoos Without DMDM Hydantoin For Strong And Healthy Hair

Try on these shampoos that are specially designed to avoid the toxic preservative.

By Vaishnavi Kothuri, Certified Skin Care Coach
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Once you know what DMDM hydantoin does, you will probably look into the brands of shampoos without DMDM hydantoin in its ingredients. In times where social media has become the sole source of whether or not a particular product is suitable for our health, it is essential to do thorough research on every product before relying on it blindly. Coming to what DMDM hydantoin is, it is a preservative that is added to cosmetic products like lotions, shampoo, blushes, conditioners, and even eye shadow. It increases the product’s shelf life, and the anti-microbial properties make sure there is no fungal growth in it. It also releases a small amount of formaldehyde that may trigger skin allergies, hair loss, and skin irritation. Those who have a history of sensitive skin and eczema should avoid products with preservatives of all kinds. Here is a list of the 11 best shampoos to go for, which are free from DMDM hydantoin.

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Best Color-Safe: BIOLAGE ColorLast Shampoo For Color-Treated Hair
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Best Sulfate-free: OGX Hydrating + Tea Tree Mint Shampoo
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Best Anti-Thinning: PURA d’OR Original Gold Label Anti-Hair Thinning Shampoo
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Best Soap-Free: Ethique Mintasy Solid Shampoo For Normal To Dry Hair
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Best Moisturizing: Redken 5th Avenue NYC All Soft Moisturizing Shampoo
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Best For Oily Scalp: Vanicream Free & Clear Shampoo For Sensitive Skin
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Best Gentle: ACURE Coconut & Argan Shampoo Bar
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Best For Wavy And Curly Hair: Maui Moisture Thicken & Restore + Bamboo Fibers Shampoo
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Best Cruelty-Free: Avalon Organics Volumizing Rosemary Shampoo
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Best For Fighting Dandruff: Maple Holistics Tea Tree Shampoo
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What Is DMDM Hydantoin?

Scientifically known as dimethyl imidazolidinedione, DMDM Hydantoin is similar in function and concern to formaldehyde donors like imidazolidinyl/diazolidinyl urea. It is a formaldehyde releasing antimicrobial agent that is mostly found in hair products and other cosmetic products to increase shelf-life. DMDM is known to cause certain eye, skin, or even in extreme cases irritating the lungs. Some studies show that it may be carcinogenic in large doses.

Is DMDM Hydantoin Bad For Hair?

DMDM hydantoin while being a good agent at preserving a product’s longevity is also a formaldehyde releasing element that may cause hair fall, dry scalp, and weakened hair follicles.

11 Best Shampoos Without DMDM Hydantoin For Strong And Healthy Hair

1. Best Color-Safe: BIOLAGE ColorLast Shampoo For Color-Treated Hair

Color-treated hair that needs intense care since hair dyes tend to dry out the natural oils from the hair. Thus, using shampoos that contain DMDM hydantoin could lead to damaged hair, making them more porous. Biolage’s ColorLast Shampoo is vegan and formulated without parabens. It helps to tone and protect hair while being free from any DMDM hydantoin. The shampoo helps in nourishing the hair with healthy properties like low pH and orchid extracts to restore moisture while making up for lost lustre. The color protectanting properties of this shampoo helps in preventing any fading of color up to 9 weeks. If you need further convincing, check this YouTuber’s review out.

Pros

  • Paraben-free
  • Maintains vibrancy of hair color up to 9 weeks
  • Infused with orchid extracts
  • Gentle, non-stripping low pH shampoo

Cons

  • Contains sulfate

2. Best Sulfate-free: OGX Hydrating + Tea Tree Mint Shampoo

Dust, humidity, and constant changes in weather conditions can cause your hair to react adversely, ultimately resulting in dry, weakened, frizzy, fine, oily, or thin hair. To beat this, we recommend using the OGX Hydrating + Tea Tree Mint Shampoo that is infused with organic ingredients like Australian tea tree oils and milk proteins with added benefits of peppermint to help strengthen and moisturize your hair while preventing day-to-day bacterial formation like dandruff on your scalp. Regular usage of the shampoo might also help in diminishing visible split-ends and providing you a lustrous shine. Check out the review of this product on YouTube to know why it is one of the best out there.

Pros

  • Infused with Australian tea tree oils
  • Peppermint helps in promoting hair growth
  • Sulfate-free shampoo
  • Suitable for all hair and scalp types

Cons

  • Some may find the scent overpowering

3. Best Anti-Thinning: PURA d’OR Original Gold Label Anti-Hair Thinning Shampoo

The Pura d’Or Original Gold Label Anti-Hair Thinning Shampoo is packed with all that nature’s got to offer. A clinically-tested formula, it helps prevent hair thinning, breakage, and increases the volume, strength, and shine of your hair. The shampoo is infused with 17 key active ingredients and organic extracts, which keeps the hair healthy and nourishes it through and through. Packed with a mix of nettle, pumpkin seed, and black cumin seed oil, the product helps in thickening your tresses. With the addition of rosemary leaf oil, argan oil, and cedarwood bark oil, the shampoo also helps promote volume, healthier appearance, and repairs damaged and distressed hair. In this YouTube video, you will find a detailed review of this product.

Pros

  • Contains biotin, pumpkin seed, black cumin seed oil, nettle etc
  • Blended with premium-quality oils
  • Suitable for all hair types
  • Anti-thinning shampoo
  • Free from parabens, gluten, SLS, DMDM hydantoin
  • Ideal for fine, frizzy, damaged, and distressed hair

Cons

  • Some may find it slightly greasy

4. Best Soap-Free: Ethique Mintasy Solid Shampoo For Normal To Dry Hair

Soap bars and shampoo bottles are one of the common distinctions we all witnessed growing up. However, as we strive to achieve a cleaner, less wasteful lifestyle, these minute differences are overcome with new innovations. Innovations like Ethique — a zero-plastic and zero-waste beauty brand that welcomes you to try their Mintasy shampoo bar. Using biodegradable ingredients and compostable packaging, these bars leave no traces behind. If you suffer from frizzy and dry hair, Mintasy can be your go-to damage control shampoo as it is packed with ample moisture-promoting ingredients like cocoa butter, peppermint oil, cacao butter, and a dose of samoan coconut oil that will not only cleanse your scalp of flakiness but also provide hydration boosting soft hair and improving hair texture.

Pros

  • 100% soap-free
  • Restores pH balance
  • Suitable for color- treated hair
  • Certified vegan and cruelty-free
  • Travel-friendly

Cons

  • The longevity of the bar could be unsatisfactory for some

5. Best Moisturizing: Redken 5th Avenue NYC All Soft Moisturizing Shampoo


Dry hair can be difficult to manage and maintain owing to factors like unwanted frizz, lack of moisture, and an itchy scalp. Redken’s All Soft Moisturizing Shampoo formulated with argan oil aims at providing and locking the moisture in your scalp and hair from the root to the tip. It leaves you with lustrous, soft, and moistened tresses. The product is gentle on your scalp and does not irritate your crown. With this shampoo, you’ll also experience the ease of managing your previously untamed and frizz-prone type hair.

Pros

  • Contains argan oil
  • Gentle on the scalp
  • Boosts hair moisture and reduces frizz
  • Leaves hair soft and shiny upon washing

Cons

  • Not an all sulfate-free formula

6. Best For Oily Scalp: Vanicream Free & Clear Shampoo For Sensitive Skin

Oily scalp calls for some high maintenance as some tend to have dry hair with an oily scalp or oily hair with oily scalp. This always raises the question of how one takes proper measures into keeping the scalp clean without drying out the hair and scalp completely or maintain a healthy shine without overly looking greasy. The Free & Clear shampoo promises to wash your worries away as it is clinically approved and is free from ingredients like parabens, formaldehydes, gluten, lanolin, or sulfates. The shampoo is gentle and avoids any scalp irritation and helps remove dandruff, lessen itchiness, and cleans the scalp of any impurities. The shampoo also helps eradicate any form of buildup from previously used conditioners and hair styling products.

Pros

  • Free from dyes, synthetic fragrance formaldehydes, parabens, sulfates,
  • Does not contain lanolin, protein or gluten
  • Dermatologist tested
  • Ideal for oily scalp
  • Gently removes and prevents flakiness and product build-up

Cons

  • Some may find that they need to use a lot of product

7. Best Gentle: ACURE Coconut & Argan Shampoo Bar

Now here’s a new addition to help you KonMari your bath routine. An all-in-one shower bar from Acure, it helps lessen your worries about creating waste while providing you with just the right amount of nourishment for your hair and body. This coconut oil-based shampoo bar is free from palm oil and is gentle on your hair and skin. The bar is absolutely 100% vegan and cruelty-free while containing 0% parabens, sulfates, mineral oils, petrolatum, and formaldehydes. The bar is also enriched with the goodness of sunflower seed oil, argan kernel oil, acai fruit, and goji berry fruit extracts that help smoothen coarse hair texture.

Pros

  • Vegan
  • Contains coconut oil and argan oil in abundance
  • All-in-one soap bar for hair, body, and face
  • Not tested on animals
  • Free from parabens, sulfates, petrolatum, and formaldehydes
  • Gently cleans the hair and scalp and keeps them soft

Cons

  • May not be hypoallergenic

8. Best For Wavy And Curly Hair: Maui Moisture Thicken & Restore + Bamboo Fibers Shampoo

We love a head full of lustrous curly hair but maintaining the ringlets might need extra attention and care. This shampoo from Maui Moisture strengthens and restores damaged hair with the fruitfulness of castor and neem oils. The shampoo is ideal for wavy or curly hair as it is infused with exotic bamboo fibres to renew and soften treated or styled hair. It is gentle and is free from silicones, parabens, mineral oils, and dyes. Opulent with aloe vera, coconut water, castor and neem oils, the shampoo helps densify and thicken hair.

Pros

  • Made with castor oil and neem oil
  • Free from parabens, mineral oils, and dyes
  • Softens and thickens hair
  • Bamboo fires are infused to help fortify weak hair

Cons

  • Specially formulated for curly hair

9. Best Cruelty-Free: Avalon Organics Volumizing Rosemary Shampoo

Silky, healthy, and voluminous hair is not much to ask for, as it is to achieve, especially with sudden weather changes that tend to degrade the health of our hair. The Avalon Organics Volumizing Rosemary shampoo is strictly formulated to cater to thinning and broken-down hair. Formulated with a myriad of hair care essentials like rosemary oil, quinoa protein, calendula, aloe vera, and vitamin E, this shampoo thoroughly cleanses and maintains the porosity of hair while retaining volume, Free from phthalates, SLS, and animal testing, this shampoo helps restore the pH balance of the hair while nourishing them with the wholesomeness of the natural ingredients.

Pros

  • Free from parabens, SLS, and phthalates
  • Cruelty-free
  • Balances pH levels
  • Thoroughly cleanses hair and scalp
  • Provides ample moisture

Cons

  • Some may find the consistency slightly watery

10. Best For Fighting Dandruff: Maple Holistics Tea Tree Shampoo

A greasy and flaky scalp is perhaps the biggest hair enemy which requires extra care and tea tree is known as the oily scalp’s best friend. With Maple Holistics’ tea tree oil shampoo, you can now wash your hair worry-free as this product contains botanical keratin, rosemary, and lavender oils without any sulfates and parabens. This shampoo works its way to deep-clean your scalp while boosting hydration and health without stripping away your hair’s natural oils. You can also use this shampoo for color-treated hair, bleached hair, excessively damaged hair, or a sensitive scalp. Thanks to plant-based essentials in this shampoo, your hair is going to feel extra nourished and soft to the touch with regular use.

Pros

  • Ideal for oily and greasy scalp
  • Infused with natural oil extracts from rosemary, lavender,and argan oils
  • Helps prevent dandruff
  • Paraben and sulfate-free formula

Cons

  • May take a long time to show results

11. Best For Colored Hair: MATRIX Total Results Keep Me Vivid Shampoo

The Matrix Total Results Keep Me Vivid backs color-treated hair with sulfate-free technology to help retain the vibrant dyes. With its milky and foamy formula, this shampoo gently cleanses your hair and ensures no fading of your dyed hair, while restoring the vibrancy and shine of your hair. Now you can experience salon level hair-care treatment from the comfort of your bathroom. With a special ingredient called pearl powder, this shampoo is an assured best shampoo without DMDM hydantoin for colored hair.

Pros

  • Free from sulfates
  • Ideal for colored or dyed hair
  • Contains pearl powder
  • Gentle formula

Cons

  • Contains synthetic fragrance

Shampoos without DMDM Hydantoin are seemingly on the rise, and we suggest you stay informed about this ingredient that one could do away with in a shampoo bottle. Since this component is not a big necessity nor adds up to the betterment of your hair’s health or provide any nourishment, shampoos could certainly be manufactured without its inclusion. Now that you know the what, the why, and the why not about DMDM hydantoin, let’s find out how you can save yourself from falling into buying a shampoo with DMDM hydantoin.

How To Choose Best DMDM Hydantoin-Free Shampoo

  • Read the ingredients list

Look for the full ingredients list of a product.  Look for the keywords “1,3-dimethylol-5,5-dimethyl”. This is the most commonly used formula in shampoos when it comes to DMDM Hydantoin. Instead choose shampoo with ingredients that are mostly sourced from natural extracts or organically sourced. Ingredients like plant oils, organic tea, root extracts, olive, fruit extracts, etc are a good place to start.

  • Not all chemicals are bad

Check for surfactants or the kind of sulfates if used in a product. Some of the commonly substituted chemicals are: sarcosines, betaines, sultaines, disodium, decyl or lauryl glucoside, etc.

DMDM Hydantoin works much like formaldehyde. It is a preservative added to all cosmetic products like eyeshadows, blushes, lotions, and shampoos and is used to increase the life of the product and prevent fungal growth. DMDM hydantoin contains chemical substances that trigger allergies and eye and lung infections in extreme cases. When used in large doses, it is carcinogenic and, at the least, may cause hair fall, dry scalp, and weakened hair follicles. So, it is always wise to choose shampoos that are free of DMDM hydantoin to ensure healthy hair growth. These shampoos are gentle on the scalp and do not cause allergies. Some formulae on our list are also vegan and cruelty-free. However, some products may take time to show desired results. So, read the reviews well to find a shampoo with all the features that you desire.

Why Trust StyleCraze?

The author of this article, Vaishnavi Kothuri, is a hair care fanatic. She is passionate about learning the key ingredients and their benefits in hair care products. She has carefully researched the products and checked user feedback on brand websites and trusted online forums to compile the list of the best shampoos without DMDM hydantoin. If you have eczema or sensitive skin, these preservative-free shampoos are ideal for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is DMDM hydantoin safe for the hair?

Yes. However, if you have allergic reactions towards formaldehyde, avoid using products with DMDM hydantoin, as it can damage your hair and scalp.

Do all shampoos have DMDM hydantoin?

No, but most products contain DMDM hydantoin to maintain their longevity.

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Vaishnavi is a techie-turned-content writer and a certified skin care coach. She did her postgraduation from Vignan Institute of Technology... more

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