The 7 Best Organic Hair Conditioners of 2022
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Many people understand the benefits of choosing organic foods, but choosing organic health and beauty products also has several advantages over their conventional competitors. Organic hair conditioners use simpler plant-based ingredients grown without pesticides and tend to contain fewer synthetic chemicals like parabens, fragrances and silicones. These formulas are better for the environment and will hopefully result in healthier, more vibrant hair.
Because everyone’s hair is different, you may need to try several to find the best fit for you and your family.
We looked at ingredient lists to find the best organic conditioners.
What to look for in organic hair conditioner
Organic ingredients are usually noted on the product label, either with a star (asterisk) or with the words “organic” or “certified organic”, so check first. You may also see a seal on the label of the third party or group that verified the ingredients were truly organic. These may be from the USDA, Oregon Tilth, or another organic certification agency. But beware. Some companies and those who write about them call a product organic when it only contains one ingredient organic. Some labels will state the percentage of organic ingredients, such as 75% certified organic ingredients.
Also note that there is a difference between certified organic and organically grown. Certified organic means that an impartial third party has verified the organic nature of the raw materials. Organic cultivation means that although the producer has used organic techniques to cultivate the raw ingredients, no outside party has confirmed that the ingredients are actually organic.
However, many reputable brands reliably use organic ingredients without being able to afford to go through or are in the long and expensive process of third-party organic certification. Don’t be afraid to check the manufacturer’s website for more details on organic ingredients and ask them questions where their website lacks answers.
The main ingredients to look out for are parabens (preservatives linked to breast cancer) and fragrance (a generic term that may hide toxic ingredients). Silicones are another common ingredient to avoid. This petroleum-derived ingredient simply coats the hair leaving it feeling soft and revitalized, but doesn’t really moisturize the hair.
While most conditioners come in plastic bottles with a pump or flip cap, some brands are moving to more sustainable packaging such as recyclable and reusable glass and/or aluminum. You can also check the label of plastic bottles to see if the bottle was made from reclaimed or post-consumer recycled plastic. Check with your local food co-op to see if they offer bulk organic conditioners, allowing you to bring your own containers to reuse. Most plastic packaging containers can be rinsed and recycled through your usual curbside recycling.
Solid conditioning bars can sometimes help you avoid disposable packaging. They can sometimes be purchased in reusable aluminum cans or in recyclable paper wrappers. Some brands even allow you to pick them up “without packaging” in store.
Why trust Treehugger?
When creating our list of top-rated organic hair conditioners, we favored products that have been certified organic by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) or other third-party organic certifier, or contain a majority of certified organic ingredients. However, keep in mind that certifications are expensive and time-consuming to obtain, so some newer and smaller brands may not have achieved certification.
We also considered their rating by the non-profit Environmental Working Group (EWG) which ranks products based on the toxicity of their chemical ingredients. It’s hard to find a quality organic hair conditioner whose ingredients score the best 1 out of 10. For example, synthetic fragrances can be potential respiratory irritants with an overall rating of 4 or more. Each of the products on our list that have been reviewed by EWG have received a rating of 3 or more.
Over the years, Lorraine Wilde’s conditioner has changed as her hair has changed. From thin and blonde kiddos to perms and burnouts in high school, color processed, lightened and slicked back from middle school to fifties, and now gray, wavy and lightened. She has only the highest standards for what happens on her family’s skin and in our delicate bodies of water.
Lorraine also holds a master’s degree in environmental sciences with a specialization in toxicology. She strongly believes that consumers can make healthy, informed and environmentally responsible choices to protect their families and our planet.