Dr. Robert Cook - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Robert Cook

Is Native Shampoo Bad For You?



Short answer

Native Shampoo is formulated with safety-conscious, naturally derived ingredients, free from sulfates, parabens, phthalates, and artificial dyes, catering to health-aware individuals. Its eco-friendly packaging also supports environmental sustainability. Reactions to any personal care product can be subjective, so it's wise to perform a patch test, especially if you have sensitive skin or allergies.



Long answer

Analyzing Native Shampoo Ingredients for Safety

When determining the safety of personal care products like Native Shampoo, it's important to consider the individual ingredients listed. It’s also crucial to understand that "natural" doesn't always mean safer in every context, and "chemical" isn't necessarily synonymous with harm. It’s about the toxicity, dose, and context in which an ingredient is used. There are a few key areas we'll assess:

  • Sulfates: Common in many shampoos, sulfates like sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) are detergents that can strip hair of its natural oils, potentially leading to dryness or irritation for some individuals. Sulfate-free formulas, like those offered by Native, are often gentler on the hair and scalp.
  • Parabens: Used as preservatives, parabens can mimic estrogen and have raised concerns about potential links to hormone-related issues, although the evidence is not definitive. Native Shampoo boasts a paraben-free formula, avoiding this controversy and the potential risks associated with these chemicals.
  • Phthalates: These chemicals, often found in fragranced products, have been scrutinized for their potential endocrine-disrupting effects. Native Shampoo is phthalate-free, catering to consumers who are cautious about these ingredients.
  • Formaldehyde Donors: Some preservatives release small amounts of formaldehyde over time to keep products free from contamination. Given formaldehyde’s classification as a human carcinogen, Native’s commitment to excluding these compounds reassures those with safety concerns.
  • Artificial Dyes: Although synthetic colors can make products more visually appealing, they offer no benefits for hair health and can cause irritation or allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Native Shampoo's avoidance of artificial dyes is a plus for consumers with delicate skin or allergies.
  • Natural Ingredients: Native incorporates numerous naturally derived ingredients such as coconut oil and aloe, which can provide mildness and nourishment without the harsh effects that synthetic ingredients might impart.

It's always important to do a patch test with new personal care products to ensure you don't have an adverse reaction. Remember, individual responses to ingredients can vary widely, and what's benign for one person might be irritating for another.

Regarding safety assessments, organizations like the Environmental Working Group (EWG) rate personal care product ingredients based on their potential health hazards. Native Shampoo ingredients generally receive low-risk scores, which suggests that they are considered safe under typical use conditions. However, keep in mind that the methodology used by EWG and similar organizations is sometimes debated by experts for not always aligning with the consensus view of toxicologists and dermatologists.

Scientific studies provide valuable insights into ingredient safety. For instance, research published in journals like the International Journal of Toxicology help establish the safety profiles of common shampoo ingredients by analyzing their potential for irritation, sensitization, and systemic toxicity. Such literature can be reassuring for consumers concerned about the long-term effects of their hair care choices.

Ultimately, the balance of evidence to date suggests that the ingredients in Native Shampoo align with a safety-conscious approach. For those especially concerned about the potential impact of personal care products on their health, Native's transparent ingredient list and commitment to excluding certain controversial chemicals can provide peace of mind.

Sulfates, Parabens, and Silicones in Native Shampoo

When browsing the hair care aisles, you'll often come across these three buzzwords: sulfates, parabens, and silicones. But what are they, and how do they relate to products like Native Shampoo? It's important to understand their roles in hair care and the potential reasons why many people are seeking sulfate-free, paraben-free, and silicone-free options. Let's dive into each component and its impact on your shampoo's performance and, potentially, your health.

Sulfates: Sulfates are a type of detergent commonly found in shampoos, responsible for creating that rich, satisfying lather. They help to deeply cleanse the scalp and remove oil and dirt. However, sulfates can also strip the hair of its natural oils, leading to dryness and irritation for some individuals. In particular, those with sensitive skin, eczema, or colored hair might experience adverse effects. Native Shampoo has positioned itself as sulfate-free, catering to those with such sensitivities and preferences.

Parabens: Parabens are a class of preservatives used to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold in cosmetic products, thereby extending their shelf life. The concern with parabens stems from research suggesting that they can penetrate the skin and remain within tissue, potentially disrupting hormone function by mimicking estrogen. This has led to a debate over their safety and a consumer shift towards paraben-free products. Native Shampoo has joined this movement by excluding parabens from their ingredient list, aligning with customer concerns about health and wellness.

Silicones: Silicones are synthetic ingredients used in hair care for their smoothing and shining properties. They coat the hair to give it a sleek appearance and can make detangling a breeze. However, silicones are not water-soluble and can build up on the hair shaft over time, which may weigh down the hair and require harsher surfactants to remove. Some individuals prefer avoiding silicones to maintain more natural hair health and volume. Native Shampoo's silicone-free formula appeals to those aiming for a lighter product that doesn't contribute to product buildup.

It's also worth noting that an individual's experience with sulfate, paraben, and silicone-free products like Native Shampoo can vary. Some may find that their scalp and hair health improves, while others may not notice a significant difference. It is always recommended to patch test any new hair care product and pay attention to how your body responds.

For those with particular skin or hair concerns, consulting with a dermatologist or a trichologist before making a switch can provide personalized advice. While the shift towards cleaner ingredients is often seen as a positive move, it's essential to understand that "chemical" doesn't inherently mean "bad," and "natural" doesn't always mean "good." The best approach is to educate oneself and make informed decisions based on one's health needs and preferences.

To underscore the importance of knowing what goes in your hair care products, here's a summary table:

Ingredient Common Concerns Found in Native Shampoo?
Sulfates Strips hair of natural oils, can cause irritation No
Parabens Potential hormone disruptors No
Silicones Can cause build-up and weigh down hair No

By choosing Native Shampoo, consumers are opting for a product that acknowledges these concerns and strives to provide a cleaner alternative for those looking to avoid sulfates, parabens, and silicones.

The Impact of Fragrances in Native Shampoo on Health

The use of fragrances in personal care products is a common practice, designed to provide a pleasant sensory experience. In Native Shampoo, as with many other shampoos, fragrances play a key role in consumer satisfaction. However, it's important to delve into the potential health implications of these aromatic additives. While fragrances can turn hair washing into a delightful ritual, they may have underlying health effects that are worth considering.

Sensitivities and Allergic Reactions: Fragrances, both natural and synthetic, are complex mixtures of various chemical constituents that have the potential to cause sensitivities and allergic reactions in some individuals. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and may include itching, redness, rash, or even respiratory issues. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, fragrance is considered a leading cause of allergic contact dermatitis.

Endocrine Disruptors: Some fragrance components are under scrutiny for their potential role as endocrine disruptors. These are chemicals that can interfere with the body's endocrine system, potentially leading to reproductive, developmental, neurological, and immune problems. For example, phthalates, which are sometimes used in fragrances to prolong scent longevity, have been flagged for their potential endocrine-disrupting properties by research including a study published in the International Journal of Andrology.

Respiratory Irritants: Certain compounds found in fragrances can act as respiratory irritants, affecting individuals with asthma or other respiratory conditions. A survey conducted by the Journal of Environmental Health found that a sizable percentage of people report adverse health effects from air fresheners, which commonly contain similar fragrance compounds as those found in shampoos.

Chemical Sensitivity: For people with multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), fragrances in products like shampoo can trigger a range of symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, and nausea. Although MCS is not fully understood, it's recognized by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development as potentially disabling.

Lack of Transparency: It's also worth noting that "fragrance" on a product label can represent an undisclosed mixture of various chemicals, protected under trade secret laws. This lack of transparency makes it difficult for consumers, and even researchers, to fully assess the safety profile of the fragrances in personal care products.

To minimize potential risks associated with fragrances in shampoo:

  • Opt for fragrance-free or unscented products if you have known sensitivities or allergies
  • Look for products that disclose their fragrance components or use certified organic fragrances with a clearer ingredient list
  • Conduct a patch test before using a new shampoo to check for any adverse skin reactions
  • Consider consulting with a dermatologist or allergist if you have concerns about fragrances and your health

While the majority of users may experience no adverse effects from fragranced shampoos, it's important to recognize that individual reactions can vary widely. By staying informed and being attentive to your body's responses, you can make more health-conscious choices regarding your hair care routine.

Native Shampoo and Hair Health: Does It Improve or Harm?

When assessing the impact of Native Shampoo on hair health, it's essential to delve into the ingredients it contains and how they interact with our hair. The brand prides itself on using naturally derived ingredients and avoiding harmful chemicals, which may bring several benefits as well as some considerations.

Ingredient Analysis: Native Shampoos often feature ingredients like coconut oil and shea butter, which are known for their moisturizing properties. They can be particularly beneficial for individuals with dry or frizzy hair, aiming to smooth and add shine. Moreover, the absence of sulfates in the ingredient list prevents the stripping of natural oils from the scalp and hair, which can help maintain a balanced scalp environment and reduce the risk of irritation.

However, while sulfate-free formulas are gentler, they may not effectively remove buildup for some hair types, especially those that are prone to oiliness or that require strong cleansing due to heavy product use. Some users might need to adjust their hair care routine to accommodate the gentler cleansing, such as introducing a clarifying shampoo intermittently.

Avoidance of Harsh Chemicals: Native Shampoos are also known for being free from parabens, phthalates, and silicones — common additives in many conventional shampoos that have raised health concerns. Parabens have been linked to endocrine disruption, while phthalates may be associated with reproductive issues. Silicones, although not toxic, can weigh down hair and lead to buildup, necessitating stronger detergents to remove.

Eliminating these potentially harmful chemicals can certainly contribute to a healthier approach to hair care, but it's worth remembering that the suitability of these formulations can vary among individuals based on hair type, scalp condition, and personal sensitivities.

Essential Oils and Fragrances: Essential oils, used for fragrance in Native Shampoos, can endow the product with a pleasant scent and offer therapeutic properties. For instance, peppermint oil can invigorate the scalp, potentially promoting hair growth. Nonetheless, essential oils can also be an allergen for some users. A patch test is always recommended before using any new product extensively.

User Experiences and Anecdotal Evidence: Personal testimonials often shed light on a product's performance. Some users rave about the improved texture and luster of their hair after using Native Shampoo. Others find that it may leave their hair feeling less thoroughly clean or require a transition period to adapt to the gentler cleansing formula.

Professional Input: Dermatologists and hair care experts typically endorse the use of sulfate-free and naturally derived formulations for their reduced potential for scalp irritation and hair damage. Still, they also highlight the importance of individual hair needs and recommend balanced use of these gentler cleansers alongside other hair care treatments catered to specific conditions.

In conclusion, Native Shampoo appears to be on the gentler side of hair care, with a focus on natural ingredients less likely to cause harm. While research specifically on Native Shampoo's impact on hair health is limited, studies on similar formulations have demonstrated that natural and sulfate-free shampoos can indeed improve hair health for many people, although they may not suit everyone equally.

As with any personal care product, it's crucial to observe how your hair responds and adjust your usage accordingly. Considering individual responses can make the difference between a product improving or potentially not meeting the unique needs of your hair health.

Eco-Friendly Packaging and Sustainability Factor

When considering whether a product is 'bad' for you, it's important to look beyond just the ingredients and assess its environmental impact. After all, a healthy planet supports healthy individuals, and sustainability is increasingly seen as a vital component of overall wellness. Let's delve into the eco-friendly packaging and sustainability factor of shampoos, particularly brands like Native that have made these concerns a part of their mission.

First and foremost, Native shampoo is housed in bottles crafted from post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastic. This is a significant step because PCR plastics are repurposed materials previously used in packaging, which means every bottle you buy has contributed to reducing plastic waste. Choosing products with PCR packaging can be part of your commitment to a healthier environment—one shampoo bottle at a time.

Moreover, Native is reported to be carbon neutral. The company has taken steps to offset their carbon emissions through various environmental initiatives. This approach acknowledges the carbon footprint that production and shipping entail and attempts to address it, which is something eco-conscious consumers value today. You can use this shampoo knowing that efforts are being made to minimize your carbon footprint.

The focus on a sustainable supply chain also extends to how Native sources their ingredients. The brand emphasizes the use of sustainably sourced materials, helping to ensure that the natural components in your shampoo aren't contributing to the depletion of ecosystems or harming local communities. This reflects a holistic approach to environmental stewardship that extends far beyond the packaging.

  • Post-Consumer Recycled Plastic: Packaging made from materials that have been recycled, thereby reducing the need for new plastic production.
  • Carbon Neutrality: A balanced carbon footprint, where the carbon emissions are offset through environmental initiatives, such as planting trees.
  • Sustainably Sourced Ingredients: Ingredients obtained in ways that do not deplete the natural resources and are considerate of the environment.

Native's commitment to biodegradable and compostable materials for their packaging and shipping materials further illustrates their dedication to sustainability. These materials break down more efficiently than standard plastics, leading to less pollution and waste in our landfills and oceans. By being part of the solution, you're also taking a stand against the overwhelming issue of plastic pollution—every bit helps.

Critically, these steps toward sustainability align with a broader movement within the personal care industry. According to a survey by Nielsen, a growing number of consumers, especially millennials, are willing to pay more for products that have sustainable attributes. By choosing eco-friendly products like Native shampoo, you are not only caring for your own health but also supporting a market that values the longevity of our planet.

While the environmental impact of personal care products may not directly affect your physical health, there is an undeniable connection between the health of the environment and our well-being. By choosing products that prioritize eco-friendly packaging and sustainability, you contribute to a larger, positive impact on the world—which, in turn, supports a healthier, more sustainable lifestyle for all.

Beyond the obvious environmental benefits, choosing products with eco-friendly packaging can also have positive psychological effects. Knowing that you're making a purchase that aligns with your values can increase your overall satisfaction with a product. This link between consumer choices, personal values, and well-being is supported by research published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology, which suggests that making purchases that align with personal beliefs can contribute to a sense of increased well-being.

In summary, while assessing the sustainability factor of shampoo, it's clear that Native's efforts to implement eco-friendly packaging are a commendable part of their brand ethos. These proactive steps align with broader consumer trends towards environmentally responsible products, reflecting a growing recognition that what's good for the planet is good for us too. By choosing shampoos like Native, you can embrace a haircare routine that nurtures not just your scalp, but also the world you live in.

Frequently asked questions

While Native Shampoo avoids phthalates in its fragrances, some individuals may still experience sensitivities or allergic reactions to the natural or synthetic scent compounds used. If you're prone to fragrance sensitivities, consider opting for fragrance-free versions or conducting a patch test prior to use.

Yes, Native Shampoo may be a suitable option if you have a sensitive scalp. It's formulated without sulfates, parabens, phthalates, and artificial dyes, which are common irritants. However, it's always wise to perform a patch test before using any new product extensively, as individual sensitivities can vary.

While sulfate-free shampoos like Native are gentler, you might need an occasional deeper cleanse to remove buildup. Introduce a clarifying shampoo into your routine every few weeks, or opt for natural remedies like an apple cider vinegar rinse to keep your hair clean without harsh chemicals.

Native Shampoo is indeed considered a good choice for color-treated hair as it’s sulfate-free, which means it’s gentler on the hair and less likely to strip away color. The natural oils and ingredients used in the formula can also help to nourish and protect color-treated hair.

Ask a question about Native Shampoo and our team will publish the answer as soon as possible.

Possible short-term side effects

  • irritation
  • allergic reactions
  • respiratory issues

Possible long-term side effects

  • hormone disruption
  • endocrine system interference
  • buildup and weighed down hair

Ingredients to be aware of


  • gentle on hair and scalp
  • avoids controversial chemicals
  • moisturizing properties
  • can promote hair growth
  • transparent ingredient list

Healthier alternatives

  • fragrance-free products
  • certified organic fragrances
  • pcr packaging
  • products with biodegradable or compostable materials

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Desmond Richard
Published on: 03-18-2024

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Desmond Richard
Published on: 03-18-2024

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