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Shampoo Without Palm Oil and No Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

Shampoo Without Palm Oil and No Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

Here is everything to know about finding palm oil free shampoo and palm oil free conditioner. If you are searching for shampoo without Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), you must read this. If a shampoo is palm oil free, it won’t contain SLS either.

Most shampoos and conditioners contain palm oil ingredients. In haircare products, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate (ALS), Ammonium Laureth Sulfate, and other ingredients are made using palm oil.

These ingredients are used to create lather and foam; to help water mix with oil and dirt; to help the shampoo work its way through hair; and to make hair feel soft. They can be drying for hair and cause irritation, especially on sensitive scalps.

Why do companies use palm oil to make SLS, ALS, and other chemicals? Because palm oil is cheap!

Even when mainstream shampoos highlight “coconut” in their advertising, they still contain palm oil. Most “all-natural” shampoos contain palm oil. They also contain palm oil derivatives and harmful chemicals that irritate sensitive scalps.

Companies Who Sell SLS Shampoo Do This 

Companies who make SLS shampoo and sulfate-free shampoos will do these things to hide that they are using palm oil:

  1. They seem to spell out their ingredients
  2. They highlight when an ingredient is derived from coconut oil

However, they will be vague about some ingredients. For example, instead of explaining an ingredient is made with “coconut” or “soy”, they will say:

  1. “Plant derived”
  2. “Vegetable based”
  3. “Made from plant oils” 
  4. Or other similar, vague uses of the word “plant” or “vegetable”

They appear to be transparent but then aren’t.

This means, when you see a company spell out their ingredients and say “coconut” but then other times say “plant derived”, it typically contains palm oil. You won’t see “palm oil” on the label because companies know palm oil is controversial. More on this below.  

Shampoo without Sodium Lauryl Sulfate will often contain these palm oil ingredients. Choose palm oil free shampoo instead.

  • Cetyl Alcohol
  • Stearyl Alcohol
  • Caprylyl Glycol

What’s the problem with palm oil in shampoo? Learn more: Why is palm oil bad

Tip for Buying Palm Oil Free and SLS Free Shampoo

  • Choose shampoo bars and conditioner bars instead of liquids
  • Choose shampoo concentrates and conditioner concentrates where you add your own water

Another bonus is that bars and concentrates will usually have less ingredients overall.

Keep reading to learn which companies sell palm oil free shampoo and palm oil free conditioner. In alphabetical order, I start with the ones that have taken the necessary steps to certify Palm Oil Free. 

First, I want to quickly show you all the ways palm oil hides in shampoos and conditioners. 

Palm Oil Ingredients in Shampoo

Common palm oil derivatives in shampoo, even in ones with seemingly-natural ingredients, include:

  • Ammonium Laureth Sulfate
  • Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate (ALS)
  • Caprylyl Glycol
  • Cetearyl Alcohol
  • Cetyl Alcohol
  • Cocamidopropyl Betaine
  • Cocamide MEA
  • Diglycerin
  • Glycerin
  • Glycol Distearate
  • Propylene Glycol
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)
  • Sodium Laureth Sulfate
  • Stearyl Alcohol
  • Tocopherol

Note, none of these ingredients have “palm” in the name. Manufacturers use palm oil derivatives in shampoo for all types of hair. Below I explain why companies use it in shampoo.

Certified Palm Oil Free Shampoos & Conditioners

Thank you to these companies who make their conditioner and shampoo without palm oil AND ALSO took the steps to get them Certified Palm Oil Free! This is a huge deal in the shampoo and conditioner market. VERY FEW companies do this.

  • Ethique
  • The Eco Alchemist

Shampoo without Palm Oil


I was thrilled to find Ethique. They are a New Zealand based company and also sell their products in the United States. All of their products are certified Palm Oil Free by Orangutan Alliance

This eco-based company was awarded New Zealand’s most sustainable business. They don’t use plastic… and they don’t use palm oil! They are natural, non-toxic, and not made from chemicals. Their products and packaging are certified 100% compostable and biodegradable.  

They have many palm free shampoos to choose from, depending on your scalp, hair type, and hair condition, all of which help promote healthy hair. Whether your hair is straight or curly, you can choose from:

  • Ethique shampoo bars
  • Ethique shampoo concentrates (add your own water)

Check out my interview with Ethique’s CEO & Founder, Brianne West: Ethique Interview About Zero-Waste, Palm Oil Free Products

shampoo without palm oil

Ethique Mintasy is for dry hair; I have been using this for 4 years

Ethique Solid Shampoo Bars

  • Sorbet: Restoring for balanced hair
  • Heali Kiwi: Calming for touchy scalps
  • Frizz Wrangler: Soothing to nourish dry hair
  • St. Clements: Clarifying to refresh oily hair
  • Pinkalicious: Uplifting to revive balanced hair
  • Sweet & Spicy: Volumizing to add oomph to hair
  • Mintasy: Refreshing to replenish dry hair; this used to be called Damage Control
  • Professor Curl: For curly hair
  • Tip-to-Toe: Solid shampoo and shaving bar
  • Bar Minimum: Unscented shampoo bar for touchy scalps
  • Oaty Delicious: Gentle solid for babies and kids
  • Tip-to-Tot: Multi-purpose wash bar for babies and kids
  • Tone it Down: Neutralizes brassy tones

I love when companies offer an unscented version. Check out their award-winning Bar Minimum if you have a really sensitive scalp. Mine is very sensitive to chemicals in other shampoos which is why I have used Ethique Mintasy exclusively since 2019. I love it. It used to be called Damage Control. 

Ethique also has a Haircare Sampler which is how I originally tried Ethique’s hair products. More on this next.

palm oil free shampoo and conditioner

Ethique Hair Sampler Pack

If you are unsure which palm oil free shampoo to try, you may want to choose their Hair Sampler. The box contains three mini shampoos and two mini conditioners. These minis should be enough for you to be able to choose what’s best for you. For my very sensitive scalp and dry hair, I liked Frizz Wrangler the best. 

Ethique Hair Sampler is perfect to trial and for travel. The compostable box includes:

  • Frizz Wrangler 
  • Heali Kiwi
  • Saint Clements
  • The Guardian – conditioner
  • Wonderbar – conditioner

The Hair Sampler is great way to try a few to see which work best for your scalp and hair needs.

Ethique Discovery Pack

They also now sell Discovery Packs based on hair type. Each set comes with two mini shampoo bars and one mini conditioner bar:

  • Balanced Hair
  • Dry Hair
  • Itchy Scalps
  • Oily Hair

Ethique Shampoo Concentrates

Ethique concentrates enable you to have a liquid palm oil free shampoo. You add water at home to your own reusable container. Each concentrate makes 350ml (11.83 fluid oz) of liquid shampoo. These are sold in home-compostable bags and home-compostable boxes.

  • Gentle Shampoo Concentrate: For touchy scalps
  • Balancing Shampoo Concentrate: For balanced to oily hair
  • Nourishing Shampoo Concentrate: For balanced to dry hair

My Experience with Ethique

Since the 1990s, I’ve reacted to SLS and other chemicals in shampoos. I don’t have any issues since using Ethique’s shampoos and conditioners. It’s been incredible to not have an itchy scalp after decades. 

In 2019, I bought Ethique’s Hair Sampler pack as a way to try them. (At that time, they didn’t offer the Discovery Packs.) Having never used a shampoo bar before, this is what I liked about Ethique’s shampoo and conditioner bars:

  • Easy to use
  • Shampoos produced foam and lather
  • Scents weren’t strong
  • Didn’t leave residue on scalp
  • Didn’t inflame my scalp
  • Bars last a long time: Set them on a soap stand to air dry

After purchasing and using the Hair Sampler, I bought the full-sized Heali Kiwi. After using the full-size bar, I didn’t like the little pieces in Heali Kiwi. Next, I bought the full-size Frizz Wrangler. 

Ultimately, I chose Mintsay (formerly Damage Control) for my fine hair and have been using it ever since. I bring it with me on vacation as well. To date, I have bought 15+ bars and will continue to do so.

One of my children had a flaky scalp and lots of dandruff. Using Mintasy once, it cleared up his entire scalp. It was incredible. He uses it now too. 

Ethique Conditioners

These are all palm oil free conditioners: 

Ethique conditioner bars:

  • The Guardian: Nourishing for balanced to dry hair
  • Curliosity: Cares for curly hair
  • Wonderbar: Lightweight conditioner for balanced to oily hair
  • Too Delicious: Intensive for very dry hair and damaged hair
  • Kookabara: For all hair types
  • Untangled: Detangling bar for babies and kids 
  • In the Buff: Unscented conditioner bar for sensitive scalps
  • Tone it Down: Neutralizes brassy tones

Ethique conditioner concentrates:

In 2020, they were first in the world to launch shampoo and conditioner concentrates. These each make 350ml (11.83 fluid oz) of liquid conditioner. You add water to your own reusable container.

  • Nourishing Conditioner Concentrate: For balanced to dry hair
  • Balancing Conditioner Concentrate: For balanced to oily hair
  • Gentle Conditioner Concentrate: For touchy scalps

More About Ethique

In addition, Ethique donates 20% of profits to organizations including: International Animal Rescue; The Orangutan Project; World Animal Protection; HUHA (Helping You Help Animals)

The Eco Alchemist

The Eco Alchemist is a Canadian company and the first in Canada to certify all of their products Palm Oil Free. They have a full line of palm oil free shampoos and conditioners, among many other products. They ship to the United States.

They certified their products through the International Palm Oil Free Certification Trademark. They are transparent with their ingredients. In addition to being Certified Palm Oil Free, their products are biodegradable, plastic free, cruelty free and vegan. They are free from sulphates, silicones, and artificial fragrances.

When adding their shampoos and conditioners to your online shopping cart, you have the option to choose an FSC certified packaging option. You can choose either a recyclable box or compostable tissue paper.

Check out my interview with The Eco Alchemist founder and CEO, Terri Kirkham. She discusses what it takes to for companies to start the process to become palm oil free and offers a discount for readers.

The Eco Alchemist Shampoo Bars

  • Grow Show Shampoo Bar
  • Let’s Get Toned Shampoo Bar
  • Non-Scents Shampoo Bar
  • Problem Solver Shampoo Bar
  • Rad Hair Day Shampoo Bar
  • Smooth Operator Shampoo Bar

The Eco Alchemist Dry Shampoo

Their dry shampoo packaging and labeling are recyclable and compostable.

  • Yuzu + Magnesium Dry Shampoo Powder

The Eco Alchemist Conditioners

At checkout, you can choose compostable tissue paper or a recyclable box.

  • Grow Show Conditioner Bar
  • Let’s Get Toned Conditioner Bar
  • Non-Scents Conditioner Bar
  • Problem Solver Conditioner Bar
  • Rad Hair Day Conditioner Bar
  • Smooth Operator Conditioner Bar

Shampoo Brands You May Think are “Better”, Aren’t

Please note, many natural shampoo companies have changed their ingredients over the years. Many seemingly-natural shampoo brands that years ago used better ingredients, no longer do.

Since the 1990s, I’ve only bought shampoo from higher-end salons and in recent years, online. I’ve spent hundreds of dollars, maybe over a thousand dollars, on these shampoos and conditioners. Today, the brands I used to use are inferior to what they were in the 1990s and early 2000s.

They are expensive and marketed as “better” natural shampoo brands. But please know they aren’t what they used to be. They all contain inferior palm oil ingredients now. Take a look at the long list of ingredients in any bottle of what you have been led to believe is a better shampoo. Chances are, you will see Sodium Laurel Sulfate and many more of the palm oil ingredients I listed above.

Ethique is different than the other brands. They use high-quality ingredients and no palm oil. Ethique’s products are the best I have ever used. I am looking forward to trying The Eco Alchemist’s shampoo and conditioner bars as well. 

Palm Oil Free Conditioners

Palm oil is very common in conditioners. See above for Ethique conditioners and for The Eco Alchemist’s conditioners. They are all certified Palm Oil Free.

Palm Oil Ingredients in Conditioner

Just like in shampoo, palm oil derivatives are common in conditioners. Some of the common palm oil derivatives include:

  • Cetearyl Alcohol
  • Cetyl Alcohol
  • Diglycerin
  • Dipropylene Glycol
  • Distearyldimonium Chloride
  • Ethylhexylglycerin
  • Glycerin
  • PEG-7 Propylheptyl Ether
  • PEG-150 Distearate
  • Propylene Glycol
  • Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine
  • Stearyl Alcohol
  • Tocopherylacetate
  • Vegetable Glycerin

Palm Oil Free and SLS Free Shampoo

Most likely, whatever shampoo you are using has palm oil in it. Like with most personal products, when something has less ingredients, it’s usually better.

In order to find shampoo without palm oil, you absolutely have to be a conscious consumer. Most shampoo has several palm oil ingredients.

We started this website because our son has a sensitivity to palm oil. He gets allergic reactions to anything with palm oil in it, including non-food items. See the personal care products he uses

We have posts with specific personal care and hygiene products as well:

Learn how to use less palm oil each week

Soap Stand for Shampoo and Conditioner Bars

When you use bar soap or bar shampoos and conditioners, you must let them air out. This will help them last longer. There are many bar soap holders and trays available. I highly recommend getting some that will air out the bottom of the bar as well. 

I use holders from SoapStandle. They are an easy and convenient way to air out our shampoo bars and conditioner bars, making them last longer. By resting the bar on the stand, the bars can dry completely and not disintegrate from sitting in water. This allows air to dry out the bottom of the soap as well.

This small plastic stand is easy to use and easy to clean. It’s a great counterpart to use with your eco-friendly soap, shampoo, and conditioner bars. The SoapStandle is among our favorite items to make it easier to live palm oil free. We use them for all of our soaps, shampoo bars, and conditioner bars. 

If you have a 3D printer, you can probably make something as well. 


Please support these brands of palm free shampoos and palm oil free conditioners. In addition to not containing palm oil, they do not contain Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate. These sulfates are what make shampoos lather. They belong to a class of cleansers called anionic surfactants, which clean away substances.

Ethique and The Eco Alchemist shampoos and conditioners are guaranteed Palm Oil Free because they were certified through Orangutan Alliance or from the International Palm Oil Free Certification Trademark (POFCAP). Both are recognized in the United States and in many countries across the world.

Additionally, Ethique and The Eco Alchemist have ALL of their other products certified Palm Oil Free as well. Yay!

Why do you want to use shampoos without SLS Did you know about palm oil in shampoo and conditioner? Please let me know in the Comments. I’d love to know why you seek out hair care products without palm oil. Please list other companies who believe to make palm oil free shampoo. 


Tuesday 19th of March 2024

Hello… Thank you for all you do in gathering and sharing information! I’d love to add Plaine Products to your list of shampoos and conditioners. (They also make styling products, body wash & lotion, and face wash & moisturizer.) In addition to being free of palm oil, their products are vegan, cruelty free, and refillable. I particularly love their unscented line, and find that each bottle lasts a long time.


Friday 22nd of March 2024

I appreciate your thoughtful reply and diligence in checking individual ingredients. Thank you! One of the places I read about their decision not to use palm oil in their products was on their blog (https:// www. plaineproducts .com / why-our-products-are-palm-oil-free/), but it’s a general statement. I’m very curious to hear what response and information you get from the company about specific ingredients.

As you said, it’s great to know that companies care about palm oil. I recently read about palm-free glycerin made from flax seeds. Hopefully more companies will utilize palm-free options as they become available.

Thanks again!


Tuesday 19th of March 2024

Thank you so much for taking the time to comment about Plaine Products. It's beneficial for everyone and also opens up a discussion which I hope is useful. I love unscented shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer, soap, etc. as well.

I checked out their site and some of their products and emailed them as a potential customer to dive a bit deeper into some questions I have. It's very difficult for companies to cost-effectively make liquid shampoos, body washes, moisturizers, etc. without palm oil derivatives.

It's great they list out the ingredients for each product. I also think it's wonderful they use vegan ingredients, non-GMO ingredients, and essential oils instead of synthetic fragrances. Plaine Products also is cruelty-free and Leaping Bunny certified. I also learned their products are designed to be biodegradable and also free of single-use plastics. These are all great things and much "better" than most shampoos and conditioners on the market!

On their website, they also state they are palm oil free which to me is also fantastic because it demonstrates they know palm oil is an issue in shampoos, etc., and they strive to be different.

The issue -- the same with most all products -- is they aren't Palm Oil Free Certified. I know of two organizations that certify: Orangutan Alliance and Palm Oil Free Certification Trademark Programme (POFCAP). Both can certify products in the United States and many parts of the world.

While I believe they have the best intentions and care about not using palm oil, some of the ingredients they use are often sourced from palm oil. They do not disclose what makes up some of their ingredients. Many companies do not disclose this saying it's due to it being proprietary information.

For example, I looked at the following products: Rosemary Mint Vanilla Shampoo: Glycerin and Tocopherols can be sourced from palm oil.

Sage Hair & Body Wash: Lauryl Glucoside; Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine; Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate; Glyceryl Caprylate/Caprate; PCA Glyceryl Oleate; and Glycerin can be made using palm oil.

These ingredients can also be made using coconut oil and some can be made using animal fat, vegetable oil, or created from petrochemical sources. If it's "plant-based" or "vegetable-based", it can also come from soy, coconut, or palm oil.

I'll update when they write back. Thanks so much again. It's great to know that companies are caring about palm oil!


Monday 3rd of January 2022

Hi is Hi-Bar palm oil free? It says it is but I noticed lots of ingredients that could be derivatives. Also Odacite! Thank you


Monday 3rd of January 2022

Thanks for writing. I looked up the two shampoo companies. From what I see from their USA online stores, it doesn't seem like they are palm oil free.

Regarding Hi-Bar Shampoo:

I looked at one Hi-Bar shampoo bar -- Maintain Shampoo Bar -- and saw it contains Glycerin. In soaps and shampoos, most companies use Glycerin sourced from palm oil because it's inexpensive. The exceptions are when companies CERTIFY their products palm oil free. Then consumers are not left to wonder what the Glycerin and other ingredients are made from. Two organizations which certify products palm oil free are Orangutan Alliance and the Palm Oil Free Certification Trademark (POFCAP).

Hi-Bar is transparent in clearing listing out their ingredients. The shampoo bar and conditioner bar I saw were both Leaping Bunny certified. The Conditioner bar is vegan. Both don't use plastic containers. The ingredients are easy to find on their site.

While I do not know for sure, I would guess Hi-Bar's shampoos contain palm oil in the form of Glycerin. The other ingredients in the Maintain Shampoo Bar define the source, as in Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (Coconut Oil) and Hydrogenated Ethylhexyl Olivate (Olive Oil), etc.

However, when they list Glycerin, it states Glycerin (Vegetable Based*) which is strangely vague. Many companies do this. Again, I do not know what it contains; it may or may not be palm oil.

Once you start noticing how companies advertise their products, you may notice companies are quick to highlight when they use coconut oil, sunflower oil, cocoa butter, and others; however, they aren't as apt to list "palm oil" in the ingredients.

Regarding Hi-Bar Conditioner:

I looked up Hi-Bar's Moisturize Conditioner Bar. The ingredients I would question as perhaps or likely containing palm oil are: Cetearyl Alcohol (Vegetable Based), Glyceryl Stearate (Vegetable Based), and Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (Coconut Oil & Glycerin). Also in the Moisturize Conditioner Bar is Behentrimonium Methosulfate, (Vegetable Based). I am not sure what this ingredient is or if it usually contains palm oil.

Regarding Odacite California's Shampoo:

I chose one shampoo bar to look up. Their Argan + Coconut Soap Free Shampoo Bar is listed as Leaping Bunny certified cruelty-free and vegan. Overall it seems the company doesn't use parabens, dyes, fillers, synthetic perfumes, Glycols, or Phenoxyethanol.

Regarding palm oil in the Argan + Coconut Shampoo Bar, these are the ingredients I would question: Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Polyglyceryl-4 Laurate, Glycerin, and Tocopherol. Again, if they were certified Palm Oil Free, it would eliminate speculation.

I didn't see an Odacite hair conditioner.

Hi-Bar and Odacite products ae still "better" overall for the planet than shampoos, conditioners and skincare products you will find in most any retail store.

I cannot overstate the importance of companies certifying their products Palm Oil Free. There are hundreds of names for palm oil ingredients making it difficult for companies and for consumers to know if a product truly is palm oil free.

Thank you for being a proactive consumer and being interested in what companies use in their products!


Wednesday 5th of June 2019

I've got to mention Kilted Suds again here. They have 4 different shampoo bars, all of which are palm free, sulfate free and free from any palm derivatives!


Wednesday 19th of February 2020

Thank you for the suggestion. We are so happy to be able to suggest their shampoo bars and bar soaps!