Best alcohol-free shampoo

Hair Products

Alcohol strips your hair of its necessary nutrients. These alcohols commonly include ethanol or ethyl alcohol, denatured alcohol, methanol, isopropyl alcohol, SD alcohol and benzyl alcohol.

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Which alcohol-free shampoo is best? 

A good shampoo is crucial to everyone’s hair-care routine. Products that contain alcohol strip the hair of nutrients and dry it out over time, leading to many bad hair days. As the world becomes more sustainable and concerned about natural ingredients, the demand for alcohol-free shampoo grows. A top choice, the Shea Moisture Strengthen and Restore Jamaican Black Castor Oil Shampoo is a favorite among many due to its natural smoothing qualities and pleasant scent. 

What to know before you buy alcohol-free shampoo

Sulfate and paraben-free

Consider eliminating parabens and sulfates from your hair care routine due to the permanent negative effects that they have on the scalp and hair.

Parabens have a similar composition to hormones found in the human body. Xenoestrogens disrupt hormones. Some parabens can mimic the activity of estrogen and have been found present in breast tumors. Sulfates are concerning because they break down proteins and have also been found to leave residue in the heart, lungs and brain.

Hair type 

Buyers should consider checking to make sure the ingredients in the alcohol-free shampoo match their hair type needs. 

  • Oily Hair: Persons with oily hair should look for shampoos that include coconut water and apple cider vinegar to remove the oil from hair. These elements occur naturally in nature and are lightweight. Products for this hair type will have hydrating elements that are not heavy. 
  • Dry Hair: Persons with dry hair should look for creamy shampoos. Buyers will want to consider purchasing a shampoo with ultra-moisturizing ingredients like coconut oil and shea butter, as well as strengthening ingredients like biotin and panthenol. 
  • Frizzy hair: Persons with naturally frizzy hair will want to consider purchasing alcohol-free shampoo that contains natural oils. These are great for nourishing the hair and reducing the effect of humidity. In the case of this hair type, products that contain citric acid are good for closing off the hair cuticle, creating less friction, frizz and static.  


Good alcohol-free shampoos will get their scent from essential oils rather than added chemicals to make a fragrance. Even essential oils can cause irritation to those with sensitive skin. If you are concerned about skin allergies or irritation, consider going scent-free with your shampoo.

Alcohol-free shampoo features  


Our eyes are very fragile. If an alcohol-free shampoo is tear-free, this means the chemicals and oils that make up the substance will not irritate or burn the eyes. This feature is particularly common in baby shampoo but is an added element to consider when purchasing shampoo since the product gets very close to the eyes. If you have sensitive eyes, consider purchasing shampoo that will not irritate them when exposed. 

Essential oils  

Essential oils in shampoo are a great alternative to chemical fragrances, and each oil benefits different types of hair. Peppermint and tea tree oils have been used to grow hair quicker for all hair types.  

  • Oily Hair: Those looking to purchase alcohol-free shampoo with oily hair should buy products that contain peppermint, cypress and lemon essential oils. These oils are lightweight and will not make the hair feel or appear more oily. 
  • Dry Hair: Those looking to purchase alcohol-free shampoo with dry hair should buy products that contain tea tree and lavender oils. These oils naturally hydrate the hair. 

2-in-1 shampoo  

If a shampoo is “2 in 1,” this means that it can also be used as a conditioner. Consider this feature when purchasing shampoo to lessen the use of plastics as well as reduce the amount of product that is being used on the hair. If naturally and sustainably made, this product will be more expensive than a normal shampoo. 

How much you can expect to spend on alcohol-free shampoo 

Alcohol-free shampoo is available in a variety of price ranges. For shoppers on a budget, buyers will find cheaply produced shampoo between $5-$10. Mid-range shampoo in the $10-$30 price range provides customers with all-natural elements. Premium alcohol-free shampoos that include all of the best features and naturally sourced ingredients are between $40-$100. 

Alcohol-free shampoo FAQ 

How many times a week should I wash my hair with shampoo? 

A. If you have dry, colored hair, three to four times a week will do best to cleanse the hair and scalp without overdrying the hair. If you have oily hair, it is safe to wash it daily. People with thick and curly hair are recommended to wash their hair once a week. 

How many times a week should I use clarifying shampoo? 

A. Clarifying shampoo is a specialty shampoo that works to deeply cleanse the hair and remove the residue caused by hair products and the environment. Use clarifying shampoo once a week to prevent product buildup and dull, lifeless hair.  

What’s the best alcohol-free shampoo to buy? 

Best of the best alcohol-free shampoo

Shea Moisture Strengthen and Restore Jamaican Black Castor Oil Shampoo 

Shea Moisture Strengthen and Restore Jamaican Black Castor Oil Shampoo 

Our take: Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen and Restore Shampoo is sulfate and paraben-free, clarifying and removes buildup while infusing hair with nourishing moisture. This product is color-safe and helps strengthen damaged hair. 

What we like: This cruelty-free shampoo gently cleanses the hair and is sustainably produced from beginning to end.   

What to consider: This product has been known to fade blonde and red-colored hair and leave noticeable residue. 

Where to buy: Ulta and Amazon

Best bang for your buck alcohol-free shampoo

Hask Argan Oil Shampoo 

Hask Argan Oil Shampoo 

Our take: This product is infused with moisturizing argan oil and penetrates the hair shaft to repair damage and breakage. 

What we like: This product makes hair soft and tames frizz while protecting individual strands. It is rich in phytosterols, omega-3, omega-7 fatty acids and natural antioxidants such as vitamin E. It is also free of sulfates, parabens, phthalates and gluten. 

What to consider: This product has been known to dry out the hair and make ends brittle for some users.  

Where to buy: Amazon and Ulta

Honorable mention alcohol-free shampoo

Honest Shampoo and Body Wash Purely Sensitive 

Honest Shampoo and Body Wash Purely Sensitive 

Our take: This product features a convenient 2-in-1 formula that can be used as a shampoo and body wash. It is safe enough to use on baby hair and is designed to cleanse gently without drying.  

What we like: This product uses a gentle, mild and tear-free formula. It is gentle enough for daily use and is made without sulfates or parabens. The formula is dermatologist tested and provides a thick, creamy lather that cleans without overdrying. 

What to consider: There are not a lot of ounces included in the product for the price and it has caused scalp irritation for some users.   

Where to buy: Amazon and Bed Bath and Beyond


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Logan DeLoye writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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