During my trials of looking for and experimenting with different shampoos, one of my journeys has lead me to discover and try the line of “natural” haircare products called Avalon Organics.

The name sounds great, the product was found in a health food store, so the product is safe to use, right? Wrong. I was actually gravely disappointed with this one and found it to be nothing more than a “natural wannabe” product out there.

Avalon Organics is a company that was founded in 1989, and according to them they “have worked hard over the years to create exceptionally pure and effective personal care products.” In fact if you get to know this company by reading their history, mission and all that they seem to stand for where the environment and all life is concerned, sounds perfect! In fact it sounds so nice and so good that if I was the average consumer I would want to just rush out and purchase their products. So I wish I had better things to say about the shampoo I tried from them, but somewhere between this wonderful write-up and the product, something just doesn’t add up.

I decided to try the Avalon Organics Lemon Clarifying Shampoo, which claims on the bottle to: “Remove dulling build-up and gently cleanse, as Shea Butter replenishes moisture to restore natural highlights, shine and color.”

The shampoo claims to contain no parabens or other harsh preservatives, which is always welcomed to hear, and a must in the world of natural personal care products today.

So how was it? Well for starters the scent of this shampoo seems way too strong. It starts off like a natural lemon smell, but as you work it in and it lathers, it just becomes too chemical smelling. It does not contain fragrance or parfum, but “lemon oil and other essential oils”, which we are not told what they are. The scent is not horribly overwhelming but for a natural shampoo it is way too strong, and I can see sensitive people being irritated by it.

In terms of ingredients it is not bad. The company seems like it is trying, but it is far from a superior natural product, and there are many better alternatives on the market today.

So while some of the ingredients are fantastic, I have a big problem that the second most abundant ingredient (after water), and hence the basis for this shampoo is cocamidopropyl betaine – a synthetic chemical that has been identified as an irritant/allergen, and it is rated 5 (moderate hazard) by the Skin Deep Cosmetic Data Base. Secondly, with a name like “Avalon Organics”, you would think that this was an organic product, yet only 4 ingredients are actually certified organic, with the overall ingredient list not looking organic at all. Overall, the shampoo gets a score of 3 (moderate hazard) from Skin Deep.

In terms of how it worked, well here was the tipping point. It lathered great, naturally thanks to the cocamidopropyl betaine, but left my hair completely dry feeling and in tangles, so that I actually had to use some conditioner, which is something I never do, except in cases like this one. There was nothing special to its cleaning ability, or hair manageability.

So although the makers of this shampoo seem to have all the right intentions at heart, this shampoo could be formulated so much better. After all there are products on the market today, which do not include this chemical. Perhaps this company has other products, that can better stand up to the true “natural & organic” label, but it definitely is not this one.

Hence if you are looking for a good natural shampoo, I do not recommend this one. I know I will not be using it again either. So again, the onus really comes down on the consumer – read your labels, and do not be afraid to question the ingredients, and by no means choose a natural product, based on its name, or where you buy it from.

Ingredients (Plant ingredients are italicized)

* Safety Rating based on Skin Deep Cosmetic Database

Packaging

The shampoo comes in a dark, olive green, plastic #1 bottle, which is recyclable once product is finished. The regular size is 325mL (11oz).

Price (as of this posting)

  • $7 – $10 CAD per bottle at stores across Canada
  • $8.49 CAD or $7.80 US per bottle at Well.ca
  • $7.03 US per bottle from HerbsMD.com
  • $5.33 US per bottle at Amazon.com

Availability

  • Widely available at grocery, pharmacy and health food stores across Canada and the US
  • Widely available at many on-line stores for Canadian, US and international shoppers

The Good

  • Some natural ingredients
  • Some certified organic ingredients
  • No parabens
  • No harsh preservatives
  • No grapefruit seed extract
  • No artificial colors
  • No SLS or other sulfates
  • 100% vegetarian
  • No animal testing

The Bad

  • The second ingredient is cocamidopropyl betaine (synthetic and a possible allergen/irritant)
  • Leaves hair tangled and dry
  • Too many “chemical-like” ingredients and too few organic, plant based ingredients
  • Too strong of a scent