I'm Not Giving up on Liquid Shampoo Thanks to This Sustainable Brand
Back in 2016, I created a brief guide on how to find the best natural shampoo bar. In a world where green beauty is truly having its day, and many of us are choosing to move away from bad beauty, natural shampoo seems like one of those constantly unattainable products we struggle to find. When eco-chic shampoo bars became all the rage, most of us green beauty-conscious peeps dropped our bottles of chemical-laden hair cleansers and ran for the hills...towards solid shampoo, that is. And while many natural shampoo bars do the trick in cleansing your hair and keeping it clean - sans chemicals and preservatives - liquid shampoos should nevertheless be just as capable of cleaning our hair, without all those nasty, unpronounceable ingredient lists.
Alas, finding a liquid shampoo that is both natural, sustainable, and actually effective is no small feat. It's quite the tall order to ask any brand to manufacture a liquid shampoo that is palm-free, completely natural, preservative and chemical-free, and effective, to boot.
Loving my natural shampoo bar, but frustrated with rubbing a bar of soap against my head every morning, I recently headed to my nearest Whole Foods with the sole purpose of lurking every bottle of shampoo on their shelves until I found an accessible, sustainable, natural, liquid shampoo. I was hella determined to find one that would hit every marker on my checklist, and I soon left the store with a bottle of Organic Matter liquid shampoo. Though it was formulated with a beautifully brief list of natural ingredients, it contained glycerin. So, not exactly palm-free.
I also noticed the shampoo didn't necessarily clean my hair well; it left it feeling and looking a tad oily, and a little of the liquid shampoo did not go a long way. I used it until I ran out (waste not, want not, right?) and decided to head back to WF again. My quest was not yet over.
It was during that second trip that I found Carina Organics shampoo. Specifically, their Citrus line of moisturizing shampoo and conditioner products. Though their items are not palm-free, I purchased a bottle of both the Citrus shampoo and conditioner and am happy to report that I've seen killer results. Shiny, cleansed hair that is bouncy, lightly scented, and healthy.
Here's the deal:
The shampoo and conditioner I bought do contain palm oil and glycerin. This is something I've noticed is almost completely unavoidable with liquid hair care products, even ones which are as close to natural as we're going to get. Unless my budget allows me to buy palm-free, natural, liquid shampoos at $20+ per bottle, I have to settle for something closest to that. And because not everyone's beauty budget is expansive, we try out best. Is this to say that using palm-oil, even sustainably harvested palm, "okay?" No. In fact, if my budget could withstand pricier shampoos and conditioners, I'd freely toss my money at them.
As it stands, my shampoo and conditioner from Carina Organics was $11.99 per bottle, and virtually any family member or friend of mine would scoff at me for paying that much. In my opinion, the price was reasonable for a pretty stellar set of products.
about the brand
Carina Organics is a Vancouver-based beauty brand that formulates small batch, sustainably sourced items such as hair and body care. For those of us who like multi-use products, they create shampoo + body wash products as 2-in-1 items that are crafted using the same standards as their non 2-in-1 products.
What I appreciate about this brand - aside from it being Canadian, like yours truly - is its dedication to making small-batch beauty that is both certified organic as well as considerate of local suppliers. According to their website:
"Our sourcing methodology is based on selecting the highest quality ingredients. This means ingredients that are certified organic and impact nature as little as is possible in the harvesting process. This includes impact consideration of emissions, regrowth of the plant being harvested, and the surrounding environment. We strive to use local suppliers where ever possible, whenever possible. Should a product not be available locally we aim to find the nearest supplier that meets our environmental standards. Every supplier of raw materials is researched to confirm that their methods of farming or harvesting meet these sustainability standards."
They also fully explain their use of palm oil, where it comes from, and what kind of palm oil derivatives they use. Though I would prefer they didn't use palm at all, there has to be something said for a brand that is willing to lay its cards on the table and be transparent enough to explain their use of it. In particular, the brand notes:
"Palm Oil is of particular concern for many and this is for good reason. Palm Oil production in many regions of the world has come at an extreme environmental cost including deforestation, habitat loss, and the harming of orangutans and other wildlife populations. Rather than re-using and re-planting previously deforested areas, some palm oil producers are instead choosing to destroy orangutan rainforest habitat to make way for palm oil plantations, leaving orangutans homeless and vulnerable to starvation, disease, poaching, and other conflicts, pushing the orangutan species closer to extinction."
"Our Brazil-sourced palm oil is 100% organic and because orangutans are not native to South America, the Brazilian palm industry does not adversely impact their wellbeing.When necessary, alternative supply comes from responsible sources in peninsular Malaysia, which is also a non-native orangutan habitat. Suppliers are all members of the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), the leading global organization developing and implementing global standards for sustainable palm oil production."
Palm-free beauty queens will be happy to note that the brand is committed to reducing the use of both palm oil as well as beeswax in their products, with the goal of eventually dismissing all use of palm oil from their production. They also provide a transparent ingredient glossary for customers curious about what goes into their products. You'll additionally find their ingredient lists marked and highlighted according to those ingredients which are certified organic and natural.
In other words, the brand goes the extra mile to provide the customer with as much information about their products and ingredients as possible.
Their products are also free from potentially harmful ingredients such as Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Ammonium Laureth Sulfate, Cocamide DEA (Diethanolamine), Propylene Glycol and Sodium Chloride. Their line of products are, additionally, vegan.
The main benefit for me in using Carina Organics is its commitment to natural, non-synthetic, and chemical-free products. Unlike many liquid shampoos which purport to be natural or "green," I personally feel that Carina Organics is as close to a sustainable, green line of hair care products that I'm going to get, without totally eliminating liquid hair care products from my beauty regimen altogether. The fact that they make a sustainable liquid shampoo and conditioner is, on its own, quite applaudable; it's the first time I've seen a brand be so openly transparent while producing what is essentially a store-bought product you don't have to pay an arm and a leg for, or purchase from an entirely different country with 3-week shipping periods.
Though I'm an adamant fan of natural shampoo bars, I find it difficult to completely abandon liquid shampoo altogether. And when it comes to hair conditioner, the same applies. I have yet to find a totally natural, effective, solid conditioner bar, for example. But I don't believe we need to abandon liquid hair care products. Rather, what it comes down to is finding brands which strive to create and produce products that are as sustainable, natural, and environmentally friendly as possible. As a woman who loves being outdoors and is mindful of my impact on nature and fellow sentient beings, shampoo and conditioner products like those from Carina Organics which are safe for rivers, lakes, and oceans are also a wonderful alternative to most hair cleansers you can take with you when camping, hiking, etc (though this isn't meant to indicate that man-made soaps are healthy for our major waterways). And when a brand is committed to consistently improving their products, we can recognize that green beauty is something we must constantly work and move towards.
As for the results, I'm happy to report that my hair is shiny, bouncy, and not at all oily. A little bit of this shampoo does go a long way to cleanse your hair, and the conditioner is light enough for daily use. The light citrus scent is both natural and uplifting, and I find both the shampoo and conditioner don't weigh my hair down and are certainly easier to use than my shampoo bars. If, like me, you find it difficult to ditch liquid shampoo altogether, give Carina Organics a try and see if the results work for your hair. In the interim, I'll keep my shampoo bars on hand for easy travel!
~All imagery in this post courtesy of yours truly (me).