Echoclean shampoo review: fewer chemicals, more natural, scalp feels better

First published on July 3, 2010

As a guy, my shampoo needs are few. Shampoo should make my hair feel clean and not have any bad side effects.

For years, I’d been using shampoo like Herbal Essences and Garnier Fructis.

Garnier Fructis shampoo bottle

Most mainstream shampoos have the following characteristics:

  • relatively cheap
  • wide distribution, due to good business relationship with major grocery stores and drugstores
  • thick and frothy so you think your hair is getting clean
  • smells good
  • lots of marketing effort, so that even if you’re a guy and the ads don’t directly appeal to you, those brands of shampoo are top-of-mind

For years, I’d have some hair loss in the morning (as everybody does), and I’d had somewhat dry skin and a dry scalp. Although my hair is still as thick and plentiful as ever, I started to think that Garnier Fructis had been making my head itchier than it should be, and that the number of hairs falling out in the morning if I were to shake my hands through my hair was more than usual.

An inspection of the ingredient list shocked me:

Garnier Fructis shampoo ingredients

What are all of these long and complicated chemical names?

Sodium laureth sulfate, disodium cocoamphodiacetate, glycol distearate, sodium laureth-8 sulfate, pyrus malus, hexylene glycol… hydroxypropyl guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride, polyquaternium-30… dmdm hydantoin, niacinamide…

A quick Google search yielded some toxicity concerns. Now, I know that if we looked close enough, most products are bad for us in some way. But I figured, there must be less irritating shampoos with ingredients that are less mysterious.

I ended up trying Echoclean shampoo sold at Choices Markets.

Echoclean shampoo bottle

Echoclean is rather watery, doesn’t foam as much, and is not even close to as thick as other shampoos I’ve used — that took some getting used to. It smells good, but not overwhelmingly amazing. The important thing is that my head and hair feel good after using it, my scalp doesn’t feel dried out, and my hair isn’t falling out so much in the morning. My hair feels clean, and I don’t need a sensual smell experience or a lots of foaming to get that feeling.

The ingredient list is short and non-offensive:

Echoclean shampoo ingredients

This list is mostly intended to create a good, natural shampoo rather than the illusion of a good shampoo:

purified water, coconut oil, palm oil and other plant oil derived surfactants, food grade preservatives, natural colorants, peach extracts

Echoclean’s regular price for a 500mL bottle was about $6 (although it was on sale for $4), compared to Garnier Fructis’ $4 regular price for a 384mL bottle. So even when comparing the normal prices, Echoclean isn’t overly expensive, although I’m certainly willing to pay a small premium if it’s better for my hair and potentially the environment (with its claims of “all-natural” and “biodegradable”).

While I’m recommending Echoclean, it’s not the only alternative shampoo solution. It’s not available everywhere, it’s not perfect, and its ingredient list could be more closely scrutinized. And you always have to beware of greenwashing. Compared to Garnier Fructis and similar shampoos, though, Echoclean is a comfortable step forward.

Start your quest for a happier scalp by looking for less shiny, less marketed shampoos that don’t have such a crazy list of ingredients.

After a few months of using Echoclean, I decided to try Garnier Fructis again, just once. The itch, dandruff, and hair loss it produced was worse than before, presumably because my head had been enjoying its detoxified state for too long! Echoclean is my shampoo of choice for now!


6 Responses to “Echoclean shampoo review: fewer chemicals, more natural, scalp feels better”

  1. scruss says:

    Mind you, sodium laureth sulfate and disodium cocoamphodiacetate are also "coconut oil, palm oil and other plant oil derived surfactants". Since it doesn’t foam so much, I’m guessing Echoclean has less (or no) sodium laureth sulfate – it’s the cheap, foamy detergent that makes "clean" suds.

    Reply from Peter: Thanks, that’s a good point on the less-conspicuous naming of the same stuff.

  2. Dakkar says:

    Thanks for sharing! Will definately look into it!

  3. christophe says:

    It’s the same story with toothpaste. The Aquafreshes and Colgates of the world are full of chemicals, some of which are known to be harmful! There are lots of alternatives out there – effective toothpaste without all the chemical crap.

    Reply from Peter: You’re right. It’s even more difficult with the mainstream toothpastes because they usually don’t list the ingredients!

  4. Julia says:

    Shower products are one of the easiest places to ‘go green’ – there are some good vendors for body and hair soap.

    I like Live Clean for shampoo (and they’re a canadian company):

    And Pacificsoapworks for body (also Canadian – local if you live in Vancouver):

    Reply from Peter: Very cool. At which store(s) have you purchased these products?

  5. purple says:

    Try a shampoo bar from Lush- same products minus the water and NOT in a big plastic container. Eco needs to encompass ingredients, as well as from-earth-to-earth affects.

  6. Gino says:

    I live in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I wish to purchase more of the echo clean shampoo in the floral peach sent.
    I would appreciate if you can reply where I may be able to purchase more of same in the GTA.


    My e-mail is above…Thank you.

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