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20 Worst Shampoos That Cause Hair Loss (In 2023)


Hair care products have become extremely competitive. Many new brands launch every year, which means that companies like Loreal, Revlon, and even Dove are not always the best.

Exploring the many brands is important because it’s not just about price but also quality. Many use new and exciting marketing tactics to prove to people why their hair care products are the best.

When you start to look at shampoos, it’s important to know how they will work – and whether they are going to lead to hair loss rather than the amazing sheen and volume that they promise. The worst shampoo for hair loss may surprise you, especially because they are some of the most commonly purchased products.

The worst shampoos that you can put in your hair can lead to problems not only with your hair but the rest of your body. You may encounter dermatology issues like skin rashes and itchy scalps. And you may find that some of the worst shampoos that cause hair loss leave you spending more money to fix the problems caused by the hair products you bought.

Knowing about the worst shampoo for hair will allow you to purchase them with greater confidence.

Watch out for Poor Quality

Poor quality shampoos, sadly, do hit store shelves, and people who don’t know any better will buy them. Usually, they’re the lowest-priced shampoos available, but this isn’t always the case.

Sometimes, a shampoo product will sport a hefty price tag that suggests it has some real value to it when, in truth, it doesn’t. Reading ingredients on a bottle only shows the contents inside, but it does not reveal the quality level of those contents, nor where they came from.

Laboratories that formulate recipes for shampoo products aren’t always as concerned about the importance of hair health as they are about making a profit for a company whose primary interest is more in the number of products sold to the consumer instead of its quality level.

When it comes to questionable quality, there are 20 worst shampoos for hair that really stand out. This list names off shampoos that have established for themselves a lousy reputation in the hair care industry. In some cases, it seems what they’re allowed to put on the shelves for consumers’ use comes across as criminal.

Our Methodology

We didn’t randomly create a list of the worst shampoos that cause hair loss. Instead, we did our research so we could provide you with critical information. It allows you to understand why the shampoo is so bad and why you should avoid it.

Here’s some of the methodology that we use:

  • Research studies: Some studies have been conducted to show the worst shampoos for hair loss because of the chemicals that are used and how they failed to deliver on their promises.
  • Product websites: We look at the websites where the manufacturers talk about the claims for the products and list off the ingredients used.
  • Customer reviews: We pay attention to the reviews from real customers to see what they have to say about using particular shampoos.
  • Health blogs: Many health blogs will explore the worst shampoos that cause hair loss, allowing people to learn what they need to stay away from.
  • Hairstylists: Professional hairstylists will often talk about the different shampoos since that’s their business. We pay attention to the ones they love as well as the ones they hate.

20. TRESemme Vitamin B12 & Gelatin Anti-Breakage Strengthening Shampoo

The most common complaint about this shampoo product by TRESemme is doing the polar opposite of what the product’s name suggests. Instead of the Anti-Breakage Strengthening Shampoo TRESemme boasts on the label, the hair dries out even more after using it.

Instead of strengthening the hair, it weakens it. Another common complaint is how the hair will have an odd waxy feel to it as if the shampoo has mistaken the hair follicles as candles.

The mix of dry and wax on top of the head is not a good feeling, which is blamed on the gelatin ingredient TRESemme has used in its shampoo-making formula. TRESemme has a bad reputation for using a number of toxic ingredients such as Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Polypropylene Glycol, Dimethiconol, and a number of other synthetics.

These are all ingredients that are linked to a number of medical issues, such as cancer, respiratory complications, and reproductive organs.T

he reviews are relatively positive on Amazon, but it leads to tangles – and that can cause further breakage. Ultimately, it’s one that, if you can help it, stay away from.

19. Herbal Essences Tousle Me Softly

While Herbal Essences Tousle Me Softly Shampoo seems to have a nice enough scent of hibiscus, it fails to deliver on its promise to provide a head of hair that is healthy, soft, and wavy. Consumers who’ve used this product have more thumbs down issued against it than thumbs up as they each pointed out after a few weeks of using it, the hair felt anything but healthy. Instead, both the hair and scalp felt brittle and dry.

The brand has a few different products with the “Tousle Me Softly” name, including not only shampoo but also a styling mist and mousse. It’s specifically designed for people with wavy hair. While it promises to be “frizz-fighting,” it usually does quite the opposite.

18. Matrix Total Results High Amplify Shampoo

The Matrix shampoo being on the list may surprise you because it’s actually used by quite a few salons. This includes the JC Penney salon, so if you go there to get your hair done, there’s a good chance that the stylist is going to use this shampoo on your hair.

Instead of providing a healthy volume of hair on a person’s head like the label on the bottle of the shampoo suggests, it does anything but. Instead, the hair becomes flattened out, which contradicts the promise Matrix’s Total Results High Amplify Shampoo says it won’t do.

People who color their hair also found this brand stripped that color away and did more damage to the hair’s health rather than help it. Matrix has demonstrated here through this awful product that even when something costs somewhat more than most of the shampoo products, it doesn’t always mean it’s going to be a better quality one.

17. Head & Shoulders 2 In 1: Hair Loss

For many years, Head & Shoulders has promoted the 2-in-1 shampoo with conditioner products to appease the consumers who have to contend with dandruff.

This particular product, Head & Shoulder manufactures not only tackles the issue of dandruff, but hair loss has brought about less than satisfactory results, at least according to the numerous complaints from their consumers. Relieving dandruff also means relieving the itchiness of the scalp. This shampoo product does not do that.

It does the opposite, making the problem worse instead of better. There are also sulfates that are used as one of the ingredients in the shampoo, which has already been established to damage the hair follicle, which causes breakage.

This product makes the hair brittle, which compromises its overall health even further. This product has no business being on a store shelf anywhere, let alone have so much as a dime spent on it.

According to Top Class Actions website, many of the Head and Shoulders products have been part of class action lawsuits. This is because they make false claims. People buy the product assuming that it will help with hair loss, only to make the problems worse. It’s definitely not a great discovery, and it’s why some people are taking the brand to court.

16. Bath & Body Works Signature Collection Moisturizing Shampoo

According to consumer reviews on sites such as Total Beauty, the scent from the Bath & Beauty Works Signature Collection Moisturizing Shampoo is the only positive thing it has going for it.

The rest, not so much. Complaints of hair feeling sticky, greasy, and lifeless are the common share of comments consumers of this product when stating their own personal reviews. Despite it costing more than the average shampoo product, the real value of it is not even worth half the dollar amount.

If you’re looking for something that smells good and has a name brand attached to it, you can do better than Bath & Body Works, find something better. Stick to this brand purely for their hand soaps and body lotions.

15. Burt’s Bees Rosemary Mint Shampoo Bar

This shampoo may have the odd half-decent product, but when it comes to the world of shampoos, this is not their forte. Burt’s Bees Rosemary Mint Shampoo Bar already sounds odd, to begin with.

Hairstylists are in mutual agreement that pretty much all of Burt’s Bees shampoo products are horrible. This one, however, gets an honorary mention as it is the most despised shampoo from Burt’s lineup.

While beeswax may work well for ChapStick, that same waxy feel in a person’s hair doesn’t. In addition to complaints of the hair feeling like a glued-on helmet, it also loses its moisture content, which doesn’t do the hair any favors at all. The website talks about its natural origins. However, there’s one other thing to be aware of – some people have beeswax allergies. That means that applying this shampoo bar on your head could be the worst thing for your scalp.

14. Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Special Shampoo

Despite having a number of natural plant extracts, they are drowned out by the ridiculous amount of harsh chemicals that come into the equation. Behind water, the top two ingredients Paul Mitchell uses in all their shampoo products are Sodium Laureth Sulfate and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. While their website says that it will “energize your scalp” most people find that it can actually be quite painful.

These are known culprits to cause skin irritation, plus hair damage that can be severe enough to lose some of it off your scalp. Among consumers and salons who don’t know better, they’re unwittingly doing more damage to their hair and skin than helping.

If you’re going to the hair salon and realize they’re relying on Paul Mitchell’s Tea Tree Special Shampoo, you may want to reconsider. Your best bet is to invest your hair care money elsewhere.

That being said, it’s not just the Paul Mitchell brand. It’s literally any product that uses tea tree because of the irritation it can cause.

13. Dove Nutritive Solutions Shampoo for Damaged Hair Intensive Repair

Dove’s Nutritive Solutions Shampoo for Damaged Hair Intensive Repair is a misleading label that fails to mention the list of ingredients that are all directly linked to causing itchy scalps, hair loss, and a number of other toxins that can lead to very serious medical conditions that can literally become life-threatening.

The substances of Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Chloride, and Polypropylene Glycol are all highly toxic ingredients loaded with enough impurities that should cause any consumer of hair care products to think twice about spending their money on something that will do them more harm in the long run than good.

Incidecoder helps to break down many of the ingredients so you know what each thing does. For example, gluconolactone is one of the ingredients in shampoo, which is known to be an exfoliant. Not really the kind of thing you want in your shampoo, so it’s no wonder why it’s one of the worst shampoos that cause hair loss.

12. Garnier Fructis Grow Strong Shampoo

Garnier Fructis Grow Strong Shampoo may try to impress the consumer with the apple, lemon peel extracts, and sugar cane ingredients listed on the bottle, but there’s not nearly enough of it to properly fend off the harmful toxins that come from the junky list of Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate.

Issues such as allergic reactions, skin irritation, and hair loss are all the unfortunate side effects associated with this ludicrous example of a shampoo product.

It comes down to how much you use and what your other problems are with your hair. The Hair Everyday blog talked about the chemicals. They offered a trick about making sure to dilute the shampoo with water during application. Considering the shampoo is a bit costlier than others, it may be best to avoid it altogether.

11. TRESemme Rich Moisture Shampoo

If skin irritation, plus scalp issues, is not a concern for you, then TRESemme’s Rich Moisture Shampoo may not sound so bad. However, the Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Polypropylene Glycol, and the silicone Dimethiconol are also linked to a number of other medical issues that are concerning enough to reconsider taking this item home as part of your hair care collection.

If you’re noticing a trend, this is the second TRESemme shampoo that has made the list of worst shampoos. It’s really all about the number of chemicals they use – and that makes for a less-than-stellar product.

10. Head & Shoulders Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

Using Head & Shoulders Anti-Dandruff Shampoo is like pouring liquid laundry detergent on your head. The detergents of Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Sodium Laureth Sulfate are linked to allergic reactions and hair loss. With its claim to solve the dandruff problem, it does not care to admit problems that are more severe than a few flakes on your head and shoulders are very likely to occur when you use its excuse of a shampoo product.

One of the reasons why people reach for this product is because it’s cheap. It’s also because Head & Shoulders is well-marketed, so people with dandruff automatically think of this brand.

The brand’s website promises that it will help to relieve itchy and dry scalps, but it actually causes them in many instances.

9. L’Oreal Paris Elvive Total Repair 5 Repairing Shampoo

For years, L’Oreal has won over a solid fan following of their hair care products, including shampoos. Its Paris Elvive Total Repair 5 Repairing Shampoo is as toxic as they come, as are most of the products coming from this particular brand.

A number of harsh detergents, plus the Sodium Chloride and synthetic silicone Dimethicone, are all directly tied to itchy scalps, skin irritation, and a number of other problems that have a growing number of dermatologists recommend avoiding this product from L’Oreal would be a good idea.

8. Aussie Total Miracle Shampoo

Is it a crime or a miracle that Aussie Total Miracle Shampoo is allowed to be sold to the public? The list of ingredients that have already been linked to allergic reactions, skin irritation, hair loss, and even cancer include Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, and Cocamidopropyl Betaine are the top ingredients listed after water. These synthetic sulfates have proven, time and time again, to be too toxic for the human body, even if it’s something put on top of our heads.

The Makeup Alley blog talks about how they like some of the other Aussie products but not this one. It goes on thick and can be difficult to rinse out.

If you like the Aussie brand, just avoid this particular shampoo, and you should be okay.

7. Suave Essentials

Suave Essentials shares the same common problem as every other major brand that convinces the public they’re buying a quality product when, in reality, they’re not. This shampoo has the Sodium Laureth Sulfate as the first main ingredient on the list, which is a petroleum-based synthetic.

If that’s not toxic enough, the rest of the ingredients that go into the formula of this horrible example of a shampoo product all measure up to the perfect recipe to cause a series of medical issues that would otherwise be avoided if you spent your hard-earned dollars elsewhere.

6. Pantene Pro-V Nature Fusion Smooth Vitality Shampoo

There are so many harmful ingredients in every single one of Pantene’s products that makes one wonder why anybody would want to have anything to do with them. One of the most common discoveries among users of Pantene, especially its Pro-V Nature Fusion Smooth Vitality Shampoo, is experiencing sudden hair loss.

The Sodium Laureth Sulfate and Cocamidopropyl Betaine ingredients are commonly found among most hair care products sold by brands that are either not educated enough about the amount of damage it does to a person’s health, or simply don’t care.

Pantene’s products have been linked to a number of hormonal and reproductive issues among men and women, as well as using Methylchloroisothiazolinone and Methylisothiazolinone, which are linked to causing allergies and chemical burns.

5. Pantene Pro-V Daily Moisture Renewal Shampoo

Pantene gets to be named twice in the list of worst shampoos money can buy as its Pro-V Daily Moisture Renewal Shampoo does the exact opposite as the brand name suggests. Again, Pantene fails to be responsible enough to take into consideration that whatever consumers buy from them is one of the most foolish dollars ever spent on any form of hair care product there is. It’s not worth the money, not even for free.

Even People Magazine talked about this shampoo. While some people loved it, the Essntls Lab CEO explained that “In reality, your hair might be feeling dry and straw-like because there are multiple different surfactants or cleansing ingredients that will still dry out your hair, and the extracts and the coffee oil are not enough to rehydrate and create that softness back in your hair while cleaning it.”

4. American Crew 3-in-1 Shampoo, Conditioner, and Body Wash

The first ingredient behind water for the American Crew 3-in-1 Shampoo, Conditioner, and Body Wash product is Sodium Laureth Sulfate. This is the godfather of skin irritation and allergies, which is found far too often in hair care products, especially all the low-quality ones that claim to do something it honestly doesn’t.

Synthetic oil silicone Dimethicone is what builds up on scalps, which causes clogged pores and skin irritation. This is not a dermatology-friendly product. There is absolutely nothing positive to say about this ridiculously toxic shampoo. It’s not even good enough to pass as a body wash. Spare the dollar and find something better.

3. Nexxus Ultimate Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner -Therappe and Humectress Collection

Nexxus boasts their Ultimate Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner from the Therappe and Humectress Collection locks in moisture to unleash the hair’s smoothness.

While the statement may be true, what the brand does not reveal is how it’s done. Both the shampoo and the conditioner are highly toxic products that shouldn’t even be offered for free, let alone as a priced product.

Skin-irritants and allergy-inducing agents such as Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, and Methylisothiazolinone are used in all of the Nexxus hair care products without any regard to what it can do to a human being who uses it.

These are chemicals that have been known to chemically burn the scalp, damage the hair, and even cause serious enough problems to do cause some serious medical issues beneath the skin.

As if the shampoo itself isn’t enough to do such damage, the partnering conditioner is even worse. The Dimethicone synthetic and the coal tar colorants involved are known cancer-causing agents that can devastate your health overall. Is this product from Nexxus really worth your money? This depends on how seriously you take your health from head to toe.

2. Alberto VO5 Moisture Milks Strawberries and Cream Moisturizing Shampoo

Normally, shampoo products shouldn’t have to come with a warning label that will cause an educated, discerning customer from buying them. Alberto VO5’s Moisture Milks Strawberries and Cream Moisturizing Shampoo comes with the California Proposition 65 warning, which instantly should cause a potential buyer of this product to reconsider.

Furthermore, the formaldehyde preservative, DMDM Hydantoin is directly linked to cancer and skin allergies. It also has the surfactant Cocamidopropyl Betaine that is also linked to skin disorders such as blistering and irritation. If you deliberately want to make yourself sick with the potential of contending with life-threatening cancer, then this would be the product to go with.

However, if you’re a sensible person who’d rather be healthier, avoid not just this product from Alberto VO5 but all of them.

1. Selsun Blue Maximum Strength with Aloe Dandruff Shampoo

As harsh as this may sound, Selsun Blue should be held legally accountable for a number of medical problems their hair care products have caused the people who made the mistake of trusting their brand enough to buy any of it.

While Selsun Blue Maximum Strength with Aloe Dandruff Shampoo is named as the worst of the worst, the company itself has much to answer for as to why they would dare put known cancer-causing ingredients such as Selenium Sulfide.

According to a Class Action lawsuit document, Selsun Blue needs to be held accountable for what they do. The formaldehyde-releasing preservative known as DMDM Hydantoin is directly linked to causing cancer and skin allergies.

This, in reality, should be deemed as a criminally negligent act, punishable by law. With this being said, spending any amount of money on any given product made by Selsun Blue is the equivalent of playing Russian Roulette with your health? Is it worth it? That depends on how seriously you look after your own health.


The fact that these listed brands who deliberately install ingredients known to be harmful are allowed to make and sell such products to the people is concerning. The worst of the lot seems to be anti-dandruff shampoos that claim to solve a problem. Often, they market themselves to appear as though they’ve solved all of your problems when in reality, they are the worst shampoos for hair, period.

On each occasion, companies like Head & Shoulders and Selsun Blue conveniently cover up the reality that the number of medical problems they promote actually makes dealing with dandruff seem not so bad in the long run.

Even among the seemingly lesser evil of the list should still be held accountable for what they’re selling to the public. It’s one thing for a buyer to be aware of, but the sellers should be aware too.

With the growing number of activists who are fed up with animals and humans being fed with inferior products by brands proving to be as unethical as they come, sooner or later, each of those big brands will have to either clean up their act or step out of the hair and skincare industry altogether.

There are far better products consumers can spend their money on. offers a good list of sulfate-free shampoo products that are far more worthy of your money. You can end up with better results, avoid rinsing your money down the drain, and avoid adding more chemicals into your hair, scalp, and body.

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Lily Wordsmith

Written by Lily Wordsmith

Lily Wordsmith is a freelance writer who has had a love affair with the written word for decades. You can find her writing blog posts and articles while sitting under a tree at the local park watching her kids play, or typing away on her tablet in line at the DMV. In addition to her freelance career, she is pursuing ebook writing with an ever-growing repertoire of witty ebooks to her name. Her diversity is boundless, and she has written about everything from astrobotany to zookeepers. Her real passions are her family, baking desserts and all things luxe.

Read more posts by Lily Wordsmith

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