Methylisothiazolinone free shampoo

So many everyday shampoos contain methylisothiazolinone, and possibly methylchlorisothiazolinone too, that the MI-sensitive consumer can struggle to find good, affordable shampoos – especially when first diagnosed, and additionally when requiring products free from other ingredients, such as fragrances. 

Here is a selection. For more products, see also our Hair Directory

The Body Shop Shampoo Range

The brand has a MI-free policy, so all shampoos (and other products, including their conditioners) are safe to use. The shampoos include Ginger Scalp Care, and very popular Banana Shampoo. Browse their range at The Body Shop Amazon Store (US) and The Body Shop Amazon Store (UK), or see their US site here, or UK site here

Fragrance-Free-Shampoo-425f729_main-2Faith In Nature Fragrance Free Shampoo (400ml)

Faith in Nature are entirely MI-free, so all their shampoos (and conditioners) are safe, but for those with fragrance sensitivities, this particular product is ideal. It suits those who like a slightly soapy feel to their shampoo, and a foam, as this product has ALS (ammonium laureth sulphate) rather than SLS, but it is very unlikely to trigger any sensitivities at all as it has a very plain and simple formulation. You can find it online, and in the UK in Holland and Barrett.

Green People Neutral Scent Free Shampoo (200ml)

Another fragrance free option, and one which, like the Faith in Nature shampoo, uses a sulphate – although in this case it’s sodium coco sulphate, which has a better reputation among advocates of natural cosmetics than ALS. Again, the entire GP range is isothiazolinone-free, and this is ideal for those with sensitive skin and allergies – including food allergies, as only corn and coconut derivatives are used, alongside herbal botanicals. Learn more on the Green People site. Products are on Amazon; for other stockists contact GP directly

JASGLUTENSHAMP_largeJASON Gluten Free Shampoo (473ml)

Lots of shampoos (and conditioners) use wheat protein as it is excellent at building body and conditioning hair. Although little research has been done on the effects of gluten in cosmetics on those with celiac / coeliac disease or other gluten intolerance, many consumers, understandably, wish to avoid taking the ‘risk’. This product is not the only gluten free one on the market, but is one of the few to nail its colours so firmly to the mast. There are a dozen or so shampoos in the JASON range – including a fragrance free version – and the brand is safely isothiazolinone-free. For details see the US site here, the Canadian site here or the UK site here. In the UK, they are stocked by most health stores. You can also buy online

Johnson’s Baby Shampoo (300ml)

It won’t win any friends for its natural qualities, as it contains SLES and petrochemical derivatives and artificial fragrances / colorants, but it is MI free – as is their entire ‘baby’ range, as they confirm here. (This appears to be true of their brand across other nations, as their South African site here confirms the same.) It’s also parabens free.

Neutrogena T/Gel Shampoos (125ml)

This is a small collection of shampoos, including a fragrance free one for sensitive scalps. The ingredients for UK products can be seen here. They are preserved with parabens not isothiazolinones.
For the US versions, click here, though it’s not always clear what the preservation system is in the products. They appear to be MI-free, but double check labels. (A search suggests the Triple Repair Fortifying Shampoo is the only MI-containing Neutrogena shampoo, so avoid that one.)

gentleherbshampoo-200mlOdylique’s Gentle Herb Shampoo (20 / 200 / 500ml)

This product can divide opinion – a few people don’t seem to like it, but the many who do swear by it and are very faithful to it, as testified by the product being named best shampoo for sensitive scalps in the prestigious Guide des Meilleurs Cosmetiques 2015-16. It also received a gold medal in the ‘Free From’ Skincare Awards Hair Care category in 2013. It’s a simple formula, with aloe vera, coconut and corn cleansers, plus herbs, and contains no fragrance allergens or other undesirable ingredients. It does not contain any sulphates, and uses gentle detergent coco glucoside instead. Free from food allergens such as wheat and nuts too. You can buy a sampler for £2.50 on the Odylique site – a terrific service which more brands should offer. 

QV Shampoos (200g)

These Australian shampoos – and conditioners – use parabens as preservatives and are safely MI free. Again, quite straightforward formulations, not particularly natural, but probably good for most with any kind of allergy or sensitivity. See the QV Skincare (Australia) site for more information.

Salcura Shampoos (200ml)L_Shampoo

Two therapeutic shampoos especially formulated for problem scalps. One is the Omega Rich Shampoo for itchy scalps and psoriasis relief – which contains a variety of omega oils, has some excellent anecdotal reports of effectiveness, and is one of Salcura’s signature products. The other is a child’s shampoo, the Bioskin Junior Shampoo, which is for younger scalps prone to eczema and dryness. They use phenoxyethanol and ethylhexylglycerin preservatives, in place of the dreaded isothiazolinones, and have an MI-free policy across all their products, which include conditioners.

Caution!

Everyday high-street brands often contain MI, so take extreme care when shopping in regular supermarkets, stores and pharmacies. 

TRESemme is reported as being MI Free on some sites, but at least some of their products contain MI, both in UK and US.

The same goes for Garnier Fructis. In the US, these products contain it.

Further, at least some shampoos by Herbal Essences, John Frieda, Charles Worthington, Pantene and Head & Shoulders contain both MI and MCI

19 Comments

  1. Fiona

    This is a super helpful post – thank you.
    Great to hear that I can safely shop in body shop too :0)

    Reply
    1. MI Free (Post author)

      Thanks Fiona. Yes – they’re one of the few companies to make a MI statement on their site – https://help.thebodyshop.co.uk/help/products-and-services/Methylisothiazolinone – and wish more would follow suit – not only about MI / MCI, but about other allergens and ingredients too. Would be a great help!

      Reply
  2. Monica Morrison

    I have many allergies and so does my son – he also has coeliac disease and currently uses Neutrogena T Gel for Sensitive Scalp – but has really bad dandruff – he has been to the doctors and got a stronger shampoo with no effect – any ideas what he could use (must not contain gluten or MI)

    I am going to try Salcura Shampoo to see if that makes a difference
    we have tried from really expensive ranges right through with no success
    he is 14 and also has aspergers so is really conscious of his hair

    Reply
    1. MI Free (Post author)

      Hi Monica,

      Funnily enough coeliac is my other specialist subject! 🙂

      Faith in Nature have an anti-dandruff mint shampoo that looks to be GF.

      There’s this herbal and natural anti-dandruff shampoo from Handmade Naturals: http://www.handmadenaturals.co.uk/111/natural-herbal-anti-dandruff-shampoo

      There’s also this more medicinal looking product called Nizoral, which I’d not come across before, but which appears to be both MI and gluten free. Though NB, it isn’t vegetarian: http://amzn.to/265xwth

      Any good?

      All the best,
      Alex

      Reply
  3. Sylvia

    I’ve been looking and still haven’t found a volumising shampoo and conditioner yet on the uk!

    Reply
    1. MI Free (Post author)

      Hi Sylvia,

      Not easy is it …

      All I’ve managed to find is Silk Oil of Morocco Argan Volumizing Shampoo and Conditioner:
      https://www.silkoilofmorocco.co.uk/shop/argan-volumizing-shampoo/
      and
      https://www.silkoilofmorocco.co.uk/shop/argan-volumizing-conditioner/

      They seem to use phenoxyethanol and other preservatives instead, such as ethylhexylglycerin in the shampoo. Look OK to me.

      Anyone else got any more?

      All the best,
      Alex.

      Reply
      1. Sylvia

        Thank you, I’ll give it a go

        Reply
  4. REM

    Hi. I’ve just been diagnosed as MI (and nickel) intolerant through hospital testing after many years. I’ve heard that DR Organics shampoos and conditioners are MI free – including a volumising rose scented version (smells like Turkish delight!). Hope I’m right with this? Spookily enough I’m also wheat and gluten intolerant having been diagnosed some 20 years ago – is there a connection?

    Take care, Rx

    Reply
    1. MI Free (Post author)

      Hello! Dr Organics that’s sold in Holland and Barrett? Yes, they are MI-free – across the board, I believe, but I can’t find the specific product you’re referring to. Do you have a link – and I can check it out to be sure?

      I don’t think there’s any specific connection between dairy / gluten sensitivity and MI / nickel sensitivity, but they are all immune / allergy-related conditions, and there is some evidence that if you suffer from one immune condition you’re slightly more likely to suffer from others. I write and blog on food allergy and intolerance a lot, on my other blog – http://foodallergyandintolerance.blogspot.co.uk – which you might find of interest.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      All the best, Alex

      Reply
  5. Roen

    Thanks Alex

    Yes the ones sold by H&B. I’m referring to the Rose range of products. The Dr Organics website shows the full range but doesn’t appear to give details of ingredients…
    http://www.drorganic.co.uk

    I actually buy through Holland Barrett who do list the ingredients on their website. I also use the Moroccan Argan Oil, Pomegranate and Virgin Olive Oil versions of shampoo and conditioners on my long dark hair with oily roots and dry end.

    Interestingly I took a look at the Body Shop yesterday and asked the assistants about MI – they didn’t have a clue what I was on about. Its a shame that they don’t educate their staff to help customers as it means they are losing out on business for something they positively do!

    Thanks for the blog, I’ll take a look.

    Take care. Rx

    Reply
    1. MI Free (Post author)

      Hi Roen,

      That doesn’t surprise me about Body Shop. High street and popular brands of cosmetics and the big beauty houses are just not very well tuned in to the needs of those with sensitivities, allergies or other concerns about ingredients. They’re all about the ‘beauty’ – rather than the ‘health’. The natural brands – those which are organic, or Soil Association registered, or ECOcert registered, or just use natural plant oils and extracts as much as possible – are far more aware of these issues.

      In their (Body Shop’s) defence, as they don’t use MI, it’s possible that they assistants simply would never have encountered it. Boots and Superdrug – who sell methylisothiazolinone-containing products – and the big beauty houses who use MI and MCI, should really be expected to know about it, though, I’d hope!

      All the best, Alex.

      Reply
  6. lisa

    TRESemme is a definite no no for me…I suffer everytime I use any of their shampoos or conditioners.
    Also tried Lidl range of shampoos and conditioners but they are very bad for me.

    Reply
    1. MI Free (Post author)

      If you react to a lot of different shampoos / products, then it’s possible you have allergies or sensitivities to other ingredients – possibly preservatives, possibly fragrances …. You can only really find out through patch testing or allergy testing.

      I’ve never looked at Lidl’s skincare products, but will do ….

      Reply
  7. Amy Clift

    Is methylparabens the same as mi and mci?

    Reply
    1. MI Free (Post author)

      Hi Amy – no, absolutely not. See this article on the site: http://mi-free.com/articles/other-names-for-mi/

      Reply
  8. Fran Morey

    EcoStore products – available in New Zealand and Australia – beauty and household products – all MI free – see no nasty chemicals.org. Can recommend them – I suffer from MI allergies, diagnosed by patch testing.

    Reply
    1. MI Free (Post author)

      Thanks Fran. I’ll look into them and add them to the directories on the site. It’s difficult for me (UK based) to get info from Aus / NZ, but very useful to have it.

      Reply
  9. AnnieO

    beautyCounter (USA) products work and are MI free. but not voluminizing!

    Reply
    1. MI Free (Post author)

      Thanks Annie – yes, Beauty Counter are an MI-free brand. I did a piece on volumizing conditioners – http://mi-free.com/volumising-conditioners/ – but may follow up with a piece on volumizing shampoos soon.

      Reply

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