Sulphates (might) suck, but they work: Body Shop Rainforest Shampoo Review

The jury still seems to be out on whether sulphates are bad. The chemical ingredients commonly found in shampoos, cleaning products and soaps – sodium laureth (and lauryl) sulphate – have been demonised A LOT online recently. They do appear to be damaging for your hair if you wash it every day, as they trap the natural protective oils so they can be washed away. One American report says sulphates could even be harmful to marine life under certain conditions. But generally, it’s fine – at least that’s what Lush say, because they use it in the majority of their products. Definitely trustworthy, right?

While I try to avoid beauty magazines at all costs (they are a tool of the patriarchy used to oppress women and make us doubt ourselves), they’re the only thing I can read on a plane without losing concentration, simply because they don’t require much in the first place. I read an article on the so-called ‘no poo’ movement, in which people objected to the chemicals in shampoo. (presumably scummy hippies using raw egg to wash their hair). The feature recommended some shampoos without the objectionable ingredients in, but good enough to actually wash your hair so you don’t get white-people dreadlocks. We really should stop appropriating those, you know.

Anyway, one of the most easily accessible (and apparently cheap) products was the Body Shop’s Rainforest shampoo.


For £5 a bottle, it’s not really that cheap, but seems to be relatively low-priced for a non-sulphate shampoo!

They do a selection of Rainforest shampoo. There used to be four, but now they only do three, since they got rid of my favourite one – ‘Volume’. I wouldn’t recommend ‘Shine’ as I’ve heard from others it makes their hair really greasy, and I think ‘Moisture’ had a similar issue. So, I went for ‘Radiance’, because I have coloured hair and figured it the least likely to make my hair gross. My hair is already greasy AF – one energetic session of Bollywood dancing and it’s hot and heavy – so I couldn’t really afford to take the risk.

I couldn’t really afford the £5 price tag either, but figured it was worth a shot.

For those of you with sensitive skin or hair, this shampoo doesn’t contain a lot of perfume, and feels very gentle indeed – especially when compared with industrial-strength hairdresser’s shampoo or that crap you can buy from Home Bargains. It’s totally clear, as well, so perhaps they haven’t added any weird and wonderful colours to it. It sort of smells like geranium, but it’s very faint, which is good because I think geranium literally smells the worst out of all the flowers. It smells like dirt.

Looking at the list of ingredients, sugar is the second largest one, pipped to the post only by water. For anyone who doesn’t wanna pay the £5, maybe just dissolve some sugar in some water and see what happens when you tip it on your head. It’s supposed to keep your hair soft, but I reckon it’d just make it sticky.

Another thing about non-sulphate shampoos which makes me slightly uncomfortable is the fact they do not lather well. Some say this is good because it won’t strip your hair of moisture, but it is a bit weird if you’re used to that soapy goodness. I have a tendency to just use more of the stuff until my hair looks like a hairdressing ad from the 1950s, but that’s just me.

You also have to be super careful when you wash this stuff off. I’ve found if you don’t wash it off properly, my hair is dull and the residue is like when you haven’t managed to get all the conditioner out of your hair. Probably because I use so much of the darned stuff in the first place.

When you’ve gone through all these steps, you probably think this shampoo is more hassle than it’s worth. And you could be right, but if it does transpire that sulphates are bloody awful for the environment, it will be worth it in the end. David Attenborough really needs to inform me on this one.

Once my hair’s dry, it feels as if you’ve washed it with normal shampoo, at least for the first day or so. After that, I definitely feel my hair gets greasier much faster than it would otherwise, perhaps because non-sulphate shampoo doesn’t actually get rid of all the gunk. Thus, you have to work much harder and have the supreme mental strength not to wash your hair as soon as it feels greasy.

Overall, if the environment is really screwed because of sulphates, then this isn’t a bad alternative. Otherwise, it’s meh. Just plain meh.

Buy again? Maybe – I’ve bought this twice, but regretted it both times

Recommend to a friend? I have done, but they probably won’t like it much either

Rating: 2/5

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