Last Updated on August 25, 2022 by The Filtery Staff
In this article, we’re talking all things Native hair care. We’re investigating Native’s shampoo and conditioner ingredients (are they safe and non-toxic?), what hair types are best suited for Native’s hair care products, and our honest thoughts after using these products for several weeks!
Let’s dive in.
This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may earn a small commission if you choose to make a purchase. Product was purchased by The Filtery and all opinions are honest.
What Type of Hair Products Does Native Offer?
Native makes shampoo and conditioner that comes in the following varieties:
- Almond & Shea Butter (Strengthening)
- Coconut & Vanilla (Moisturizing)
- Cucumber & Mint (Volumizing)
They also make a complementing hair mask, which is only available in the Strengthening Almond and Shea Butter variety. This hair mask can be used as needed for deep conditioning.
Depending on the time of year, they also offer limited edition seasonal scents, such as Candy Cane, Sugar Cookie, Fresh Mistletoe, and Coffee Haus!
What Hair Type is Native Shampoo For?
Theoretically, Native’s shampoo and conditioner are made for all hair types. However, some people with thin and/or oily hair (including myself) have found that Native’s hair products make their hair even more greasy.
If you do have thinner or more oily hair, go for the Cucumber & Mint Volumizing shampoo and conditioner (or just don’t use conditioner at all—the shampoo makes your hair pretty soft on its own!).
If you have thicker and/or more frizzy hair, go for the Almond & Shea Butter (Strengthening) or Coconut & Vanilla (Moisturizing) varieties.
Native’s hair care products also might be a good fit for you if you have hard water at your home. They contain several different kinds of salts, which can counteract the effects that hard water may have on your hair, making it feel soft, moisturized, and silky smooth!
The good thing is that Target offers travel-size bottles of the shampoo and conditioner, so you can try it out without buying a big bottle of it to see whether or not it works for your hair and water situation.
Native Hair Care: What We Love (THE PROS!)
We like that Native’s hair care products:
- Make hair really soft. Can counteract the harsh effects that hard water can have on hair.
- Are available at a big box store like Target.
- Have a short ingredient list compared to a lot of other shampoo brands.
- Are vegan and cruelty-free.
- Are free from: gluten, soy, dyes, sulfates, parabens, phthalates, microbeads, polyethylene, and DMDM hydantoin
Native Hair Care: What We Don’t Love (THE CONS!)
Here are some things we DON’T like about Native’s hair care products:
- They do not list which ingredients are used in their “fragrances.” This is our biggest problem with the brand (more on this below).
- They’re not currently biodegradable.
- They’re not tear-free (not great for kids).
- Some products may not be great for people with thin hair or hair that’s on the oily side.
Are Native Shampoo & Conditioner Ingredients Non-Toxic?
I love that Native’s ingredient lists are short (just 10 ingredients for their hair care products) and they’re listed clearly on the back of the bottle. For the most part, these ingredients are safe and non-toxic… but there is ONE BIG EXCEPTION: fragrance!
Whenever you see the word “fragrance” listed on a product, it should be a red flag. Under a loophole in U.S. law, companies are allowed to include almost 4,000 different chemicals in their products under the “fragrance” or “parfum” label without actually disclosing them to consumers.
Some of these chemicals are perfectly safe, while others are toxic (including things like phthalates and other endocrine disruptors, carcinogens, volatile organic compounds, and allergens).
The problem is that when companies neglect to disclose what’s actually in their fragrances, it’s impossible for consumers to know whether the “fragrance” chemicals are safe or not (and consumers deserve to know what’s in the products they buy and use on a daily basis!).
You can read more about the problem with synthetic fragrances and this loophole in the law right here.
This is the statement about Native’s fragrances on their website:
“To make our unique scents we use a blend of essential oils, safe synthetic oils, and natural extracts. All of our products are phthalate free and paraben free, and we abide by the International Fragrance Regulatory Association (IFRA) guidelines to ensure the safety of our formulations.”
We reached out to Native to request a full list of their fragrance ingredients and they declined to disclose them, citing “proprietary reasons.” This is pretty disappointing, considering that plenty of other companies are choosing to disclose their full ingredient lists due to consumer demand as well as new legislation such as the California Senate Bill 312.
While we’re certainly glad to see the fragrance ingredients are free from some of the worst offenders like phthalates and parabens, that doesn’t put them in the clear. We want to know what else is used and until then, we cannot confidently say that Native’s hair care products are non-toxic.
My Honest Review of Native’s Hair Care Products
So, what did I think of Native’s hair care products after using them for several weeks? The first thing that was immediately noticeable as soon as I started using Native’s shampoo was how soft it was. It felt like I was using really soft water (this is most likely due to the amount of salts used in Native’s formulations). I personally don’t use conditioner and/or conditioning hair masks that often to begin with (probably twice a month), but I found that the shampoo made my hair so soft—even detangling it—that I really didn’t even need the conditioner at all!
I have fine, thin hair with loose waves that tend to get oily relatively fast. I found that Native’s hair products didn’t really help when it came to the grease level, nor did they help to encourage my waves. The Cucumber & Mint Volumizing shampoo seems to be the best fit for my hair, but it still didn’t perform as well as some other brands I’ve tried.
All in all, I’d give Native’s hair products a B- for my personal hair type and goals. If I’m in a bind, I might buy it again while I’m at Target… But it’s not my favorite, and I probably won’t go out of my way to buy it again (especially considering the lack of transparency about the “fragrance” issue).
Everyone’s hair is different, so you might want to try it out and see what you think for yourself. Overall, I think Native’s hair products are probably a better fit for those with thick and/or frizzy hair.
Other F.A.Q.s About Native Hair Products
Why Does Native Shampoo Make My Hair Greasy?
If Native’s shampoo and/or conditioner makes your hair greasy, it’s likely due to the number of salts and oils used. If you haven’t already, you may want to try the Cucumber & Mint Volumizing variety to see if that helps. Other things you can try are:
- Washing your hair less often (overwashing your hair can lead to more oil production)
- Using dry shampoo in between washes to absorb excess grease and oil
- Switching to a different non-toxic shampoo that uses fewer salts and oils in their formulations
Is Native Shampoo/Conditioner Sulfate-Free?
Yep! (And if you’re looking for other non-toxic, sulfate-free shampoo brands, check out this article.)
Is Native Shampoo/Conditioner Silicone-Free?
Is Native Shampoo/Conditioner Phthalate-Free?
Is Native Good for Color-Treated Hair?
As they state on their website: “Yes, Native’s shampoo and conditioner are safe to use on color-treated hair. As with all new hair care products, it is a good idea to test out the products on a small section of your hair to ensure you like the experience & styled look.”
Is Native Good for Oily Hair?
Everyone’s hair is different, so it’s usually best to try the shampoo and conditioner for yourself to see if it’s a good fit for your hair. That being said, some people with thin and/or oily hair don’t prefer Native’s hair care products (myself included). Target does offer travel size bottles so you can try out the products before buying a huge bottle!
Who Owns Native?
While Native began as an independent, direct-to-consumer startup (founded by Moiz Ali), it was acquired by P&G in 2017.
Where Can You Buy Native Hair Products?
While Native’s other products can be purchased right on their website, their shampoo, conditioner, and hair mask products are a Target exclusive and currently can only be purchased in Target stores or at Target.com.
Other Native Products
Conclusion: TL;DR: Do We Recommend Native Hair Care Products?
Our biggest concern with Native’s hair care products is their use of undisclosed “fragrance” ingredients, and for this reason, we don’t strongly recommend it from an ingredient safety perspective.
That being said, we are glad they don’t use any other toxic ingredients, including DMDM hydantoin, sulfates, phthalates, dyes, toxic synthetic preservatives (like methylisothiazolinone), parabens, BHT, and others.
So while there are definitely other, more transparent shampoo brands you can buy, we consider Native an “okay” brand that’s still safer than most other conventional brands.
From a functional perspective, I love how soft and smooth Native shampoo and conditioner made my hair… But it may not be the best bet for those with thin and/or oily hair. Although everyone’s hair is different Native’s hair products are probably best suited for those with thick and/or frizzy hair as well as those who have hard water at their home.
Have you tried Native’s hair care products? What did you think?