Shampoo ethical ratings

In partnership with Good on You, we’ve looked into various ethical issues with shampoo products. Unfortunately, we found most products rated poorly overall for ethical standards.

What are your thoughts on ethical shampoos and personal care products?


Is there any significant difference between shampoo products and everyday body wash/liquid soaps?
Do the same ethical concerns apply to the broader range of liquid bath and shower products?
If so can they be considered concurrently?
I’m assuming they all come from the same big brand owners and are made using the same base ingredients.

p.s. I don’t use shampoo! However the general lack of cranial distraction ensures it is not necessary. It’s a great topic to report on, even if it only covers shampoo products. On any results I can still boast some street cred for my practical support of not using products that have adverse ethical outcomes


Well, if they tested the shampoos on animals, they would be very clean animals at the end of testing! :wink:

More seriously, we genreally don’t chose shampoos based on whether they are tested on animals. We instead make purchase decisions on country of origin/manufacture, price and who owns the company.

For many years now we have used Enya shampoo…and originally started using the shampoo as we were frequent purchaser’s of their sorbelene cream…thought we would try their shampoos and have used them since.

While this brand is not part of the Choice test suite, it states on the label…


Good questions @mark_m. I remember a little while back we found out that Aldi was repackaging Coles deoderant as shoe spray, so it’s not unheard of for personal hygene products to be interchangeable. Perhaps it depend if you have a special formulation of some kind, such as for dry hair.

I’d hazard a guess that the same ethical concerns would likely apply to body wash and other bath and shower products, but we haven’t conducted a similar test on bodywash products yet.

We’ve had a few suggestions at additional brands we could include in the future @phb, I’ll make sure that I flag Enya too :thumbsup:


How very sad to read that phbriggs2000 is apparently not that concerned with shampoos being treated on animals. Your flippant remark about the animals being very clean at the end of the testing illustrates you have no conception about the form animal testing takes. It involves holding rabbits, for instance, in full body restraints so that chemicals can be dripped in their eye or spread on their shaved and scraped skin. The restraint stops the animals from pawing at their eyes or back to relieve the discomfort and so interfere with the experiment. The Draize test is used to measure irritation or corrosion caused to the eye or skin, but it is notoriously unreliable, producing highly variable results. It is also extremely unpleasant and painful, causing eye reddening, swelling, ulceration, even blindness, or skin cracking and bleeding.

It was a satirical/tongue on cheek comment, to bring a little context humour to the thread. Life sometimes is too serious, and a little humour goes a long way.

Another point to make is human shampoos may not be suitable for use on animals, such as dogs, as their bodies react differently to such products.

I am fully aware of the testing on animals…it is often not the final product, but the individual ingredients at doses required to allow one determine whether they will affect human health.


Hello Brendan,

When the article mentions “supply chain ethics”, would that be problems caused by a demand for a trendy new ingredient, such as explained in this article about argan oil?

I would certainly like to know that any product I buy, including shampoo, was not causing a major environmental or social problem. Of course, manufacturing and using anything has a cost, but at least we could know we are minimising the cost.

Ditto that it has not been test on animals (nowadays unnecessary for cosmetic products according to what I’ve read) and that it has been made by people working under decent conditions.



Hi Sarah,
Yes, those are the type of issues we focused on with thanks to our partners Good On You. This includes elements like child labour, forced labour, worker safety, freedom of association (the right to join a union) and payment of a living wage to asses supply chain ethics. We also considered a brand’s supplier relationships.

It’s nasty to think that some brands are utilising these types of methods for something we consider an everyday product.

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Thanks, Brendan, I will look at Good on You.

It’s a shame we have to chase this kind of information down. Our laws say Australians have to be paid a fair wage, and yet we can fill our shops with products made under conditions that would be illegal here, and buy shares and enjoy dividends from the companies that make it happen.

The message seems to be that it’s fine to enjoy stuff made by people who were exploited because they happened to be born on a different bit of the planet.


Oh, I have one more thing to add – packaging. E.g. how much of the packaging is recyclable, is it from a recycled source, was it made under fair conditions, is it minimal and efficient.

Actually, I’d like to see a rating of the packaging in environmental terms on any Choice review of products that come in packaging. The toilet paper review would be a good one for this – even though they could all come in minimal recycled unbleached paper packaging, only the “eco” branded ones have this.


Thanks for the suggestion on packaging environmental ratings, I’ll be sure to pass it on to my colleagues. Personally, I think it sounds like a good idea!

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