Best fragrance-free shampoos in 2023 that won’t dry out your hair

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Are you looking for the best fragrance-free shampoos? We’ve got you covered and present the best fragrance-free shampoos in 2023 that will clean your hair thoroughly while being great for sensitive scalps and, most importantly, won’t leave your hair feeling dry and brittle.

Fragrance-free shampoos aren’t just for people allergic to or sensitive to fragrance. In fact, there are numerous benefits to ditching fragrances in personal products, as long-time exposure to perfumes has been linked to skin problems like dermatitis, migraine headaches, asthma attacks, rashes, and hives. Read more about why you should avoid fragrances.

Did you know that if your daily shampoo bottle includes the word “fragrance” on its ingredients list, it could contain hundreds of different chemicals? However, due to US regulations, fragrances are considered a trade secret, and manufacturers only have to list the generic term “fragrance.” That means consumers have no way of knowing which chemicals their fragranced products contain.

Avoiding fragrance is the best way to go. We promise that your hair and scalp will thank you. In case you were wondering, there’s no reason to add perfume to shampoo. It is not an active cleaning ingredient. A fragrance-free shampoo cleans just as well as a perfumed shampoo, minus the potentially harmful fragrance chemicals.

Sure, your hair won’t smell like coconut or apple, but it’ll be just as clean and will smell clean too!

The difference between unscented and fragrance-free shampoos

Many brands label their beauty or skin products as unscented, leaving consumers to think that the product doesn’t contain fragrances. However, the term unscented is misleading because products can still contain fragrances (just not synthetic fragrances). In fact, many brands that claim to be fragrance-free still contain “natural fragrances” and “botanical extracts,” which can be just as upsetting to those who are allergic to fragrances and cause an unwanted reaction.

If you’re looking for a genuinely fragrance-free shampoo, then you should avoid products that are labeled “unscented” as they most likely contain some kind of fragrance like fruit oils, flower extracts, essential oils, or botanical extracts that can upset sensitive noses and cause an allergic reaction.

Guide to the best fragrance-free shampoos

We’ve tried many fragrance-free products and shampoos over the years, and we’re excited to share the best fragrance-free shampoos in 2023 that cleans well without stripping the hair of its natural oils.

Whether you’ve given up perfumed products for good or just want to try something new, we’ve got you covered. Ahead are the best perfume-free shampoos in 2023.

Be sure to read our readers’ suggestions in the comments section, too, and let us know if you have any recommended fragrance-free shampoos you would like us to know about.

Our pick:

Kristin Ess Daily Cleansing Fragrance-free Shampoo

Kristin Ess daily cleansing fragrance-free shampoo

First on our list of the best fragrance-free shampoos is this daily cleansing shampoo from hairstylist Kristin Ess. The fragrance-free formula is specifically designed for those who are sensitive to fragrances. In addition, it doesn’t contain sulfates, which are known to strip hair and scalp of natural oils.

The shampoo is also free from parabens, phthalates, silicones, and other irritating ingredients. Kristin Ess’ fragrance-free shampoo works for all hair types. It lathers and cleanses well without stripping the hair of oils and leaves your hair in excellent condition.

In fact, it is our pick of the best fragrance-free shampoos that we recommend here at withoutfragrance.com.

No Nothing Very Sensitive Fragrance-free Shampoo

No Nothing Very Sensitive Fragrance-free Shampoo

No Nothing’s shampoo is fragrance-free and doesn’t have a scent, even though it does contain avocado oil as a moisturizer. The shampoo is also paraben-free, dye-free, gluten-free, soy-free, formaldehyde-free, and colorant-free. No Nothing’s fragrance-free shampoo offers a gentle cleanse, and it’s also suitable for color-treated hair.

On top of that, this fragrance-free shampoo is vegan, and it also has approval from the Finnish Allergy, Skin, and Asthma Federation.

Note that the shampoo contains sodium laureth sulfate, a common ingredient in beauty products that, unfortunately, is known to irritate sensitive skin for some people. That said, we’ve tested this product for several months, and just like the many other happy reviewers, we didn’t experience any irritation. But make sure to make a safe test first.

FragFre Hydrating Fragrance-free Shampoo

FragFre hydrating fragrance-free shampoo

This fragrance-free shampoo from FragFre is a great pick for dry hair. FragFre’s shampoo is a gentle, hydrating shampoo free of fragrances, parabens, sulfates, formaldehyde, and phthalates. While this shampoo is synthetic fragrance-free, it is made with cucumber, which gives the shampoo a distinct scent.

Few people will likely react to the cucumber fragrance but always test it safely first. It does take a little while to get used to the noticeable scent, but the resulting clean, soft hair more than makes up for it.

Pantene Pure & Clean fragrance-free Shampoo

Pantene pure & clear fragrance-free shampoo

Pantene’s fragrance-free Clean & Clarify shampoo comes at an attractive price point. The Clean & Clarify shampoo is fragrance-free, silicone-free, paraben-free, and dye-free.

While recommended for all hair types, it’s especially great for oily hair. The shampoo eliminates product build-up and leaves your hair squeaky clean but not uncomfortable and dry. We highly recommend you also get the matching Pantene Clean & Clarify conditioner (which is one of the best conditioners we’ve tested this year) to keep your hair soft and healthy.

Note that the shampoo contains sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), which may cause irritation if a person is sensitive to SLS, so make sure to perform a safe test first. Here at withoutfragrance.com, we have sensitive skin and scalps, and while we’re usually very sensitive to irritants, we didn’t have any reaction to Pantene’s shampoo despite it containing SLS.

Philip Kingsley No Scent No Colour Fragrance-free Shampoo

Philip Kingsley No Scent No Colour fragrance-free shampoo

Last but not least, on our list of the best fragrance-free shampoos is Philip Kingsley’s No Scent, No Color Shampoo. This fragrance-free shampoo was originally formulated to be gentle enough for Philip Kingsley’s wife, who was undergoing treatment for cancer, so you can be sure it’s safe for anyone with sensitive and easily irritated scalps! Plus, the shampoo is vegan-friendly and free of parabens, sulfate, and SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate).

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At withoutfragrance.com, we have extensive experience researching, reviewing, and writing about fragrance-free products within beauty, personal care, and household products. Our experience is based on years of working with fragrance-free products and with some of the best experts in the field, including dermatologist and leading researchers.

We spend countless hours searching for fragrance-free products, and we are committed to finding the best fragrance-free products on the market. By reading our advice, guides, and product reviews, we hope you will save time and be able to live better fragrance-free.

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14 Comments

  1. I’ve tried the Kristin Ess and Pantene shampoos and found them to be too drying. They’re both clarifying shampoos that make hair squeaky clean. The Pantene was especially stripping and left my hair very dry despite leaving the conditioner on a good 3-5 minutes after shampooing.

    The Kristin Ess could possibly be a good daily shampoo for someone with oily hair but the Pantene should be used only for clarifying product buildup just like any other clarifying shampoo.

    • Thanks for sharing your insight. We really appreciate it and so do our readers. Finding a shampoo that works for everyone’s hair type can be challenging and one size definitely does not fit all. We’ll take your experiences with Kristin Ess and Pantene into consideration when we revisit the best fragrance-free shampoos article next. We’re always on the lookout for the best fragrance-free products, so don’t hesitate to get in touch if you encounter great fragrance-free shampoos (or any other fragrance-free products).

    • Yes both those shampoos are clarifying shampoos so shouldn’t be used more than once or twice a fortnight as they are deigned to strip build up from the hair. More regular use of clarifying shampoos will strip protein and moisture from hair leaving it dry and brittle.

  2. Super tangly and dry. The best fragrance free shampoo I’ve tried is Hi-bar. Bonus, it’s plastic free too. It seriously makes my hair feel exactly like it did when I was using shampoo from the drugstore without the itchy scalp. It way out performs any other fragrance free shampoo I’ve tried.

    • Thanks for sharing your recommendation and positive experiences with the Hi-Bar fragrance-free shampoo. We haven’t tested the shampoo yet, but we’ll add it to our list of shampoos to try.

    • Thanks for letting us know. We’ve heard rumors about the Pantene Pure Clean & Clarify fragrance-free shampoo being discontinued, but it has not been confirmed. It’s still available at several retailers, including Amazon (we’ve updated the link above).

  3. Olsson Haircare
    This shampoo cleared up all my allergies when I became allergic to limonene. I’m not aloud to use any fragrance as I get allergic dermatitis. The products are certified by allergy uk as well.

  4. Has anyone used Routine Shampoo and conditioner for sensitive thinning scalp. Fragrance free?

    • We have yet to try the shampoo and conditioner from Routine, but we’ll add them to our list of products to test. Do note that Routine uses oils in their unscented shampoo and conditioner, which may contain fragrances. We suggest carefully testing the product first to ensure you’re not allergic to any of these oils.

  5. Have you tested either the Vanicream shampoo/conditioner/gel or Cleure? I’m using the Vanicream now and not loving the feel of my hair. It’s harder to blow dry and looks “poofy” v the shiny look I was able to get with my Paul Mitchell shampoos. I’ve had eyelid dermatitis (red, dry, swollen) for over a year now and have been going crazy changing out detergent, makeup, soap, sunscreen, and hair color to fragrance free. This is not an easy process and I’ve found my dermatologists to be less than helpful too…it’s totally up to you to figure out all these complicated ingredients. Just found your website. Thank you.

  6. Can’t believe there are so few options available for people who are sensitive to perfume. I tried Kristin Ess’ fragrance-free shampoo and I liked it, but I wasn’t a fan of the No Nothing shampoo or the Vanicream. I really wish there were more fragrance-free choices on the market. Thank you for this website!!

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