Vanicream Free & Clear Fragrance-Free Hair Shampoo Review

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Why we tested the Free & Clear Fragrance-Free Hair shampoo

Fragrance-free hair shampoo is often either expensive, contains hidden ‘natural’ fragrances (no good), or is just not very good. Read our Free & Clear Hair shampoo review to learn where this shampoo lands.

Free & Clear fragrance-free hair shampoo ingredients and promises

  • Free of common chemical irritants such as dyes, fragrances, masking fragrances, lanolin, parabens, formaldehyde, formaldehyde releasers, and other preservatives.
  • Dermatologist tested.
  • Hair types: All (pH balanced) 
  • Allergen info: Cocamidopropyl betaine-free. Sulfate-free. Phosphate-free. Protein-free. Gluten-free. Fragrance-free. Perfume-free.

Benefits of the Free & Clear fragrance-free hair shampoo

Vanicream’s dermatologist-recommended shampoo is made specifically for sensitive scalps and is free of dyes, lanolin, fragrance, parabens, and preservatives. It doesn’t have a scent and only a faint chemical odor to it. I’ve been using this shampoo on and off for a few years, and as much as I’d like to like it because it’s fragrance-free (no hidden ‘natural’ oils, masking scents, or anything like that), I’ll never be a fan.

Drawbacks of Free & Clear hair shampoo

Here is why I’m not a fan of the Clear and Free Shampoo: it’s harsh and extremely drying on your hair, requiring the use of a conditioner afterward. It doesn’t lather as much as a regular shampoo, which takes some getting used to, and it doesn’t leave my (long) hair feeling completely clean. Even after applying a generous amount and doubling up on shampooing — the shampoo doesn’t sufficiently deep-clean or dissolve product build-up (from things like hairspray or hair wax).

Who Free & Clear hair shampoo may be good for

However, we also tested the shampoo with one of our short-haired team members, and while my undernourished long locks didn’t appreciate this shampoo, our short-haired reviewer was much more positive. Note that washing long hair is different than washing short hair. If you have shorter hair and want a ‘basic’ shampoo every two to three days, then this Free & Clear shampoo is worth a shot.

Free & Clear fragrance-free hair shampoo review: the verdict

In our Free & Clear Hair Shampoo review, we have found that while the shampoo is indeed fragrance-free (and free of most harmful substances), it lands in the “is just not very good” category. It’s decent, sure, but not great.

In particular, stay clear of this if you have long, damaged, or color-treated hair. It honestly feels like (what I could imagine) washing your hair with dish detergent, and it genuinely feels like it strips your hair of moisture. This shampoo is free of common chemical irritants, but it’s just not a recommendable shampoo – except, perhaps if you’re just shampooing your buzzcut.

My search continues for the perfect fragrance-free shampoo that leaves me with healthy, hydrated strands and a balanced scalp. So keep an eye on our website and follow along as I search for the best fragrance-free shampoo.

Free & Clear Fragrance-Free Hair Shampoo Verdict

At, 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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