Screw You!: Nirvana Natural Shampoo Review

UPDATED 06/FEB/2013:

Luca from Nirvana Naturals got in touch with me on the 29th January 2013, almost 4 years after this post was put up…my final line was “I am going to email them and ask for a refund, let’s see what happens”

Luca wanted to point out that they went through the payment records and I was issued a refund, although in the below post at the time of writing I had not been. I have no bank statements to hand from four years ago, but I am sure they did refund me, otherwise I would have continued complaining. My bad. I have removed the last line from below.

I stand by my other views of the product in my post. I’ll leave it that.


I stand by the other views about the product at the time of writing.
I’m so irritated I am blogging from the work desk. Oh yes. This one couldn’t wait.

I’m always on the hunt for good quality shampoo and conditioner – its one of those things that I burn through since I wash my hair nearly every day (trying to cut down) but I find that certain ingredients, like evil SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate) makes me itch like mad.

SLS is present it tons and tons of shampoos and cleaning products (it’s a foaming agent) take a look in your local drugstore or supermarket, a vast majority of the shampoos and body washes will contain it.

Web definition: SLS (a caustic detergent useful for removing grease; although commonly included in personal care items (shampoos and toothpastes etc.) it can irritate skin and should not be swallowed).

So I did a Google search and a company called Nirvana Naturals came up.  Shampoos looked like they were free from Parabens, SLS, all the usual nasties and was very affordable at £5 with free shipping.  Too good to be true?  Sigh. It’s always true.

Shampoos arrived today and I am not impressed. At all.


No. 1 – What they said came with it didn’t

This is one of the shampoos I bought – nettle which is good for sensitive scalps apparently.  See how there’s some greenery inside.  Now, maybe I am just an idiot but since this was the image of the product, I presumed it had that thing floating inside was included.  Nothing on the website says that the image is just for graphic purposes.

Ok, you’re thinking, who puts live things in beauty products.  Er – Kiehls?


Here is the actual bottle.  A rather unnatural shade of green?

No. 2 – Classic faux pas – leaking bottle

Here’s the next annoying thing – it was leaking! if you are sending a liquid of any kind you need to be extra extra careful, seal the top with some sellotape and wrap it well. It was wrapped but I still got stickey fingers.


I had to take this with my phone – I don’t know if you can see, this is where it had been leaking (looks like a hairline crack) and it’s all stickey and nasty).  would be quite annoying if I had to carry it home on the bus.

No. 3 – It contains SLS, colour, parbens!

sls At first, I was insanely peed off because I thought the shampoos were not supposed to contain SLS and Parabens and guess what – this stuff is full of it.  More on that later.

But I am not one to tell someone off without checking my facts, so I went back to the home page which had read:

All our products are naturally gorgeous and made with wholesome ingredients to an extremely high standard. Our Pure Nirvana Range is free from SLS,SLES, Parabens, synthetic colours and synthetic fragrances You can also be assured that none of our products have been tested on animals and don’t cost the earth. So go on…….(indulge yourself).

With further research I realised that the range of Shampoo’s they do are not SLS and paraben free, it’s only a range called Nirvana (which does body washes only) that is SLS/Paraben free.  Ok, so I didn’t read it down to the T. But on the homepage, they mention the SLS/Paraben free thing and have images of the shampoo – not of the body wash.  It’s all implication.

Plus on the page where you browse the shampoos, there is nothing there that tells you the shampoos are not included in the SLS free group.  The bar across the top of the page screams ‘SLS and Paraben Free Beauty Products’.


Nor do they list the ingredients of the shampoos on the site.  If that infromation would have been up, I would have avoided the products like the plague – I can buy SLS/Paraben rich shampoo for 99p anywhere.

On one hand it’s my fault for not reading every single word of the blurb, but I can’t deny that the fact that the google sponsored ad (which lured me to click on the site) and the website goes on about selling paraben and SLS free.  The don’t have a huge range, only 1 conditioner, a couple shampoos and some body washes, so they SHOULD very clearly mark out what products are SLS free or not, since this is their big selling point.

So the moral of this story is – well pay more attention (that’s my fault) but at the same time, double check when buying these so called natural products.  I always read the ingredients lists these days, and it infuriates me when something sells itself as gentle, scalp friendly, baby friendly, natural, organic etc. and then packs their product full of SLS.

img00016-20090420-1119 I took a picture of the ingredients list (had to do the lavender shampoo as the green one is too hard to photograph) and it still looks rubbish.

I am going to list some of the Nettle and Jasmine Shampoo (for scalp imbalance).

Remember their tagline: All our products are naturally gorgeous and made with wholesome ingredients to an extremely high standard.

Some of the ingredients include (listed in the order they appear): Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Parfum, Methylparaben, Butylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, FD&C Yellow No. 5, FD&C Yellow No. 6, FD&C Blue No. 1

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  1. says

    Twats! Grr! I get so angry when companies promote themselves as natural when they are anything but.
    I discovered it’s the SLS’ in shampoos that irritate my scalp too :) My Tara Smith love is still going strong even if the conditioner is a complete bastard to get out of the bottle!
    They had best refund you – threaten them with getting beaten up my Megan – she could kick their arses x x

    • Row says

      Hey Abby – NOPE! No help from them. I could claim from Paypal…..maybe. I’ll wait till I feel like having a fight with someone 😀

  2. says

    Yeah, that bottle does look like some dollar store products…

    I hope you get your money back though…that kind of promotion is just shameless…

    • Row says

      Hi Citrine!

      Nope no luch with getting my moula back! GRRRRRRRRR. Got to stop buying spontaneously

  3. says

    Hi Row, you should take a look at Morrocco Method shampoos on my site. They are raw, vegan, chemical-free and fabulous – no more itchy scalp!

  4. says

    Hi, I have been looking and looking for chemical free shampoos that DONT lather and suck out all your oils, and I am using the Henna hair dye from Nirvana right now. I love it so far, but now Im wondering if it contains crap. It doesnt list anything but 100% botanical protein plant stuff. So, I found your blog and now I see I wont buy their shampoo. I saw an infomercial about 6 months ago that was a shampoo that did not have chemicals or parabens. Wish I had ordered now, cuz here I am 6 months later and bought lots of different shampoos and nothing yet.
    Sorry about no refund. Just send it back anyways, tell them their product is misleading and sucks!

  5. Marion says

    Sorry about your experience. However, as you say yourself you didn’t read the website information properly. I have been using this shampoo for years and it is truly great for scalp complaints as well as being gentle.
    Also, they certainly used to put ‘live things’ – as you put it – in the bottles, but to be honest leaves and ears of corn (see the wheatgerm shampoo) can just clog the top of the bottle and stop the shampoo from coming out, which isn’t really what you want – why would you want that stuff in the bottle anyway, it’s not like you’re going to use it.
    You’re obviously not happy but I think your review is OTT and there are lots of worse companies out there who test on animals etc.

    • Row says

      Hi Marion

      Glad you enjoy using their products but I respectfully disagree with you for a few reasons…

      1. Go on the home page and it says their pure nirvana range is free from sls, parabens, colours. Many people will see that and assume it’s their whole range. If not why don’t they CLARIFY on the home page it’s body care only?

      2. Why oh why do they not list ingredients of the shampoos for sake of transparency?

      3. The ingredients in this shampoo makes it no different from any high street shampoo buy bother selling it as a “natural” shampoo? Fact is many people looking for natural shampoos are specifically looking for sls free products

      4. At the end of the day the shampoo is pictured with the floating bits in it. It adds to the aesthetic look, the could by all means replace the image with a genuine one (plain liquid) so why don’t they do that? Cos the fancy look sells.

      5. The company have had ample time to come to me directly to explain their situation and they haven’t so far. It’s been a long time. When someone types in nirvana naturals at this moment in time this post comes up first. This doesn’t strike me as a company who wants to defend itself.

      Finally I just didn’t like the shampoo. It made my scalp itch and flake but that doesn’t surprise me as it contains sls. By all means people can try it but to me it’s no different from any cheap shampoo from boots.

      There are much better options out there that are sls free, same price and accessible from the high street.

  6. Courtney Brennan says


    I think your issue is down to misreading the information on our web site and quite possibly with the post for damaging the product in transit. I can assure you that we would not send out damaged bottles. That would be very silly, I’m sure you would agree. We also ALWAYS give refunds for anything that should arrive damaged or in your case would have happily refunded you for your failure to read the information properly. Perhaps you would like to supply us with your order information for clarification.

    Courtney Brennan
    Nirvana Natural (not) Nirvana Naturals as you keep saying.

    • Row says

      Hi Courtney of Nirvana NATURAL (Thanks for being snarky I assure you it’s a really good way to treat ex-customers in a public domain).

      It’s a shame that when I got in touch with you when this first happened, (And yes the bottle was DAMAGED, why on earth would I damage a bottle myself and even if it was damaged in transit you should’ve still refunded me not asked me to return a heavy shampoo bottle to you first). Your customer services was hardly forthcoming with offering me a refund, even when I said I wasn’t happy with the product itself. You’d think that you’d get in touch with me personally to discuss the matter as opposed to trying to snark on my blog (nice and patronizing response there by the way!)

      Besides – I genuinely disliked your product. It made my scalp flake and itch so whether it has this or that extract in it makes no difference to me because it wasn’t in MY opinion, effective.

      I’ve dealt with far bigger, better companies than yours on the issue of poor customer service and trust me, you are one of the rudest. Don’t worry we only get 9,000 readers a day, I am sure no one will care if I don’t like your shampoo or not.

      Thanks for patronizing me today!

    • Row says

      Also before I forget, with the order number – I made the original purchase is April 2009!!!!! You’re almost 2 years late! I am not trawling through my emails to find a bloody order number?! Talk about bolting the door….

  7. Stephanie says

    OMG! That review is hilarious!!! Row, are you sure you not just a disgruntled ex employee? OTT is right. Love Nirvana products. Have used them for years. Rock on Nirvana!!!!!!!

    • Row says

      By the sounds of it Stephanie, you’re the CURRENT employee! No normal person comments on a review telling a brand to “rock on” Nice try!

  8. Katherine L says

    DONT SHOP AT NATURAL NIRVANA!! I have never received my products nor a response to my email and voice messages. I had to file a complaint with consumer affairs. If you google their address, you get a house NOT a business. All very shady. Luckily I didnt spend much or I’d have gotten on a plane to visit them personally. Buyer Beware.

  9. Guy Andrews says

    Hi Katherine L
    My name is Guy Andrews and I work at Nirvana natural. I am reading your post and extremely concerned as we At Nirvana take our customer service very seriously. May I just address a few points so we can hopefully rectify this situation for you? You have said “don’t shop at Natural Nirvana” We are Nirvana natural, not Natural Nirvana. Also we do not have any open customer service issues, nor unreturned emails or calls. Another thing that concerns me is you say you’ve Googled an address which is a house. We operate from a farm with several newly built facilities on the premises. I am sure in these instances, if you have filed a complaint with consumer affairs, you would receive some sort of reference number, perhaps you would be so kind as to supply us with this as we have not received any communication relating to a complaint. As I have said, our customers are of the utmost importance to us, and if we can get to the bottom of this for you, we will do all it takes.

    Very best wishes,
    Nirvana natural

  10. kpo says

    Wow I very nearly made the exact same mistakeas you Row, of ordering this product… I’ve been searching carefully for an anti-dandruff SLS free shampoo for my sensitive scalp, and was about to settle on this one.

    I was saved by reading this blog post, thanks!

  11. Sarah says

    I wish I had seen your posts before buying – I too was conned by the claim on the website that their products were SLS and paraben free! Living abroad, I bought a few bottles to save on postage (I will learn one day..!) and was appauled to see the long list of chemicals on the bottle. Grrrr!

  12. Marie says

    I was using the shampoo and conditioner for a long time thinking it was natural and free from sls and parabens. One day (after being diagnosed with endometriosis and having wised up to the issue of toxic toiletries) I finally read the ingredients. I also revisited the website – the information is not clear and they do not list the ingredients. Unfortunately Nirvana are not the only company employing these tactics to sell their ‘natural’ products – as you say – it’s implication. I never received any leaky bottles from them, but the packaging is infuriating – it doesn’t have a small inside nozzle or flip top to dispense the product in small amounts. Anyway, that is irrelevant, given the ingredients it’s not worth using, there are plenty of very good clean alternatives, and as for the response you received, well it was just downright rude and condescending – screw them!!!