Herbal Essences Naked Line Review

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I’ve recently been embracing my inner-minimalist. Whether it’s getting rid of the extra junk in my cupboard or trying to reduce any of the excess products in my skin care routine, I’m cutting down. Every day, I’m scaling down on unnecessary components in my household. This newfound minimalism has led me to read so many ingredient labels that I feel like I’m preparing for some impossible, nonexistent spelling bee. The amount of chemicals we consume daily has honestly startled me.

This cleanse has led me to try and find new and exciting natural alternatives for these chemical-packed products. When I saw the word “Naked” on an Herbal Essences shampoo bottle, my inner minimalist jumped for joy. That’s a reassuring word if I’ve ever heard one. With a stripped-down shampoo you’re guaranteed a real change in your hair’s health. That is, rather than just the cleanse that you get from regular (chemically-infused) hair products.

The two natural ingredients in Herbal Essences’ Naked line are rosemary leaf extract and peppermint oil. Both have anti-inflammatory properties and improve blood circulation. Essence-ially (sorry, I had to) this line contains zero dyes and is free of parabens. I can hear you saying, “That would sound great if I knew why I didn’t want them in my hair products.” Allow me to explain.

Herbal Essences’ Naked Line Explained

Girl sitting at beach and raising hand.

Say no to harmful chemicals and yes to natural ingredients.

A great deal of cosmetics contain harmful synthetic coloring to make the substances look more appealing. Artificial colorings are usually derived from petroleum or coal tar sources and may contain carcinogens. I wouldn’t touch this stuff with a foot-long pole, so why would I put it on my scalp to be absorbed into my bloodstream? When we use products with these dyes, we’re basically ingesting these chemicals. (Um, no thank you.)

Swiftly moving onto why you want to stay away from those pesky parabens too. Parabens are used as preservatives to stop mold and bacteria growing in your products. But that’s not all they do. They enter your body through your skin and remain within the skin tissues. From here they become potential endocrine disruptors. That’s a fancy way of saying that parabens get in the way of your regular hormone function. This can affect things like growth development, reproduction and brain function. Sounds scary, right? One of the only reasons they haven’t been banned yet is because no research has been conclusive enough for the FDA to take action. Although the EU does limit the allowed concentration.

With this in mind, Herbal Essences’ Naked line focuses its efforts on how a natural, minty freshness can give you that cleanse. Rosemary leaf has anti-inflammatory properties and contains carnosic acid, which promotes nerve growth. This aspect of rosemary oil rejuvenates nerves in the scalp too! So, it’s not just refreshing your senses, but also your body. Meanwhile, the peppermint oil has antimicrobial qualities as well as vasodilating and vasoconstricting tendencies to improve blood circulation. Both of these active substances nourish the hair from the root, not just the symptoms. You’re sure to have a natural, refreshing experience.

Herbal Essences’ Naked Cleansing Conditioner Review

Bottle of Herbal Essences' naked cleansing conditioner.

Herbal Essences’ naked cleansing conditioner.

Don’t be fooled by the use of the word ‘alcohol’ on the ingredients label of Herbal Essences’ Naked Cleansing conditioner. Stearyl alcohol is a natural fatty alcohol derived from stearyl acid. It’s used as a natural soothing and conditioning agent, as well as an emulsifier. Similar to stearyl alcohol, cetyl alcohol, is also a naturally derived alcohol. This alcohol is mainly used as an emulsifier and increases the foaming capacity of the mixture. When it came to using this product, I could feel how thick the formula was and how it applied nicely through my hair. I love that soft, silky feeling a good conditioner gives you.

The next ingredient that caught my attention was stearamidopropyl dimethylamine. How could it not with a name like that? It serves as a mild detergent to remove hair build-up – exactly what you want in a cleansing conditioner. Stearamidopropyl dimethylamine is one of the leading replacements for silicone in hair products. One of the things I noticed about this conditioner was that it didn’t leave a waxy residue that you sometimes get (from silicone in hair products). This is because of the stearamidopropyl dimethylamine. You get a soft cleanse without the residue!

Herbal Essences’ Naked Shampoo Review

Bottle of Herbal Essences' naked moisture shampoo.

Herbal Essences’ naked moisture shampoo.

There are two options to choose from when it comes to Herbal Essences’ Naked shampoo – the Moisture shampoo and the Volume shampoo. They both contain the same active ingredients, but the Volume one has a few extra for that added kick.

Let’s get the ‘sodium’ out of the way first. Sodium laureth sulfate and sodium lauryl sulfate (basically cousins) are also known as SLS. They’re surfactants which trap oil-based dirt so that it’s washed away with your shower water. They have a bad rep because sulfates have been proven to cause mild irritation to the skin over extended use. However, you’re washing off the shampoo after lathering, so the amount that actually stays in your hair is minimal. There’s obviously an exception to every rule, but you’d have to be particularly unlucky to be affected by such a small concentration of irritants. And they’re naturally derived, so they adhere to the ‘Naked’ claim.

Herbal Essences’ Naked Volume shampoo contains the same sodium as discussed but also has a few added extracts: grapefruit, bergamot and verbena. Grapefruit contains antioxidants to prevent damage to our cells, thereby strengthening our hair follicles. Meanwhile, the bergamot is rich in fatty acids armed to tame your frizzy hair. It has conditioning and antiseptic properties to wash away that build-up, making your hair look healthy and voluminous. Moving on to the vervain (or better named: verbena officinalis leaf extract), which is a skin-conditioning agent. It’s also an anti-inflammatory, so it reduces frizz.

Herbal Essences’ Naked Dry Shampoo Review

Bottle of Herbal Essences' naked dry shampoo.

Herbal Essences’ naked dry shampoo.

I love a good dry shampoo (we’ve all been there, don’t judge me). But the top active ingredients of Herbal Essences’ Naked Dry shampoo were not what I expected. Well, they’re what I expected from a non-‘Naked’ dry shampoo…

Isobutane and propane are both used in aerosols as propellants. They’re used to ensure the pressure in the container is high and that the container releases the gas effectively. However, long-term use of both isobutane and propane can lead to irritation of the skin, and most natural products try to stay away from them. The next ingredient that surprised me was alcohol denat. While it’s not the worst of its kind, it’s still an alcohol and not something you want in your hair. 

So now that I’ve got those unfortunate ingredients out of the way, let me move onto a more Naked element in this dry shampoo. Tapioca starch. It’s derived from the roots of the cassava shrub and is touted for its detoxifying abilities. ‘Detox’ is definitely the word I’m looking for when I’m frantically spraying my greasy strands. Tapioca starch is used here as a thickener and texture enhancer for your hair.

I will say that your hair does kind of feel like you’ve just been to the beach (you know that salty/gritty residue?) But that’s what you get for not washing your hair regularly. The biggest fear when it comes to using dry shampoo is the white cast. This one’s no exception, but if you rub it in well it absorbs the excess oil in your hair, mattifying it until your next (much needed) wash. What’s more is, the minty smell doesn’t linger. It leaves the perfect faint scent to give the illusion that your hair isn’t a dirty hot mess.

Herbal Essences’ Naked Moisture Conditioner Review

Bottle of Herbal Essences' naked moisture conditioner.

Herbal Essences’ naked moisture conditioner.

This conditioner consists of the same active ingredients as the Herbal Essences Naked Cleansing Conditioner. It’s a promising start for a moisturizing boost. The stearyl alcohol and cetyl alcohol in the Herbal Essences Naked Moisture conditioner are conditioning agents that lock moisture into the hair follicles. Glutamic acid is another conditioning component used in both conditioners. It’s a humectant, so it retains moisture and also works as a mental alertness stimulant. So, in addition to all those minty refreshers, you’re also getting a psychological boost. The conditioner itself felt nice and creamy. Running my fingers through my hair was a breeze– that’s the biggest difference that I saw. Combing my hair was the easiest it’s ever been.

Dimethicone is another ingredient that is also present in both the Moisture and Cleansing conditioners. Dimethicone is a silicone which acts as a water barrier. It basically locks in moisture and controls frizz. My hair is naturally quite frizzy, and I’m constantly dealing with flyaways. The Herbal Essences Naked Moisture conditioner seemed to get that somewhat under control. It can also help hair to look shinier by ‘coating’ the hair strands with moisture. (I said moisture, not grease, don’t worry).

Honestly, I wouldn’t usually recommend any silicone-based skin care products (aka anything ending in ‘cone’). But seeing as Herbal Essences is using dimethicone in a conditioner, which you shouldn’t really be massaging into the scalp anyway, we’ll let this one slide.  

Did Herbal Essences Discontinue Their Naked Products?

Herbal Essences Bio Renew products.

Herbal Essences Bio Renew.

Herbal Essences has decided to phase their Naked line out of stores gradually.  But don’t worry, they’re not leaving you high and dry. The title itself might be missing from shelves, but the product is still there – and even better than before. Herbal Essences has upped their Naked range with something called Bio Renew. This range is like the Naked line on steroids. All the products in this range contain no parabens, no colorants, no gluten, no added phthalates, no BPA and no mineral oils. As if that wasn’t enough, it’s designed to address every hair type. It’s a product minimalist’s dream. The ingredients are only there because they need to be there, no more and no less. (Despite this, the range itself is anything but minimal. The choices are ridiculously extensive.)

Similar to the products in the Naked line, Bio Renew purifies and protects the hair from the inside out. However, the Naked line largely focused on doing this through its undeniable minty freshness. Bio Renew directs its attention to the antioxidant histidine as its secret ingredient. Histidine removes free radicals and protects your hair from the root. So, if mint isn’t the scent for you, Herbal Essences has got you covered with something even better.


If you’re looking to be a little more conscious of what you’re applying to your hair, then the Herbal Essences Naked line might be the place to start. Reducing your hair’s exposure to colorants and parabens means that you’re minimizing the amount of harmful chemicals your blood stream absorbs. Any brand that specifically boasts an awareness of their ingredients is doing something right in my eyes. By doing this, they’re helping customers understand what substances they’re consuming.

I think its important to note here that although the Naked line provides a certain degree of awareness, it has a long way to go in terms of using natural products. For example, getting rid of the alcohols in the Naked Dry shampoo. (While we’re on the subject, let me make a PSA that dry shampoo is a temporary fix when you’re in a rush – not an actual shampoo replacement.) But for the drugstore price you’re paying, Herbal Essences’ Naked line delivers simple, full-of-goodness products that really work.

Their Bio Renew range is a more comprehensive version of what the Naked line offered. It’s also got less of the gross chemicals while still giving you a wide array of options to choose from. However, taking this into account, if you’re still into the Naked line you can stock up on most of this range on Amazon. It’s a win-win.

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