Rating: Avoid



  • Contains phenyl trimethicone
  • Preservatives include methylisothiazolinones
  • Contains cationic polymers

Bumble and bumble is a hair product brand that was developed in the New York salon of the same name. They aim to develop high quality, versatile products. The brand is now owned by the Estee Lauder group.

Their Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Shampoo contains a number of ingredients. Most of the main ingredients in this product are soap type chemicals. These are all readily biodegradable, but most are also toxic to aquatic life. Because they are readily biodegradable, a large amount of these chemicals will break down during waste water treatment. However, a small amount will still be released to the environment where they can cause harm.

Some of these soap ingredients can be derived from palm oil. The Estee Lauder group is a RSPO member. They are working towards ensuring all their palm oil sources are certified, and purchasing offsets where this is not possible. Only using certified palm oil would be best, but it is good that some steps are being taken.

True to the name, this product contains a number of natural oils – grapeseed, sweet almond, macadamia, coconut, argan and safflower. There is limited information on the properties of these ingredients, but they all have similar common chemical components. They will likely have some toxicity to aquatic life, but should also be readily biodegradable.

Another ingredient is phenyl trimethicone. This is a type of silicone. Data available for this silicone shows that it is not readily biodegradable, is very toxic to aquatic life, and has potential to bioaccumulate. These are flags for a chemical that is of high concern and could have a significant environmental impact. It would be ideal to have more information about this chemical to confirm or rule out these concerns.

Aside from the silicone, this product also contains polyquaternium-7 and polyquaternium 10. These are cationic polymers. There is limited data available for these chemicals. Polyquaternium-7 looks unlikely to be readily biodegradable, and likely to be very toxic to aquatic life. There could be potential for this toxicity to be reduced as the chemical binds to other particles in the environment, but the extent to which this occurs is unknown. Polyquaternium-10 also looks unlikely to be readily biodegradable. It will be less toxic, but also less likely to strongly bind to other particles. This means both of these chemicals could cause toxic effects in the environment.

The preservatives include methylisothiazolinone and methylchloroisothiazolinone. Both of these chemicals are not readily biodegradable and very toxic to aquatic life, so they will last in the environment and cause harm. The fragrances are not disclosed; these chemicals could be anything.

On the upside, the packaging for this product is simple, and the plastic should be able to be recycled in most kerbside recycling programs.

But does it work?

Considering how well a product works is a big factor in determining whether a product is a good one or not. A product that does not work is a waste.

This product is popular with many users – but so are many other products that have a much lower environmental impact. Search our reviews to find other products that could do the job without compromising the environment.

Image credit: Lily Pebbles

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