Rating: Not great


  • Comes in large size, minimising packaging
  • Palm oil sources due to be certified in 2019
  • Many ingredients are readily biodegradable


  • Preservatives include methylisothiazolinones
  • Contains EDTA
  • Includes undescribed fragrance

TRESemme was founded in 1948, and grew with the aim of providing women with professional-quality hair at home. In 2010, the brand was acquired by Unilever.

In reference to the professional-quality aims of TRESemme, their Deep Cleansing Shampoo comes in salon-sized 900 mL bottles. This is good, because being able to buy in bulk can minimise the amount of packaging that needs to be used. The plastic that is used to package the product is also relatively easy to recycle in most kerbside programs.

There are two key soap type chemicals in this product. Both are toxic to aquatic life, but also readily biodegradable. 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.

These ingredients, and some others, are often derived from palm oil. Unilever aims to use 100% RSPO certified palm oil by 2019, up from 19% in 2015. Because it is such a large company, this is a significant commitment. Palm oil sources that are certified by the RSPO have a lower environmental impact during production.

Aside from the soaps, most of the rest of the ingredients are fragrances or preservatives. This product also contains a colouring ingredient. This ingredient is not readily biodegradable, but there is only limited information on the aquatic toxicity of this chemical. However, from what is available, it looks like it will have low toxicity to aquatic life.

Some of the fragrance chemicals, like hexyl cinnamal and butylphenyl methylpropional, are identified on the label. These chemical is readily biodegradable but are toxic or very toxic to aquatic life. Some fragrances are natural extracts, for which there is limited information available on which to determine their environmental impact. Other fragrance ingredients are just listed as “fragrance“. This could be anything, potentially including chemicals of high concern.

The preservatives are also less than ideal. This product contains disodium EDTA, which is a common pollutant in waterways where it can increase exposure to heavy metals and interfere with normal nutrient cycles. Other 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.

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.

Luckily, most users seem to like this product. Check out the reviews on Influenster, or the reviews on YouTube from Nathalie Marie Kay and Mrs Ginger Beauty.

Image credit: Debra Bow

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