Is Suave Good For Your Hair? An Ingredient Analysis

Is Suave Good For Your Hair? An Ingredient Analysis

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Suave is one of the most popular shampoo brands in the US. It's affordable, and the brand describes their shampoo line as "designed to meet all of your hair needs."

But does Suave shampoo contain ingredients shown in research studies to improve hair quality? Does the brand use any questionable additive ingredients? Why was Suave's manufacturer sued over allegations of hair loss? And how do real customers rate and describe the effects of Suave shampoo?

In this article we'll answer all of these questions and more, as we analyze the ingredients in Suave's best-selling shampoo to give our take on whether or not it's good for your hair.

We'll document a lawsuit alleging that an ingredient in Suave shampoo caused hair loss, and feature unsponsored customer reviews of the brand.

Ingredient Analysis

Suave Up The Volume Sulfate Free Shampoo ingredients

The ingredients in Suave Up The Volume Sulfate Free Shampoo, which is the brand's best-seller at the time of updating this article, are shown above.

There are two active ingredients in this formulation that we can find research backing for.

Glutamic acid was shown to promote hair growth in mice in a clinical trial published in the Scientific Reports journal.

However, we can't find human trials replicating these results.

Polyquaternium-10 is clinically shown to soften and condition hair.

There are two inactive ingredients in this shampoo that we consider to be unhealthy.

Benzyl salicylate is a preservative and fragrance ingredient that was categorized in a health hazard class by a Japanese regulatory authority, as we documented in our review of shampoo brand K18.

Fragrance is an inactive ingredient we recommend avoiding, because a 2016 medical review concluded that fragranced consumer products may have negative health effects.

Overall, we consider Suave to be somewhat likely to improve hair quality, but we don't currently recommend it from a health perspective given the inactive ingredients discussed above.

Why Was Suave Sued?

In 2021, Unilever (the company that owns Suave) was sued in a class-action lawsuit alleging the company used a preservative that causes hair loss and scalp irritation, according to Top Class Actions.

The ingredient, DMDM hydantoin, is not included in the Suave shampoo we analyzed above.

We cannot find any updates about the status of this lawsuit.

DMDM hydantoin is clinically shown to release formaldehyde, which is carcinogenic to humans according to the American Cancer Society.

In light of this information, it may be advisable to choose cosmetic products (from Suave or otherwise) free of DMDM hydantoin.

Real People Try Suave

A YouTube creator named "SusieStyle" shared her thoughts on a Suave shampoo and conditioner brand after using it for a while:

A TikTok creator named "heyitstessa__" claims to have had a positive experience using Suave shampoo:

@heyitstessa__ #greenscreen your sign you don’t need the expensive stuff to have healthy hair!! Sponsor me @suave ♬ original sound - liminal space songs

Our Clean Hair Care Picks

Ingreendients Daily Shampoo is our top shampoo pick, because it's formulated 100% from plants and contains research-backed active ingredients like acetic acid, derived from apple cider vinegar (ACV), which researchers suggest "can condition hair making it softer, silkier, shinier."

Happy Head Topical is our top hair growth solution.

This formulation uses FDA-approved hair loss ingredients like minoxidil which is clinically shown to increase hair count by 11%.

The brand also publishes the percentage concentration of each active ingredient, which is a sign of quality and transparency.

Stay up-to-date on our research reviews


Suave shampoo has some ingredients that are good for the hair, but we don't consider this to be a healthy product line overall.

The Suave shampoo we reviewed contains fragrance and a questionable preservative.

Even at the low price point, we believe there are healthier options that can be found on drugstore shelves.

Suave was sued in 2021 over allegations that one of its preservative ingredients caused hair loss. The ingredient in question, DMDM hydantoin, was not included in the Suave shampoo that we analyzed, so its use may have been phased out.

Given that this ingredient may release formaldehyde, which is a carcinogen, it may be best to avoid its use in any cosmetic product.

Online reviews of Suave shampoo that we came across while researching this article were mixed.