Maui Shampoo: Worst Drugstore Shampoo?

Maui Shampoo: Worst Drugstore Shampoo?

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Maui is a shampoo brand that’s a blend between luxury and convenience. The brand’s products are available online and in-store at a variety of big-name retailers like Target and Walgreens. The shampoo is branded like a luxury shampoo, but is priced at affordable, drugstore rates.

But does Maui Shampoo contain research-backed ingredients for improving hair thickness and hair quality? Does it contain any questionable additives? How do real users rate and describe the effects of Maui Shampoo? And which retailer sells their products for the best price?

In this article we’ll answer all of these questions and more, as we analyze the ingredients in one of Maui’s most popular shampoos (Thicken & Restore) based on research studies to give our take on whether or not it’s likely to be effective for improving hair quality and thickness.

We’ll share some unsponsored customer reviews, and provide a cost comparison to show which retailer sells Maui Shampoo for the best price.

Ingredient Analysis

Maui Thicken & Restore ingredients

The ingredients in Maui Thicken & Restore Shampoo are shown above.

Bambusa arundinacea (bamboo) stem extract is often included in shampoo formulations, but we’re not sure why. We can’t find any clinical evidence that it improves hair quality, nor does the brand cite any on their product page at the time of publishing this article.

Coconut water is another strange ingredient choice in our opinion, given that coconut oil has such strong research backing for hair health.

A medical review published in the Journal of Cosmetic Science found that coconut oil significantly protected hair strands from damage.

Melia azadirachta was described as a “hair growth inducer” in a 2013 medical review.

Tapioca starch is a natural hair softening agent and thickener according to a medical review published in the Polymers journal.

Castor oil is clinically shown to improve hair shine, as we documented in our review of another shampoo brand called Kitsch.

Aloe vera can restore hydration to the skin according to a 2022 medical review, which suggests it may optimize scalp health.

Clearly there are a number of research-backed active ingredients in this formulation.

However, there are also two inactive ingredients that we consider to be questionable from a health perspective.

Diazolidinyl urea is a synthetic preservative that releases formaldehyde, which is a carcinogen (meaning it can cause cancer), according to a medical review published in the Contact Dermatitis journal. 

Iodopropynyl butylcarbamate is another synthetic preservative that was described as “a potential new contact allergen” in a 2002 medical review.

Fragrance is a broad categorical term that applies to a wide range of different chemical compounds, and as we documented in our Kristin Ess Shampoo review article, at least one medical review describes fragranced consumer products as a serious risk to human health.

Overall, we consider Maui Thicken & Restore Shampoo likely to improve hair quality and appearance, however we don’t currently recommend this product due to the three inactive ingredients highlighted above.

From a health perspective, we consider this to be a worse option than the average shampoo brand we have reviewed on Illuminate Health, which often has one ingredient we consider questionable, but not three.

But how do real users rate and describe the effects of this product? We’ll feature some unsponsored user reviews in the next section of this article.

Real People Try Maui Shampoo

A YouTube creator named “Marianellyy” reviewed a variety of Maui hair products and shared her thoughts on whether or not the brand is a good choice for people with curly hair:

A YouTube creator named “Betsy Karr Fitness” compared Maui Shampoo to a more expensive brand in a video with over 60,000 views:

Where to Get the Best Price

Maui Shampoo is sold at a variety of online retailers. Here’s a price breakdown for a one-time purchase of Thicken & Restore Shampoo at the time of publishing this article:

Walgreens: $10.99 (link)

CVS: $9.49 (link)

Walmart: $7.47 (link)

Amazon: $7.47 (link to official Amazon listing)

Maui Shampoo is currently only available at third-party retailers, and cannot be purchased on the brand’s website.

The price on Amazon and Walmart is 32% cheaper than the price at Walgreens.

Dermatologist Reviews Maui Shampoo

A dermatologist and popular YouTube creator named “Dr Dray” has a video on hair products she’s loving that features Maui.

We’ve timestamped the below video to start at the point where she begins discussing Maui:

Our Clean Hair Care Picks

Acure Vivacious Volume Shampoo is our top shampoo pick.

It contains argan oil which is clinically shown to help protect hair from damage.

Happy Head Topical is our top premium hair growth solution.

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

Momentous Zinc is our top value hair growth solution.

A 2022 medical review on the use of zinc in dermatology concluded that "This review has found evidence to support the use of hair loss disorders."

All of the products recommended in this section are entirely free of ingredients we consider to be unhealthy.

Real Customers Review Maui

Amazon is a better resource for unbiased customer reviews than a brand’s website in our opinion.

Thicken & Restore (the shampoo reviewed in this article) is currently the most-reviewed Maui product on Amazon, with over 7,000 total reviews and an average review rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars.

The top positive review from a verified purchaser is written by a user named “Ginger Spicer” who gives the product a 5/5 star rating and claims it improved hair quality:

“After quickly Towel Drying my Hair, I covered Every section of hair, with a small palmful of the Conditioner. Rinse. Result: My Hair Looked Healthy and Shiny!”

The top negative review from a verified purchaser comes from a user named “janice” who gives the product a 1/5 star rating and claims it caused side effects:

“On the second wash I developed sores on my scalp and had to use more frequently due to increase in oil production, which increased the amount of sores on my scalp. It started out with two spots and now I have several. My daughter also used it and she also has several sores.”

Maui Shampoo currently has a review rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars on Google.

Pros and Cons of Maui

Here are the pros and cons of Maui Shampoo in our opinion:


  • Many research-backed active ingredients
  • Should improve hair shine
  • Should improve hair quality
  • May improve scalp health
  • Available in-store and online
  • Affordable
  • Dermatologist-recommended


  • Contains two synthetic preservatives
  • Contains fragrance
Stay up-to-date on our research reviews


Maui Shampoo is one of the better shampoos for the price from an efficacy perspective, but one of the worst shampoos from a health perspective, in our opinion.

This brand uses active ingredients that have been shown in research studies to improve hair shine, support hair growth, and hydrate the skin.

However, Maui also uses two synthetic preservatives, one of which has been clinically shown to release a carcinogen. 

The Maui shampoo product analyzed in this article also contains fragrance.

One of the most popular dermatologists on YouTube has a glowing review of Maui that appears to be unsponsored.

At the time of publishing this article, Amazon and Walmart have better prices on Maui than other online retailers.