Nexxus is a popular shampoo brand which claims to both “strengthen hair from the inside” and form “a weightless, invisible barrier around every strand to block out humidity & frizz.”
But are there shampoo ingredients actually proven to prevent frizz, or are these just marketing claims? Does Nexxus shampoo contain ingredients shown to improve hair quality? Does it have any harmful additive ingredients? And how do real users rate it?
In this article we'll answer all of these questions and more. We'll highlight some questionable claims made by Nexxus and explain why we don't believe them, review the ingredients in the brand's most popular product, and share a real, unsponsored Nexxus shampoo user review.
We'll also share some information about a product recall involving a Nexxus shampoo that had potentially high levels of a carcinogenic ingredient.
Questionable Health and Beauty Claims
Nexxus makes a number of questionable health claims on their website, including that their shampoo creates an "invisible barrier" around hair follicles to block frizz. There is no citation for this claim and we do not believe it, nor do we even see how it's possible for shampoo to create an invisible barrier around hair.
The company claims that jasmine flower is “known for its ultra-light moisturizing properties” but provides no citation for this claim. We cannot find a single clinical study proving that jasmine flower (botanical name Jasminum) is an effective topical moisturizer.
Nexxus also claims that “18-MEA lipids” can “boost the cuticle cells’ natural hydrophobicity.” This suggests that these ingredients repel water, and again, there is no citation for this claim at all.
18-MEA is short for 18-methyleicosanoic acid, which is not an ingredient in Nexxus shampoo, making this claim even more confusing.
We cannot locate medical studies suggesting that any of the ingredients in Nexxus shampoo can naturally repel water, or what the benefit of that would be to hair.
Overall we find it to be highly questionable that Nexxus makes so many (strange) product efficacy claims without citing these claims. We consider this to be a red flag about the brand.
The ingredient list above is from Nexxus Ultralight Smooth Weightless Protection shampoo.
Coconut acid was shown in a medical review published in the Scientific Reports journal to improve scalp health by increasing levels of healthy bacteria and reducing levels of harmful and inflammatory bacteria.
Hydrolyzed keratin is a a shampoo ingredient we consider potentially effective. A 2018 clinical trial found that a specific type of hydrolyzed keratin (not the one in Nexxus shampoo) fixed damaged hair.
Hydrolyzed wheat protein was shown in a meta-study to be a safe and effective hair conditioning agent.
Unfortunately, while Nexxus shampoo has some effective ingredients, it also has a number of questionable additive ingredients we recommend avoiding.
Fragrance is an ingredient with toxicity concerns, as we documented in our Olaplex reviews article, and we recommend sticking to fragrance-free shampoos.
Benzyl salicylate was categorized as a “hazard class 2” by a Japanese regulatory body due to toxicity data. It has potentially endocrine-disrupting effects.
Nexxus shampoo contains the synthetic preservative sodium benzoate, and we recommend choosing preservative-free shampoo formulations.
Overall we consider Nexxus shampoo to be potentially effective for improving hair quality and reducing frizz, but we do not recommend it due to the inclusion of questionable additive ingredients like fragrance and benzyl salicylate.
Nexxus Shampoo And Conditioner Real User Review
One of the most popular YouTube reviews of Nexxus shampoo and conditioner comes from a creator named Nicole Hopkins. She claims to have an extremely dry scalp and gives her take on whether Nexxus shampoo and conditioner were effective for treating it.
The video is only 4 minutes long and is unsponsored:
Nexxus Product Contamination and Legal Issues
In October of 2022, Unilever (a corporate conglomerate that owns Nexxus) announced a recall of Nexxus dry shampoo due to "potentially elevated" levels of benzene, which is a carcinogen. This means that this ingredient can potentially cause cancer.
There's also an active lawsuit investigation on the ClassAction.org website that lists Nexxus among other shampoo brands that may be facing lawsuits in the future over the ingredients DNDM hydantoin and sodium lauryl sulfate which the attorneys allege may cause hair loss and scalp irritation.
It's important to note that Nexxus has not been sued for any product damage claims at the time of updating this article, but we do find these developments to be concerning.
Beauty Influencer Compares Nexxus to Other Shampoo Brands
A beauty influencer who appears to be quite knowledgeable about hair care ingredients named “hehe it’s mcKenna” reviewed Nexxus along with several other shampoos including product demos and before-and-after images.
The review appears unsponsored, and she ranked Nexxus dead last with a 14/50 score:
Nexxus Real Customer Reviews
Nexxus is sold on Amazon, which is a more objective resource for product reviews than a brand's website in our opinion. Their most popular Amazon product is their shampoo and conditioner which has over 14,000 reviews currently, and an impressive average review rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.
The product has an "A" grade on Fakespot, which is a software tool that detects potentially fraudulent Amazon reviews. This is a good sign about the legitimacy of the product and brand.
The top positive review from a verified purchaser is written by a user named "Maria G." who found that the Nexxus products caused aesthetic benefits:
"I have bought all different kinds of shampoos and conditioners to the point all of them have left my hair oily. Nexxus is by far the best. Leaves my hair shiny, manageable without any residue. Very happy with my product, I just placed another order. Fast delivery, well packaged."
The top negative review from a verified purchaser comes from a user named "Marla Larson" who claims that the product caused hair loss:
"My son and I both had significant hair loss within a week of using this product and continure to have hair loss. We both have long hair. I am not sure what causes this to happen but I would not recommend taking the chance and having it happen to you. Not recommended!!"
Our Non-Toxic Shampoo Recommendation
The shampoo we recommend is Acure Vivacious Volume Shampoo.
This shampoo is formulated with effective and non-toxic plant-based compounds like aloe vera juice and argan oil. It also contains rosemary leaf oil which was shown in a clinical trial published in the Phytotherapy Research journal to promote hair growth.
Most importantly, this shampoo contains no questionable additive ingredients like fragrance or synthetic preservatives. It’s around half of the price of Nexxus shampoo, costing only $8.49 at the time of updating this article.
Interested consumers can check out Acure Vivacious Volume Shampoo at this Amazon link.
Nexxus Shampoo Pros and Cons
Here are the pros and cons of Nexxus as a brand in our opinion.
- Some effective botanical ingredients
- Hydrolyzed keratin may reduce frizz
- Great branding/packaging
- Positive customer reviews
- Questionable health claims
- Contains fragrance
- Contains a preservative
- Dry shampoo was recalled due to contamination