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.”
In this article we’ll review these claims based on medical research to determine if we believe they’re likely to be true. We’ll also review every ingredient in Nexxus Shampoo to determine if we believe it’s safe and effective.
Strange Health and Beauty Claims
As outlined in the intro to this article, Nexxus makes some claims that, while theoretically possible, haven’t been proven to be true. They link out to no medical research proving (or even suggesting) that their shampoo can truly create “an invisible barrier” around hair or reduce/block frizz.
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 medical study proving that jasmine flower (botanical name Jasminum) is an effective topical moisturizer.
They also claim that they use “18-MEA lipids” to “boost the cuticle cells’ natural hydrophobicity.” Again, there is no citation for this claim at all. 18-MEA is short for 18-methyleicosanoic acid, which is not an ingredient in this shampoo. We assume by “18-MEA lipids” the brand is referring to the ingredient stearamidopropyl dimethylamine which is a lipid conditioner.
We cannot find any medical research which proves this ingredient can repel humidity by boosting “natural hydrophobicity.”
It’s a red flag when a brand makes extraordinary health claims without research backing, and an unfortunately common one. A brand we recently reviewed called Simfort Shampoo made even more ridiculous health claims (including totally misinterpreting what causes male pattern baldness).
In this review we’re analyzing the ingredients in Nexxus Ultralight Smooth Weightless Protection Shampoo, which is their most popular product according to their website.
One of the active ingredients we believe to be effective is coconut acid, which is typically a blend of fatty acids derived from coconut. A medical review published in the Scientific Reports journal found that coconut improved scalp health by increasing levels of healthy bacteria and reducing levels of harmful and inflammatory bacteria (yes, we do have bacterial colonies on our scalp).
Nexxus also contains hydrolyzed keratin, which is a great choice for a shampoo formulation because it’s proven to optimize hair health, especially in damaged hair. Keratin is a structural protein in hair which has been proven in a clinical trial to treat damaged hair and “reshape” curly hair. This makes Nexxus’ claims about treatment of frizzy hair seem likely to be accurate.
Hydrolyzed wheat protein is another effective ingredient in this formulation. Research shows it’s a safe and effective hair conditioning agent. The process of hydrolysis makes wheat protein more effective for topical application.
We can’t find any research proving that hydrolyzed sweet almond protein is effective for hair specifically, but animal research shows it to be effective for skin healing, so this ingredient may be included to target scalp health. We analyzed the research backing this ingredient for skincare in our Meaningful Beauty reviews article, which covered a cosmetics brand that included sweet almond in a topical serum.
Clearly there are a number of botanical ingredients in this formulation which are proven by medical research to be effective for improving hair and scalp quality, and also potentially reducing “frizziness.”
While Nexxus contains some effective ingredients, unfortunately it also contains several filler ingredients that we recommend avoiding for health reasons.
Fragrance is the number one ingredient that we typically recommend health-conscious consumers avoid. It’s included in many personal care and cosmetics products, even though medical research suggests it may be harmful to human health.
A medical review published in a reputable journal stated the following about cosmetic fragrance: “Results of this study provide compelling evidence that everyday fragranced products can impose serious risks to human health, environmental quality, businesses, and society.”
Put simply, fragrance is a term that encompasses a wide variety of chemical compounds. Some are likely safe, but when the manufacturer simply lists “fragrance” as an ingredient, consumers are left with no information about what actual chemicals are used. For that reason, we recommend avoiding this ingredient entirely.
This shampoo also contains sodium benzoate, a synthetic preservative. This ingredient may be sensitizing to some patients based on medical research, which means it may cause skin irritation.
We’re not necessarily against all preservatives, and they may be necessary in some formulations to preserve the integrity and safety of certain ingredients, but when there are preservative-free formulations on the market we believe it’s illogical from a health perspective to use products containing preservatives. They provide no health benefit, and have some potential downsides.
This definitely isn’t the worst shampoo we’ve reviewed from a health perspective, but we wouldn’t recommend it especially due to the inclusion of fragrance.
We would recommend Dr. Bronner’s Organic Hair Rinse over Nexxus Shampoo due to its clean and effective botanical formulation. We frequently recommend this brand because they use whole food ingredients and no preservatives.
Dr. Bronner’s shampoo contains ingredients like organic orange oil and organic lemon oil for a natural fresh scent, and also contains organic coconut like Nexxus. It also contains organic shikakai powder which may improve hair quality based on published medical research.
At only $9.99, this product is also significantly cheaper than Nexxus Shampoo and we believe it has a cleaner formulation. It is fragrance-free and preservative-free.
User Reviews of Nexxus Shampoo
We prefer to reference YouTube reviews and Amazon reviews rather than reviews on a company website because we believe they’re less subject to bias. An influencer who appears to be quite knowledgeable about hair care ingredients named “hehe it’s mcKenna” reviewed Nexxus along with several other shampoos in a real-world test on herself.
The review appears unsponsored as she has no affiliate links in the description. She ranked Nexxus dead last with a 14/50 score:
Nexxus’ Ultralight Shampoo which we reviewed the ingredients of has favorable reviews on Amazon, but only 12 total reviews so it’s a small sample size. The top rated review comes from a verified purchaser named “Jane” who states that the shampoo successfully kept her frizz in control.
Nexxus Shampoo Pros and Cons
Even though we don’t recommend this product, it can be useful to consumers who are still interested in purchasing it to present the pros and cons for a quick visualization:
- Several effective botanical ingredients
- Hydrolyzed keratin may reduce frizz
- Great branding/packaging
- Questionable health claims
- Contains fragrance
- Contains a preservative